CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
America Remembers: Sunset Ceremony Commemorates Lighting of Eternal Flame
Aired September 11, 2002 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Here again are Aaron Brown and Connie Chung.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again. Ground Zero in New York now almost empty. The Statue of Liberty out in the harbor, almost perfect, as it always is. It's good to see you all again. It's been a long day for all of us together, and we're glad you're still with us this evening.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Aaron. It's nice to see you in person, because I've been watching you all day.
CONNIE CHUNG, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Connie Chung. You're going to look at some live pictures in a moment of places where people gathered today to remember, to commemorate, where ceremonies are going to take place tonight, as well.
And you can just make out the Statue of Liberty back there, as Aaron just mentioned. About -- from our vantage point here on the roof, and about two miles north of where the towers once stood.
On the best days I'm told, Aaron, that this is the place to come, here on this roof, to meditate, and it was perfect today. I sort of felt as if today was a family day, family of America.
BROWN: It was, in many ways, an almost perfect day for an awful event to deal with.
Tonight, the view is quite different. But then, so are lots of things. We've all been changed by the day and by the year since that day. Today the country took time to note the changes, and to mark the year.
It was, in our view, and we saw it all, a quiet day, a respectful one, gentle is the word we like to use a lot, and gentle, we think. The day devoted to the families and to everyone, which is everyone in many ways, still trying to come to grips with what happened a year ago.
As the sky darkens here in New York, as the day begins to come to a close, remembrances in this city and in other places, as well, go on. A bit later this evening, as I assume most of you know by now, the president will be out in New York Harbor at one of the country's great landmarks at Ellis Island, where immigrants have passed through for two centuries, to come to America's shores, to take their first steps on American soil.
They all came through, or many came through, Ellis Island, and in the great hall tonight, the president of the United States will try to find the words of this day. That's about 9:00. We'll bring all of this to you as it happens, the rest of the ceremonies, as well, and as much of a flavor of the day, as we say in our business, as we possibly can.
We will not do it alone. We begin by touching bases quickly with a number of our correspondents, our colleagues, indeed our friends who have been working this story today. Many of them up since daybreak and well before.
We begin at Ground Zero and CNN's Bill Hemmer. Bill, start us off, please.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, it has been one year. We know that now, but in so many ways, it has only been one year.
But certainly today was a day for the families: two separate ceremonies, in fact, one just concluding in the past 30 minutes when President Bush left the pit area of Ground Zero, departing the families, the hundreds, by the hundreds who had gathered to greet him here.
Earlier in the morning, though, we saw that massive ceremony, reading aloud 2,800 names of the victims and watching the family members proceed down that ramp, into the pit, and leaving thousands and thousands of flowers in their wake.
In between, Aaron, I think you'll agree with me on this one, we will all remember the wind today in the weather. It was so strong and so powerful, almost sometimes knocking us off our feet. I said earlier today, it almost felt as if heaven was taking a deep breath and then exhaling all over us -- Aaron.
BROWN: It has been a day. You think about, Bill, Ground Zero and all the things that went on there from the early morning, as people started to arrive, to the president's visit, which ended just a short time ago.
It's been a long and powerful day from you, and we appreciate that.
In Washington, the events began early as well, in much the same way, for all of the same reasons.
Wolf Blitzer has been at the Pentagon through it all, and, Wolf, it is almost ridiculous to say, sum it up, so I won't say that, but lay out for us how you've seen the day.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today was a long day, Aaron. It was a long day for all of us, but especially for those of us who lost loved one here exactly one year ago.
They came by the thousands to a rebuilt Pentagon, a Pentagon that is stronger than ever, not only physically, but emotionally. The people inside made that clear.
From the president of the United States to the defense secretary and other top civilian and military personnel, they came here to admire the structure, the structure that had been shattered one year ago, as that American flag was hurled over the site, as it was a year ago, they recalled the damage.
But they also pledged defiance. They pledged that the terrorists who struck at the United States, that they had declared war against the United States, but they promised they would lose.
Even as the tough talk did continue here at the Pentagon, there were reminders that the Pentagon and other facilities in the nation's capital remain vulnerable. There are anti-aircraft missile batteries that have been deployed around this building, as well as other strategic locations in Washington. That's going to continue, at least for the foreseeable future -- Aaron.
BROWN: As you were talking, I'm going to show you, I don't now if you could see the monitor, but we saw some of the pictures of he day: the Navy chaplain, correct me on this, I think his name was Admiral Barry Black, a very powerful moment earlier in the day. And we'll have more of that from Wolf as this two hours unfolds.
Now perhaps the starkest memorial for a variety of reasons took place in tiny Shanksville, Pennsylvania, an accidental city in all of this. It is where United Airlines Flight 93 went down a year ago today.
CNN's David Mattingly joins us from there tonight.
David, good evening to you.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Aaron.
Unlike the other two cities, New York and Washington, D.C., Shanksville stands out somewhat, because unlike those two cities, this was not a target. 9/11 literally came crashing down in their backyards here out of a clear blue sky, because of the extraordinary efforts of the passengers and crew on board.
In spite of all the national attention today, what we saw was a very personal event in the lives of the families of Flight 93, particularly when they met with the president and the first lady down the hill here at Shanksville's Ground Zero.
This happened after all the ceremonies and after all the speeches were over, when they talked to the president, there was just a lot of embraces and one on one condolences. It was the first time the president had come here, and it's a powerful moment for anyone who sees this empty field for the first time, Aaron, and ponders what happened here.
BROWN: And, David, I said earlier, and I'll say it to you now, I think David in many ways summed up what happened in Shanksville better than any of us have in this last year. He described it as the first victory in the war on terror, and it was that when those brave men and women took over that flight, knowing that they would not get out; they would not make it, but knowing that by taking it over, they'd save the lives of perhaps thousands of their fellow citizens.
They are heroes and they were winners that day in this awful war we find ourselves in -- Connie.
CHUNG: Joining us now at New York's Battery Park, right at the southern tip of Manhattan, inside of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, an eternal flame will be lit, a tribute to the victims of last year's attack.
And CNN's Deborah Feyerick is in Battery Park now and joins us -- Deborah.
FEYERICK: Well, Connie, one out of every five people who died in the attacks, they were either born or lived in other parts of the world.
Today, here at the sunset ceremony, all those people will be honored. There will be a number of dignitaries in attendance. They include U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as Secretary of State Colin Powell. We're even expecting President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.
During the ceremony, two children will light that eternal flame that you mentioned. And those two children, one of them lost her father in the attacks; another, a boy, lost his uncle, who was on one of the top floors, working at Cantor Fitzgerald.
And the eternal flame is right by a sphere, this golden sphere behind me. This sphere has really a remarkable story. It was right in the center of the two towers. And when they collapsed, somehow it survived intact. It was a little battered, a little bruised, but it remained intact. Mayor Bloomberg has called this a symbol of America's resiliency of the American spirit.
And as you mentioned, we are just a couple of blocks south of the World Trade Center and north of the Statue of Liberty. A lot of people have been passing by here all day today, and I spoke with one man who is a pilot with United Airlines. He came here because his friend was the pilot on board United Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower.
The story he told me: he said when he was down at Ground Zero, what struck him is a lot of the family members had come and made little mounds of earth and at the tops of those mounds of earth, they had put pictures of their loved ones, almost like a graveyard with those pictures serving as the tombstones.
Once this eternal flame is lit, it will honor all of those souls that were lost.
And just to give you a very quick rundown, what we're going to hear is, we will hear Aaron Copeland's "The Fanfare for the Common Man," that performed by the New York Philharmonic, that will be followed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg reading the Four Freedoms speech, initially given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt back in 1941, and then the two children will light that flame -- Connie.
CHUNG: Deborah, I'm sure you noticed all day that words were used sparingly. It was appropriate. It seemed to fit. What about tonight at Battery Park?
FEYERICK: There's going to be music. There will be that flame that is going to be lit. It's not really a time for speeches.
And even the dignitaries who are here, a number of them are in town because tomorrow is the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. And so they're here and they're going to be attending. We don't know exactly how many. Ninety people actually replied, including General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. We don't know whether he'll be here, but he did RSVP yes.
Again, not a time for words, just a time for reflection. All of those dignitaries, though, Connie, will be given a candle, and that candle to represent, again, all those people who died and all of those different places they came from -- Connie.
CHUNG: Thank you, Deborah.
We'll come back to that event in just a moment, whenever it begins.
And now, Aaron, I just wanted to say to you that I was trying very hard, and felt that I could prevent myself from crying all day, but it immediately hit me that first moment of silence at 8:45 a.m. I couldn't keep it back. It was so moving.
And I think there are a number of people out there who probably thought the same thing.
BROWN: Well, there were a number of people up here who felt the same thing. I'll say that.
There is, around the city tonight, there's a number of events to note. There's some candle lightings, and we'll get to those.
Out in the Bronx -- I'll be quiet here.
The Bronx. Baseball, oddly, again, is an important part of the healing. It became an important part of the healing in the days after September 11.
Go ahead, you're your stroll, guys.
When baseball began again, it was one of the first signs that our lives here in the city and around the country were getting normal again. The World Series, you might recall -- you can hear the chants from the fans at the stadium. And I'm almost certain they will raise that flag tonight to full staff. In the third game of the World Series, the president came to New York and threw out the first ball. That, too, was a sign that we ought not live our lives in the aftermath of September 11 fearfully.
