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ON THE STORY
Special Coverage of 9/11 Remembrance, Political Fallout
Aired September 11, 2004 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RUDY GIULIANI, FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: President Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to a widow who had lost five sons in the Civil War.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching special coverage of this morning, the 11th of September, marking the third anniversary of an especially tragic morning in U.S. history.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And more special coverage continues next with ON THE STORY.
MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN URBAN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to CNN's ON THE STORY, and our special look back at the 9/11 terror attacks three years ago this morning. I'm Maria Hinojosa, ON THE STORY of how New Yorkers look back at 9/11 and the struggle to break free of grief and fear.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Elizabeth Cohen, ON THE STORY of the health impact on firefighters and others who worked for so long at Ground Zero.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Suzanne Malveaux, on the political fallout of 9/11 and the role it plays in the presidential campaign.
ROSE ARCE, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: I'm Rose Arce, ON THE STORY of what I saw at Ground Zero three years ago and what happened just in the past year.
OCTAVIA NASR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Octavia Nasr in Atlanta, ON THE STORY of how 9/11 was covered in the Arab world three years ago and today.
KATHLEEN HAYS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Kathleen Hays, ON THE STORY of the U.S. economy and the lingering impact of 9/11. We'll be talking about all these stories this morning. So e-mail us your comments, your questions, to email@example.com.
Now straight to Maria and looking back at 9/11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, for as long as our country stands, people will look to the resurrection of New York City, and they will say, "Here buildings fell, here a nation rose." (APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HINOJOSA: President Bush at the Republican National Convention 10 days ago, one of the many references to September 11. What a difficult time it is, for all of us. Really hard.
HINOJOSA: At that moment of silence it really makes you catch your breath.
Go ahead, Elizabeth -- Elizabeth.
COHEN: Maria, some people who have bee -- went through this experience on 9/11 who lost loved ones have turned to political activism as a way to help deal with what happened then. You know many of those people.
HINOJOSA: You know, it's interesting, Elizabeth, because one of the things that I have done in the past week is actually get in touch with a lot of these folks who I have covered throughout an entire year. And one of them was somebody who was very much an activist.
This is what she did, Rita Lazar (ph), right after her brother was killed. He was the one who stayed behind with his quadriplegic co-worker. She became very active in the anti-war movement, and seemed to be very, very strong.
And when I spoke to her, she said, "You know, it's finally hitting me. Three years later, now is when it's finally hitting me." And now she's beginning to feel a little bit week, but it changes person to person. It's just -- you know, three years later, you have a sense to look back and say, "Not who's moving forward or who's moving backward, but where are they in this process?"
HAYS: Where are you in this process, Maria? You spent a lot of your life, a very intense part of your life working on this story.
HINOJOSA: I think I'm definitely much better. I mean, everything is a marker. I mean, I was on a plane this morning. So, for me, being on a plane is extraordinary, just because, oh, my god, I never thought I would be on a plane on September 11.
It's not that I've flown a lot. But, you know, I look at my kids, for example. I left a lot of this out of my house. And my eight-and-a-half-year-old boy still thinks that it was an accident.
And I'm kind of like, "Well, is that right? Is that wrong?" You know, it just is. And when it's his time to kind of deal with it, we'll talk about it.
But I think three years down the line, I'm definitely much better. I mean, I think the two-year marker was much more difficult to me, and a place to say, wow, it's been two years, it's time to just -- not move on, but learn how to deal a little bit better with grief and mourning and fear.
ARCE: Do you try not to think about it? I try not to think about it, I have to say.
I feel like, for me, this anniversary, even though I knew it was coming because we work in this business, and so we're always in touch with the news and everything, it really wasn't until Tuesday when, just not far from my house I saw the two blue beams of light, reminding us that this had happened three years ago, that I thought, "This is coming again." But before then, I really tried not to think about it, because I just felt like there's got to be a moment when this happened then and I'm in the now.
And I'm looking at what's happening now. And unfortunately, there have been so many horrible things that have happened since September 11. There's not a lack of other things to sort of worry about and stress out about.
HINOJOSA: You know, one of the things that I've done since September 11 kind of religiously, to help my own self in terms of healing, is I run. I run.
