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THREAD: Today marks the 18th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Throughout the day, I’ll be chronologically tweeting quotes from my new book THE ONLY PLANE IN THE SKY: An Oral History of 9/11, following Americans as they experience that day.... garrettgraff.com/books/the-only…
…. As part of the book launch this year, we’re also collecting stories from the #my911story hashtag, as people share their own experiences of that day. I’ll be sharing selected tweets and others’ stories throughout the day.
(If you don’t want to see these quotes all day, just mute this thread.)
Sunny Mindel, Communications Director for the Mayor of the City of New York, @RudyGiuliani: On September 11th, I was facing what I thought would be an easy day.
@RudyGiuliani .@katiecouric, anchor, @TheTodayShow: It was the perfect fall day, a little touch of autumn in the air. It was one of those back-to-school September days, full of possibilities, and, in its own way, a new beginning.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow Sen. @TomDaschle, Majority Leader, U.S. Senate: One of the most beautiful days of the year.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle Jeannine Ali, controller, Morgan Stanley, South Tower: There has never been as brilliant of a blue sky as there was that day.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle .@michaeljmorell, presidential briefer, Central Intelligence Agency: I walked into his suite for the president’s morning intelligence briefing…. There was nothing in the briefing about terrorism. It was very routine.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell Andy Card, chief of staff, White House: I remember literally telling him, “It should be an easy day.” Those were the words. “It should be an easy day.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell The final routine transmission from American Airlines Flight 11 came at 8:09 a.m.: “Boston Center, good morning, American 11 with you passing through one-niner-zero for two-three-zero.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell American Airlines Flight 11 attendant Betty Ong called the airline’s reservation office at 8:19: “Um, the cockpit’s not answering. Somebody’s stabbed in business class, and, um, I think there is Mace—that we can’t breathe. I don’t know, I think we’re getting hijacked.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell Hijacked Mohamed Atta accidentally calls air traffic control at 8:24 a.m. and announces, “We have some planes. Just stay quiet and we’ll be ok. We are returning to the airport.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell Boston air traffic controller Colin Scoggins: Someone came to me and said that there was a hijack going on. We’d worked hijacks in the past, and they were usually uneventful.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell Boston air traffic control at 8:37 a.m. calls for fighter support: We have, ah, a problem here, we have a hijacked aircraft headed toward York and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there to help us out.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell American Airlines Flight 11 attendant Madeline “Amy” Sweeney called a colleague in Boston. At 8:44 a.m., she said, “It is a rapid descent. Something is wrong. I don’t think the captain is in control. I see water. I see buildings. We’re flying low. We’re flying very, very low.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell William Jimeno, officer, @PAPD911, at the Port Authority Bus Terminal: A shadow came over 42nd and Eighth Avenue. It completely covered the street for a split second.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 Cathy Pavelec, administrator, Port Authority, North Tower: I glanced out the window and I saw the plane…. As I watched, the plane got closer and closer and closer. I was in complete disbelief.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 .@FDNY Chief Joseph Pfeifer: I picked up the department radio and told them a plane hit the World Trade Center, and to transmit a second alarm. That was done immediately. That was the first official report.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY Lt. Mickey Kross, Engine 16, @FDNY: Our computer went off, and we got the ticket: “Respond to Manhattan, Box 8-0-8-7, One World Trade Center. Signal 3:3.” That’s a third alarm.... It’s Incident 103—one hundred and third incident in Manhattan of that date.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY Sal Cassano, assistant chief, FDNY: On the morning of September 11th, I was at headquarters in Brooklyn. Sitting with me was Chief of Department Peter Ganci, Chief of Operations Dan Nigro, Donald Burns, Jerry Barbara. Jerry was killed. Donald was killed. Peter was killed.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY Andy Card, chief of staff, White House:
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY .@RudyGiuliani, Mayor, New York City: My staffer Denny Young came over and said, “A twin-engine plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.” I went to the men’s room because I thought I’d be at the crash site a long time.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY .@condoleezzarice, National Security Advisor, White House: I thought, ‘Well, that’s a strange accident.’ I called the president. We talked about how odd it was. Then I went down for my staff meeting.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice Capt. Jay Jonas, @FDNY: The sky was so blue and the sun was glistening off the metal of the exterior of the World Trade Center. You saw an airplane-shaped hole in the North Tower with fire and smoke coming out of the building, under pressure. It was boiling out.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice Det. David Brink, Emergency Service Squad 3, @NYPDNews: We started making our way down to the Trade Center. I saw the building burning. I looked over to my colleague Mike Garcia and I go, “I guess we’re going to get a lot of work in today.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews .@KatieCouric: We were talking, we were getting eyewitness accounts, and then of course the really chilling, and shocking, visual was when that second plane was flying toward the building. It felt like it was in suspended animation.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews David Norman, Emergency Service Officer, ESU Truck 1, @NYPDNews: One of the landing wheels from the aircraft fell, burning, right in front of us. It was almost like the size of a Volkswagen landing in the street.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews Dan Nigro, Chief of Operations, @FDNY: The horror of the day had just multiplied exponentially.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews Ben Sliney, FAA Command Center: When United 175 struck the building, I told them to ground-stop every plane in the country, regardless. No one could take off.