Brook Peters grew up around a fire station. “I took my first steps there,” said Peters. He added that the firefighters were his role models. His mother volunteered there, and the firemen were like family.
Sept. 11, 2001 was Peters’ second day of kindergarten. Peters said out of the 343 firefighters that were lost in the events of 9/11, he “knew over 100 of them.”
His documentary about the effects of 9/11 on the students and faculty from schools around Ground Zero, called “The Second Day,” was shown in the Forum on Monday, Sept. 11.
Peters said he worked on the film between fifth and eighth grade. “The film was very cathartic to make,” he said. “Because I didn’t know that there were other people who felt that way,” he added, referring to how he felt “isolated” and “alone.”
Peters went through seven years of therapy – a process he is very grateful his mother put him through, because after 9/11 he had difficulties comprehending death. “It still affects the way I look at [death] today.”
He said that creating and working on the documentary helped him resolve some of the issues that came from his experience with 9/11. “I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless,” he said about the teachers and students who he interviewed. “No one talked about them after the event. There was one newspaper article, and it was small,” he added.
Making the film helped him see that he wasn’t alone, and he said it gave him relief. He added, “seeing how it affected others helped. I wasn’t alone, and neither were they.”
Peters said his intention for creating the film was to create a dialogue. He said he likes to talk about issues that aren’t typically discussed and start a conversation. This film helped him do that, and he said that he has made others with similar intentions.
Peters also discussed his own segments in the documentary, something that he was hesitant to include. “I didn’t want the story to be about me.” He said the reason he eventually decided to include his own story was due to supportive friends and family, specifically his mother. “Everyone pushed me to include my story. And eventually, it helped that I started talking about it. It made me stronger,” he said.
Going to events, showing his documentary and talking with audiences is always making him “rethink,” he said. “People will bring up questions I’ve never been asked … and it’s invigorating.” He said the topic is interesting, because “we’re getting older. For my generation, we are the crossover between pre- and post-9/11 U.S. These topics are really only starting to rise up now. There has been a lot of change, and there have been a lot of questions that have enticed me, or stumped me or even made me think I was wrong,” he said.
Peters added, “Everyone has a 9/11 story.”