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Queen Elizabeth II's Hearse Travels The Royal Mile In Scotland; King Charles III To Face Monarchy's Colonial History; U.S. Marks 9/11 Anniversary; Six Moments Of Silence At Memorial Plaza To Honor Lives Lost On 9/11. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired September 11, 2022 - 08:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you for joining us in Scotland.

Alongside my colleagues, we'll continue to follow the royal cortege going through Scotland. The coffin bearing the queen about halfway through its journey to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.

Thousands are lining the streets to say their final farewells to Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest reigning monarch. This is the first leg in her journey back to London, where she will lie in state until the funeral, set for next Monday, September 19th, at Westminster Abbey.

We have live coverage with the team. Nic Robertson is here. Also want to get my colleague first, that's Isa Soares in Edinburgh with the latest.

Are you seeing crowds yet?

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We are indeed. Starting to really pick up. It was very busy because in the last hour there was also a transfer of power, the proclamation, not just here but also in Northern Ireland and in Wales.

The crowd starting to pick up. People wanting to be part of history and pay final respects to a monarch that defined so many generations. One lady said she's the only monarch I have ever known. And my children see her as a granny.

So the cortege will go past me, make its way to Holyroodhouse, where the queen will stay for the night. I'm joined now, want to bring in Hilary, who drove for about 1.5 hours away.

Explain to the viewers what this moment means to you and why it is important to be here today.

HILARY GEMMEL, SCOTTISH RESIDENT: It is important to pay the respects to our queen, the only queen I have ever really known. And I brought my mom with my today. She is 70. She just wanted to come and to pay her respects. It's a moment in history and we're happy to be here.


SOARES: Emotional moment, no doubt. The cortege going to the coastal city of Dundee, many people bow their heads with tears in their eyes.

What emotion do you think you will feel?

GEMMEL: A tear in my eye. On Thursday night, I definitely had a tear in my eye. I feel like we lost one of the family.

SOARES: Thank you very much.

I think we will see many people in a somber mood paying respects. Don.

SOARES: Isa, thank you.

Want to get to my colleagues at Buckingham Palace.

You see the king behind you?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We heard, as you talked about the solemnity up there a cheer go up and King Charles III is behind us in that procession.

So we know -- and Max and I have been talking about meetings he's holding there. Clearly he probably actually still lives and lays his head at Clarence House. It is not that far. It is like literally a one-minute car ride.



MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: -- factored in to allow the public to see him. Today is about the queen so we won't see a lot of him. He's going for private meetings in there. But it's a nice way to balance it.

AMANPOUR: If I said it once, I said it a million times, for them to believe it, they have to see it. These days are about actually making everything visible. The crowd is delighted to see their new king, cheering. This is the process of the seamless transition in very, very stark visuals and very visible to the people of this country and the world.

FOSTER: We'll see if he'll do a walkabout. It seems unlikely.

AMANPOUR: He has substantive meetings today with the director general, the secretary general of the Commonwealth and other high commissioners. I might point out how much tribute is flowing through.

We mentioned that even an autocratic leader like president Xi Jinping of China sent condolences and his congratulations to King Charles III. He was here in 2015 for a state visit with Queen Elizabeth II. Pakistan, which we all know from the headlines of the last week, is

undergoing one of the its worst natural disaster in history. The floods killed so many people, massive swaths of Pakistan remain underwater.

They are a member of the Commonwealth and they will today have an official day of mourning tomorrow, mourning with this country as their country mourns such a disaster, as well.

LEMON: Max, we have been noticing the crowds getting bigger.

Can you give us an update of crowd size?

FOSTER: You couldn't get more people in here. They closed off roads and put barriers up and they're all squeezed along pavements right now. There's big lines coming down from Green Park.

One element of the plan to relieve pressure is to move the flowers from outside Buckingham Palace to Green Park to create a flower garden. And that helped because people are coming here and they're being directed to the flower garden.

But people still come down to the palace in hopes of seeing the king and the ones here were lucky enough to see him. This is a breathing, living palace.

As the king went in, we saw the flags swapped over. So the king is in residence. We see the royal standard. This is what we see and also note that the royal standard never flies at half staff because the monarch never dies.

Going back to where you talked about you feel a misjudgment of the queen not to come straight down when Diana died, the debate was about how the flag wasn't being lowered.