And the Yankees are just one of the great New York institutions. You can love them or hate them. But they remind us that we're New Yorkers.
CHUNG: I went to the first game right after 9/11, and it was such a moment of patriotism.
Mayor Giuliani was there, of course, at the time. And firefighters and police officers came out on the field. And I think the crowd just stood and couldn't stop applauding for all of the heroes of 9/11.
BROWN: We noticed in that shot, if we go back to it, I don't think we have control over these. These are coming to us from the Yankees television network.
But that was the Scooter, Phil Rizzuto, the great Yankee shortstop and announcer and much loved here. And he'll obviously participate in the flag raising.
We heard the Lee Greenwood song. I'm right on Lee Greenwood, aren't I?
CHUNG: I don't know. I'm not good on that. I'm not your best witness on that.
BROWN: The first time we heard that in the context of this was on -- was two Sundays after the 11th. There was a memorial at the stadium that we were at, and he sang the song there.
And so the stadium, for all sorts of reasons, including that memorial, has meaning. I almost said resonance. But that's not a good television word. Has meaning for us here in New York and for this event.
We will bring you all of these. I know that most of you have not had the luxury of spending the entire day with us as we kind of walked through this one one-year marker. And one of the things we'll try and do in the next couple of hours is catch you up on some of the things that you did not see and have not seen, to try and wrap up 12 hours in a couple of minutes, if that's possible.
But here briefly, then, is a look at how the day played out here in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: They were our neighbors, our husbands, our children, our sisters, our brothers, and our wives. They were our countrymen and our friends. They were us.
KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: Today we come together as a world community, because we were attacked as a world community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The city that suffered the most began by reciting the names of every single person who died in the attacks in New York. And so did the secretary of state, who was raised here.
For much of the day, the grief was palpable. A daughter, a child, read a moving tribute to her stepfather.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't remember the last time I told him that I loved him. I would give anything to go back to the morning of September 11 and tell him how much I appreciate everything he's done for me. But I think he knows that now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Throughout the city there were memorial services. This one at Trinity Church, not far from Ground Zero.
And here at Riverside Church, this one specifically for the members of the Port Authority, and more Port Authority police officers died that day than any other police department.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAMES MCGREEVEY, NEW JERSEY: Now more than ever, we, as a nation and a region, must stand together and make the right decisions. Either we control the crisis, or the crisis will control us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And a firehouse in Lower Manhattan that lost five of its firefighters, children from an off-Broadway show serenaded them.
The president came to New York late in the afternoon to tell the families and the survivors of his resolve.
When the day began, New York's governor, George Pataki, chose the Address given at Gettysburg for his remarks. They were, of course, originally delivered during a time of civil war, but today they seemed appropriate to the mood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI, NEW YORK: ... that we here resolve that the dead have not died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHUNG: It really was a moving day of remembrance, and there will be candlelight vigils tonight all over the five boroughs of New York. Let's look at Battery Park once again. This will take place tonight. When it begins, there will be several dignitaries there. Representing the 91 countries in which victims -- there were victims of 9/11. A candlelight vigil in which an eternal flame will be lit.
There's former Mayor Giuliani. Governor George Pataki will also be there, Kofi Annan, U.N. Secretary-General.
A sunset memorial, as it's called. Two children will be participating as well. Children who had relatives who died on that day. Also, a retired firefighter. A man named John Vigiano who lost two sons. One a young firefighter, the other a police detective.
We'll be returning to this in just a moment. First we want to go to Shanksville. We'll be looking at -- this again is the sphere. The sphere was a survivor of the World Trade Center. That plaza had contained the sphere. The sphere was mounted on a fountain there, and it survived.
Shanksville now and looking at the pictures of the president's visit today there. We were struck by the tranquility of the site. The earth seems to heal quicker than people do. There isn't much left to see, which is, in a way, it doesn't really matter anymore.
Shanksville, the field, has become something else, a bit like Gettysburg, the feel.
David Mattingly is there.
MATTINGLY: One year to the minute of the crash of Flight 93, a bell tolls 40 times, one for each of the flight crew and passengers who died as they attempted to retake their plane from the hands of hijackers.
TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: These 40 amazing, extraordinary people had character in abundance. Everyday heroes you might ask? No. They were heroes every single day. These were men and women who were well practiced in the art of making a difference.
MATTINGLY: We know from the heart-wrenching cell phone calls to operators and loved ones that passengers formulated a plan to attack the cockpit as the jet raced towards possible targets in Washington, D.C.
Instead it crashed in this vacant Pennsylvania field. Todd Beamer's last words of "Let's roll" now a battle cry in the war on terrorism.
In Somerset County, a day of symbolic tribute as thousands gathered, bused in under heavy security. White House staffers also in attendance expressing thanks to the people whose actions may have saved their lives.
ANDREW CIAFARDINE, WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: These folks were ordinary people who had no idea what they were getting into on that day. And made the ultimate sacrifice and chose to save countless Americans.
MATTINGLY: The ceremonies, organized by local officials, were heavily influenced by the wishes of friends and family of Flight 93 victims.
Sandy Dahl is the wife of Captain Jason Dahl.
SANDY DAHL: They cared about Jason. They care about everybody and they've gone to a lot of trouble here in Shanksville, in Somerset, to make sure that we know.
MATTINGLY: But it was families only for a final event as the president and first lady placed a wreath on the very spot where Flight 93 fell to earth. The ground now treated as a cemetery, a final resting place for all who were on board.
This time there were no speeches. Just hugs, handshakes and occasionally tears. Shared thoughts of loved ones who perished in what some call the first victory in the war on terror.
Families offered high praise to the people of Somerset County and Shanksville, population 245, a small town that continues to rise to the occasion in a big way, by protecting the memory of Flight 93 and acting as host to the thousands of people who come here to visit, to pause and reflect in this remote field in rural Pennsylvania.
David Mattingly, CNN, Somerset County.
BROWN: I think one of the things that we all get about Shanksville is that it could have been Newall, Minnesota or Twist, Washington, or any of the tens of thousands of small and medium sized American cities where people will open their hearts and let you in.
This is Battery Park. Again, this is the principal ceremony of the evening here in New York. It is by no means the only one, but it is the place where the dignitaries have gathered.
We saw earlier the former mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor, his mother died over the weekend. She was 92, Helen Giuliani. And it gave him some pause about how much of this day he wanted to participate in, and he is so associated with the events of a year ago.
We talked to him this morning and he seemed to be going about a full schedule, but clearly with a much heavier heart, and the mayor has carried a very heavy heart with him for this last year. He knew many of the people personally who died. He attended 200 funerals, if you can imagine that.
And so the mayor will be there, as will the Governor. The mayor, Mayor Giuliani and the governor have not always been the best of political friends, but they made up and did good deeds in the last year, working together, so the former mayor and the governor will be there as well.
CHUNG: The current mayor, Mayor Bloomberg, will be there, as well, and he'll be lighting the eternal flame, along with a couple of others. Two children, both relatives -- had relatives who died on September 11. One is a little girl and the other is a little boy: 14 years old and 10 years old.
BROWN: It appears to me -- and I'm guessing we're about to start here, so why don't we just turn our mics off and let the ceremony unfold as it was designed.
An appropriate way to begin this, Aaron Copeland's now well- known, writing, "These tragedies and the killers who perpetrate them do not distinguish between the lawyers and the busboys and the high- priced lawyers and the window washers," the mayor of New York.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: ... nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American dream. In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined for the world the four freedoms on which that dream is based.
He said, "In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms." The first is freedom of speech and expression, everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want, everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear, anywhere in the world.
This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere.
Our strength is in our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end, save victory.
For our country, September 11 will always be a date of sorrow, the heartbreaking anniversary of great loss that we share with 91 nations. But the memories of those we lost will burn with unending brightness and ignite a flame of freedom that lights the world.
CHUNG: There is the flame lit. John Vigiano, a retired firefighter, who lost two sons, his only children. One was a firefighter and the other was a police detective. This is a man who was so proud that his father was a firefighter and one of his sons was a firefighter. And both sons served the city and served their country.
Secretary of State Colin Powell...
BROWN: With Mayor Bloomberg, Kofi Annan. Mr. Vigiano looks pretty good still in that firefighter's uniform.
CHUNG: He's a very impressive man. I interviewed him just a few days ago. The tears come so quickly for him. He said the pain will never go away, there's no such thing as closure.
Now, what we're watching are each of the dignitaries representing 91 countries, where people who were either -- either held dual citizenship or were born in a different country and became victims of September 11. They were invited here by Mayor Bloomberg to share in the commemoration today.
And actually, Aaron, they're holding battery-powered candles.
BROWN: Well, in the wind that we're in today, battery-powered candles or a blowtorch, I think, are probably required. Just stay with that for just a second.
You know, one of the great privileges of living in this city, and honestly, working in this building, is to be able to look at the Statue of Liberty out in New York harbor at this time of the day. She never looks bad. But there's something about this shot, almost exactly this time, about 7:35 Eastern, where the Statue of Liberty looks particularly beautiful to us, and means something quite special.
CHUNG: I couldn't agree with you more. I think that there isn't an American out there who isn't proud, who isn't grateful for the fact that we were able to commemorate the victims of 9/11 in peace, even though there was a code orange alert. And I think there was an undercurrent of concern throughout the day.
