The first person to appear on the screen is Walter Cronkite, a comforting and familiar figure. He reads an excerpt from The Nature of Patriotism, written by Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s. It sounds like it was written for today, and sets a contemplative and throughtful tone for the program.
Mr. Cronkite then introduces the next readers by saying:
"We all know New Yorkers are a special breed. The program you're about to see is their response to the tragic events of September 11th. What we've experienced and are continuing to experience has brought out the most resilient and courageous aspects of ourselves. What we have in common is a deeply felt need to turn to one another for hope and warmth. Here are poems and ideas by famous writers, read by famous New Yorkers, actors, and everyday people reading their own work."
Dorene Smith, who escaped from her offices at the World Trade Center on September 11, shares her personal experiences of the day with I Took Charge. Several early teen poets also share their original poems, expressing their thoughts and feelings in the aftermath of the unprecedented destruction.
Frank McCourt reads the words of Edward Robb Ellis from Epic of NYC which ends with, "If the planet grows cold, this city will nevertheless be mankind's warmest moment."
POEM/PROSE AND THEIR READERS
Adlai Stevenson's The Nature of Patriotism (excerpt)
W. H. Auden's Stop All the Clocks
Edward Robb Ellis' Epic of NYC
David Lehman's World Trade Center
Dorene Smith's I Took Charge
Harpo Marx's Harpo Speaks...About New York City (excerpt)
Roy Blount, Jr.
Stephanie Joseph's Nice Beautiful Day
and Tamara Joseph's America
W. H. Auden's September 1, 1939
Schools Chancellor Harold Levy
Judy Yerkhovich's In a Moment
Excerpt from Diary of Anne Frank
Jane Kenyon's Let Evening Come
Iraida Iturralde's The Loss of Innocence
Excerpt from E. B. White's Here is New York
Vickie Karp's Dark Blue Ribbons
Walt Whitman's I Hear America Singing
Tyler Wallach's I Am Strong As a Lion
Tyler Wallach (with
grandfather Eli Wallach)