And their argument was the flag should never be lowered even on the death of the monarch -- or only for the death of the monarch. I think that speaks to how the queen was already responsive. There's protocols in place and she broke protocol to let the flags be lowered for Diana in response to pressure.

That's how the constitution gets adapted over time.

AMANPOUR: Of course, it was a mean fields, it was the whole of Britain that felt it back then and the tabloids and the broadsheets were basically, ma'am, we are hurting. Come and hear our pain.

As you said, she then reacquainted herself with the pulse of the people.

LEMON: I want to get out to the crowd there. Our colleague, Nada Bashir, is there.

What are you hearing?

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are hundreds of people here at Green Park across the street from Buckingham Palace. People are directed to leave the flowers and cards and notes here because there's too many flowers. We see vans coming every 20 minutes or so transporting the flowers to leave them here.


BASHIR: We have been speaking to people, saying they want to pay their respects to someone revered by so many people for so many years and they're here to take part in a moment of history. That was the message of people we spoke to earlier. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are from up north of Sheffield. The queen, ever since we have been allowed thus all who we know. We just wanted to pay our respects.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that's quite exciting. I think there's a lot of sorrow. She made it to 96. She did really well. I think it's exciting to see the king come in as well. I think he will be a good king. It is historic, sad and exciting all at the same time, I think.


BASHIR: Look. I have to say the numbers keep on getting bigger. We see crowds of people streaming in, emotional and moved by the so many people here. But of course, there are many people coming down to Buckingham Palace from across the country to take part in a moment of history and a moment some will never see again.

And a lot of optimism and hope around this new era under King Charles. We saw that yesterday, many crowded outside St. James' Palace to hear the proclamation and watching on their phones. It is a moment to behold. Don.

LEMON: Nada, thank you very much. That's the scene in London. Want to get to Edinburgh and that's Nic Robertson on the Royal Mile.

It is such a somber moment for the people of Scotland and for the world.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It is. I'll give you a little flavor of what we see here. The road across the street is where the queen will drive in to Edinburgh, coming into Edinburgh from the north. Aberdeen -- and still people waiting in the towns and villages along the route there -- to Stonehaven to the city of Brechin, Forfar, Dundee, Perth.

The street there is one of the main streets in Edinburgh, a shopping street. Quietly off to the side, there's security in place here. And then around the corner is Edinburgh Castle.

Going down the street behind the castle, past the market, climb the hill and then descend the Royal Mile down that very famous and ancient street to the Palace of Holyroodhouse where the queen will be taken to the Throne Room. The crowds are really yet to gather. The police and barriers are here.

It's days like today that memories are created for people. My brother and young son on the route, hoping to catch a glimpse around Dundee.

I spoke to my mother about the coronation of the queen and she remembers that and, in the days after the coronation, when the queen did a tour of the boroughs of London, she remembers watching the queen go by.

These images and the things that people will see today and their experiences they will carry with them for their lives. We expect to see the whole area fill up soon.

LEMON: Nic Robertson, thank you very much.


LEMON: Did you want to jump in?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Nic touched a chord with me. He just took me back 40, 50 years, a kid living in Liverpool. The queen visits to open the new Mersey Tunnel. It is about these moments of which she touched our lives.

LEMON: Your face lit up when he said that.


QUEST: I remember when the queen was coming where I live to open the tunnel.

LEMON: Imagine a career day with parents. Nothing matters when the queen comes in. Nothing else in the world matters.

QUEST: When you saw the queen -- and I saw her many times -- it was a presence. We used to talk you were in the presence.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you very much.

Stay with us. Our special coverage will continue in a moment. You are watching CNN.





LEMON: You are watching the continuing coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Her Majesty. We are live here in Edinburgh and through the Scottish countryside and also at the palace in -- Buckingham Palace in London, watching the crowds grow there.

Max Foster and Christiane Amanpour there, watching the throngs of people showing up. We'll follow the coverage of the death of the queen and also the proclamation of King Charles III. Meantime, back to New York -- in Washington D.C., Boris Sanchez -- Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: As we track the final farewell of Queen Elizabeth II, we watch the global outpouring of grief for the queen and reflecting on the brutal aspects of British colonial history.


SANCHEZ: That legacy highlights the complex path that King Charles has to confront as Commonwealth nations demand accountability from the monarch over slavery. Let's bring in the global opinions editor for "The Washington Post," Karen Attiah, for a perspective.

What about those that say it's not the right time to talk about Britain's colonial past?