I'm a real addict for running. And every time I run, I'm always thinking about September -- it always will pop into my mind, because I was running when it happened.
So I think a day does not go by when I don't think about it, because I have photographs of the family members in my office. I mean, you see that, Rose. You're there all the time.
But I think that it is important for us to say -- I mean, the strength that I gained from the family members is to see that, you know, what are you going to do? You're either going to die of sadness or fear, or you're going to force one foot in front of the other and just take those steps to move forward.
So I gained strength from them. And -- you know, but there's no simple answer. There's just no simple answer.
HAY: Do you think it's...
MALVEAUX: And Maria -- I'm sorry to interrupt, Maria. But we expect that the president is actually going to be speaking soon from the Oval Office. He is going to be his weekly radio address.
But this is a unique situation, because it's live with the president. There are going to be family members of the victims of 9/11, firefighters as well, first responders. The president will thank those who are involved in the war on terror, and he will also, of course, pay his condolences to those who lost their lives.
BUSH: Good morning. This is a day of remembrance for our country. And I'm honored to be joined at the White House today by Americans who lost so much in the terrible events of September the 11th, 2001, and have felt that loss every day since.
Three years ago, the struggle of good against evil was compressed into a single morning. In the space of only 102 minutes, our country lost more citizens than were lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Time has passed. But the memories do not fade.
We remember the images of fire and the final calls of love, and the courage of rescuers who saw death and did not flee. We remember the cruelty of enemies who murdered the innocent and rejoiced in our suffering. We remember the many good lives that ended too soon, which no one had the right to take.
And our nation remembers the families left behind to carry a burden of sorrow. They have shown courage of their own. And with the help of god's grace, and with support from one another, the families of terror victims have shown a strength that survives all hurt. Each of them remains in the thoughts and prayers of the American people.
The terrorist attacks on September the 11th were a turning point for our nation. We saw the goals of a determined enemy to expand the scale of their murder and force America to retreat from the world. And our nation accepted a mission. We will defeat this enemy.
The United States of America is determined to guard our homeland against future attacks. As the September 11th Commission concluded, our country is safer than we were three years ago, but we are not yet safe. So every day, many thousands of dedicated men and women are on duty as air marshals, airport screeners, cargo inspectors, border patrol officers and first responders. At the same time, Americans serving in the FBI and CIA are performing their daily work with professionalism, while we reform those agencies to see the dangers around the next corner.
Our country is grateful to all our fellow citizens who watched for the enemy and answered the alarms and guard America by their vigilance. The United States is determined to stay on the offensive and to pursue the terrorists wherever they train or sleep or attempt to set down roots.
We have conducted this campaign from the mountains of Afghanistan, to the heart of the Middle East, to the Horn of Africa, to the islands of the Philippines, to hidden cells within our own country. More than three-quarters of al Qaeda's key members and associates have been detained or killed. We know that there is still a danger to America. So we will not relent until the terrorists who plot murder against our people are found and dealt with.
The United States is also determined to advance democracy in the broader Middle East, because freedom will bring the peace and security we all want. When the peoples of that region are given new hope and lives of dignity, they will let go of old hatreds and resentments, and the terrorists will find fewer recruits. And as governments of that region join in the fight against terror, instead of harboring terrorists, America and the world will be more secure. Our present work in Iraq and Afghanistan is difficult. It is also historic and essential. By our commitment and sacrifice today, we will help transform the Middle East and increase the safety of our children and grandchildren.
Since September the 11th, the sacrifices in the war on terror have fallen most heavily on members of our military and their families. Our nation is grateful to the brave men and women who are taking risks on our behalf at this hour. And America will never forget the ones who have fallen, men and women last seen doing their duty, who's names we will honor forever.
The war on terror goes on. The resolve of our nation is still being tested. And in the face of danger, we are showing our character. Three years after the attack on our country, Americans remain strong and resolute, patient in a just cause, and confident of the victory to come.
Thank you for listening.
MALVEAUX: President Bush's message to American people on the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Now, CNN will air Senator John Kerry's Democratic response in the next hour.