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews Andy Card, Chief of Staff, White House: I knew I was delivering a message that no president would want to hear…. I whispered in his ear, “A second plane hit the second Tower. America is under attack.” I took a couple steps back so he couldn’t ask any questions.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews .@KarlRove: [Secret Service agent] Eddie Marinzel came up to the president … and said, “We need to get you to Air Force One and get you airborne.” They’d determined this might be an effort to decapitate the government.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove Vice President Dick Cheney: My Secret Service agent said, “Sir, we have to leave now.” He grabbed me and propelled me out of my office, down the hall, and into the underground shelter in the White House.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove Capt. Jay Jonas, Ladder 6, @FDNY: You had a row of firemen going up the stairs, and you had a row of civilians coming down the stairs.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove Bruno Dellinger, consultant, North Tower: The heat was quite intense in the stairwell.... The intensity of the warning signs—the fire alarms were in full force—like stroboscopic lamps and the sound of the alarms. The fire alarms’ sound was pounding you all the time.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove Dennis Smith, maintenance inspector, Pentagon Building Manager’s Office: There was a big, giant ball of fire, red and black. The heat hit us like from a barn fire. Then parts started flying out of the sky.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense (@RumsfeldOffice): We were sitting in my office when the plane hit the building. The building shook and the tables jumped. I assumed it was a bomb.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice Gary Walters, Chief Usher, White House: I heard a loud muffled thud. I looked over the tree canopy to my right in the direction of the Pentagon, and I could see the big plume of black smoke with flames in the middle of it.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice Sen. @tomdaschle, Majority Leader, U.S. Senate: And there began the chaos. … There was a mad scramble, literally running out of the Capitol building.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice Rep. @PorterGoss: There we were, standing at the bottom of the steps of the Capitol wondering if the building would be there the next time we came back.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss .@mikewaltercgtn: I remember the soundtrack of that day, it was this siren. It was as if it was looped—it was sirens, sirens, sirens.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn Lisa Jefferson, Verizon Airfone Supervisor: I asked the caller his name, and he told me, “Todd Beamer, from Cranbury, New Jersey.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn Dan Potter, Ladder 10, @FDNY: I didn’t think that these towers were going to collapse. This was the massive, biggest fire I’ve ever seen, but as you’re calculating, you don’t really know the extent of the damage. I was convinced that we’ll get up there and put it out.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn Dan Nigro, Chief of Operations, @FDNY: No one has heard a high-rise building collapse before, but as soon as I heard it, I knew what it was.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn Constance LaBetti, Aon Corporation, South Tower: We really thought that the end of the world was upon us.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn Bruno Dellinger, consultant, North Tower: In about five seconds, darkness fell upon us with an unbelievable violence. Even more striking: There was no more sound. Sound didn’t carry anymore because the air was so thick.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn Philip Bradshaw, husband of Sandra Bradshaw, flight attendant, United Flight 93: We talked about how much we loved each other and our children. Then she said: “Everyone is running to first class, I’ve got to go. Bye.” Those were the last words I heard from her.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn Douglas Miller, coal truck driver, James F. Barron Trucking, outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania: I happened to look up in the sky and there was this giant aircraft, coming straight down.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn Alan Baumgardner, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, 911 Coordinator: It seemed like immediately every phone line in the Center was lit up. Everybody grabbed for a phone and they were all the same call: A plane has gone down out near Lambertsville.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn Keith Custer, firefighter, Shanksville Volunteer Fire Company: It was total silence in that truck the whole way out there. I don’t think we said but five words to each other.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn .@prezfotog, aboard Air Force One: Soon after we got on board, I see the president pop out of the cabin, he’s heading down the aisle. He says, “OK boys, this is what they pay us for.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog Capt. Paul Larson, @ArlingtonVaPD: There was probably a wall of 2000 or 3000 military personnel coming out of the building, and as soon as they heard the screams for help, all of them immediately turned around and went right back into the building to help whoever needed help.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD Stephen Blihar, Emergency Service Officer, Emergency Service Unit Truck 10, @NYPDNews: I heard this sick cracking noise. I looked up and Tower One was curling over my head like a wave.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD .@AndrewKirtzman, reporter, @NY1: There was this massive, massive boom, and a huge plume of smoke. As the building fell like a pancake, that smoke and soot and fire, it went north. It started to chase us, and we went running for our lives.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 James Luongo, Inspector, @NYPDNews: It was like that hush afterwards—I don’t know what the explanation for it was—but there’s that hush that comes over the city with a major snow fall.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 Lt. Michael Day, @USCG: We decided to make the call on the radio. “All available boats, this is the @USCG .... Anyone available to help with the evacuation of lower Manhattan, report to Governor’s Island.” About 15, 20 minutes later, there were boats all across the horizon.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke .@CondoleezzaRice: There were times that day that it felt like an out-of-body experience. But you keep functioning, even though you don’t really believe it’s happening.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke Scott Strauss, Emergency Service Officer, @NYPDNews: We came around the corner from City Hall Park, and we saw one of our Emergency Service vehicles on fire. It was like a movie. It’s like, “No! This is Lower Manhattan—this doesn’t happen in Lower Manhattan."
