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9/11: The World Remembers; Plane Diverted
Aired September 11, 2006 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. You are in the NEWSROOM and welcome to CNN's continuing coverage of "9/11: The World Remembers" five years later. I'm Heidi Collins.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.
Around this moment, five years ago, as we continue our time line, United Flight 93 was literally rolling on its back after the passengers charged the cockpit in an attempt to take control of the plane. One of the hijacker was heard saying, "Allah is the greatest," and moments later, Flight 93 crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The hijacked plane brought down by the heroic efforts of passengers and crew determined to keep it from reaching its intended target. It is believed the plane was headed for the White House or the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Right now, let's take you to Washington and to the Pentagon for the Pentagon memorial. Vice President Dick Cheney is speaking.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hard work and the sacrifice still lay ahead. Yet in the conduct of this war, the world has seen the best that is in our country. We have shown that Americans are a resolute people, clear in our purposes, steady in difficult task. We have answered violence with patient justice. We have liberated whole nations from dictatorship, stayed beside them on the path to democracy and lifted the sights of millions to a future beyond tyranny and terror.
This struggle is fierce and it will be lengthy. But it is not endless. Our cause is right. Our will is strong. This great nation will prevail.
At every turn in this battle for our freedom and security, Americans will persevere with courage and with honor. We will never forget the day the war began or the way the war began. Our thoughts remain with the victims of 9/11, our prayers remain with the families left behind. May they find comfort in the deep respect and compassion of their fellow citizens and may God watch over the United States of America.
HARRIS: And there you have the comments from Vice President Dick Cheney at the Pentagon memorial. Let's take you to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, now. Our Bob Franken is standing by. At this moment five years ago, United Flight 93 had crashed in the field in Shanksville.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And at this moment five years ago, Rick King, who was the assistant chief of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department, was on the phone with his sister. He had been watching the attacks on Washington and New York. His sister said she heard a plane. And so Rick came out and witnessed something that he'll never forget.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK KING, VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTER: I walked out onto my front porch and as soon as I walked out I could hear the plane. I could hear the engine screaming, the whining noise. Seconds later it hit. You know, this huge fireball just went up into the sky. Just right here above the church. Big black mushroom cloud of smoke. My whole porch, the house just rumbled. It just shook. And she said to me, oh, my God, Rick, it crashed. And I said, I know. I've got to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: So hard that there was almost nobody who was on the plane who could be seen. Just a few scattered parts of an airplane that nearly vaporized when it crashed into that field behind me, which had been a reclaimed strip mine. Now President Bush will be here in the next hour or so to lay a wreath at that site and then meet with the families of those who were the victims on United Flight 93. People who still mourn five years later, but also hold, Tony, a ferocious pride on what they did.
HARRIS: And, Bob, if you would, remind us again of those words from Todd Beamer (ph) and his fellow passengers. But the words from Beamer on United Flight 93.
FRANKEN: Well, they -- the words that have been captured so many times were, "let's roll." The passengers on board had heard over their cell phones what was going on in the rest of the country and they had made the decision that they were going to try and stop that from happening, stop this plane from heading toward Washington, as they believed it would be, with an even more calamitous crash on either the White House or the Capitol. And so they put an end to that and left their legend in the annals of U.S. history in this field in out-of-the-way Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
HARRIS: Let's roll. Bob Franken for us in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Bob, thank you.
COLLINS: And we want to take you back now to the World Trade Center. You are looking at some live pictures. You can see people gathered there, signing memorabilia, taking a moment to really remember their loved ones that they may have lost on that fateful day. We have had a couple of moments of silence so far at this point in our time line. At 8:46, when the North Tower hit, and again at 9:03 when the South Tower was hit. We will continue this time line as we go on today.
In the meantime, we want to take you to an interesting situation that we have been covering at NORAD. Just this morning, trouble suspected in the skies. NORAD, North American Defense, scrambled to divert a plane. That's exactly what they are there for. And Jonathan Freed is standing by at the NORAD command center.