We're ON THE STORY after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We know that September the 11th requires our country to think differently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every administration official from September 11 has said to us, again and again, "It's not a question of if, it is a question of when."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: President Bush and Senator John Kerry both explaining how September 11 changed them. And both, of course, competing claims on the significance of September 11, as well as the war on terror. Both of those issue, really, at the heart of the presidential campaign.
NASR: Suzanne, the address by the president quoting the 9/11 Commission report, saying that "We are safer than three years ago, but not safe," what do you hear from the White House about perhaps a second term presidency of Mr. Bush? Does that mean more attacks, more wars, especially in the Middle East, since he mentioned the Middle East, and reforming the Middle East? MALVEAUX: Well, there's certainly no indication that there's going to be more attacks or more wars. But what the president does say over and over and over again here is that he is going to continue to be on the offensive, that really September 11 changed the policy of the United States.
It is really a preemptive policy now. That did not exist before. And 9/11 really defined his presidency at that moment. It gave him a mission. And it certainly has allowed the Bush administration to treat these countries in a much different way.
They look at countries like North Korea, they look at countries like Iran. Many people are speculating because of their weapons. But they say, look, we are on a different path with those particular countries. But it is a preemptive policy when it comes to striking other countries, if they are considered a threat to the United States.
COHEN: Suzanne, the images from 9/11, such as the images we've been seeing all morning, are so powerful. How has each candidate used those images in his campaign?
MALVEAUX: Elizabeth, that's a really good question, because you might remember, in the beginning of the campaign, the Bush campaign, there was a lot of criticism over the fact that there was an ad that came out, it used some of the firefighters from the scene of 9/11 and Ground Zero. They said it was exploiting that.
Well, the Bush campaign shot back and said, look, this is central to the president's -- the way he has actually conducted himself in his administration. They have not shied away from that at all. They have embraced those images.
We see that on the ads, we here that all the time in the stump speech. Even part of the speech which recently was added was about the fact that he was with that firefighter who told him to go out and, you know, and get those guys who are responsible.
That is something that they have not shied away from. But the Kerry campaign has really used that to their advantage, saying, look, this is exploiting the tragedy. They also say this is fear mongering, that this is not the proper way to prepare the American voters for this election...
HAYS: Speaking of fear mongering, what is the behind-the-scenes talk about the speech Vice President Dick Cheney gave, where he seemed to be saying to the voters, look, if you vote -- if you elect John Kerry in the fall, we are going to be more vulnerable to a terrorist attack?
MALVEAUX: Well, here's how that actually happened, because the vice president said that he was trying to set up a policy where he said, well, here's how John Kerry perceives the war on terror, here's how President Bush perceives war on terror. He'll take it on a case- by-case basis. He looks at it as more a law enforcement issues, whereas President Bush will go out and he will conduct those preemptive strikes, if necessary, he'll identify those threats ahead of time.
Well, what Cheney said -- and it certainly seemed as if it had implied -- at least some people saw it that way -- that he was say saying the country would be less safe, or voters would be less safe, more likely of a terrorist attack if they voted for Kerry. Now you'll notice that Cheney actually dialed back the next day, because there was a lot of criticism, not just from Democrats, but also from Republicans who said, look, we think you may have crossed a line here, and that just isn't fair.
ARCE: Suzanne, how much of an effort have these candidates made to enlist the families of September 11 in their cause, in their campaigns? Because I've been actually struck by what a small fraction of family members have really gone public with their partisanship, you know, talking either about the Republican National Convention or about the candidates or making endorsements.
MALVEAUX: And both of the campaigns are really competing over that small group of 9/11 families. Because you saw before, of course, you have the victims of the 9/11 families with the president in the Oval Office. There are many times the president meets privately with some of those people.
But at the same time, you have another group who were very active in that 9/11 Commission, that were really pushing this president, pushing the administration to make serious changes on intelligence, on defense matters, on really actually responding to their needs. And it was quite -- quite a fight after -- for some time to get the Bush administration to respond to some of those concerns. And it really was the activism of a lot of those family members who pushed this administration to go even further.
HINOJOSA: So Suzanne, I'm really seeped in kind of the New York angle of this, being a New Yorker, living there, having covered it from a New York perspective. But as somebody who is seeped in Washington -- and I've heard a lot of people say it's quite different, the New York reaction, versus Washington.
