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September 11, Our Show Takes A Look Back at Events That Changed America 19 Years Ago; Tour of the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Aired September 11, 2020 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This just in. You are looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center and we have
unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another one just hit the building. Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are no words.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears that something hit the Pentagon on the outside of the fifth corridor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a report now that a large plane crashed this morning north of the Summerset County Airport which is in western
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: It all started at 8:45 on a clear Tuesday morning. We had a live camera up on what looked like a smoking flash
across one of the World Trade Center towers. A passenger plane had flown into it and I remember some of us here at CNN thinking this was some sort
of freak event. Then a second plane flew into the other tower. That was at 9:03am and at that point there was this deepening dread in everyone.
Something was wrong in a way we`d never seen before. Airports, bridges, tunnels in New York and New Jersey shut down. Within 30 minutes President
George W. Bush said we were under an apparent terrorist attack and minutes after that every airport in the country was closed. That had never
It wasn`t over though. At 9:43am a third passenger jet crashed into the Pentagon. Dark smoke rolled up from that part of that huge building. All
eyes and many cameras were on that and the two burning towers in New York and all of us watched at 10:05, one of those towers gave way where it was
smoking. The top part crushing down on the rest of it and sending up debris and boiling gray clouds. Five minutes later, part of the Pentagon
collapsed and a fourth hijacked jet crashed in a rural part of Pennsylvania. The White House, the United Nations, the State and Justice
Departments, the World Bank, all evacuated. America bound Atlantic flights were rerouted to Canada and the second Trade Center tower came down at
So many closings, evacuations, shutdowns except for emergency response teams, the heroes of 9/11. The country literally stopped what it was doing
and gathered around TV screens. The president appeared just after 1pm and asked Americans to pray and there wasn`t much else we could do. The
destruction was more or less done around 10:30. It was less than two hours from the first crash but the change it inflicted was immeasurable. More
Americans were killed on September 11th, 2001 than on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. And when President Bush addressed the nation that
night at 8:30, his tone was one of sympathy, resolve and warning to anyone who`d planned or supported the attacks.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
AZUZ: In the difficult days that followed, we learned that the Al-Qaida terrorist group led by Osama Bin Laden was responsible for all of this and
America`s attention and anger turned to Afghanistan who`s Taliban leaders were giving Al-Qaida a safe place to live and operate. World changing
events that occurred 19 years ago today. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 were the worst terrorist attacks ever made
on American soil. They were physically carried out by 19 Al-Qaida terrorists who hijacked the four planes. 2,977 people were killed, that
included hundreds of firefighters, police officers and port authority officers who lost their lives trying to save others.
In remembrance of the victims, Patriot Day was established. President George W. Bush signed it into law a few months after the attacks. No
members of the Senate or the House of Representatives voted against that bill and every year since Patriot Day has been a time when memorials,
ceremonies and church services have been held in honor of those who were killed on September 11th. This Friday, Republican President Donald Trump
and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are both scheduled to attend a memorial even in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. That`s where United Airlines
Flight 93 crashed in 2001.
Ceremonies are also scheduled to take place at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York
City. Though these remembrance events are going to be scaled back this year because of corona virus concerns. In New York for example, the
traditional reading of the victims names won`t be done live. Recordings of family members saying the names will be featured instead. CNN`s Kate
Bolduan toured the National September 11th Museum when it first opened.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These tridents were from the north tower. They were -- were recovered in the aftermath of the attacks. We brought them back here
and basically built the museum all around them.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Joe Daniels is president and CEO of the 9/11 Memorial. You`re not whitewashing it. This is the raw, dirty material.
JOE DANIELS, CEO OF 9/11 MEMORIAL: Exactly, I mean, this is the steel that -- that bore the attacks.
BOLDUAN: The museum is built almost entirely underground, some 70 feet down. It sits in the precise footprint of the World Trade Center.
DANIELS: So this is exactly where the south tower started and went up 1,350 feet.
BOLDUAN: A striking display of the sheer scale of the destruction with poignant reminders of the tragedy at every turn. I mean, this -- this is
DANIELS: This is actually the front of this fire truck. This is the cab.
BOLDUAN: You wouldn`t know.
DANIELS: Wouldn`t know and it`s completely burned out and destroyed.
BOLDUAN: Then there`s the retaining wall that remarkably held strong even when the towers fell.
DANIELS: When the towers came down, all that debris that was here right in this space providing bracing for that wall. And when that debris was
cleared there was a big concern that the wall would breech, would flood lower Manhattan.
BOLDUAN: It could have been so much worse but this wall held under all of that pressure. Visitors will also walk along side the survivor stairs.
DANIELS: Used by 100`s of people as the buildings are crumbling, running from the dust cloud to escape to safety. And it`s for all our visitors to
understand the story of survival.
BOLDUAN: And likely one of the most emotional stops in the museum. This art installation mimics the blue sky on that fateful morning. Behind it
the still unidentified remains of 9/11 victims. The move met with mixed emotion from their families.
DANIELS: A still shocking statistic is that 1,100 family members never got any human remains back to bury. Never got to go through -- through the
ritual of laying their loved ones to rest. That`s not a public space at all. Only family members are allowed back behind the wall.
BOLDUAN: Right next door, a room dedicated to the lives of those lost.
DANIELS: Exactly. That room is in an area called "In Memoriam". And it is a photographic portrait of each and everyone of the 2,983 victims. You
see pictures. A father coaching his son`s little league team. A wedding, you see the lives that were -- that were lost that day and not just about
how they died. It`s who these people were.
BOLDUAN: Throughout the museum, chilling reminders of the day. Handmade flyers for the missing. A cross emerging from the wreckage. Everyday
items simply left behind.
DANIELS: We hope through these artifacts and images tell that story of just -- it was panic.
BOLDUAN: And while the museum is vast, one small exhibit has been the biggest source of controversy. It`s focus, the terrorists themselves
including a film criticized for not making a clear enough distinction between Islam and Al-Qaida. There`s been a lot of criticism, why give any
time to the terrorist?
DANIELS: You know, it`s -- it`s-- one way to look at it is, you don`t build a holocaust museum and not be very clear that the Nazi`s were the
ones who committed those atrocities. Al-Qaida was an extremist, terrorist group but no one will come through this exhibit and in any way that we are
indicting an entire religion which we are in no way are.
BOLDUAN: It seems very appropriate that you end here at the last call.
DANIELS: And it`s -- again goes right back to resiliency. Seeing those messages of hope and remembrance on this very tall column that still
BOLDUAN: Kate Bolduan, CNN New York.
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AZUZ: And that`s where we`ll conclude are special coverage of the 19th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We`ll leave you today with our
traditional Friday recap of some other events of the week. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.