Jonathan, what is the latest on all of this?
JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
I was just about to check on that. And, gentlemen, our understanding is the aircraft landed without incident, right? That right. So it landed, diverted to Dallas, without incident. It was originally heading from Atlanta to San Francisco.
And just to recap. I can tell you that before the plane left Atlanta, a backpack, a piece of checked luggage, was found in the cargo hold but it didn't correspond to any name on the passenger list. It seemed innocuous enough and that bag was removed. But once in the air, a flight attendant discovered a Blackberry device onboard that did not belong to anybody who was on the plane. Also, in and of itself, could be something relatively innocuous. But the two events together, connected to the same flight, and today being what it is, the airline, the crew, everybody erring on the side of caution, thought it best to divert and Dallas was chosen as the site to divert the aircraft to.
It was United Airlines Flight 351. It was an AirBus 319. Right now landed without incident in Dallas. And we understand the procedure will be basic re-screening of the passengers and baggage just to make sure that everything is the way it should be. And if that is the case, people will be allowed, somewhat delayed, but to continue on their way.
COLLINS: Sure. And just to put it in perspective, Jonathan, we do have plans that divert all the time. But to actually have one come down mid flight because of an second incident and then to have the passengers rescreened is a little bit different.
FREED: Right. And this reflects the lessons that have been learned in the last five years. A number of other things that we should point out, too, is, I'm standing in front of the desks here in the NORAD North COM command center and this section here, these were the people who were involved in coordinating the information. You can see the hard line to the FAA down there. Something that was not as hard wired as it was -- much more connected today than it was five years ago.
More instantaneous sharing of information and awareness. And this integrated command here between NORAD and North Com, NORAD dealing with air and space, North Com dealing with land and sea, allows everybody here to think ahead and say, OK, what could this be? How might it affect x, y or z? And they start planning ahead for possible intervention. And in this case, nothing was scrambled. No fighters scrambled. The plane was diverted. It acted as it should have and we're waiting to see what happened with that security screening.
COLLINS: All right, Jonathan, thanks so much. Certainly some details to point out that have changed over these past five years.
Thanks again, Jonathan.
HARRIS: As we reflect on the time line, at this moment five years ago, secret service agents hurriedly stepped up their presence in the nation's Capitol. Here you can see them hustling off. They were also on the roof of the White House that day. Just minutes later, many building in Washington would be evacuated. Among them, the U.S. Capitol and the West Wing of the White House.
To New York City now. Ground Zero. Five years ago. Your head spins thinking about everything that was happening at this hour, at this moment, in 2001. Of course, Ground Zero is a much different place today. The memorial service underway right now. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is there taking us back and looking ahead.
Good morning, Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Good morning, Tony.
Well, President Bush is actually on his way to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to lay a wreath there before he heads to the Pentagon for that ceremony. But the president spending a very emotional morning with firefighters, the brave men and women of Port 5th (ph) Firehouse Ladder 18. Not far from Ground Zero where we are now. There he shared prayers and breakfast, two moments of silence, 8:46 and 9:03, when those planes hit the World Trade Center towers.
The president, of course, remembering those moments in a very solemn way. It was just yesterday that the president and the first lady were here at Ground Zero where they laid a wreath at what are called the footprints of the north and south towers, those pools, reflecting pools of water where the buildings once stood. The president, of course, and the administration really engaged in a very delicate balancing act here, saying that this is a time of reflection, of remembrance. That this is not a time to try to appear to politicize the September 11th attacks. President Bush was here at Ground Zero yesterday and gave his reflections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I vow that I'm never going to forget the lessons of that day. And we spent time in there looking at of some the horrific scenes inside this fantastic place of healing. And it just reminded me that there's still an enemy out there that would like to inflict the same kind of damage again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And, Tony, of course, while the White House says that they are not politicizing this tragedy, this really does come at a highly charged political atmosphere. The White House, the president in particular, have been engaged in a very aggressive public relations campaign, of course, leading up to this time, trying to convince Americans that, yes, they are safer five years after the September 11th attacks, that there were lessons learned after 9/11 and that ultimately this war on terror, including the war in Iraq, is justified. Democrats say that Americans are not safer and that there has been failed leadership. But White House spokesman Tony Snow saying this evening, when President Bush does address the nation, that they are leaving that partisanship behind and that he will try to bring the country together.