Give us a little insight, you being a Washingtonian. How do people react to 9/11? Because it seems like it was limited to the Pentagon (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
MALVEAUX: Well, Maria, I mean, a lot of people respond to it very personally, as you know, of course, because there was a lot of fear, a lot of confusion, here, not only at the Pentagon, but at the White House, on the Hill. Afterward followed anthrax scares. I was here at that time when that happened. And so a lot of people feel it deeply.
At the same time, of course, they also have moved on, to a certain extent. And it has become, in some ways, really a political issue here, because you do look and you hear the campaigns, both of them competing over these messages about what does it mean to defend our country, who is able to better defend our country.
You hear the president saying, I am going to be the better, stronger commander in chief. You hear Kerry saying the opposite, saying, look, you know, you have squandered the good will of the world, more than 1,000 lives lost, billions of dollars spent, that that is not the right direction.
COHEN: Thank you, Suzanne, for those insights into politics and 9/11. We know you need to get back to reporting from the White House this morning.
From the politics of 9/11 to the health, mental and physical effects on the 9/11 survivors. I'm back on that story after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prior to 9/11, I had no idea where Afghanistan was on the map. It just was not on my radar. And I think, like many Americans, I was living with blinders on. And after the events of September 11, I could no longer live in that world. And it became apparent that their problems are our problems, and I just couldn't walk away from that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: Inspiring words from Susan Reddick (ph), who lost her husband on September 11, talking about her journey from the depths of loss and sorrow, to a mission of helping others a half a world away. She and her friend, who also lost her husband on September 11, began talking about how to reach out to widows in Afghanistan.
Welcome back. We're ON THE STORY, looking back at September 11.
ARCE: Elizabeth, what do the professionals say about how to get away from these terrible feelings? I can just imagine, for the families, every year, when you have these memorials, the moments of silence, there must be a sense of "I want to remember," but there also must be a sense of "I need to forget, I need to move on, I need to shield my family from such awful memories all the time."
COHEN: Well, I think what professionals will tell you, Rose, is that you have to do everything you just mentioned. You have to remember. But on the other hand, you have to move on.
I was touched, actually, when you saw me doing that interview there with Susan Reddick (ph) that she just seemed like any other mom of three kids. She was taking care of everything, she was getting the popsicles out for the kids, she was getting ready for her bike ride from New York to Boston.
That's where they are right now, Susan and her friend, Patty (ph). They're almost to Boston at this point. And they're raising money for widows in Afghanistan. And I was struck by how -- how she really just seemed like any other mother. And then it was interesting. When she left New York, she was at Ground Zero, getting ready to get on her bike, and she, of course, was crying, was there looking out on to Ground Zero, looking out into that pit, and was crying, was remembering the day she lost her husband. So I think different days and different moments serve different purposes for people who are -- who are survivors from 9/11.
NASR: And Elizabeth, you covered that story -- I remember your pieces out of New York, talking to family members who had lost loved ones. They were carrying pictures, crying, sometimes you were crying, too.
The impact that that had on you as a reporter, where, in our profession, we're supposed to leave our emotions aside and report on the story, how did you deal with it? And do you ever have to deal with it, even this day?
COHEN: Right, my producer, Miriam Falco (ph), and I, who -- when we were out there, shortly after September 11, it was really an unprecedented situation that we found ourselves in. It was thousands of family around the armory on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, searching for their loved ones.
They had those posters that we all remember now, with pictures. Often they would say "Brown hair, 5'10." They were searching.
They honestly felt that if they just got on television, that somebody would pick up a phone and say, "Oh, yes, I saw your husband. He's on upper west side. I'll come bring him to you."
People honestly felt that that's what was going to happen. So the way that Miriam and I got through that time was that we were really a conduit for those people.
When we got there, we thought no one would want to talk to us, because many people, when they're in this situation, don't want to talk to the media. But instead, we found the opposite.
They were standing in line, and standing pretty orderly in line, which is amazing under the circumstance, waiting to get on CNN to help -- to hopefully find the person who they had lost. And they had such hope, really, for four or five days after September 11. So the way that -- that we got through that is that we felt that we were a way for these people to work out their emotions, to try and find their lost loved ones, even though we knew deep in our hearts that they weren't findable.