We indeed made it through the day with no problems. Security was tight everywhere. But nonetheless, we were able to commemorate the way we wanted to.
BROWN: In the foreground of that shot is Ellis Island. And that's where the president will speak about 9:00 tonight. We'll talk more about that as we go.
CHUNG: It will be a short speech, Aaron, only 10 minutes long, estimated. He's had a full day.
BROWN: Well, he has indeed, as has the country. I just -- at the risk of belaboring the point, I -- it's one of those scenes, the statue, that never grows old to me. This is a long line of people in what is a ceremonial moment down at Battery Park.
The U.N. General Assembly is meeting here in New York. They will be back at work tomorrow morning. And among the people they will hear from tomorrow morning is the president of the United States, in a very different moment with a very different tone, where he will talk about Iraq. But that's tomorrow.
Tonight is about something else. Tonight is about different business to be done in lower Manhattan and around the city, where these candle lightings, in places like Central Park, that you know, and many spots that you do not know, unless you live here, people are gathering.
And I'd like to think, though I don't know this, that in lots of cities around the country, people will take a moment tonight to think about the year that has been, all that's changed, who we are, what that flame you're looking at, that eternal flame stands for: the nearly 3,000 people who perished. Take a moment to think about that. We've talked a lot over the last week or so about, how do we remember this? Are we doing too much? Do we want to watch it all? How do we want to remember this horrible tragedy? Surely, each of us has a moment. A quiet one.
CHUNG: I think I was concerned about media coverage, being a part of it -- concerned that we would be overplaying the entire day, concerned that viewers did not want to see the commemorations throughout the day. And the visual images that were so stark on September 11.
But, in fact, I think there isn't a person out there who does not believe that it was all appropriate. And I think that we all -- we all felt the emotion of the day. I don't think there's a cynic out there who didn't share in the moment.
The Pentagon was a place where the president spoke, one of the first places he had appeared -- the heart and the brains and the nerve center of America's military. And it was built while America fought World War II, in the Pacific and in Europe. They broke ground in 1941. And, listen to this, it was on September the 11th.
Sixty years later an act of war killed 184 people and cut through three of the Pentagon's rings. More than a third of the dead were never recovered. And today they remembered those who gave their lives there, serving their country on September 11, 2001. And CNN's Wolf Blitzer was there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): This is America...
BLITZER (voice-over): At the same spot where hijackers rammed a passenger jet into the Pentagon a year ago, the U.S. military and its leaders remembered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not let those who died fade from our memories.
BLITZER: This began as a commemoration, somber and moving with simple images, giving perspective to an event still fresh on the mind and soul. Friends, families, survivors and the president gathered to reflect on what was lost.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One year ago, men and women and children were killed here because they were Americans.
BLITZER: The personal stories were staggering. Donn Marshall's wife was killed at the Pentagon, but his two children in a day care center inside survived.
DONN MARSHALL: They were evacuating the kids. I finally tracked them down. And that was pretty much the happiest moment of my life.
BLITZER (on camera): When you saw your kids were alive. MARSHALL: When I saw the kids, I grabbed them, I hugged them. And then I realized, while I was hugging them, that Shelly should have been there.
BLITZER (voice-over): But it was also a day to express pride over the resilience of this building and the people it serves.
BUSH: The terrorists wanted September 11 to be a day when innocence died. Instead, it was a day when heroes were born.
BLITZER: And to those who rebuilt the damaged wing, a word of thanks.
WALTER LEE EVEY, PROGRAM RENOVATION MGR.: America, we give you back your Pentagon.
BLITZER: Perhaps the most enduring message of the day: defiance toward America's enemies.
BUSH: What happened to our nation on a September day set in motion the first great struggle of a new century. The enemies who struck us are determined. And they are resourceful. They will not be stopped by a sense of decency or a hint of conscience. But they will be stopped.
BLITZER: In the meantime, though, there was another reminder of what's going on here in the nation's capital. Operational anti- aircraft missile batteries remain poised around this huge building as well as around other landmark positions in the nation's capital.
Still, this was a powerful day, a gut-wrenching day, for thousands of people who work at the Pentagon. It was also a powerful reminder of the horror of terror -- Connie.
CHUNG: Wolf, the Pentagon restoration was achieved ahead of schedule, wasn't it, and actually under budget.
BLITZER: It's pretty remarkable. The original estimates were $700 million, $800 million. Some thought it would cost a billion dollars to repair the Pentagon. It actually came in around $500 million. And people are taking credit for coming in under budget.
And earlier, the original estimate was that there was no way they'd get people back to work within a year. It was a difficult decision they had to make early on, whether to set that even as a goal and not be able to reach that goal. They set it as a goal. And within the past few weeks, people are now at their old desks, back in this building right behind me.
CHUNG: And just one quick question, Wolf. The president, the tone of his speech, how would you describe it?
BLITZER: It was very thoughtful, very moving. He wanted to make sure that the moment of the day was not lost, especially on the military personnel, whom he greatly admires and respects. He spoke about winning this war against terror.
You'll notice that he didn't talk about Iraq virtually at all. He didn't mention the word Iraq at all. That is being left for another day, namely, tomorrow morning, when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly.
CHUNG: Thank you, Wolf Blitzer.
Now back to Battery Park. The ceremony is continuing there. In a moment we'll hear "America the Beautiful."
BROWN: Well, my goodness. To the extent that there is an international moment in this day, this is it tonight down at Battery Park. Dignitaries from around the world, as you can see for yourselves -- Kofi Annan, the prime minister of Japan.
We see there as well the prime minister of Canada, who we note as well, is here. They have been good friends and good allies. And they lost four, I believe, four soldiers in a terrible accident in Afghanistan. And so it's good to see the Canadian prime minister among those who are participating in the event in Battery Park, which is the southern end of the island of Manhattan.
We've said -- it's a very quiet ceremony. We've said a lot. It bears repeating, we think -- we hope it does, because we're about to -- that this isn't a New York story. It's not a Shanksville story. It's not a Washington story. Of course, all of those places matter in this, and they all deserve primacy, if you will.
But it is in many ways, it is an American story. America was the target, our institutions. Our freedom, as the president refers to it. Those were the targets of the terrorists. And this, then, is how America, the country, marked the day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On September 11, 2001, 93 Massachusetts residents and 73 individuals with close ties to the commonwealth, were lost.
GOV. JESSE VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA: Today, Minnesota remembers the sad, sad day of September 11, 2001. It will forever be remembered as a day that made us even more resolved to keep our country free. To the victims of 9/11/2001, God be with you. And be assured, we will never forget. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): O, say, can you see by the dawn's early light...
CHOIR (singing): ... what so proudly we hailed, at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even after all this tragedy, the United States of America still stands strong. It has brought us closer together and shows that we care about our country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a year since that awful time. And it's still hard to understand these feelings of mine. I pray for those heroes who gave their lives and I'm glad for all those who survived.
CHOIR (singing): I decided long ago never to walk in anyone's shadow. If I fail, if I succeed, at least I live as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity. Because the greatest love of all is happening to me. I found the greatest love of all inside of me
BROWN: Well, I suspect in every schoolhouse in the country, from Maine to Hawaii, kids gathered in assemblies and gymnasiums and tried to make sense of the inexplicable that was September 11.
CHUNG: In fact, the schools were asked to bring their children together and discuss 9/11.
BROWN: Down at Central Park, not too terribly far from here, New Yorkers have gathered for a concert. As we said, it's one of a number of events going on simultaneously in the city. But this is Central Park, a place that I think all of you are familiar with, for one reason or another. It's one of the great joys of the city of New York.
CHUNG: In all five boroughs there will be candlelight vigils and symphonies. We'll take a look at the Bronx as well in a moment.
BROWN: The place in Central Park has been the scene of many concerts of all types, from opera and Shakespeare to rock 'n' roll. And people come and they sit. And they spend an evening as New Yorkers, and they are tonight.
Our coverage of AMERICA REMEMBERS continues in just a moment.
BROWN: The capital of the United States of America, the Statue of Liberty in New York. Two enduring symbols of American freedom and two sites, on a night like tonight, that are irresistible to all of us, certainly to me.
Welcome back. I'm Aaron Brown in New York with Connie Chung.
CHUNG: Aaron, a year ago at the capital, at the reflecting pool, there was a spontaneous candlelight vigil a year ago. And there is some -- a plan to get that vigil together again. Candlelight vigils all over the country, we hope. People still praying in churches. There's a live picture of the U.S. Capitol. BROWN: Our senior White House correspondent John King is with us tonight here in New York. John has been here all day and he'll be covering the president's speech, which comes up at about 9:00. We've got a fair amount of business to do with John before we get to that point.
So, John, good evening. Why don't you give me a few seconds on what the president is going to talk about, and then launch us into some other things that you have planned.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You will recall, Aaron, one year ago at this very moment, we were meeting each other. And we were waiting for the president to address the nation. We are, one year later, waiting again for the president to address the nation.
Much like in that speech a year ago, the president will talk about how he will never forget what happened on that day, now one year ago, on September 11. And he will promise the American people not only will he never forget those killed and the families struck by that tragedy, but he will continue the war on terrorism until its completion.
Everyone remembers where they were. For the president it began as a very routine day. You see the Pentagon there. The president was in the state of Florida. He began the day with a jog, something he loves to do so much.