HARRIS: CNN's White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux for us at what we call Ground Zero now.
Suzanne, thank you.
COLLINS: In the time line that we have been following so far today, we're looking at about 10:13 now. And five years ago today, you see on your screen that the U.N. building was evacuated in New York City. A few moments prior to that, the FBI headquarters were evacuated. And a little bit earlier in the day, around 9:37, is when the west wall of the Pentagon was hit by American Airlines Flight 77. And our Jamie McIntyre was there for that.
Jamie, 184 people lost their lives that day.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Also there was about 125 on the ground and some 60 on the plane, including the five hijackers. About this time five years ago, I was just beginning to inspect the damage to the -- to the building facade that you can see behind me. We're actually in a gas station parking lot where all the reporters gathered five years ago to watch what was going on at the Pentagon. One difference, of course, was it was a bright, sunny day. And today it's a cool day with a cold drizzle that's sort of whipping at our backs today.
On the other side of the Pentagon right now, a memorial service is just about to wrap up where Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney addressed the crowd, commemorating the events of five years ago. And, of course, four years ago, on the one-year anniversary, it was also a bright, sunny day where they marked the rebuilding of this facade of the Pentagon behind me, which was completed in just one year. In a very proud ceremony then, it was a point of honor to have the building put back together in a year's time or so.
So it's going to be a day of somber remembrances. There will be a flyover of military aircraft here at the Pentagon later this morning. And then again a day of ceremonies, remembrances as people think back on that time five years ago.
COLLINS: Yes, it's very poignant that it is sort of a dark day there.
Jamie, thank you so much for that.
And we want you to stay with CNN throughout the day and into the night because our primetime coverage begins at 8:00 Eastern. CNN's Paula Zahn is live from Ground Zero with crucial questions that linger five years later. And at 9:00 Eastern, Wolf Blitzer leads CNN's coverage of the president's primetime address. And that will be followed by "Larry King Live" from Ground Zero as well. At 10:00 Eastern, Anderson Cooper live from Afghanistan and he'll have a firsthand look at what's really happening in the war on terror since September 11th.
HARRIS: And still ahead, a chaplain who has watched 9/11 families emerge from their darkest days. We will talk to him live on CNN NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: And where do things stand in the war on terror now? A status report on this 9/11 anniversary. You'll see it on CNN, the most trusted name in news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, (through translator): Not to concern yourselves with the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are doomed. You should worry about your presence in the Gulf. And the second place they should worry about is in Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: A good way to measure the emotional distance from 2001 to 2006, your feelings then and now. In a new poll from CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation, we talked to a thousand adults about September 11th. Seventy percent say the country will never be back to normal after that tragic day. As you can see, that number is up considerably since 2002.
We also asked people to tell us how they feel today. Eighty-five percent have strong feelings of sadness, 74 percent of anger. Far fewer expressed strong feelings of fear or vengeance, but still fear has certainly seen a significant increase. It's up 13 percentage points since 2002.
Their moment of silence shattered by rocket fire. U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan marking the 9/11 anniversary today as well. CNN's Anderson Cooper was there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm here at a forward operating base very close to the Pakistan border, within sight. I can't tell you the exact location. We're actually now just getting some fire. Some rockets have been fired. They were about to have a moment of silence here in commemoration of 9/11. We've got to get to a bunker. So, Carol, I've got to toss it back to you. Let's go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Anderson Cooper joining us now live once again after all of that went on.