HAYS: You know, Elizabeth, one of the saddest ironies I think for many New Yorkers was saying, "We went to shelters to try to volunteer. There were -- down on the piers, a place set up with lots of beds that were never used." Because, as you were pointing out, there were so few victims recovered, there were so many deaths.
In terms of the lingering physical impact, do you have any respiratory problems? What has been discovered about the people who reported down there, worked down there, lived close by? How are they doing in terms of the physical aspect?
COHEN: I personally don't have any respiratory problems, but I wasn't at Ground Zero. I was at the armory on Lexington and 26th. So I wasn't all that close to where the dust clouds were happening and all of that.
However, tens of thousands of people did go down there and worked tirelessly, day after day after day, with no time off, looking for survivors. And there's a whole -- there's a whole array of different effects that people have had.
Some people have not had long-term respiratory effects that they know of. Others have.
There are some people who spent all that time down there who now are not able to work. They had no respiratory problems before 9/11, and now have asthma or such tightness of the chest, have breathing problems, that they are not able to work.
Really, what they were breathing in, no one will ever know exactly what they were breathing in. But there were tons of debris, there were those fires that burned for months. They were really breathing in kind of -- this one doctor called it a toxic soup of chemicals. And there are various studies that are looking at these folks long term.
One of the unfortunate things is that there's no really big comprehensive study of everyone. There's lots of little patchwork studies for how different people are doing, which is a bit of a problem when you're trying to track the health of a large group of people.
HINOJOSA: You know, Elizabeth, it's interesting, because when I went down to Ground Zero, it was just a few days later. I immediately -- immediately felt the smell -- let's go now for a second, though, to listen to just -- and take a few moments of silence. The second tower has now fallen, three years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found this note tucked into a corner of a scrapbook.
HINOJOSA: Such a difficult time. I know that I saw the first tower when it collapsed from the street. But the second tower, I was actually in the hospital, because that's where I had been sent to do my reporting, and actually watched that one on television. And it's at that moment when you realize that you have just -- you know, thousands of people have died.
And, Elizabeth, interestingly, that day, being at the hospital, there was a sea of green, because all of the doctors were out, waiting for the patients to come. And no one came. They just continued to wait, and no once came. I mean, that -- medically, they thought there would be more wounded, and there just weren't.
COHEN: Right, Maria. You bring back a memory for me as well as a medical correspondent.
I was sent from Atlanta to New York to do the story that we all thought was going to happen. After, for example, the bombing in Oklahoma City, so many people needed medical help. And we went to New York University, we went to Bellevue Hospital, and there are some of the nation's top trauma doctors with incredible training, and they had nothing to do. And the frustration they felt, as we interviewed them, was palpable, that they were down there and there was, unfortunately, nothing for them to do.
ARCE: More on what's happening at Ground Zero today, and what's happened in New York and Washington since the second 9/11 anniversary when we're back ON THE STORY.
GRIFFIN: I'm Drew Griffin with this update from the CNN News Center.
Hurricane Ivan weakening slightly as it drifts towards Cuba. But this is still a powerful storm, 150 mile-an hour winds, heavy rain pummeling the island of Jamaica overnight. Forecasters saying the storm could hit parts of Florida by Tuesday. The state already reeling from two hurricanes in just the past 30 days.
On this September 11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke at Arlington National Cemetery. A marker there honors the 184 victims killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. Nearly 3,000 people were killed this morning three years ago today.
Former President Bill Clinton woke up in his own home this morning. He left a New York hospital just four days after his quadruple bypass heart surgery that was on Monday. A spokesman says the president is in good spirits, taking short walks. Doctors say some of his arteries were 90 percent blocked.
Those are the headlines. I'm Drew Griffin at CNN Center in Atlanta. Once again, ON THE STORY.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: My fellow Americans, for as long as our country stands, people will look to the resurrection of New York City and they will say, "Here buildings fell, here a nation rose."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARCE: It seems so long ago, but here we are, three years later. Welcome back. We're ON THE STORY.
HINOJOSA: Rose, you know, I don't think that people know that you and I are a team. We are producer, correspondent, we are together every single day. But on that day, September 11, three years ago, we were going to be covering the elections. You live downtown, I live uptown. When it happened, you went straight into -- into Ground Zero. And yet you and I have had very different responses.