KAREN ATTIAH, GLOBAL OPINIONS EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think some people would ask, when is the appropriate time to talk about it?

I think -- it's appropriate to say obviously that the queen was loved by many and was a symbol of Britain's past greatness when Britain ruled a good portion of the world. Right?

At the same time I think, especially two years after an intense global reckoning over colonialism and racism and the role of the West in a world order that profited off of slavery, the passing of Queen Elizabeth is forcing a reckoning on the end of this era -- or at least the demands, as you said in the introduction, for reparations and justice.

And even being able to know and understand the history, I think one thing that people don't know and don't talk about is, in the 1960s, even Britain hid or destroyed documents that detailed the brutalities in Kenya and other colonies.

So the fact we have a difficult time talking about the things because it was deliberate. I think that we were prevented from being able to talk honestly about, frankly, how the royal family came to be wealthy and privileged and powerful.

SANCHEZ: I heard the argument that many were still supportive of the queen. And the president of Kenya came out with the remarks eulogizing her.

What about the argument that the crown is popular even in the societies that Britain exploited?

ATTIAH: I always take things with a grain of salt when governments expresses something, particularly those part of the Commonwealth. There are plenty of stories that need to be heard about how the descendants in Kenya of the Mau Mau rebellion are launching a lawsuit against the U.K. for torture and the crimes during that rebellion.

If you look to India and Ireland and to see people who are really taking this time to express just the fact that Britain frankly is not necessarily as universally loved as they would hope it to be.

That's OK. That is what it means to be a part of a history that's checkered with greatness and cruelty in it. We can address these injustices going forward and the former colonies can take their place in history and throw off the shackles, I think, of colonization.

SANCHEZ: What would you like to see King Charles do?

ATTIAH: Many calling for apologies; we can speak on end for the calls for Britain to return many of the artifacts and cultural artifacts they plundered from many countries. I think frankly at the very minimum least, begin to address some of these issues and take them head-on.

SANCHEZ: Karen, we very much appreciate your perspective. Thank you.

ATTIAH: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Stay with CNN. NEW DAY continues in a moment.




AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Today the U.S. is marking 21 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks when nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: There are commemoration ceremonies in New York, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This is a live look in lower Manhattan right now at the Memorial Plaza where families and dignitaries are holding six moments of silence to honor those lost.

The first one coming at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time. The moment that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on today's ceremonies.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Boris and Amara, good morning to you. Those 9/11 families are once again coming together here at the site of where the Twin Towers once stood. They are continuing to lead not only the nation but the entire country as they mark 21 years since that awful day.

At any moment now, we are expecting about six moments of silence throughout the morning. They will acknowledge when each of those planes hit, each of the World Trade Center towers when they fell and also when the jetliners crashed into the Pentagon and also into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Later today we are expecting to hear those names of the nearly 3,000 victims once again echo through this Memorial Plaza as officials coming together including Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Chuck Schumer and also on hand, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Here's a bit of what he had to say about today's events.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: It's a very solemn day. This is a time of commemoration and honoring the lives lost. We honor them through days of commemoration like this, ceremonies, even instances when we reflect on the lives lost and what they meant to us. We also commemorate them through the work that we do every day.

First responders. Those of us in the Department of Homeland Security. It is the families, victims' rights groups. It's a very important message that we do not forget the lives that were lost. It's the day when we reflect on the tragedy but we also redouble our resolve to keep our way of life vibrant and free.


SANDOVAL: And tonight once again that iconic tribute in light will shine toward the sky. Those columns of lights shining from Lower Manhattan. So that's a bit of what we can expect tonight again from dusk to dawn.

Amara, Boris -- back to you.

WALKER: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you.

And we are continuing to remember the victims and survivors of 9/11. We're going to go live to the Pentagon next.



WALKER: This morning a somber anniversary for the U.S. marking 21 years since the September 11th attacks. The Biden administration joining victims' families this hour and next as remembrance ceremonies honor their loved ones. Moments from now, President Biden will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon.

SANCHEZ: Let's take you there now live with CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. Barbara, it was almost an hour from now, 9:37 a.m. I believe 21 years ago that American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the west side of the Pentagon.

Walk us through the significance of today's remembrance ceremony.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It is so many years. There's always concern I think that does the nation not remember the details, not that anybody forgets, but has time, you know, passed that the edges become a bit softer.

So the president being here today, the commander in chief, is a moment to pause and remember in sharp focus the 184 souls lost that morning here at the Pentagon.