His aides told reporters, there will be no news today. The president was speaking to school children in Florida. Just before he walked into that classroom, his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, called him and told him about sketchy reports that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.
They both agreed it must have been some sort of freak accident. The president asked her to keep him posted. He walked into that classroom, continued with the event. But it was only a few minutes later when the president found out what was really happening on that day one year ago. That day, still so difficult to comprehend.
(voice-over): 9:05 a.m., Sarasota, Florida, the whisper that changed a presidency.
ANDREW W. CARD, CHIEF OF STAFF: I walked up to his right ear, leaned over and whispered in, "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack."
KING: Priority one: don't alarm the children.
BUSH: Thank you all so very much for showing me your reading skills.
KING: But soon, an early exit. Top aides waiting just beyond the classroom door. KARL ROVE, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: He comes into the staff room, they're playing the footage of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. And the president said very simply, very calmly, but very powerfully, "We're at war. Get met the director of the FBI and get me the vice president."
KING: 9:30 a.m., a time for testing a president, just seven months on the job.
BUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for America. I, unfortunately, will be going back to Washington after my remarks.
KING: Or so he thought. A dash to the airport. A quick phone call back to the White House.
CARD: We were heading back to the plane. And we had a report that the Pentagon had been hit.
ROVE: The president was very emphatic, I want to go to Washington. They said, we can't guarantee the airspace.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: And we said, this isn't the time to come back because Washington is under attack. The vice president is here. The last thing that you wanted at that moment was to have both the president and the vice president in the same place.
KING: A rush to board Air Force One and get a potential target off the ground.
GORDON JOHNDROE, PRESIDENTIAL AIDE: It felt like the fastest takeoff and the steepest climb I had ever been on a plane before.
KING: On board, the president is told the first lady is safe, checks in with his daughters, calls Mayor Giuliani in New York. And for the first time that fateful day, here's a now all-too familiar name.
CARD: Osama bin Laden. I remember hearing Osama bin Laden. I do not remember hearing al Qaeda at that moment.
KING: Another call to the vice president.
ROVE: He says, you know, it sounds like we have a war going on. I heard about the Pentagon. At this point there are three aircraft missing.
KING: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld joins in.
CARD: It was a short but very heavy discussion. A decision was made that if hostile acts were likely to be taken place by a commercial jetliner, a fighter pilot would be given permission to shoot the plane down.
KING: 11:45 a.m., touchdown, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana -- another reminder everything has changed.
ROVE: In times of peace, a great moment. Because there are bands and people in uniform and spit and polish. And it's really an impressive ceremony. We landed at Barksdale, to be met by the commander of the eighth Air Force and his command staff in combat uniforms. And every one of them with a side arm.
KING: Another briefing. The CIA director says early evidence suggests bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
RICE: Nobody was surprised. It was an incident, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, that looked like, felt like, smelled like al Qaeda.
KING: 12:36 p.m. Eastern, an effort to reassure a nervous nation.
BUSH: We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high alert status. And we have taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government.
KING: 1:37 now. Wheels up, Barksdale. The president advised once again to stay away from Washington.
ROVE: There are, you know, nine planes, six planes, eight planes, three planes inbound over the Atlantic with emergency beacons on. I mean, it's a -- there is a fog of war. And this was the first day of a new war.
KING: 2:50 p.m., arrival Offutt air base, Nebraska, the home of the strategic command. And a Cold War command and control bunker built to survive a nuclear attack. A secure video link with the national security team. Two announcements from the president.
RICE: He came on to that helicopter. He said, "I'm coming back." It was the end of the discussion. There was no more discussion about whether he was coming back.
NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: He said, I'm going to find out, we're going to find out who did this. We're going to seek them out and we're going to destroy them.
JOSH BOLTEN, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: It is now the mission of this government. The whole tenor of the presidency changed immediately at that moment.
KING: 4:36 p.m., eight hours after the first attack, a wartime president heads home under constant watch.
JOHNDROE: I remember looking out the -- looking out the window and seeing a -- I suppose it was an F-16. It was an Air Force jet right off the wing. I mean, if you could have opened the window, I think you could have touched it almost. It was amazing. I think that really made a lot of this hit home. KING: A two-hour flight to Andrews Air Force base, a short but telling helicopter ride home, decoys just in case -- the president's first up-close look at the devastation.
ROVE: There was a large plume coming out of the Pentagon that was visible for miles. The president was on the left side of the chopper. And he looked out the window and he said, "Everybody take a look." He said, "You're looking at the face of war in the 21st century."
CARD: It was eerie. And it was a very, very heavy time. It was a heavy time for the president. It was a heavy time for those of us who were around him.
KING: Into the White House: an update from the vice president, a meeting with staff to discuss his address to the nation.
BUSH: Good evening.
Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts.
KAREN HUGHES, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: He felt it was very important that night that he reassure the country, that we'd obviously been through a horrible trauma. And we were all horrified. We were not terrorized. And he wanted to convey that that evening.
G. BUSH: America has stood down enemies before. And we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day.
BOLTEN: I think I was nervous, a little bit nervous for the president, because I knew how important this was to the feeling in America that day.
G. BUSH: Thank you. Good night. And God bless America.
KING: 8:35 now: back to the bunker, another National Security Council meeting. The president opens by saying, "This is the time for self-defense."
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: By that night, the president was in the mood to kind of start handing out assignments. He really was determined that Don Rumsfeld was going to be doing his work to make sure the military was ready.
KING: At 10:30, the meeting breaks. The president heads to the residence and, soon after, to bed. But the long day is not done.
RICE: I was still in my office at about 11:30 when there was a report of another plane coming to the White House. And we went back to the bunker. And that was a kind of surreal scene, because the president was there in his running shorts and Mrs. Bush in her robe. And the dogs were there. It was a really kind of peculiar scene.
KING: An early start the morning after: a new chapter born of tragedy.
HUGHES: He told us all: "From this day forward, this is the focus of our administration. This will be the focus of our administration." And I think he expects that it will also be the focus of administrations to come.
KING: And, in that year since, of course so much evidence that this has been the focus of the Bush presidency: an effort, successful so far, in building the international coalition to fight Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, a great sense of frustration at the White House that the whereabouts of bin Laden himself still a mystery; and more challenges for the president as al Qaeda continues to be the focus of front one in this war, and the president already thinking about moving on to front two, more about that tomorrow, Iraq, when the president addresses the United States -- Connie and Aaron.
BROWN: John, it struck me -- it just struck me -- let me put it that way -- that it took the president a few days to find his public voice on this, that that night -- and, goodness, the bar was impossibly high -- he had not quite found his public voice.
There were those meetings or those photo opportunities in the days that followed. It wasn't, to me -- and I want to know if you agree -- until he walked into that joint session of Congress and delivered the speech where he said, "We will bring justice to our enemies or our enemies to justice," that the president found his public voice in all of this.
KING: I think that is certainly true. The speech to Congress and the president's trip to ground zero I think are viewed by even his closest aides as the defining moment, and the speech at the National Cathedral, the president's remarks at the ceremony there at the National Cathedral, the most telling moment of that, to me: when his father, the former president, reached over and grabbed him, almost an "attaboy."
His aides insist the president did step up to the plate that first day. But many would say privately it was a day of nerves and jitters. They say the president handled it as best he could. But I think he did grow to the challenge, if you will, in the days and weeks immediately following.
CHUNG: John, we saw the president all day today. He was in public. But Vice President Cheney had been spirited away into a secret location yesterday. What was his day like today? And what was his day like a year ago?
KING: A year ago, as we saw some of it in that piece, the vice president was the one who directed the government's response from a minute-by-minute basis back at the White House -- today, the vice president back in what we became so familiar with in the days after last September 11, what we call a secure and undisclosed location.
After he emerged weeks, a couple of months after last September 11, that became a staple joke in the vice president's speech, when he took a more prominent, more public role, especially now in the midterm election campaign, but because, once again, of the perceived threat of terrorist attack, the vice president today watching these events, we're told, from a secure, undisclosed location.
We know where he is. We just can't tell the public, for security reasons, the vice president set aside again. But back on September 11, one year ago, as the president made his way back to Washington and delayed his return because of security concerns, it was the vice president who was back in Washington directing the minute-by-minute response of the federal government.
KING (voice-over): He was here in his west wing office, suspicious at word a plane had struck the World Trade Center, watching TV, hoping his instincts were wrong.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a clear day. There was no weather problem and then we saw the second airplane actually hit in real time, and that was, at that moment you knew this was deliberate act, that it was a terrorist act.
KING: A call to the traveling president, urgent conversations with top aides and then a burst through the door.
CHENEY: My agent all of a sudden materialized beside me and said, "Sir, we have to leave now." He grabbed me and propelled me out of my office, down the hall, into the underground shelter in the White House.
KING: In White House shorthand, it is the PEOC, the Presidential Emergency Operations Center.
MARY MATALIN, COUNSELOR TO THE VICE PRESIDENT: I didn't know that it existed until I was actually down there, and I'm not sure I could find my way back there to this day.
KING: A Cold War relic deep underground, and the vice president's base of operations on the first day of a new war.
LEWIS LIBBY, VICE PRESIDENT'S CHIEF OF STAFF: There's only one reason we would be headed for the PEOC on a day when planes were attacking America. And at one point they came in and said there's a plane five miles out. Now, a plane five miles out traveling at 350 to 500 miles per hour doesn't take long to arrive and so that was a wrong bit of information that added to the drama.