You saw much more than I did that day. You were the first to report those horrible scenes of people jumping out of the towers.
How do you figure that you and I, for example, have had this different kind of relationship in terms of how we react to that? It's like you've been a lot stronger, and I've probably been a little more emotional. How do you think that that kind of plays into what we're seeing in general?
ARCE: Well, I think a little bit of what's happened is the situation that I was in requires a lot more of you, in terms of blocking things out and putting them off to the side a little bit. When think back what happened that day, and you see the moment of silence for the first, the moment of silence for the second plane, it all to me is one event, really.
I can't really segregate it in my mind and remember the sequence of events anymore, because it was all so terrible. And it's like one awful thing would happen, and then the next awful thing would happen. And then something yet more horrible would happen. And after a while, it was just something that you couldn't process at all.
HINOJOSA: But you stayed. You didn't leave. You were right there.
I mean, when I saw that first tower fall, I said, "I just lost Rose. I just lost my producer."
ARCE: Well, I think you were also -- I was, at least, gripped by this sense of self, you know -- I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it. It's like, you look at it, and you'd say, "Those can't possibly be people jumping from the buildings."
HAYS: Well, and I was in between jobs. So I had been downtown at Ground Zero the day before. Such a nerd, I was going to cover a conference, even though I wasn't -- I was not at my new job at CNN yet.
So when the first tower hit, I called a friend, a source at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to say, "Are you OK?" The phone never answered. It turned out that person was in San Francisco.
But I have acquaintances through my work life who lost their lives. And there are so many stories about people who worked on Wall Street on their cell phones, calling their wives, calling their husbands, knowing they were going to die because they were trapped on the towers above.
Almost half the people who died that day worked at securities firms. Putting this all in the context of the rebuilding, many people, John Duffy, head of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, who lost his son that day, a big commitment to getting the firm back on its feet. They lost a third of their employees, got going. They're still going.
When you look back and you look at those kinds of efforts, what are you thinking about today?
ARCE: Well, I think to myself, how do those people do it? How do those people get on the subway, or get in a car every day, and go downtown and work so close to Ground Zero? How do they, you know, go through the business of doing business when they have friends and loved ones that they lost, but also when they have memories themselves of having escaped it?
I'm not sure that I could work downtown after what I saw happening downtown. I go downtown and I can't think of Battery Park City and the beautiful boats and the -- you know, I used to look at it and say, "Oh, what a wonderful view of the Statue of Liberty." I don't even notice the Statue of Liberty.
HAYS: Well, let me add quickly that many Wall Street firms relocated to Midtown or places outside the city. Many people couldn't go back, or didn't want to.
NASR: And Rose, going back to that morning of 9/11, the first tower is hit and then the second tower is hit, and -- what was going on through your mind? You were rushing into the scene.
You didn't run away, as Maria just said. You kept going. And at what point did you think, wow, this is a huge story? And not just on the human level, but also on the journalistic level?
ARCE: Well, I think from the beginning -- from the first time I saw the gaping hole in the building, I think I knew it was a big story. What I didn't know was how dangerous it was downtown.
I think that's the one thing that didn't really hit me. It's kind of like, I saw the plane come in, and I thought, "Oh, my god, that can't really be a plane hitting a building."
And it wasn't really until the collapse of the first tower that I realized thousands of people were dying. And I could be one of those people. And the people around me could be part of those people.
Yet, at that point, it was almost too late to do anything other than to just keep focusing on doing my job, on doing my job, because there truly was no place to run at that point. You know, everyone had been running uptown, uptown, away, away, away. I was running downtown, trying to get closer, trying to find out what was going on.
And at that point, when the building collapsed, it was kind of like, how can you possibly run? I mean, there's just no way to escape this.
And also, by then, the streets were quiet. And at first I thought to myself, "No one's running." And then I thought, "There's no one left to run." HAYS: A first responder of the journalistic type, that's what you were that day, Rose.