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke Col. Mark Tillman, pilot, Air Force One, discusses landing at Barksdale Air Force Base:
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke Betsy Gotbaum, candidate for @nycpa: At one point, I went outside. It was a beautiful day, and I was terribly upset…. It was completely silent. You couldn’t hear anything. It was so eerie. I’ve never experienced anything like that in NYC in my entire life. The silence.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa .@GovernorPataki: I’ll never forget one obviously homeless gentleman coming up and giving me a hug, and me telling him, “We’ll get through this,” and him saying, “Thank you, I’m sure we will.’”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki .@mattwaxman1, National Security Council, White House: I remember at one point somebody estimating that 50,000 people had been killed as the towers collapsed. There was a ton of information coming in—some of it accurate, some of it inaccurate.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 Ileana Mayorga, Volunteer Arlington: At 1:00 the phone started ringing, people who want to come and help…. I had a man who said, “I am 80 years old. I still fit in my pilot uniform from WWII.... Tell whoever you can tell that I’m ready to report for duty.” That broke my heart.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 Lt. Gen. Tom Keck, commander, Barksdale Air Force Base: As [Air Force One] takes off, two F-16s pulled up on his wing.… Kurt Bedke, one of the other officers, told me later that as we watched them fly away, I said to him, “Do you feel like you’re in a Tom Clancy novel?”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 Michael McAvoy, associate director, Bear Stearns: I looked over lists of people who were taken to various hospitals. No John McAvoy, my brother, no James Ladley, my friend who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. You look at the list and try to will a name onto it.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 .@michaeljmorell, presidential briefer, @CIA: The president asked to see me alone—it was just me, him, and Andy Card. He asked me, “Michael, who did this?” … When all was said and done, the trail would lead to Osama bin Laden. I told him “I’d bet my children’s future on that.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 @CIA @AnnCompton Kat Cosgrove, eighth grader, NH: I didn’t really understand the severity of it—a couple buildings a few states away had been hit by planes. I’m not sure I had ever said the word “terrorism” before. Once I got home I turned on the TV to try to figure out what was going on.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 @CIA @AnnCompton Lourdes Baker, tenth grader, California: It was the first time I completely understood that nothing is simple, some things never make sense, and sometimes horrible things happen for no reason at all. It was the end of my childhood.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 @CIA @AnnCompton Dave Wilkinson, asst. agent-in-charge, @SecretService: By the time [Air Force One] got to @offutt_afb, there were like 15 to 20 planes still unaccounted for nationwide.. For everything we knew, they were all hijacked. But, even as we landed, they started to kick them off quickly.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 @CIA @AnnCompton @SecretService @Offutt_AFB Col. Matthew Klimow, Pentagon: There was a teleconference with @GeorgeWBush. The president was firm and in control .... He said, “I want everybody who’s listening to this [secure video teleconference] that no faceless thugs are going to hold this country at bay.”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 @CIA @AnnCompton @SecretService @Offutt_AFB @GeorgeWBush @USC Mark DeMarco, ESU, @NYPDNews: Why did we get out? In the beginning I had this guilty feeling. If I had made a right instead of a left, if I had been five minutes or two minutes slower, if I had gone to a different team.... Everybody who was there says the same thing: It was luck.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 @CIA @AnnCompton @SecretService @Offutt_AFB @GeorgeWBush @USC John Napolitano, father of @FDNY firefighter: When we came onto West Street and saw the debris field, I didn’t even know that was a street. It was steel all over the place, and smoke rising, and it was chaos. It was a movie set that some deranged director thought of.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 @CIA @AnnCompton @SecretService @Offutt_AFB @GeorgeWBush @USC .@AnnCompton, reporter, @ABC News: We were finally able to say on the record—I called my bureau and told them—that the president was heading back to Washington and would address the nation from the Oval Office.