KING: That was the plane that slammed the Pentagon. Then, a report of a plane over Pennsylvania headed for Washington. Twice, a military aide asks the vice president for authority to shoot it down.
BOLTEN: The vice president said, yes, again, and the aide then asked a third time. He said, "just confirming, sir, authority to engage." And the vice president, his voice got a little annoyed then, said, "I said yes." KING: It was a rare flash of anger from a man who knew he was setting the tone at a White House in crisis.
CHENEY: I think there was an undertone of anger there, but it's more a matter of determination. You don't want to let your anger overwhelm your judgment at a moment like that.
KING: Word that flight 93 had crashed in Pennsylvania was scrambled to find out if a military jet had shot it down. Aides frantically called the Pentagon.
ERIC EDELMAN, VICE PRESIDENT'S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The vice president was a little bit ahead of us, actually. I think he was a step ahead of us. He said, sort of softly, and to nobody in particular, "I think an act of heroism just took place on that plane."
KING: The vice president and aides watched in horror as the first tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.
CHENEY?: A remarkable moment, a very emotional moment for everybody.
MATALIN: Oddly, everything just stopped. Not for long, but it did stop totally at that moment.
KING: And, the vice president said nothing?
MATALIN: No, but he emoted in a way that he emotes, which was to stop.
KING: Back to business included comparing notes on the tail numbers of planes still unaccounted for.
NORMAN MINETA, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: It was about 12:15, 12:20 when I said to the vice president, "Mr. Vice President, all the planes are down." And he said, "Great, thank you very much."
KING: A recommendation that it was too risky for the vice president to stay at the White House, a possible target.
EDELMAN: They wanted him to depart the White House to one of the alternate locations, undisclosed locations that we subsequently got to know pretty well.
KING: He said, no.
CHENEY: I had communications with the president, communications with the Pentagon, Secret Service and so forth, and we could continue to operate there. And, if I left, I'd lose all of that.
Lynne Cheney was a constant presence, leaning in at one point to tell the vice president their daughters were fine.
CHENEY: It's something you think about, but, again, it's not so much a personal consideration at that point. It may have been for people who didn't have anything to do. KING: It was the bunker's first test in an actual emergency, a day of crisis not without a few hitches. The vice president wanted to track TV reports of the devastation and listen in on communications with the Pentagon.
MATALIN: You can have sound on one or the other and he found that technically imperfect in the 20th century.
KING: A few words with the president just before his address to the nation. The CIA director watched from the bunker, waiting for the president to convene a late-night meeting of the National Security Council.
CHENEY: I guess the thing I was struck by was the extent to which he had begun to grapple with these problems and to make decisions, that we were in a war on terror.
KING: A final word with the president, then a late night helicopter ride past the Pentagon.
LIBBY: I recall watching the vice president, who was staring out the window at the Pentagon and wondering what he may be thinking about the responsibilities that he will have in the future. A pretty sobering moment.
KING: Did he ever say anything about any of that?
LIBBY: Not exactly his style.
KING: It is a memory he says has shaped every day in the long year since.
CHENEY: As we lifted off and headed up the Potomac, you could look out and see the Pentagon, see that black hole where they'd been hit, a lot of lights on the building, smoke rising from the Pentagon. And, you know, it really helped really bring home the impact of what had happened that day, that we had in fact been attacked.
KING: In that conversation I had with the vice president, he said, during his days in the Ford administration, then at the height of the Cold War, and even in his days as defense secretary in the first Bush administration, they had trained for an attack on the Pentagon, but only in the scenario of a nuclear war.
The vice president said that flight that night forever moved him and that he has given recent speeches saying that attack on America has forever changed the rules when it comes to national security -- quite an influential player in this administration.
And this footnote: The vice president, we're told, will stay at the secure, undisclosed location tomorrow as the president is out in public here in New York delivering his major speech to the United Nations -- Aaron.
BROWN: Well, that's the great debate.
We are and history will be grateful for the White House photographers, who chronicle every single movement. And, as you looked at those stills -- and stills can be incredibly powerful -- you see the look on the vice president's face. There's a shot of Mary Matalin there. It's an extraordinary insight to the fact that, ultimately, they are just people who are trying to solve this enormous problem. And so we are grateful for the photographs that help us along.
The president, John, is starting to make his way out to Ellis Island. We're less than an hour, about 45 minutes away from the president's speech. It's not long, but it's important. What do you expect to hear?
KING: It is important.
And I would view this as two chapters. In the president's speech tonight, he will recall the tragic events of a year ago. He will speak of the children now growing up who have never met their fathers, because their fathers died in the attacks that day. He will talk about military personnel deployed overseas suddenly for a war that we cannot say tonight when it might end.
The president will reflect on the pain and suffering of the country. He will also restate his resolve to carry this war on terrorism through to the end. Do not look for the president to be terribly specific in that regard tonight, this a moment, we're told, for the president to reflect on his thoughts on this day and on the tragedy of one year ago.
Chapter two comes tomorrow, when the president is much more specific when he goes to the well of the United Nations General Assembly and he says the world must continue to stay together to fight terrorism. And the president will make the case the world must always -- and there are skeptics here -- must, also, I should say, rally together to confront the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and Iraq -- Aaron.
BROWN: And why -- actually, a two-part question, I guess -- first, why Ellis Island? And why were they so incredibly sensitive about releasing the fact that it was Ellis Island until, I think, it was midday today, maybe even later than that?
KING: Let me take them in reverse order.
Why release it as late as possible? Security concerns are paramount. They do not want anyone who might want to harm this president -- whether it be a domestic terrorist or a terrorist overseas -- to know exactly about his movements.
Now, why Ellis Island? The power of the picture. The president will say in his remarks tonight that, when the terrorist attacked this country, they hoped to demoralize it. They hoped to divide it. They hoped to ruin the spirit of the United States. What the president will say is, instead, something quite different happened. In his view, the spirit was reinvigorated, if you will. And the president wants that powerful backdrop, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and what it says about the United States of America to be the message that the terrorists get if they are watching one year later.
BROWN: John, thank you.
For all of our parents and grandparents in the country and great grandparents who came through Ellis Island, it is an important and powerful place that the president has chosen. The president will speak, as we said, at 9:01, because that's the way things work. They don't happen at just 9:00. And he will speak from Ellis Island. And, as John indicated, it's not a long speech, perhaps eight minutes or so. And they're pretty good about hitting time. I must say, when they say eight minutes, they generally mean it.
"LARRY KING LIVE" follows that. Larry has a good strong lineup of guests to talk not only about the president's speech tonight, but also the events of the last year, including the first lady, New York's junior senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton. And many others will join Larry in a two-hour edition of "LARRY KING LIVE," which, if my math is correct, means there's no "NEWSNIGHT" tonight.
CHUNG: That's right.
BROWN: I think I figured that out, finally. I thought I had one more hour to do, but I guess I don't.
CHUNG: You don't have to work all day and all night.
BROWN: I knew they'd give me a break.
CHUNG: Aaron, you know, I had precisely the exact opposite reaction when I found out that the president's schedule was so public, that we knew he was going to speak at Ellis Island. All I could think of was, why isn't his schedule being kept much more secret, because I don't want anything to happen?
BROWN: Well, none of us want anything to happen.
Usually, a presidential speech, first of all, it's an almost impossible thing to keep quiet where the speech is going to be. And, in truth, most of us have known it for a day or so. But because there's so much that goes into a president's speech -- and I'm trying to remember where in the day we finally reported it. I think it was about 4:00.
And somebody maybe will check in and tell me I'm wrong by an hour or so, but I'm not wrong by much, I don't believe. To release that that late in the day gives you a pretty good sign they were pretty nervous about taking the president across -- I was just looking. That building over there is all decked out in red, white and blue. So is the Empire State Building. And we'll get a shot of that as we go, but it caught my eye. I think they want you to work here.
CHUNG: All right.
And, as you watched the president today, a frequent sight was the first lady at his side. She was dabbing her face from time to time with a handkerchief or a kleenex. It was understandable at each location that they visited.
On September 11, 2001, she was a much less public, less visible first lady. And on that day, she was also not with her husband in Florida, but she was in Washington. Mrs. Bush was about to make a notable public appearance, but one that was nothing at all like the one that she had planned for.
And here's CNN's Kelly Wallace.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was to be a special day for the first lady: her first appearance before a congressional committee talking about her passion: early childhood education.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: There was a lot of anticipation about her presence,a lot of the excitement.
LARRY MCQUILLAN, "USA TODAY": She was going to be I think only the fourth first lady in history to testify.
NOELIA RODRIGUEZ, PRESS SECRETARY FOR LAURA BUSH: We expected it to be a big news day for us.
WALLACE: But just before Mrs. Bush leaves the White House, a Secret Service agent tells her a plane has struck the World Trade Center.
LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: We thought it was an accident at first. But as we approached Capitol Hill, the Secret Service said that another plane had hit the second tower. We knew then that it was terrorism. And I remember thinking that nothing would ever be the same.
WALLACE: Senator Kennedy worries about the first lady and goes to greet her, only to find her in the hallway walking towards him.
KENNEDY: I'll always remember the sort of elegance and the strength and the perseverance which she reflected as she walked down the corridor.
