9/11 Fifteen years later

It was fifteen years ago, almost to the minute as I write this. I was nearly to work, just after 6am California time. I left early, as I did in those days, to beat traffic. My wife called me on my cell to tell me a plane had just crashed into one of the two towers of the World Trade Center in NYC. She was watching it live and giving me information as it came in.

I got to the office a few minutes later and immediately gathered around a TV with several others in the break room. When the first plane hit, everybody was wondering if this was just some sort of freak accident; a disabled pilot perhaps with a heart attack, unable to control the plane; a navigation error; loss of control of the plane due to some sort of mechanical failure. Everyone was grasping for answers.

Then the second plane hit the second tower. And everybody knew this was no accident.

Nothing was accomplished in the office that day. We were all glued to the news reports. I was capturing images, text messages, and news media alerts as they came out (Twitter had not yet become mainstream).

When the first tower collapsed, there were audible gasps and sobs of several in the office. The evil of Islamic jihad had come to our shores, though most didn’t even realize what they were seeing at the time. Then the second tower collapsed, and a cloud of almost palpable despair set in. We had experienced defeat.

The reports of other planes flying erratically began flooding the airwaves. Was the White House the next target? The Capitol building? Then the Pentagon suddenly went up in flames.

The FAA shut down airspace over the nation. I will never forget that eery sound of … nothing! There were no planes in the skies, or helicopters. For days. It was unlike anything I’ve experienced before. And I felt unsafe and vulnerable.

I will be updating this memoir over the next few days with additional thoughts, pictures, media clips, etc. And I will give ample space to the ideology which drove 9/11 and continues to wreak havoc on much of the world today. And I will use the dreaded “I” word that our President refuses to acknowledge.

But for now, here is the list of the news media reports I captured that day.

  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 05:52 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— World trade center damaged; unconfirmed reports say a plane has crashed into tower. Details to come.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 06:21 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— Second plane crashes into World Trade Center.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 06:23 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— FBI investigating reports of foul play in World Trade Center plane crashes, according to the Associated Press. Details to come.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 06:32 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— Sources tell CNN one of two planes that crashed into World Trade Center was an American Airlines 767.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 06:42 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— President Bush calls plane crashes at World Trade Center a terrorist act.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 06:46 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— White House evactuated. Details to come.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 06:55 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— CNN confirms a plane hit the Pentagon.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 06:45 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— Significant fire at the Pentagon. Details to come.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 07:03 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— One of World Trade Center towers collapses; fire forces evacuation of State Department


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 07:38 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— Car bombing at the State Department, The Associated Press reports.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 07:44 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— Pentagon monitoring second suspected hijacked plane.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 07:50 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— Fighter scrambled amid reports of second plane headed for Pentagon.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 07:26 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— FAA diverting all U.S.-bound international flights to Canada.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 07:39 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— Part of Pentagon collapses


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 07:30 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— Second World Trade Center tower collapses in Manhattan


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 08:18 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— NTSB confirms plane crashes near Pittsburgh


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 09:32 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— FAA confirms there are 50 aircraft in the air; none has a problem and all are within 50 miles of their destination.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 09:37 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            CNN Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

— Government sources tell CNN President Bush is not returning to Washington.


  BreakingNews@CNN.COM

09/11/2001 11:23 AM

Please respond to BreakingNews

 

 

To:                                                                   TEXTBREAKINGNEWS@CNNIMAIL4.CNN.COM

cc:

Subject:                                                            AMERICA UNDER ATTACK

BREAKING NEWS from CNN.com

 

NEW YORK (CNN) — In what appeared to be coordinated acts of

terrorism, two jets crashed into the twin towers of the World

Trade Center, collapsing them Tuesday while another aircraft

crashed into the Pentagon. Hundreds were injured or killed, if

not more.

 

A fourth aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania with 45 people on

board.

 

President Bush said the United States would “hunt down and

punish” the terrorists responsible. U.S. Secretary of State

Colin Powell cut short a trip to Peru to return to the United

States. He also vowed, “The U.S. government will find out who

is responsible.”

 

The U.S. military went on full alert. Two aircraft carriers

left the Naval base in Norfolk, Va., in response to the

attacks.  At the Pentagon, witnesses said a plane crashed into

what is known as the “Army Corridor,” the building collapsed

and there wase an undetermined number of casualties.

 

Bush, who wound up an tour in Florida that was to focus on

education, did not return to Washington out of concerns for his

safety but flew to an Air Force base in Louisiana. Later, Air

Force One took from Barksdale Air Force Base, its destination

unknown.

 

Officials in Washington said a “Continuation of Government”

plan had been activated. The activation involves a fortified

facility at Mount Weather, Va. There was no word whether any of

the U.S. leadership or ranking military officers had been taken

to the facility, but Congressional leaders were said to be

assembling outside Washington.

 

The city of Washington declared a state of emergency.


 

More to come. Much more.

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