Well, anybody looking for other lasting signs of 9/11 can find them in the U.S. economy, anything from low interest rates to struggling airlines. I'm back on that side of the 9/11 story in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation was sliding into recession. And American workers were overburdened with federal taxes. Then came the events of September 11, which hit our economy very hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYS: Very hard, indeed. That's Vice President Dick Cheney in New York 10 days ago. And we can still feel and see after-effects in the economy. More tax cuts, low interest rates, terrorism fears in general. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) stock market, oil prices in particular.
Welcome back. We're ON THE STORY.
COHEN: Kathleen, you had spoken earlier about car rebates somehow being a vestige of 9/11. How's that?
HAYS: Well, you know, we've had the auto finance incentives for a while, Elizabeth. But when you think back, everybody was worried that this would hit an economy that was already weakening, already entering into recession, and really knock it completely off its feet.
The Federal Reserve -- I was -- look, I was just trying to remember today. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates on September 17 by half a percentage point. That was the historic day when the stock market reopened.
It dropped nearly 700 points that day. It did manage to rebound. But within two months, the Federal Reserve had cut its short-term rate almost two full percentage points.
The auto companies jumped on that. They offered these really tasty incentives, because everyone was worried the consumer was just going to freeze up.
Remember the airlines were laying off workers like crazy. Again, an industry that's already troubled, being hit by the grounded planes, then the fears of flying. No one wanted to fly. Tourism took a hit. It was a time when everyone was worried about the economy. And the policymakers really went pedal to the metal to make sure the economy recovered.
HINOJOSA: So Kathleen, if you put this into some kind of perspective in the sense of New York kind of being symbolic, what's the New York economy like right now? Has it recuperated? And what were the effects within New York? And how did they spread out?
HAYS: You know what I think of, Maria? I think of it as when you've been sick or you've had an injury and you still bear some lingering effects, like the respiratory impact maybe of working down there, maybe a scar that fades, but you can still see it there.
Now, when you think about Wall Street and securities firms, what many firms have had to do now is take big chunks of their firms and locate them outside Manhattan. Because they learned -- firms that had all their offices, for example, in those towers -- that they were so vulnerable, and not just from a human level, but keeping the business going in the event of an attack. If you've got a big backup office...
HINOJOSA: But do we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like no? I mean, how do they -- you talk to these guys all the time. How do they feel about the fact that their offices, their companies are...
HAYS: Are targets. How do you think people felt after last month, when it came out that there had been surveillance of Prudential in New Jersey, or Citigroup in Manhattan, the International Monetary Fund, and others?
It's clear that the financial industry in particular, and the U.S. economy in general, is a target of Osama bin Laden. They understand that if they can bring down our financial system, they can deal us a very, very strong blow.
I think it's like -- I just really want to go back to 9/11. I think it was so important to folks on Wall Street to get up and get back to work, and show that they could do that. To show the world, to show the terrorists, you can't beat us. And I think people just -- like you said, Rose, you live with it, right?
ARCE: Yes, you have to.
HAYS: But I think people do probably feel that disbursing their operations, taking pragmatic steps, makes a difference. One reason so many people survived at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is they had a security chief who did drills regularly after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. So these people were much more prepared to get up and get out of the building.
ARCE: And we have that now.
HAYS: Yes, indeed.
NASR: Now, Kathleen, when we all look back at the famous tape of Osama bin Laden gloating about his achievements on 9/11, I mean, these guys surprised themselves. They weren't expecting to hurt that much, and especially the economy. I mean, not just the emotions of the American people, but the economy.
What lessons have we learned? And how is the market ready to take, god forbid, another 9/11 or something like that?
HAYS: Oh, I think the market is so much better prepared to take it, because the market, number one, has learned that, you know, it can be done, you can get through an attack, even when it's at the heart of Wall Street. Beyond that, I think many of the trading systems have been strengthened. We know that that stands up.
I think that, in terms of lessons learned -- I mean, look -- look at this week, the attacks in Jakarta. That had a little impact on the stock market. But I think people have learned that terrorism is alive and well.
Let's be pragmatic. All the money going into homeland security, some very good stock market investments have been companies producing some of the -- the latest kinds of security. But I think something that we don't realize is that there is a certain amount of productivity, of money, of resources that leaks out of our economy every day, because we spend more time at airports getting checked, more money being invested in security anti-terrorism steps that aren't going into more productive pursuits.
