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9/11: America Remembers

Aired September 11, 2002 - 06:12   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Our reports from New York continue with Michael Okwu who will join us from a New York City firehouse, from a memorial wall at St. Paul's Chapel near ground zero Gary Tuchman and in Washington, Judy Woodruff.
Let's first start off with Michael Okwu this morning.

Michael, good morning.

OK, Michael's not available yet.

Let's see if Gary Tuchman can join us now.

Gary, good morning.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, good morning to you. Paula, good morning.

When we stood here exactly a year ago, the first thing I thought of was this is just totally incomprehensible. Behind us we saw the searchers frantically looking for victims, the smoke was billowing, the fire was burning. Now it's obviously a different scene. It's much quieter, the cleanup is done, but there's still immense sadness here.

We're right across the street from the St. Paul's Chapel. Built in 1766, the oldest continuously used building in New York City, a church that had almost no damage despite the fact that it was across the street from the World Trade Center. Now it has become the memorial of this tragedy.

You look at the fence surrounding the chapel, you see posters, you see signs, flowers, hats and candles. People all over the world come here to bring these symbols of mourning for 2,801 people who died here. And already this morning, even before the sun has come up, thousands of people have been out here.

Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: So, Gary, tell me a little bit more about what is expected later today, how many folks do you think are going to wind by here?

TUCHMAN: Paula, we expect a very crowded and frantic day here today. Frankly, because this is New York City, many of the people who have been out here so far this morning have been people who have been up all night. But over the last 30 minutes, people have been showing up on the sidewalk. You can see right here, this is very interesting, you see the people with the Bobby hats. They're wearing Bobby hats because they are Bobbies. They've come here from the United Kingdom on their own time, on their own money to pay support to the British citizens who died here during the World Trade Center disaster and also support to the New York City police officers who also died here.

ZAHN: All right. Thank you, Gary. We're going to be coming back to you throughout the day.

Right now we're going to check in with Michael Okwu who joins us from a firehouse, perhaps a place he spent far too much time at last year and a place of great sorrow.

Michael, what's going on there now?

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well I can tell you, Paula, that it is very quiet here at Engine 3, Ladder 12 (ph). Just moments ago, they were woken up because they were asked to escort one of the bagpipe and drum crews that had made their way from the various boroughs down to ground zero; and they just passed just to the left of us on Seventh Avenue. And it was a very touching site because they were followed by literally hundreds of New Yorkers. If you woke up very early this morning, you could see, because often we were stuck in traffic behind them, hundreds of New Yorkers who had clearly woken up in the middle of the night to accompany these people.

Now we know that at this particular firehouse, which lost five people on that day, that they have no scheduled events this morning. Essentially, they want to leave the firefighters with the opportunity to go to their various places of worship and also perhaps to go down to ground zero. But you know that various people in the neighborhood can come here, as they have been all year, to pause and reflect on the great loss here.

Justin (ph), I'm going to ask you to pan over here. You can see just over here there is -- there are all sorts of flowers that have been placed here in memory of those who lost their lives. And an inscription on a stone that says "No farewell words were spoken, no time to say goodbye, you were gone before we knew it and only God knows why." An extraordinarily touching place to be.

I can also tell you that this black bunting just above the gates of the firehouse, it's black bunting that has essentially been put on all the firehouses throughout New York City and in many ways has come to essentially symbolize the appall (ph) that's descended across this city, will be removed at some point today. We are told that about 11:00 this morning they will be having a ceremony and the flag which is at half-staff, it has been at half-staff the entire year, will be removed. A new flag will be put and hoisted.

And, Paula, I can tell you this much, that I've spoken to many firefighters who say since September 11 of last year they have been looking oddly forward to September 12 because they are hoping that when they wake up tomorrow morning it will in fact be the next day -- Paula. ZAHN: Michael, thanks so much.

It's so sad, Aaron, to think about how many of those firefighters weren't even supposed to be on duty that day. Those that were drawn to the place because they knew help was needed. I can't even remember how many interviews I've done where people said they were off for 48 out (ph) shift and they went down there...


ZAHN: ... to pitch in and they lost their lives.

BROWN: I was driving up Eighth Avenue here in New York yesterday on the way to the hotel, and there is the statue of the fallen firefighter, the firefighter kneeling over and weeping, and people were gathered around it. People were coming as they have in many ways throughout the last year and placing flowers there and stopping. And I stopped and sat with them for a bit, and so many tears a year later were still being shed. It was for all those people who think New Yorkers are much too hard and much too abrasive, you needed to be here the last year.

ZAHN: Also, you talk to any family member who says they hear the word closure. They said what are you talking about, there is no closure.

BROWN: There is never closure in these things.

ZAHN: I wake up every minute of the day and I think about it.

Let's go to Washington now where Judy Woodruff is standing by to give us an update on all of the ceremonies that will be unfolding there today.

Good morning -- Judy.


Yes, some tears are going to be shed here in Washington as well today because of what happened at the Pentagon and because this city mourns along with the rest of the nation.

It's still dark here in the nation's capital, except for the lights on many government buildings. You can see the Capitol behind me. The flags around it. Security higher -- even higher today than it has been because of yesterday's heightened terror alert. This is a city even more anxious than it was at this time yesterday because of new information about possible terror attacks around the world.

Vice President Dick Cheney, we won't see him today. He's going to be at an undisclosed location as he has been so often of the last few months. He won't be with President Bush. He'll be visible at events here at the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania and of course in New York City.

But you know terror alert or not, this is a city that is, I think it's fair to say, one year after 9/11 it's a city more sober, more realistic about America's place in the world then we were a year ago today. So we are all waiting I think with a feeling of foreboding and you know some of the same feelings you're experiencing there in New York -- Paula, Aaron.

ZAHN: Tell us a little bit more, Judy, about the reality of confronting the news that the city is now surrounded by a battery of anti-aircraft missiles and the significance of that.

WOODRUFF: Well, you know, Paula, yesterday we were reporting during "INSIDE POLITICS" yesterday, it was about 4:30 in the afternoon Eastern, and the word came that Jamie McIntyre, our Pentagon reporter, was able to -- had just confirmed that they were going to be arming these missile batteries. And I said, Jamie, when was the last time this happened? And he said, I don't remember, you know, that it's ever happened. He said maybe during World War II.

BROWN: Judy, thank you, Judy Woodruff.




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