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CNN Larry King Weekend

Where Were You on 9-11?

Aired September 07, 2002 - 21:00   ET


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: 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 of the World Trade Center.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, one simple question, many life changing answers, where were you on September 11, 2001? Next, on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Thanks for joining us. Tonight, we begin a very special week of coverage with a very different show. As anyone who watches this program knows, my interviews usually involve a lot of different questions about a lot of different topics. But tonight, we're asking only one thing, where were you on September 11?

The answers you'll hear are as individual as the people giving them. Some came from those who experienced 9/11 terror firsthand, others from people that watched events unfold from a distance, caught up in shock and in grief. The stories are very personal and, in the case of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a little prophetic.


KING: You were right here when the Pentagon...


KING: And someone told me that you had spoken to a congressional delegation?

RUMSFELD: Right here in this room.

KING: In this room about terrorism that morning?

RUMSFELD: I had said at an eight o'clock breakfast that sometime in the next two, four, six, eight, 10, 12 months, there would be an event that would occur in the world that would be sufficiently shocking that it would remind people again how important it is to have a strong, healthy Defense Department that contributes to -- that underpins peace and stability in our world.

And that is what underpins peace and stability is the fact we can't have healthy economies and active lives unless we live in a peaceful, stable world and I said that to these people. And, someone walked in and handed a note that said that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center, and we adjourned the meeting and I went in to get my CIA briefing right next door here.

KING: Next door is your office.

RUMSFELD: And the whole building shook within 15 minutes and it was a jarring thing.

KING: And you ran toward the smoke?


KING: Because?

RUMSFELD: Oh, goodness, who knows? I wanted to see what had happened. I wanted to see if people needed help and went downstairs and helped for a bit with some people on stretchers king of thing, and then I came back up here and started. I realized I had to get back up here and get at it.


KING: Watching it from somewhere else.

POWELL: I was with the president of Peru, President Toledo, had breakfast. We were having a meeting talking about economic issues, talking about how he wanted a better trade relationship with the United States when the notes came in. I got my note just a little before he was being handed a note, and when I saw the note and realized there were two planes...

KING: That's what it said?

POWELL: It said two planes, first a jet and a prop plane. The first report is always a little off. But when I saw it was two, I immediately said it wasn't an accident. It had to be a terrorist incident and then within a few moments after that, other notes came in and the magnitude of the disaster was obvious, and we were about to finish.

I was in Peru for an Organization of the American States meeting to pass a charter of democracy for the Western Hemisphere, and so I went to that meeting while my plane was being readied, canceled the rest of my trip, and while my plane was being readied I went to that meeting and received the condolences from all of my colleagues in the Organization of American States, 34 nations, and then they rose, applauded, and we by unanimity we all stood up and endorsed this charter for democracy as a response to the terrorists.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I was flying to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I...

KING: You were in an airplane? ASHCROFT: I was in an airplane. We landed the plane, refueled, and then came back to Washington, D.C. and we were one of the planes that came back with a fighter escort in landing in a setting which was very troublesome.

I could see the smoke from the Pentagon from about 50 miles out and it was a very distressing thing. Obviously, it's not nearly as distressing for me to have witnessed that as it was for the people and the families whose lives were destroyed in that attack, but it obviously is very disconcerting to return to this city in a setting where the kind of attack which had been launched on America was still underway.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I was in Senator Kennedy's office. I had gone over to brief the Education Committee on the results of the summit I'd had earlier in the summer about early childhood education. Actually, I heard as I got in the car about the first plane but, of course, we thought then that it was maybe just some strange accident, and then by the time we heard about the second plane, I was there in his office.

KING: Did they rush you right back to get you under guard?

L. BUSH: No we stayed there actually for a long time and it was he and Senator Judd Gregg came in who was also on the Education Committee. He is a very good friend of mine and of the president's and we stayed there for quite some time until we got the word that they were evacuating the capitol as well as the White House.

KING: It's interesting, a Kennedy and a Bush together, two tragedies.

L. BUSH: I know it, exactly, and I thought about that at the time, of course. I knew how he had been so -- our whole country was so impacted by his brother's death, but how personally that must have been for him and then to be with him on such a day.

LYNNE CHENEY, WIFE OF VICE PRESIDENT RICHARD CHENEY: I spent that day down in the Emergency Operations Center, the president's center down under the White House.

KING: Is that called a bunker?

L. CHENEY: Well no, it's a word that I use. It's called the PEOC, the Presidential Emergency Operations Center.

KING: And who was there?

L. CHENEY: Dick, I went down with him. Condy Rice was there most of the day. People came in and out. Norm Mineta was there for a long time. The FBI head, CIA head dropped in and out, we were in television contact with different offices in Washington.

KING: How many different moods? I guess there's rage, anger, what happened? What was going on?

L. CHENEY: You know at the time everyone was just cool and professional.

KING: Really?

L. CHENEY: Yes. Of course, you know, there were gasps when the towers went down, but really so little display of emotion in that room and it was exactly right that there wasn't. I've since though had a chance to look at some photographs that were taken and people have the most devastated looks on their faces.

KING: Where were you when you heard of the first crash?