Anderson, what can you tell us about that whole scene?
COOPER: Well, in some ways it was a day like any other. This is a forward operating base. Very close to the Pakistan border. I can see the mountains of Pakistan. I can't tell you the exact location. This is where the 10th mountain division has been fighting. They've been fighting al Qaeda, foreign Jihadists. They've been fighting the Taliban here, as well as just common criminals profiting from the drug trade in this area.
And so in some ways today was a day like any other. There were a patrol that I went out on and they were taking incoming fire. It just so happened that as the soldiers here had gathered to commemorate this fifth anniversary of 9/11, an incoming round came -- was fired -- a rocket was fired toward this forward base. It ended up being a total of six incoming rounds were taken. They used the howitzer right behind me to respond. To fire back.
And they wanted to make sure that this day didn't end without them being able to commemorate 9/11. They didn't want the -- whoever it was who fired the rockets at them today to interrupt the ceremony and to stop the remembrance. So just a few moments ago, as dusk began to fall, all the soldiers of this unit once again gathered for a moment of silence, a moment of remembrance. Let's listen to some.
On bases all across Afghanistan today, there were similar remembrances. While there's much debate about the war in Iraq and whether that is a central front in the war on terror, there really is no debate about what is happening here in Afghanistan. Every soldier I've talked to today will say the same thing. What happened on 9/11, they see -- what -- the way they are fighting here, directly parallel to that. A direct correlation from what happened on that day to the people they are still fighting against. They see the influence of al Qaeda in this region, in the tactics used now by the Taliban, a growing use of IEDs, of suicide attacks. And they've heard and they have seen and they have killed foreign fighters in this region.
The war here continues day in, day out. Perhaps it doesn't get the coverage that the war in Iraq gets. But the fighting is, in some cases, just as intense. Soldiers are dying here and they are fighting very bravely day in and day out. And today for them was a day in some ways like any other day of patrols, but it was also a somber day and a day of remembrance.
COLLINS: And, Anderson, you pointed out just at the beginning of your report about the drug trade and how just as we seem to sort of look away from Afghanistan and focus on Iraq, as we've been doing in the previous months, that's when we see the Taliban becoming increasingly more powerful. The drug trade is behind it all, yes?
COOPER: Well, it certainly plays a big part. I mean the opium -- the poppy harvest this past year was up 49 percent over the previous year. There are huge amounts of money being made from drugs in this country. There is spreading corruption among the Afghan government officials linked to the drug trade that is certainly contributing to problem. The Taliban, in some regions, receives taxes, offering protection to NorCo (ph) traffickers. So certainly the Taliban and al Qaeda affiliated groups are generating profits from the drug trade.
But also there's a lot of dismay here. Intelligence sources talking about this deal that Pakistan has now made, essentially making a cease-fire with Taliban militants on the Pakistan side of the border. That means that fighters, Taliban militants, can cross from Pakistan into Afghanistan, fight here, and then run back. And U.S. troops can't go into Pakistan to pursue them.
It is a very delicate political situation. A military situation as well. It is a very complex environment, a dynamic, fighting environment. So there's a lot playing into, to the resurgence of the Taliban and to the up tick in violence that we've been seeing over the last several months.
COLLINS: All right, Anderson, thank you so much for that. Coming to us live from the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will be watching tonight at 10:00 Eastern where you will continue to be live and bring us an update from that situation tonight.
HARRIS: And, Heidi, if we haven't mentioned it yet, we should right now, that all day today Pipeline is playing CNN's original coverage of the September 11th attacks, uncut, unedited as it happened live on CNN television five years ago. Just log on to cnn.com and click on pipeline.
COLLINS: His identical twin killed on 9/11. The pain remains. But other feelings have changed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my brother's eulogy I encouraged people to get back on planes. You know, if I had known then what I know now, I don't know if I could make that speech.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Anger over airline security five years after the attacks ahead on CNN, the most trusted name in news.
