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September 28, 2012

Doc film to shed light on 9/11 in Somerset County

PITTSBURGH — Laura Beachy's sixth-grade teacher at Eagle View Elementary was supposed to turn off the television on Sept. 11, 2001, to keep the children from panicking after terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and just 15 miles from their school in Somerset.

Despite the district's orders, the teacher turned on the television, closed the door and drew the blinds so her students could watch as history unfolded before them.

"You didn't think it was real. You thought it was a movie or a joke at first," said Beachy, 22. "But then you saw the adults. They are supposed to be the people who have all the answers and provide safety and comfort. That day, they didn't have the answers, and everybody needed comfort."

Eleven years after watching the events of 9/11 unfold on a small screen in her classroom, Beachy is putting the finishing touches on a documentary she hopes to bring to the big screen at film festivals.

The documentary, "We Were Quiet Once," looks at how the crash of United Flight 93 in Stonycreek Township affected people on the ground in Somerset County.

Beachy began the project in April 2010 while she was a student at Syracuse University majoring in television, radio and film, and anthropology.

But her interest in that day and the stories that could be told go back to her childhood in Somerset.

"I always wanted to be a reporter since I was really little," Beachy said.

During the Quecreek mine rescue in July 2002, Beachy met a reporter from Fox News who let her hang out with his camera crew.

On the first anniversary of Sept. 11, she got to sit in the network's truck and even interview people.

"I just knew there was a story and would be for years to come," Beachy said.

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