WALLACE: Mrs. Bush heads into Senator Kennedy's office, joining Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the top Republican on the Education Committee and a close family friend.
SEN. JUDD GREGG (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: I think Senator Kennedy was trying to distract everybody, keep us thinking about other things, maybe. But we were talking about some other items, actually. And she was amazingly calm.
WALLACE: Later, the first lady would recall what it was like to be with a Kennedy at a time of national crisis.
L. BUSH: Words can't describe the depth of feeling that I had, being with President Kennedy's brother as our nation's heart was broken with another tragedy.
WALLACE: Then, moments after President Bush speaks out in Florida...
G. BUSH: Today, we've had a national tragedy.
WALLACE: ... the normally shy first lady, joined by Senators Kennedy and Gregg, faces the cameras.
"USA Today's" Larry McQuillan, one of the reporters covering Mrs. Bush that day:
MCQUILLAN: I couldn't help but notice that Mrs. Bush was really struggling to hold herself together. And Senator Kennedy then looked at her and asked if she wanted to say anything. And it was really kind of amazing. She sort of took a little breath and then spoke very calmly.
L. BUSH: Our hearts and our prayers go out to the victims of this act of terrorism and that our support goes to the rescue workers. And all of our prayers are with everyone there right now.
KENNEDY: It was enormously impressive. No one handed her talking points. It just came from her heart.
WALLACE: McQuillan then asks this question:
MCQUILLAN: Children are kind of struck by all this. Is there a message you could tell to the nation's...
L. BUSH: Well, parents need to reassure their children everywhere in our country that they're safe.
RODRIGUEZ: It was the first time, as everybody's thinking about what's going on, and the panic and safety and security and what's next, she was able to just focus her attention on what parents should say to their children.
WALLACE: Moments later, the Pentagon is attacked. A chaotic Capitol Hill evacuation begins. The first lady is hustled into Senator Gregg's office. There, Senator Kennedy recalls, she talks by phone with her daughters and her husband.
KENNEDY: She was focused on her family at that time.
WALLACE: Mrs. Bush then is whisked away to an undisclosed location. Later, like so many other Americans, she watches events unfold on television and reaches out to her mom for support. RODRIGUEZ: She likes to tell the story about it. She called her mother to reassure her that everything was all right, but, in reality, she was really looking for reassurance from her mom.
WALLACE: Later that day, the first lady arrives back at the White House. When her husband returns, she joins him and the vice president in the secure bunker deep beneath the White House. Days after, she would say she was not afraid.
L. BUSH: I was not frightened for myself. I was, like every American, concerned about everyone who was in the World Trade Center and also so unbelievably saddened that something like this would happen in our country.
WALLACE: And she would become a different first lady: steady and calming for her husband and the country, but, like every other citizen, forever changed.
L. BUSH: I felt like we were just going through the motions, pretending to be normal, when we all knew that normal would never be again what we knew it to be on September 10.
WALLACE: Kelly Wallace, CNN, the White House.
CHUNG: Laura Bush was so right. I don't think there's a person out there who isn't a parent who thought about his or her children.
This is President Bush's motorcade heading to a ferry, which he will take to Ellis Island before he speaks to the nation.
BROWN: Excuse me.
It's a short ride. It's not a long ride at all. But I guarantee you that they have cleared the harbor, and that the Coast Guard is out there, and that the Secret Service is out there. And when he gets on that ferry boat, there's not going to be another boat within sight in New York Harbor.
That would be true in almost any circumstance. This is, after all, the president of the United States -- as you see the Secret Service detail go through its drill. But this is a particularly sensitive moment at a particularly sensitive time. And so they're going to be extra careful.
As you see the president come out, we presume the speech in that little black notebook in hand. His speeches are carefully drawn by speechwriters. And then they go to the president and he makes his edits. And they go back to the speechwriter and back to the president. And policy people weigh in. And everybody wants to make sure the tone is right. But, in the end, the president signs off on it because he's the one that has to read the words.
And so he's getting on -- I can't quite see the name, the John D. Keen, it looks like -- McKean (ph). I apologize.
CHUNG: McKean, yes.
BROWN: Sometimes those banners are helpful and sometimes they're not.
CHUNG: It is remarkable that the president has been out in public all day. And I'm not talking about his weariness. I'm talking about the fact that he was out there in public, because the president of the United States at a time like this cannot appear to be in fear or cowering. And, in fact, it's the vice president who is, if you will, in hiding for his protection.
BROWN: Well, I don't know. I'm not sure hiding, but he's safely away. I think they would have some discomfort with that.
We remember pretty well, actually, there was quite a fuss about the president not immediately getting back to Washington, immediately getting back to the White House. And in John's piece a few minutes ago, John King's piece, we heard his national security adviser, Dr. Rice, saying the president said, "I'm going back to the White House" and that was the end of that. It is important for any political leader, but certainly the president to lead, if you will.
There's Karen Hughes in the background there, Ms. Hughes a longtime aide to the president.
It's important to say that we are safe. And you can't tell your country men and women to go about their business if you don't.
BROWN: And I suspect that is part of what they're doing here.
CHUNG: Absolutely. That is the reason, and that's the obvious reason.
But each member of this administration made very different decisions. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, as you heard, did not -- oh, actually, you didn't hear this piece. He had not evacuated the Pentagon, instead decided to stay, and even went to the site where the Pentagon was damaged. He even helped carry out the stretcher.
BROWN: Yes, it's a wonderful picture of...
CHUNG: An extraordinary picture.
BROWN: Yes, of Secretary Rumsfeld, who I think is 70 now, helping in the rescue operation.
This, by the way -- and this is symbolic in its own way -- is a fireboat, a New York City Fire Department fireboat. We see them on the river from time to time with these giant plumes of water. And they are quite beautiful. They're also quite old. They're also quite old. But the president, with a fire department official next to him, Karen Hughes in back of him, and other aides around him, will make his way out to Ellis Island in New York Harbor, where he will speak to the country and indeed the world in about 34 minutes from now.
CHUNG: Many of the president's advisers said that they saw a completely different President Bush on that day a year ago. They saw a man whose sense of humor, which is normally prominent, had disappeared. They saw a man who was determined, a man who was serious, a man who emerged who rose to the occasion.
And I think that what we saw was a man who was treated differently. It was a new President Bush. He was treated differently by the press, by the country, and by the world -- President Bush now, in a moment, taking off to Ellis Island. In many ways, I think President Bush had started off his administration with the country not really knowing what sort of person he was. And this completely turned his administration around, in many ways.
There is little movement there, so I think we will move on and come back to the president when his ferry departs.
While the attacks on America may have brought the nation together in ways that may have been hard to imagine before, unity in America does not mean universal agreement. I'm sure, as you well agree, equally patriotic people can disagree passionately about the best course for this country. And they do a lot.
No one knows that better than the man the president puts forward to get his message to the American people just about every day. And that is spokesman Ari Fleischer, who spoke with another veteran of that most American of sports, political debate, "CROSSFIRE" co-host Tucker Carlson, about serving at the president's side on September 11 and the way the parties gradually took sides in the months after.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Thanks, Connie.
I spoke to Ari Fleischer at the White House the other day. I asked him about his experiences on September 11. I asked him about how Washington has changed in the aftermath of that.
Here's what he said.
CARLSON: Ari Fleischer, thank you. Thank you very much.
Now, you were with the president when he learned about the terrorist attacks. What's the first thing that went through your mind?
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, of course, when the first plane hit, everybody thought -- including the president -- that it was some kind of a terrible accident. And then, as soon as the second plane hit, something in your gut just told you, "This is terrorism." And none of us are trained in terrorism, per se. But just something tells you, "This is terrorism."
CARLSON: Were you afraid?
FLEISCHER: No, never afraid.
There was just a weird feeling about the entire day. And it's surreal looking back a year ago. You're not afraid because you're probably in a space that is an obvious target, being with the president, but it's also the safest place in the world to be.
CARLSON: So, throughout all of this, you were not afraid? I think even the reporters traveling were panicked.
FLEISCHER: No. No, it just -- you have fantastic faith in the Secret Service, No. 1, but in the Air Force. Air Force One has certain abilities that would likely keep us safe in any scenario.
I was not afraid. But it's just a hard thing to think back. But it was a day to keep focused and to do the mission at hand, which was to help support the president, to help get the press accurate information about what the president was doing. And my job that day was really just to write down everything the president said verbatim. And I kept just detailed notes of everything the president did and said on that day.
CARLSON: Do you have them?
FLEISCHER: I do.
CARLSON: What are you going to do with them?
FLEISCHER: Well, I suppose at some point -- they're government property, so they'll end up in a government archive somewhere. But it's lengthy, 8 1/2-by-14 legal paper. I just jotted down everything the president did and said as the day went along.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The resolve of our great nation is being tested. But make no mistake. We will show the world that we will pass this test.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: When you got back, partisanship had completely evaporated in Washington.
FLEISCHER: That's right.
CARLSON: Were you struck by that?
FLEISCHER: There was a remarkable meeting on September 12 in the Cabinet Room, where all the congressional leaders were here. And to a person, they spoke as one nation, not as two parties.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: We literally and figuratively stand shoulder to shoulder in our appreciation of the job ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Was there any one figure in the Democratic Party, a particularly harsh critic of Bush, who you were surprised to see strike a bipartisan tone?