HARRIS: You know what, Heidi, very interesting today. I'm reminded, as we look at the big board and check the numbers on Wall Street, it's a trading day. COLLINS: Yes.
HARRIS: It is -- this is not a national holiday. Folks are working. Kids are going to school. It is another day in Americans as we look at the numbers. The Dow down 27 percent and we understand the Nasdaq is down 11 points. About an hour into the trading day.
10:28 a.m. September 11, 2001. The first building hit is the second building to crumble. Dust, debris, devastation. Let's listen to Ground Zero and the ringing of the bell and a moment of silence.
COLLINS: Wynton Marsalis, who I just wish we could just sit here and listen to him all day...
HARRIS: Isn't it great?
COLLINS: ... on this day. You just see the pain and anguish in everyone's faces, gathered there at the World Trade Center. You see Jon Corzine there of New Jersey, getting ready to speak as well. People will never, ever forget this day, no matter what you see today as we remember each moment of the timeline of September 11th. It will never be forgotten.
And those happy sounds down by the riverside help a little bit. And being together, I think, helps a whole lot, too. But we want to take you back to the World Trade Center, the bull's eye of those attacks, as we have commemorated the moment when the North Tower collapsed at 10:28.
Alina Cho is standing at that location for us now to give us the very latest from Ground Zero.
Alina, good morning to you.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heidi, good morning to you. Five years ago, this was a scene of such panic and confusion. Five years later, it is a very solemn, a very emotional day, for the families. Thousands of people are here today at the site that is now known as Ground Zero. Many of them are clutching photos of their loved ones. Several have brought flowers.
This year, as always, the names of the victims are being read. This year by the spouses, partners and significant others. In years past, children and parents. Two thousand seven hundred forty nine World Trade Center victims. So you can imagine that the reading of the names, each and every one of them, will be a painstaking process that will last well into the afternoon.
There are many dignitaries speaking here today. You just saw a moment ago, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. New York's governor is here, as well, as is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
A man who was such a source of strength five years ago for people in New York, for the nation, for the world, was former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: Five years from the date of attack that changed our world, we have come back to remember the valor of those we've lost: those who innocently went to work that day, and the brave souls who went in after them. We have also come to be ever mindful of the courage of those who grieve, and the light that still shines in their hearts.
As we honor those who died, we ask, what is a successful life? One hundred years ago, an essay tried to answer that question. Its answer applies, as I think you will see, to the people that you love, the people that we love and that we lost. And it's endured to become an American classic. I quote: "To laugh often and love much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others. To leave the world a better place, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition. To know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived, this is to have succeeded."
God bless all of those that we lost. God bless all of you who mourn for them, remember them, and live on in their spirit.
And God Bless America.
CHO: That was former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who, in the days, weeks and months after the attacks, was such a source of strength and who has largely been out of the public eye in recent years.
Now, one things we should mention is that family members, once again, as they are every year, have been invited to descend this long ramp behind me to the lowest point at Ground Zero, to the so-called footprints of the towers, where today there are two small reflecting pools. And those pools are already filled with flowers. Many family members are here just for a moment, spending a moment at the lowest point at Ground Zero. And Heidi, many others will be here well into the afternoon.
COLLINS: I'm sure they will be. Such a tough day and yet one that -- I believe that these families probably wouldn't want to spend any other way than to be together and to be at this site. Thank you, Alina Cho, for that.
Meanwhile, back to the situation with al Qaeda and where they stand today. Al Qaeda at large, al Qaeda captured, some of them. Where the U.S. stands in the war on terror.