It is a very rainy morning outside here, so different than that beautiful morning when it happened that late summer morning in 2001.

Now, you see the American flag down the side of the Pentagon and it was on 9/11 late in the day when they unfurled that flag and that has happened every year since. That shows the memories, if you will, that the president will address when he is here. He will speaking from the Pentagon Memorial. It's just outside the building. It's a series of benches and trees commemorating each of the victims. Those who were on the plane and those who were killed in the building.

So I think it's really significant that every year so far we have seen a commander in chief come, rain or shine. Very rainy this morning but he along with the Pentagon leadership will stand, reflect and remember -- Boris, Amara.

WALKER: And you know, I think so many of us remember that day so clearly. It's just etched into not just from memories but our emotions.

Barbara, 21 years ago, can you take us back to where you were when the planes hit and fell?

STARR: Well, it was 9:30 in the morning. Pretty early and most of the journalists that cover the building were just beginning to filter inside. We were watching the attacks unfold in New York. I was in the press corridor.

And suddenly -- and my friends and colleagues at CNN have heard me say this so many times -- suddenly a Pentagon law enforcement officer came running down the hall screaming literally at the top of his lungs, "Get out, get out. We have been hit. Everybody get out."

If you were on the other side of the building -- this is a huge, huge area, the Pentagon (INAUDIBLE) did not feel the plane hit the building. You only knew it from watching TV and that officer essentially sounding the alarm.

Now after 21 years there's much more significant security, audio systems inside the building. If anything were to happen everyone would immediately know and be notified.

But it was a chilling moment because I mean remember, 21 years ago I don't think America had the very sad history of years of terrorist attacks.

A lot of -- I mean on my part, not a lot of awareness. I woke up that morning, got dressed, came to work and did not certainly expect the world to change for the next 21 years.


STARR: I just want to briefly add, what's so important and I think the president will be reflecting on this I think is the instant heroism you saw at the Pentagon. Military personnel running into the fire. Running into the area that was so badly damaged. Trying to render aid in the very initial moments.

I saw that. I was on the attack site even before emergency services were able to get here. And so you saw that heroism within seconds of the plane hitting the building.

SANCHEZ: Yes. The heroism, one of the most important things to take away from an ugly day in the nation's history.

Barbara Starr from the Pentagon, thank you so much.

We also want to send our thanks to Don Lemon our teams across the United Kingdom, following the farewell of Queen Elizabeth II.

And thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us.



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: A breath taking view of the rolling hills of Scotland where Queen Elizabeth II has begun her final journey home. Her coffin now enroute from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh.

It is a day of remembrance here in the U.S. as well with a service under way in New York to mark 21 years since the September 11th attacks.

We are also watching ceremonies at the Pentagon where President Biden will speak in the next hour. We'll carry his remarks live.

Welcome to a special edition of STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, along with Don Lemon in Scotland. And Don, there is a lot to reflect on as we cover two really important stories this morning.

LEMON: Yes you said that right, Dana.

Here in Scotland we are seeing an outpouring of love, of grief and really a deep respect as people turn out to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth and to get a glimpse of the hearse carrying her coffin.

We follow the procession every step of the way including the arrival ceremony at the palace of Holyroodhouse here in Edinburgh a little over two hours from now.

And Dana, I look forward to being back with you a little bit later on in the hour.

BASH: Yes, Don. We'll get back to you. And we are at the table talking first about 9/11. We're waiting for the first moment of silence to come about the north tower being hit for the first time.

John, you were at the White House on 9/11.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After the North Tower was hit I was at a meeting downtown and one of our White House producers texted me. I think it's a small, probably not big deal but maybe you want to head over here a little earlier than you were planning. And made my way to the White House. I was going through the north gate when they evacuated.

I remember that day as if it was yesterday. Women running out of the White House, their heels, their shoes falling off. Our cameraman --

BASH: Hang on one second. Let's pause for a moment of silence in New York marking the exact time when the first plane hit the World Trade Center, striking the North Tower.


BASH: I mean, this just brings back all of the emotion, the horror, the disbelief.

KING: The confusion of that day. The fear of that day. Just the questions throughout the day.

As I said, I was going through the northwest gate of the White House just as they were evacuating us and our producers and our crew just did heroic work. I remember we fixed the camera on the residence. We fixed the camera on the west wing. I ran down to the White House booth in the basement and called her to the bureau to make sure the microphone where we track our pieces is open.