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 @CIA @AnnCompton @SecretService @Offutt_AFB @GeorgeWBush @USC @ABC At 5:21 p.m., 7 World Trade Center collapsed. David Brink, Detective, Emergency Service Squad 3, @NYPDNews: I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me! How many more buildings are going to fall?”
@RudyGiuliani @katiecouric @TheTodayShow @TomDaschle @MichaelJMorell @PAPD911 @FDNY @CondoleezzaRice @NYPDnews @KarlRove @RumsfeldOffice @PorterGoss @mikewaltercgtn @prezfotog @ArlingtonVaPD @andrewkirtzman @NY1 @USCG @richardclarke @nycpa @GovernorPataki @mattwaxman1 @CIA @AnnCompton @SecretService @Offutt_AFB @GeorgeWBush @USC @ABC Col. Matthew Klimow, Pentagon: At 1725 hours Secretary Rumsfeld said, “Notify everybody that tomorrow, 12 Sept., is a normal work day at the Pentagon. I want everybody here reporting for work,” which was, at the time, a pretty startling announcement.
.@AriFleischer, press secretary, White House: Out of the front left of the chopper, the president had a clear view of the Pentagon. The president said to nobody and everybody, “The mightiest building in the world is on fire. This is the face of war in the 21st century.”
Chris Mullin, Ladder 1, @FDNY: It was a depressed, dismal, miserable mood. Hundreds of firefighters, thousands of civilians are gone as quickly as you blow out a match. Gone.
Scott Strauss, Emergency Service Officer, @NYPDNews: We’re all itching to get back into there and find civilians, find our friends, find somebody.... The pile of debris was massive.
Eve Butler-Gee, clerk, U.S. House: By then, of course, we had learned about Flight 93. It was very bittersweet because our sense was that that plane was headed for the Capitol building. Had it not been for those people, it could have been much, much worse.
Denny Hastert, Speaker of the House: We walked across the East Front of the Capitol and there were probably 200—maybe 175 or 225—Members of Congress on the front stairs of the Capitol. Wow, it’s pretty amazing. Members of the House, members of the Senate, Democrats, Republicans.
Denny Hastert, Speaker of the House: Somebody broke out in the crowd of Members of Congress in “God Bless America.”
Brian Pearl, Greenpoint, Brooklyn: That night, a bunch of our friends got together at Enid’s, a popular bar in the neighborhood. It felt good to be amongst friends if for no other reason than to remind me that I wasn’t the only person who had no idea what to think, feel or do.
President Bush speaking from the Oval Office: America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
Deena Burnett, wife of Tom Burnett, passenger, United Flight 93: I spent the evening just crying and being with friends, having neighbors come in and out, and having family call me on my cell phone to offer their condolences.
VP Dick Cheney: As we lifted off and headed up the Potomac, you could look out and see the Pentagon, see that black hole where it'd been hit. A lot of lights on the building, smoke rising from the Pentagon. It helped bring home the impact of what had happened.
David Addington, counsel to the Vice President: The headquarters of the U.S. military was still smoking, and we were flying over on our way to hide the vice president. My God, we’re evacuating the vice president from Washington, D.C., because we’ve been attacked.
John Napolitano, father of @FDNY firefighter: It was late, and the kids wouldn’t go to sleep because my son, whenever he worked nights, he would always call and talk to them, and tell them a story over the phone.... They weren’t going to bed because their father didn’t call.
Keith Custer, firefighter, Shanksville Volunteer Fire Company: Later on that night in Shanksville, we got called back for numerous brush fires. You couldn’t put the fire out because the ground was so saturated with jet fuel.
Lt. Michael Day, @USCG: I walked into Ground Zero and I could remember there were body parts everywhere. I remember thinking, 'This is a war.' .... All the power was out around the area, & a lot of other buildings were on fire, and there was this eerie gray like snow everywhere.
Rick Schoenlank, president, Sandy Hook Pilots: We walked through the dust—like six inches of dust—that was covering everything. There were bulldozers slapping chains on the wrecks of firetrucks, police cars, ambulances, just dragging them down the street.
Chuck Cake, firefighter and EMT, Arlington County Fire Department: The fire was still burning on the Pentagon roof—you could see it glowing—it was decided to suspend operations until morning, and then try again.
Thank you to all who have followed along today. If you’re interested in hearing more of these stories, you can find The Only Plane in the Sky here: garrettgraff.com/books/the-only…
Most importantly, thank you to the nearly 500 voices who lent their stories to The Only Plane in the Sky and to those who shared their stories with us throughout this day.
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