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I Don't Forget the World Out There

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2006

(I wrote the following on Friday morning, then neglected to post it. But here it is, a little late.)

Friday was a nifty day in a number of ways. I had a couple of good  chats with people from Showtime's ''Brotherhood,'' although it was mostly about plot twists that haven't aired yet. Fantasia Barrino, whose story is the basis for a Lifetime movie, was charming, and the clips from the movie indicate she gives an impressive performance as herself. Robbie Coltrane of ''Cracker'' and ''Harry Potter'' fame turned his press conference into a performance -- complete with different voices and accents, and facial shifts -- that brought laugh after laugh.

Comic Jim Gaffigan, co-starring in a comedy for TBS, was funny, too, in a deadpan, I'm-not-taking-this-stuff-seriously way. (''My character is a married guy with kids,'' he said. ''In preparation for the role, I got married, and I had a kid. You know, I'm method.'') Andre Benjamin a.k.a. Andre 3000 of Outkast was engaging as he talked about a show he's working on for the Cartoon Network.

One of my favorite moments was sitting outside with Jimmy McGovern, the man who created ''Cracker'' and a new show, called ''The Street,'' that will air on BBC America. Not much lighthearted there, because we were talking about 9/11 and about Northern Ireland, since both are topics in the newest ''Cracker'' and I wanted to know more about his thinking.

Still, while I have said we live in a bubble here, you can see through a bubble.

You can see that some of your friends and colleagues are dealing with troubles that are deeper than a laptop not working or an interview going badly. You can see the world that Jimmy McGovern thinks about and writes about. You can be brought up short by the details.

Mary Fetchet's 24-year-old son died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. She is now founding director of Voices of September 11th, an organization providing support and advocacy for 9/11 survivors and families of the victims of the attacks. She was a key figure in pressuring the White House to set up an independent 9/11 commission and is part of a Court TV documentary about the commission. But it's not just an issue for her; it's a deep personal loss, one that she and the familes of the other victims are reminded of constantly, she said, and ''in a very public way.''

When she goes through airport security, Fetchet said, ''I think (that) this happened because my son and 3,000 other people were murdered.''

But there was a detail she mentioned that stuck with me through that day and into this one, something she said she would not want another person to go through. ''We've been notified five times of Brad's remains,'' she said.

At first I thought she meant there had been mistakes leading to incorrect notifications. That wasn't it. All five notifications were correct. ''These were all body fragments,'' she said.

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