HARRIS: And also, as we reflect on the five-year anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, we have to remind you that there is other news happening right now. You see Karl Penhaul there. He is on Bermuda, and let me tell you, Hurricane Florence is bearing down on that island. We will check in with Karl in just a moment. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
And just another reminder that all day today, Pipeline is playing CNN's original coverage of the September 11th attacks, uncut, unedited as it happened live on CNN television five years ago. Just log onto CNN.com and click on Pipeline.
You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
HARRIS: We certainly are watching Hurricane Florence, that's for sure.
COLLINS: That's right. It's battering Bermuda right now, and it's been doing so for the past couple of hours or so. And some of Florence's winds have been clocked at 97 miles an hour, and forecasters expect the storm to continue its turn and miss the U.S. coast. We certainly hope for that.
HARRIS: That's for sure. CNN's Karl Penhaul is in South Hampton, Bermuda, where the worst of Florence is now being unleashed.
And, Karl, give us the lay of the land right now.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tony, Hurricane Florence is currently lying west of the island. That's what spared the island a little bit of the brunt of this storm. Nevertheless, the winds are battering and the waves are battering the south shore of the island now. Now according to the Bermuda Weather Center, they've tell me they have recorded winds, gusts of winds, of well over 90 miles an hour, although they say the maximum sustained winds are around 80 miles an hour.
Now, at this time, high tide is approaching. It's just a few moments away, in fact, and the waves here coming up on south shore, driven by those hurricane-force winds, are really battering into the shore here, though.
Again, another saving grace for the island that Bermuda, about 100 yards offshore here, there is a reef, and that's breaking up some of the waves as they comes crashing in toward the shore.
But even talking to the hotel manager here, on this area of the island, he says he does expect some flooding. We can see from our position, some of the nearby beaches being washed away by the power of these waves -- Tony.
COLLINS: Karl, I want to go ahead and bring in Chad Myers, too, right here at the hurricane center, hurricane headquarters.
Chad, what are we looking at here? CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The winds are now up. In fact, the hurricane center has increased the number of winds and the sustained wind speed. The eye of the storm, the center of the eye, did move to the west of Bermuda by about 40 miles, and that was some great news because just to the west of you, Karl, the winds are even just a little bit stronger. In fact, 90 miles per hour, with gusts to 115. They just are now just offshore.
I'm wondering, though, from -- tell us the lay of the land of Bermuda, for people that haven't seen Bermuda, never been there. Is it a flat island? Does it have a lot of topography? Are people out of the way?
PENHAUL: A lot of the people are out of the way. They are on the south side of the island, where we are. There are bays and there are cliffs. But there are also some lower-lying areas. Now, the people in the lower-lying areas have been moved; they have gone to stay with neighbors. One emergency shelter across the island has been open.
But really what saved the island every time, and it did so in Hurricane Fabian as well, is this reef that runs around the whole island, at certain points that's closer to the island, at other points, further away. What essentially that does, certainly when the high, battering surf starts to roll in, then the reef will break up those waves and save a lot of the island from much more significant damage.
But so far in terms of the damage, government officials have said that they have no significant reports of damage so far. Power is down in some areas. One or two trees are down. We can see from our position the roofs of one or two houses starting to peel off a little, but overall the construction codes here are very stringent, and that seems to be preventing any more major damage than that -- Chad.
MYERS: Well the winds are going to start to shift. They're going to come. They're from the south now. They're going to start to come at you from the west. That may shift some of the structural stress on some of those buildings, so I want you to prepare and prepare your camera position and yourself for that wind shift, because sometimes people can get caught out, thinking the winds are only going to come from one direction. As the storm goes by you it's going to back all the way around to the west, and eventually from the northwest. So be prepared for that, Karl.
COLLINS: All right, guys, thanks so much for that, Chad Myers and Karl Penhaul there in Bermuda.
Also we're going to get back with Chad a little later to see if this TD-7 that's coming behind is going to amount to anything or a force on Hurricane Florence to make it stronger.