We were thinking a plane was going to hit the building and then they rushed out and the Secret Service gave us a few minutes of grace.

BASH: As you're speaking, I just want to point that Vice President Kamala Harris --

KING: Right.

BASH: -- in New York.

KING: On that day we were trying to figure out -- as that scene was playing out, we would find out moments later, they literally were picking up the then Vice President Dick Cheney from his office and taking him. We learned all the cold war alphabet soup. PEOC -- Presidential Emergency Operations Center, deep below the White House where they took the vice president.

Remember President Bush was in Florida -- from Florida to Louisiana to Nebraska then back to the White House that night.

We were reporting across the street at Lafayette park. The Secret Service, the brave unit 4 (ph) Secret Service standing with automatic weapons. I've never seen them with automatic weapons on the grounds of the White House surrounding the building.

They couldn't leave. They thought a plane was coming to hit the building and they couldn't leave and they stood there. Just a day of confusion. It wasn't too long into that day where people started -- once you

figured out how to reach people again which was hard on that day -- we started to hear the words Osama bin Laden and everything in America changed that day.

BASH: Susan Glasser?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, that's right. It's hard to realize that there are these moments, right, that there's a before and an after. And that was one of those moments.


GLASSER: And you know, we were in Moscow. We were reporters for the "Washington Post". We were in Moscow actually deep inside the Russian ministry of defense when the first plane hit and we didn't know what to think of it.

We moved on with this Pentagon delegation to a press conference. In the middle of the press conference, the second plane hit and a very, very, very large uniformed marine came in and literally, physically dragged the Pentagon officials out.

But it was Vladimir Putin who was the very first world leader to call President Bush that day. And you know, it's a reminder that our first instincts about what the consequences of a catastrophe are going to be aren't necessarily, you know, what actually results.

And of course today, you know, you have Russia at war, not only with Ukraine but a rift really with the United States and the rest of the western world.

BASH: Yes. Everything has changed in so many ways.

Abby Phillip.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And I think especially for people in my generation. I was in the eighth grade when 9/11 happened. Most of my adult life has been -- most of my life has been in the post-9/11 world.

I mean those moments, as you were saying -- in those moments of silence, it just brings you back to the feeling of dread, the feeling of uncertainty in those days.

I grew up not far from Washington, just a few miles north of here, and my dad was working in downtown D.C. that day. And I remember being in the classroom, and the word just passing like wildfire in our school. They rolled our TV in so that we could start to watch the news, but we were on lockdown because everyone in this surrounding area -- kids in school, people at work -- didn't know whether to stay or to go.

And eventually we did go home. And eventually my dad came home after trying to get through basically gridlock in Washington. But my whole life basically has been shaped by that moment. Our entire understanding -- my generation, millennials and those who are younger than us, our entire generations are shaped by this world to the point where there is almost no memory of the world that comes before it.

And so many people, I mean 21 years, people who were born on 9/11. My niece was born on 9/11. And those kids are -- you know, they are of voting age. They are participating in our democracy today and they are living in a world that has been forever changed by those moments.

BASH: Yes. And you're talking about women -- no question, Abby. And John, you were talking about being at the White House and watching women in particular running so fast they were losing their shoes.

I was at the Capitol on 9/11. Same kind of scene. And we thought we were ok. We were evacuated to the lawn right outside of the Capitol building.

And then all of a sudden the Capitol police started to scream run, run for your life. It turns out, we learned later, that that's when they knew that Flight 93 which ended up crashing in Pennsylvania, thanks to some real heroes, was heading towards either the Capitol or the White House. It turns out it was the Capitol.

But the just absolute uncertainty. And again, the feeling of seeing and hearing the people who were there to protect you having fear because they didn't know what was happening.

KING: You could see it in their eyes. The Secret Service scout (ph) was screaming "Run". Just screaming "Run" --

BASH: Yes.

KING: -- at the White House. And I just -- to Abby's point, I remember, you know, Noah and Hannah, my oldest children, were third grade and first grade. And it took a while, first you're doing your job. And then you go, oh my God, my children are in suburban D.C. And so where are they? Are they ok? Are they locked down?

And that was the juggle of the day trying to deal with work. And then the immediate thing, you know, where was the president? Were they really going to bring him back to Washington? Was it safe to bring him back to Washington.

Again, you find out -- I remember you know, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin went with the Vice President Dick Cheney at the time down to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center.

