The Film

The Second Day

Photo Credit: Maria Millan


A Film by Brook Peters
With Narration by Dan Lauria, Charles Durning and Michelle Peters

On September 11, 2001, 4 year-old Brook Peters was attending his second day of kindergarten a few blocks from the World Trade Center in New York City when two planes struck the Twin Towers.

At age 11, Brook decided to make a film about that fateful day and its aftermath to give his fellow students and teachers at Ground Zero area schools a chance to share with the world their experiences.

Shot on a home video camera, The Second Day is his touching and inspirational documentary, completed when he was 14.  The film provides a unique and hopeful perspective on 9/11 through the eyes of young people and educators who lived through it.

Brook’s life, like that of so many others, was shaped by what he saw and felt on September 11.  As his mother raced from Ground Zero with Brook on her shoulder, he watched as one of the Towers fell. Brook also lost a number of firefighter friends that day who he grew up around.

In the film, classmates, teachers, counselors and firefighters reflect back on what they personally saw and felt on 9/11, how they coped in the days that followed, and what they learned from the experience.  Ten years later, they found there were a number of positive lessons to share:  people posses an inner strength and resilience that can overcome tragedies and hard times; in times of need people help and support each other in unexpected ways; and by connecting with others, we need not live our lives in fear and terror.

37 min • Chaptered • Closed Captions • 2011
Classroom and community discussion guides available

• World Premiere, Tribeca Family Film Festival

View national and international press coverage >


The Second Day is honest, heartfelt and healing – a testament to the resilience of the children, teachers and families who weathered the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history. Teachers, this film should be the centerpiece of your 9/11 lesson plans. The film offers a vivid, approachable ‘child’s eye-view’ of the events of that terrible day, framed by a young boy with a gift of wisdom beyond his years. Brook takes us through the tragedy of September 11th with compassion and utterly without sensationalism.  We meet downtown’s school children and the adults who care for them and we come to know their courage and to witness the powerful act of their telling their stories.”
–Kimberly Flynn, Director,
9/11 Environmental Action World Trade Center Health Outreach Program

“A great documentary reveals, educates and inspires.  Brook Peters’ film The Second Day does all three, while making your heart break and your soul rise. As an educator, I believe that “The Second Day” would be an extraordinary way to open a unit of study on 9/11. Brook’s timeless story should be told for years to come.”
–Emily Strang-Campbell

Staff Developer, Teachers College, Columbia University

“This wonderful documentary brings back moments some people would rather not remember but more importantly it reminds everyone that people of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds forgot about prejudices and differences and banded together to assist people during the event and for years afterward. As an educational tool, this surely brings to light the fact that this goodness and fellowship can come out of such a horrific event. Maybe this type of story would help students understand that it shouldn’t take such a tragedy to be helpful toward others.”
–Rose Mary Cella, 8th grade teacher and Union rep

“The film itself captures not only 9/11 and the loss that was suffered, but also is a beautiful love letter to all of the children and staff of New York City schools who lived through tragedy. I hope more kids learn from Brook’s example and take on difficult to tell stories in whatever form so that they can look back themselves and think about their importance and learn that important skill we call reflection.”
– Chelsea Boyd, 7th Grade Language Arts,
The Clinton School for Writers and Artists