FLEISCHER: Well, not at that time. I think, on September 12, it would have been surprising if anybody did not.
I'll just say, Congressman Gephardt really stood out among the crowd as somebody who really put the nation first and just looked the president in the eye and said that we are one people. And he was inspiring.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: I think we are unified. I think we have resolve. And I think we are committed to be patient, to work with this president and this administration to see this thing through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Can you pinpoint a day or a time that it faded?
FLEISCHER: It faded slowly and after many months. I think it started to fade as the war went well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Patriotism does not mean keeping quiet. It means speaking up. It means speaking out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLEISCHER: The whole incident with accusations against the White House with Enron, I think that's kind of what started it toward the early part of the year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: In the aftermath of the Enron scandal and collapse, I think people are going to start to ask: What are they hiding?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now, who do you think specifically broke the political cease-fire? Who fired the first partisan shot? FLEISCHER: I suppose both parties will look at each other and say each other did it. The president is not interested in getting into that kind of debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But Tom Daschle, unfortunately, has decided, I think, in this case to be more of an obstructionist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DASCHLE: Well, they can call me anything they want to, as long as, at the end of the day, they have to call me majority leader.
CARLSON: Were you getting a little bored with all the niceness?
FLEISCHER: No, it's just -- everything last fall, from September 11 until the beginning of the year, it was so different. I've been in the town 20 years. I've seen a few partisan battles. I've just never seen such a coming-together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONGRESS (singing): And guide her through the night with the light from above.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Do you think, if the United States goes to war against Iraq, that sort of bipartisanship will return?
FLEISCHER: Well, yes, I think that, first of all, the president is still considering all the variety of options that he has. But I think there's no question about it. Even those who might ultimately vote no on an authorization of force, if it comes to be, as soon as it came to be, our troops were involved in any type of battle, there's no question that I think everybody would support the military and support the commander in chief.
CARLSON: Now, last week, members of Congress went to New York and again "God Bless America," just as they did on the day of the attacks. Did you notice a difference between it? Did it seem less authentic this time around?
FLEISCHER: No. I think that our nation has been through a lot since September 11, 2001. Last fall, we went through some of the heaviest, most emotional, most traumatic times Americans can go through. And we came out as a unified nation. And, in the passage of time, a year later, I don't think it's to be expected that everybody is going to have the same spirit that they had on September 12 last year.
CARLSON: Connie, you'll remember that, on September 12 last year, the president, Mayor Giuliani and others urged Americans to return to their lives as soon as possible. And in Washington, both parties took that message to heart. It's not the same city it was a year ago, but it's pretty close to the same place it was September on 10, 2001. It's loud. It's contentious. It's relentlessly partisan. And that actually may not be a bad thing.
CHUNG: Tucker, I have to tell you, in covering the Hill, I wasn't surprised that the partisanship disappeared a year ago. But when Ari Fleischer said the partisanship would not exist if the United States went to war, I wasn't so sure about that. What do you think?
CARLSON: Well, I think it's true that, any time the country goes to war, partisan differences are muted. I think Democrats would rather that happened after the midterm elections this year, for obvious reason. No shame there.
It sort of freezes the political situation in amber. Of course, when war breaks out, it's hard to criticize the leader of the armed forces. That would be the president. So it has political ramifications, of course, if we do go to war.
CHUNG: All right, thank you, Tucker Carlson -- Aaron.
CARLSON: Thank you.
BROWN: Thank you, Tucker. Nicely done.
We are about 35 minutes away -- I'm sorry. That shows how good I am at reading a clock at the 14-hour mark of my day. We're about 25 minutes from the president's speech to the country on this first anniversary of the great tragedy, the great attack, the terrorist attack on America.
We'll take a short break here.
Across the city of New York, there are events, but they are all leading up to the president's speech. That's a New York City Fire Department fireboat making its way across the harbor; on board, a ton of Secret Service, a bunch of aides and the president of the United States, who is heading out to Ellis Island, which is not a long way away.
It is, under almost any circumstance, a most beautiful ride. However, across Manhattan, to your back, as you then look north from the direction the boat is headed: flames, candles lit.
CNN's coverage of 9/11, AMERICA REMEMBERS, continues after a very short break.
BROWN: Red, white and blue everywhere in New York City.
CHUNG: And a beautiful night.
I want you to watch our next story. It's about two women who became close friends because they have so much in common. But before 9/11, they probably never would have met.
I'll start with Stacy. When you look at her, she's small. But after talking with her, you'll see what I saw: a life force larger than you can imagine.
STACY STAUB: He was the most amazing person I've ever met in my entire life. And he was hilarious. He was so funny all of the time.
CHUNG (voice-over): You didn't know Craig Staub, but his wife, Stacy, knew him inside and out. And, boy, did she love him.
S. STAUB: I respected him so much. He was my best, best friend. And that's why we were so good together.
CHUNG (on camera): That sounds like quite a love affair.
S. STAUB: He was perfect. I used to say, "You're as perfect as perfect can get, Craig."
CHUNG (voice-over): Their relationship hardly started out that way. In fact, when they first met, Stacy wasn't even nice to him.
S. STAUB: But I finally let my guard down and realized, this is a nice guy. I could just chat with him. After about an hour, that was it, every day ever since.
CHUNG (on camera): How long did you wait before you got married?
S. STAUB: Oh, he made me wait a very long time. I was ready to get married immediately.
S. STAUB: Within the first year, I was ready to get married. But when he asked me, it was great. It was wonderful.
And he had brought a dozen roses to the restaurant in advance. And he had each waiter come up to me, one at a time, and give me a rose and say, "Congratulations," until the vase was full. I loved him so much. I used to tell him he was my everything. And that was what was on his ring: "You are my everything."
CHUNG (voice-over): Six months after their wedding, Stacy got pregnant. It was just too perfect to be true.
S. STAUB: When I used to lay in bed at night, it was always a fear of mine that Craig would die.
CHUNG (on camera): No?
S. STAUB: Yes, it was, actually. People have thought that that was very strange. But it was too good. My life was too good. And I knew something was going to happen, because it couldn't stay that good. CHUNG (voice-over): But no one could have imagined what was going to happen that September morning.
S. STAUB: And I walked him to the front door, because he was stressed and he had been have something bad days. And he was hoping today would be better. Honest to God, he went to sleep that night hoping that the next day would be better. And so I wanted to give him that extra hug and kiss. And he walked down the driveway to the car. And I screamed, "I love you." And then he closed the car door.
CHUNG: Craig arrived at his office on the 89th floor of the south tower, where he was senior vice president of an investment firm. At 8:30 a.m., Craig's weekly interview was on WebFN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG STAUB: Particularly on the growth fund companies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHUNG: Meanwhile, a very pregnant Stacy had gone back to sleep, finally getting up a little before 9:00.
S. STAUB: And my doorbell rang. "Who on Earth is at my house this early in the morning?" I opened the door and two of my neighbors were there. And they looked weird.
And they wanted me to call Craig at work and just make sure he picked up the phone and he was OK. And I looked at them. And I was like, "OK." So, I went to my kitchen and I picked up the phone and called him at work. And the line was busy. And, as I was doing that, one of my neighbors was putting the television on. And it was at that point that I noticed there was a message on my answering machine.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
C. STAUB: Stacy, this is Craig. Are you there? Stacy?
OK, listen, you'll be hearing news reports. A plane crashed into the other tower of the World Trade Center, actually right near us. We can see it clearly. It's right on our level, too. I'm OK. Everyone here is OK. It's kind of pandemonium, though, just because we don't know what the heck happened there. So give me a call when you get this, OK? Bye.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
S. STAUB: He didn't have enough time to get out. He didn't have enough time. My heart knew, when those buildings collapsed, that he wasn't coming home. So, when I think about his last moments, it tortures me, because I know he must have thought, "How will she handle this?"
CHUNG: With a broken heart, Stacy somehow persevered.
Eleven days after 9/11, you went into labor. S. STAUB: I had Craig's picture everywhere. No matter where I looked in that room, his picture was there. There was no period of time during the birth where I was ecstatic, because, at the same time that you're incredibly excited, you're realizing, "But Craig's not here."
CHUNG (voice-over): Juliette Craig Staub, 6 pounds, 14 ounces, was born on her dad's birthday, September 22. Craig would have been 31.
S. STAUB: We didn't want to share his day, but that was my due date. And as much as he was complaining, it's nice that way. It's nice that way. It's always going to be, "Happy birthday, Juliette Craig and daddy."
Juliette, what are you doing down there?
CHUNG: That wasn't all they shared. Look at a baby picture of Craig and a baby picture of Juliette. Uncanny.
S. STAUB: It's really very scary. And it's funny, because this is, like, his last laugh. And he's the only man I know that, when his wife was pregnant, was like, "I hope the baby looks just like me."
And I was like, "Aren't you supposed to want the baby to look just like your beautiful wife?"
CHUNG: Stacy treads a fine line between laughing and crying. But she's found support from a complete stranger, Andrea Russin. Andrea's husband, Steve, also worked at the World Trade Center and died September 11, leaving behind a very pregnant Andrea and a 2-year- old son, Alec.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE RUSSIN, WORLD TRADE CENTER VICTIM: Look on the TV, Alec. Daddy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHUNG: On September 15, their twins were born: Olivia, who looks just like daddy, and Ariella, who acts just like him.