I want to get back to our timeline in the meantime. We are looking at about 10:45 or so. And five years ago at this time in Washington is where the story was happening. You see a live picture there of the Capitol. All federal offices at this time were evacuated five years ago. We are live from Capitol Hill coming up in just a moment.
HARRIS: And we also recall that at about this time, the secretary of state, Colin Powell, who was out of the country at the time, had learned of the attacks. He was in Peru. And what he said was, "Buildings can be destroyed, but the spirit of democracy will not fail."
You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
COLLINS: Quickly, some pictures coming in to us. This is Air Force One. The president onboard, landing in Pittsburgh. He is planning to go -- as you see at the bottom of your screen there -- to get in a helicopter and head to Shanksville a little bit later today. And you remember very well, I'm sure, United Flight 93 crashing in Shanksville. He will be there next hour. We'll have it for you, almost exactly an hour from now, for a wreath-laying ceremony there to commemorate those terrible events of that moment.
HARRIS: And, Heidi, at this time in Washington, D.C., all federal buildings were in the process of being evacuated. Dana Bash was on Capitol Hill on 9/11, and she vividly remembers the scene in Washington, particularly after the attack on the Pentagon, and she is with us now.
Dana, good morning.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony. And that's right, it was especially the attack on the Pentagon that immediately affected the people in the building, inside the Capitol, because the Pentagon is probably about two miles that way, behind the Capitol, and senators and staffers who were in meetings inside the Capitol could actually see the smoke billowing up from across the river at the Pentagon.
And at the time, there was a debate about whether or not this Capitol should be evacuated or people should stay inside. But pretty quickly, they decided that they needed to get everybody out of the building.
And I was coming into the building, trying to get to work, but the Capitol police were screaming very loudly, evacuate. We need to get everybody out of the building right away! I ran around to the Senate side of the Capitol here, by the Senate plaza, and saw senators, staffers streaming out of the building, down the Capitol steps.
But they put us right here, probably about 100 yards from the Capitol. And we were here for several minutes, not knowing really what to do or where to go. But it was -- it was really chaos. But the chaos, Tony, turned to panic quickly because the Capitol police were hearing, in their radio, that there was a plane -- another plane in the air, likely headed for the Capitol. And they screamed like I've never heard screaming before, run as fast as you can, run for your life, because there's a plane headed for the Capitol.
And we all ran that way, towards the Supreme Court, which is across the street from the Capitol. And I remember looking at the -- at the lawn, at the grass here by the Capitol, and seeing shoes strewn, several of them across the grass. And it was because people were running so fast they literally ran out of their shoes.
And one other image that I remember is seeing Senator Robert C. Byrd, who was about 82, 83 at the time, president pro tem of the Senate. That means that he was third in line to be president. He was wandering around with all of us, no staff with him, really unclear of where to go. And that was really indicative of where things were at this time, about 10:50 a.m. five years ago. He was without staff, without a gathering point. The Senate majority leader, Senate minority leader, all the leadership, some of the most high ranking officials in the United States government, were just kind of scattered around this area without a gathering point.
Eventually, Tony, they did end up down the street a couple of blocks away at the Capitol Police Station, for a makeshift gathering point. But it was hours later that they were eventually taken to a secure point, to an undisclosed location. But it really took some time for that to happen -- Tony.
HARRIS: Wow. Man, that is vivid. Boy, Dana Bash for us. Dana, that's great. Thank you.
BASH: Thank you
COLLINS: Stay with CNN throughout the day and into the night. You see our schedule here. Primetime coverage begins at 8:00 Eastern, with CNN's Paula Zahn. She's anchoring live from Ground Zero with crucial questions that still linger for many people five years later.
And at 9:00 Eastern, Wolf Blitzer leads CNN's coverage of the president's primetime address. Again, that will be at 9:00. The president will address the nation from the Oval Office tonight. That is followed by "LARRY KING LIVE" from Ground Zero. And at 10:00 Eastern, Anderson Cooper live from Afghanistan. We'll have a firsthand look at what's really happening in the war on terror since 9/11.