So we are paying a price. But everyone realizes it's the price we have to pay to keep our economy going, and basically to keep our country strong.
NASR: And, of course, the financial impact of 9/11 has spanned the globe. But the events of the day and the reaction here in the United States are viewed differently in the Arab world. I'm back on that part of the story, looking back at 9/11, after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, OSAMA BIN LADEN'S DOCTOR (through translator): The defeat of America in Iraq and Afghanistan has become just a matter of time with god's help. Americans in both countries are between two fires. If they carry on, they will bleed to death. And if they pull out, they lose everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NASR: That was the voice of a translator on the new tape from the number two man in al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, forecasting what he calls the defeat of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, we continue to monitor how Arab media is looking back on this three-year anniversary of 9/11 and other recent terror attacks.
Welcome back. We're ON THE STORY.
HAYS: Well, Octavia, you know, for many journalists, for many people, this was a watershed of a real turning point. It was for you, too, as you started right at 9/11, right after that, to look and try to sort out what was going on in the Arab world, who also went through mixed emotions, seeing these attacks.
NASR: Right, it was life-changing experience for me, because I've been doing this job since that moment, because all the eyes were turned to the Middle East as soon as we started hearing the name of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terror network being behind the attacks. And, of course, that took me to Doha in Qatar, and this is where Al-Jazeera is.
These were the beginnings of Al-Jazeera. Of course, people hadn't heard much of that network. And that was a journey for me, a life-changing experience, that's for sure.
And when you talk about, you know, how that changed the world, indeed, in the Arab world, they see 9/11, the day, as a moment in history where they paused, just like the rest of the world, and they were in shock at such a horrible act. But they were also going through a major transition. They were questioning why this happened, and whether al Qaeda does have a reasoning for doing so, and if it was justifiable.
ARCE: Octavia, in the Arab world, how is what has happened to Arab-Americans viewed? I mean, the roundups of people, the questionings, the detentions, deportations, in some cases, even incarcerations. How has that affected people's view of the United States?
NASR: Well, that has been getting a lot of play, especially on this anniversary. Arab media are focusing a lot on Arab-Americans, and especially Muslim-Americans, because, you know, not all Arabs are Muslim, and how the events have affected their life.
Yesterday, I saw a report on Al-Jazeera that said the American University in Washington, the enrollment of Arab students at the university dropped from 600 students in 2001 to 100 this year. That's a huge impact on the relationship of this country with the Arab and Muslim world.
COHEN: Octavia, on 9/11, the sorrow that Americans felt was so uniform. Everyone felt so sad about all this -- this huge loss of life. But you found that in the Arab world, that was not always the case.
NASR: No, it wasn't. And that was the toughest thing for me to deal with. Because here I am, leaving the United States, perhaps a week after 9/11, emotionally beaten up and saddened by this event.
And then I land in Doha, Qatar, where a lot of people were sort of supportive of bin Laden. I mean, people used to send each other text messages on their phone with his picture and words such as "God protect him, the leader of the Islamic world," and stuff like that. So it was very tough.
Now, not everybody was like that. But people were going through a transition, I would say, because I do travel a lot in the Middle East, and I've seen major changes.
The people of the Middle East, especially the Muslims of the Middle East, back in 2001, were, perhaps, divided. There were people that would support bin Laden and al Qaeda. But today, that's very hard to find. People are coming out, denouncing what al Qaeda stands for, denouncing terrorism all over the world. There was a very interesting editorial last week by an Arab network executive who said that the -- "We have to look within ourselves. And that this is a disease, and we have to cure it."
HINOJOSA: Well, thank to all of my colleagues. We could have certainly talked for at least another -- another eight hours about this. But thank you all for coming.
And thank you for watching. We'll be back next week.
Now, one source of comfort for me after September 11, besides running, was actually music. And something I was able to look forward to last year, on the second anniversary, was going to cover the Monterey Jazz Festival. And that's where I'll be, thankfully, next weekend. And I'll join you here ON THE STORY.
So we'll see you here.
Now, just ahead, more of CNN's special coverage of "September 11th: A Nation Changed," with Kelly Wallace at the anchor desk here in Washington, D.C.
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