Well, you don't know the switchboard to get through there. Cell phones weren't working after most of the day. It was just this crazy confusing day.

And I still 21 years later, every time I hear these names read, it gives me chills. And we should remember each and every one of them -- it's incredibly important to remember that day and the heroes who died that day in all of the locations. Incredibly important to remember.

And then you can connect to Susan's points, big events change world history. In the U.K. right now, they're wondering what the death of the Queen

will do to the future of the U.K. and the Commonwealth and so on and so forth.

9/11 changed everything. And you can trace it back to the creation of the TSA, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, a scrambling of the security state including some steps that went too far in history.

And then you can look at our politics today. It was a moment, you mentioned the Putin call, that brought America and the world together. 9/11 brought -- it's hard to remember, in the polarized, messy world we live in now that there was a brief period of global unity, not just American unity but global unity.


KING: And then the Iraq war dissipated that and you can trace and you see it. Iraq war is a legacy of 9/11. That brought us Obama presidency. And the nativism and the fear and the xenophobia is also a legacy of 9/11 and that's what brought us Trump.

You can trace everything -- every big thing that has happened in our politics since, you can trace that to that day and the forces it unleashed.

BASH: I want to bring in Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Barbara, I know it's always a difficult day and an odd day, because it's also your birthday. So I guess it's time to say happy birthday.

But it certainly has changed this day for you forever. And I've heard you tell the story multiple times, of you waking up saying, oh, it's a beautiful day. I think I'll have an easy day today. It's my birthday, and then the world changed. And your world in particular changed being at the Pentagon.

STARR: So much like all Americans. Permit me just to say for one minute the one piece of good news is I was able to call my family before the cell phones went down because of course, they know that I worked inside the Pentagon. So they were able to hear from me, but moving on from that.

It is the heroism that immediately emerged in this building. I was -- I got out very quickly and was on the side of the building where you see the memorial, the actual impact site of Flight 77 where 184 souls here lost their lives.

The fire was massive, and even before emergency services could get here, the police were calling for anybody who had medical training to please step forward. And what you saw were dozens and dozens of military personnel rushing forward to do whatever they could to help.

And it would be the beginning of a real journey of some 21 years. Heroism in the seconds after the plane hit and all the way to the heroism that we saw at Kabul International Airport during the very troubled withdrawal and evacuation several months ago when so many service members again lost their lives in a terrorist bomb.

It always strikes me that that really has bracketed this era of the portion of the war on terror that was the war in Afghanistan.

Here, at the Pentagon -- again this was -- you guys were seeing them as adults (ph). Sure, the years have gone on and there are less and less people here at the Pentagon that served in an active duty combat zone that most of the young people joining the military today will never see combat in Afghanistan, combat in Iraq.

That's a good thing, that they will not have to serve in combat, that they will not be terribly wounded or their families will not have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

But it is now again a new era in the U.S. military. I think it's very fair to say the U.S. military, national security finally be on a bit of the 9/11 era in that operations have changed, people will not see these combat zones and we will see how it all moves forward.

But the thing that doesn't change, President Biden, the U.S. Commander-in-chief, paying his respects today here at the Pentagon at the time in just a short time, marking the time that the plane hit. But really paying respects across the nation and across the world to those who were killed at all three impact sites. And to the sacrifice I think that the U.S. military and military families have made now for so many years.

BASH: So well said. I want to go back to New York.

Right now Polo Sandoval, you're there. 21 years ago, people were super unclear about what that first plane really was, was it a small plane. We didn't really know. Obviously shortly after, we knew because a second plane hit.

You're there at the site. What are you seeing?

SANDOVAL: Right, Dana. 21 years ago there was so much that we did not know at that moment. And here we are 21 years later as we approach the second moment of silence which will mark the moment that the second tower was hit by the aircraft.

And what was really striking to me, Dana, in spending some time around those memorial pools, are these families that come in it's clear that this date clearly brings back the memories, the pain. But I have to say there was also a sense of pride that these families carried with them literally.

Many of them wearing buttons with their loved one's faces on them. and they come closer to the memorial with flowers in hand prepared, yes to remember that day, but more than anything to celebrate the legacy of their loved ones, Dana.


SANDOVAL: So yes, I think that that was perhaps the most striking thing for me this morning in spending some time at the memorial plaza where these names, close to 3,000 names once again echo through that hallowed ground, to that sacred space as we approach that second moment of silence here in just a few moments.