HARRIS: OK, as we go to a break right now, when we come back, we will talk about business news, what is happening today. And also we will reflect on the impact the attacks on 9/11 had on the financial industry worldwide.
COLLINS: You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
HARRIS: And Heidi, just want to follow as many of the events of this day as possible. The president and the first lady, Laura Bush, stepping down from Air Force One. That's in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Just moments ago, they were on their way, obviously, to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for the memorial service there, to remember the heroism, the courage, of the passengers aboard United Flight 93 on that day five years ago, September 11th.
The president and the first lady will get on a helicopter for the short trip to Shanksville to take part in that memorial service and to lay a wreath there in Shanksville. We'll continue to follow this throughout the course of the day, and we will bring you that memorial service in the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: About 11:45 that will be happening today.
Meanwhile, at this time five years ago, the New York Stock Exchange, certainly a huge story there, as well. It was in lockdown. Susan Lisovicz is joining us now from the NYSE to recount what happened that day and how things have changed since.
Susan, this -- it was shut down forever.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: It was the longest shutdown, actually, since the Great Depression. So it was a historic time for the New York Stock Exchange, a very important time for the business community in general, Tony and Heidi. And this was a very anxious period. Five years ago, at this time, employees were ordered to stay inside this building just three blocks away from the World Trade Center. When that second plane hit, the traders here at the time told me that this building shook.
Everybody talks about what a beautiful day it was on 9/11. Well, imagine this, the huge windows in this building, you could not see out because there was just debris and toxic things that were raining down upon this building. So, the officials here said, you must stay in for your own safety.
And it was a very anxious time for them because they were hearing these terrible things, unimaginable things, two more planes hitting, one in Pennsylvania, one at the Pentagon. They did not know what was going to happen to them. Other employees did leave right after that second plane hit, and they were among the thousands of people that you saw streaming out of lower Manhattan, taking ferries, crossing over to the Brooklyn Bridge, walking uptown to Grand Central Station. It was a very anxious period.
But I have to say, it was a great moment for the American -- for the American story on Monday, September 17th. The markets opened, and they opened to historic losses, the single biggest point loss for the New York -- for the Dow Industrials, down 7 percent, nearly 700 points. The -- as you see there, there's all the officials here, the governor, the mayor, uniformed services, rescue workers here.
And there was applause that day, despite the historic losses at the close of that day, because the New York Stock Exchange, the world's greatest stock exchange, was back in business. And it was a terrible week. The Dow Industrials tumbled 14 percent, the NASDAQ was down 16 percent, the S & P 500 down 11 percent. But American business was back up and running, and it was a very important time five years ago today.
Back to you -- Heidi.
COLLINS: You know, sometimes -- and not for you, obviously, being there, but sometimes I think people forget that this was -- beside the horrific loss of 3,000 human lives, this was a global economic attack, if you will. What about Manhattan rebounding from these attacks, quickly?
LISOVICZ: Well, that's a really good point, Heidi, because, you know, Wall Street is a very small community. And so everybody here knew somebody who was lost that day. And when you came to work a week later, it was a war zone. The smells, the sights, the security was overpowering. And then you came and you worked under this intense pressure, this historic selloff. So it was really a very heroic moment, I think for a lot of the people here, frankly.
But for lower Manhattan in general, you have to remember that technically, the U.S. economy was already in recession. So we had about a 7 percent commercial vacancy rate just prior to September 11th. That doubled to 14 percent. It's coming back, not there fully, but about 10 percent is what the Downtown Alliance tells me, about 10 percent vacancy in lower Manhattan. And, of course, it would help if we had a new tower there to replace the World Center.
HARRIS: Ah, that's a whole other story.
LISOVICZ: It is.
HARRIS: That's for sure. OK, Susan, appreciate it, thank you.
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