ANDREA RUSSIN: And my entire life changed at that time. Nothing was the same. Everything else is completely different.
CHUNG: Stacy and Andrea meet every Wednesday night for comfort, support, friendship. Sure, there are other single mothers out there, but what these women share is a unique bond.
A. RUSSIN: What's different about our friendship is that, with most new mother groups, they're very happy. We -- that was taken away from us. S. STAUB: When I have gotten together with other mothers with babies my daughter's age, there's a disconnect. There's a huge disconnect, because the things that they talk about and the things that are important in their lives right now are wildly different than mine.
A. RUSSIN: We're trying to figure out how our children are going to go to college, how our children are going to go to the nursery school, what we need to make it through tomorrow, let alone 18 years from now. So we're dealing with everything all at once.
CHUNG (on camera): By yourselves.
A. RUSSIN: By ourselves.
S. STAUB: By ourselves.
A. RUSSIN (singing): Take me out to the...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ball game.
A. RUSSIN: Crowd.
CHUNG (voice-over): For Andrea, a stoic determination keeps Steve alive for their children.
A. RUSSIN: Come here, cutie.
CHUNG: For Stacy, pictures aren't enough. She even keeps Craig's clothes and shoes where they were, all so Juliette knows the daddy she never had the chance to touch.
JULIETTE RUSSIN: Dada, Dada, Dada.
CHUNG: Andrea Russin also told us that she had been worried about her unborn twins early on the morning of September 11, but decided not to go to the hospital because it would have forced Steve to miss work that day. Instead, she let him sleep -- Aaron.
BROWN: Well, it is a terrible thing for someone who does for a living what I do for a living to say this. But as I watch this, I got angrier and angrier at the people who did this, what they did to these people, what they did to literally thousands of spouses and children and brothers and sisters.
CHUNG: You know, Aaron, I think it is. It's the children that hurt the most.
BROWN: It's all of it to me.
This is an American moment, in many ways, of course. And what better symbol of an American moment is that, the Statue of Liberty, this gift from France so long ago? But the fact that this country was vulnerable to terrorists in the way that it turned out that it was made this an event that the world paid attention to.
And so today, a year later, the world paid attention to the anniversary of this tragedy. And so we'll show you briefly here how, one year later, September 11 was reported around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome back to the "ITV Evening News" on a day dominated by events to commemorate those who died in the terrorist attacks on America.
Here in Britain, the focus for tributes was a service of remembrance at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. It began with relatives and friends of the British victims, members of the royal family and leading politicians singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Later, 3,000 white rose petals were released from under the cathedral's dome in memory of those killed in the Twin Towers.
Tom Bradby reports.
TOM BRADBY, ITV WALLACE: In the aftermath of the attacks a year ago, many people came to St. Paul's to sit alone and contemplate the enormity of what had happened.
Today, Prince Charles and Prince Harry joined the prime minister and many others here in a service of remembrance. It was designed to reflect the deep bond between the two countries, beginning with the American national anthem, a tattered Union flag pulled from the World Trade Center draped over the altar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): An eerie sadness covered the first celebration of the 9/11 events at the Pentagon; 14,000 people attended this first anniversary to honor the death of 195 Americans. Most of them worked in one of the Pentagon sections.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Remembering the fallen ones at the Pentagon was felt with mixed feelings of sadness, anger, bitterness and the victory of an injured pride.
This is the center of the American force and decision-making. Here, more than 100 people, stunned and weakened by the attack, died during a long and unusual day in the history of America. Breaking down in tears don't necessarily walk hand in hand with the message that the American administration wanted to send out on this occasion.
But this gathering was to honor the fallen ones, as well as to announce that the United States, the superpower, will not stop hunting those that America describes as terrorists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): On this occasion, many American embassies and consulates were closed around the world for fear of possible attacks. All this comes as Washington keeps spreading its lies and threats against Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): While many American officials are spreading their lies and threats against Iraq, this vicious administration hurried to hide Dick Cheney, the U.S. vice president, in a secret location for safety reasons, it said.
The barricades of fear and anxiety that the Americans became prisoners to expanded overseas and led to the closure of many American embassies and consulates around the world against possible attack similar to those that destroyed the symbol of its globalization and military superiority in New York and Washington. The feeling of fear and trepidation from the imaginary threats controlling American officials in exaggerated manners is making it impossible to believe a scared country like the United States threatens a country like Iraq.
These threats have strengthened the Iraqi people's faith and spirit to fight any American Zionist attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Well, it's hard to call the Iraqi newscast a newscast. That part we got.
But did you hear, in the Al-Jazeera newscast, as the Americans "describe as terrorists"? So, Al-Jazeera wasn't quite prepared to say that the people who killed 3,000 innocent people, who smashed airplanes into three places, and another one crashed, wasn't quite prepared to describe them as terrorists today.
That's how the event was reported in a couple of places around the world, three or four.
The events of the 11th of September have inspired countless works of art -- I can't get over the Iraqi television -- my goodness -- the pictures, the plays, the songs. One of the earliest songs was a song called "Freedom" by former Beatle Paul McCartney. He first performed it not very far from here, over at Madison Square Garden, last October.
And just a short while ago, he talked about this anniversary with CNN's Charles Feldman.
CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A year ago September 11, you're sitting in an airplane, as I understand it, Kennedy Airport. You're about to go, I think it's to Russia or somewhere overseas. What happened then?
PAUL MCCARTNEY, SINGER/SONGWRITER: We were about to, actually, go back to England. And we're going to plan a tour or a gig in Russia. And the pilot on the airplane said: "There's been a terrible accident in New York and they're going to close the airport. And those of you sitting on the right-hand side of the airplane will be able to see."
So we looked out. We could see a huge column of smoke going away to the left. And I thought, "Wow, that looks like the World Trade towers." Then about 15 minutes later, the terrible news broke that another one had gone into the other one. Actually, Heather -- my wife now, my fiance then -- had said, "It looks like the other building is on fire."
And I, a bit patronizingly, said, "No, no, it looks like that, but they're not really close."
FELDMAN: When did that click in your head, that this wasn't an accident, but was deliberate?
MCCARTNEY: Well, the word got around the airplane. I think the pilot, the stewards, they'd been listening to radio or something. And the word got around. So that was very chilling for everyone.
FELDMAN: And they stopped, of course, all airplane flights. So you couldn't go where you were going to go.
MCCARTNEY: We couldn't get out, no. But as we stayed in America for the ensuing days, we started to think -- realize the enormity of it and think: "Well, there's no point in going to Russia. If we're going to do a show, this is where we're going to do it."
As all the heroism came out of the firemen, it made me remember that my dad had been a fireman in World War II. So the whole -- I got very involved in the whole thing, as did Heather. And then I started writing the song, "Freedom," which I thought: "You know, if I'm going to do a concert, I don't just want to do my old stuff. It feels like I've got to say something new."
(singing): This is my right, a right given by God, to live a free life, to live in freedom.
I was basically angry, like a lot of people, just that such a criminal act could happen so quickly and throw so many people into confusion, that the line came to me, the opening line: "This is my right," this idea of living in freedom.
(singing): I'm talkin' 'bout freedom. I'm talkin' 'bout freedom, because I will fight for the right to live in freedom
And I just thought, OK, I should write something simple that the people in the audience, who I know are going to be angry -- they're going to feel like me -- that they could sing the first time they've heard it. That's why the chorus is just, "Freedom," very, very simple.
(singing): When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. FELDMAN (voice-over): For McCartney, the benefit concert at Madison Square Garden was the beginning of a very important process.
MCCARTNEY: It was a healing process for us, too, remember, as well as the people. The greatest thing for me was the show itself, seeing the emotion, really thinking, "We've done something here," hearing people say, "I was scared to fly, but I got a couple of tickets for your show and I got on a plane," that kind of -- little things like that.
FELDMAN (on camera): There are two bookends, if you will, in American history that you're now very much a part of. The Beatles toured the U.S. shortly after the Kennedy assassination, right? It was a year or so after.
FELDMAN: And, to some degree, I think helped in that healing process. Decades later, after another very traumatic experience for this country, what do you make of that, as an artist, as a person?
MCCARTNEY: I agree. After John Kennedy got assassinated, we felt that. That reverberated right around the world. It wasn't just America. And this is another one like that, where anyone who's interested in freedom, democracy, felt that.
FELDMAN: "Freedom" is a song from his heart. And he allowed us to listen in to a rehearsal of it.
MCCARTNEY (singing): I will fight for the right to live in freedom. Everybody talkin' 'bout freedom. We're talkin' 'bout freedom. We will fight for the right to live in freedom. We're talkin' 'bout freedom, we're talkin' 'bout freedom, because we will fight for the right to live in freedom. Come on, everybody, talkin' 'bout freedom. We're talkin' 'bout freedom. We will fight for the right to live in freedom.
CHUNG: Paul McCartney.
And that ends our portion of AMERICA REMEMBERS. In just a few moments, President Bush will be speaking. I'm Connie Chung.
Good night, Aaron Brown.
BROWN: Good night, Ms. Chung.
We are grateful to you for all the time you've spent with us today. It's an important day. And in days like this, it's a privilege to do the work. And we're glad that you spent some time with us.
We'll see you tomorrow on "NEWSNIGHT" at 10:00 Eastern time.
"LARRY KING LIVE" and the president of the United States is next. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
of Eternal Flame>