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI, NEW YORK: I was in the city and I got a call to turn on the television, there was a plan hit the World Trade Center, and then I saw the second one and immediately called the White House and spoke with the president in a very short period of time and urged him to shut down the airspace around New York and they immediately shut down the airspace around the country. Who knows what else may have happened if the president hadn't taken that step?

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: When I first found out about it, I was just finishing a breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. I was notified that there was a -- that something had struck the World Trade Center and the first notification was that it was a twin engine plane.

So, we rushed down to the trade center and on the way down we found out that it was a large plane and while we were going down the second plane hit and maybe about three minutes before we got there, and I realized at that point that it was a terrorist attack when the second plane hit.

When I have time, I reflect on it and I look at the devastation and just a minute ago as I was walking in here, I said to someone I can not believe that somebody actually did this to New York City, that they did this to our city. How could they attack two buildings? We have 5,000 to 6,000 people missing. That's one of the, you know, largest military attacks in history.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor, what's the situation right now?

GIULIANI: The situation is that two airplanes have attacked apparently. What? All right, well, then let's go north then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us basically what happened with the airplanes?

GIULIANI: Come with us. Come with us.




BRYANT GUMBEL, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: It's 8:52 here in New York. I'm Bryant Gumbel. We understand that there has been a plane crash on the southern tip of Manhattan. You're looking at the World Trade Center. We understand that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. We don't know anything more than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does not appear that there's any kind of an effort up there yet. Now remember -- oh, my God. That looks like a second plane.


KING: Pictures no one will ever forget, particularly not the people who reported on the events of September 11 for a stunned and terrified nation. Following a summer when sharks and Chandra Levy dominated headlines, the 9/11 attacks gave American journalists a renewed sense of purpose.


DIANE SAWYER, "ABC'S PRIMETIME THURSDAY AND GOOD MORNING AMERICA": We were getting ready to sign off, Charlie and I, and in our ear they say those words, hold on a second, and then the next thing they say, it appears a plane may have crashed into the World Trade Center, and we did exactly what everybody in the country did, I think, watching. You enter this state of sort of consecutive denials and you think well it must have been a tragic accident by an amateur pilot.

And then you see the next plane coming. You think well that must be a fire retardant plane. No, no that must be a plane coming to help, and it takes a long time to compute that this is the thing we have never seen before. And we had a wonderful reporter, Don Daylor (ph), on the air from the scene itself and he said this is the sound of shrieking like a missile. This is like a plane being used as a missile and we knew. We knew.

PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS: I think in many ways that people are always keen to know what our own personal feelings were at the time. I really think in some respects that people like us at moments like that are protected somewhat from having emotional reactions.

KING: You're working.

JENNINGS: Because you're so focused and you're working so hard.

KING: Does it set in later?

JENNINGS: Yes, but in that week, you know, it set in. It came. It went. It came. It went. For me, there was one very tough moment in the middle of the day. I turned around and on the desk behind me there was a message from my children just saying they called. My son is in school in California. My daughter is in school in Massachusetts. And, I just -- I just lost it. In fact, I even lose it sometimes telling the story. And, I turned around to the audience and I said, "now we've all got to talk to our children. We must talk, you must call your children," and that was the only moment that I just thought, oh, hey, get it together, Jennings. You're losing it here.

So we have four major commercial aircraft which have been involved in either accidents or violence today.

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: I remember it was such a beautiful day. You know it was clear and crisp and was election day in New York, so on the way running through the lobby I said to somebody, one of my neighbors, did you hear what happened? He said the election's not over already, is it? I said no, no, no. There's a plane that's hit the World Trade Center.

By the time I got a cab and headed downtown, the second plane then I heard the account of that happening and it was a reporter that I knew on radio and he was describing it as an airliner, and other people at Washington Square Park were describing the low flyover and I knew that we then had been attacked, that there was a terrorist attack.

KING: Did you also know the world had changed?

BROKAW: I knew the world had changed. It is just beginning, I suspect, for a lot of people to fully sink in about what we're going through and we are just halfway through this day.

KING: How far do you live from where you work?

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS: Well, 20 minutes when I'm sort of dawdling along, but it took me about 12 minutes that morning.

KING: And what was that ride like?

RATHER: Well, I was listening to the radio, taking telephone calls, and I could see when I came to -- our broadcast center is between 10th and 11th Avenue. At 10th Avenue, I did stop to take a look. You couldn't see much, but you could see smoke coming out and also traffic was beginning to stack up and people were beginning to come back from that area not yet in great waves but as any reporter would have said, this was huge. This was really huge.

And then for about three nanoseconds I thought, wow, you know, Dan, the best thing is to get right to the heart of the story and I thought about going down. I thought no, I better get inside. There's going to be a lot of anchoring to do.

The word of the day is steady, steady. Yes, there have been some terrible things happening, but until and unless we know the facts, it's very difficult to draw many conclusions.

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: It was very strange. At one point, I wrote a note to Charlie Gibson. He had done something and I wrote a note commending him and he said: "Isn't it great to be back in the news business again? Isn't it terrible the reason we are?" KING: Do you remember your first thoughts?

WALTERS: Oh, you just knew that something horrible had happened.

KING: You were numb, right?

WALTERS: Yes, you know, you're just this is not possible, and then of course after, it's bad enough to see it but then to see that building coming down and not even being able to imagine how are they getting out? What are they doing? What is happening? And to have to report it, I thought the anchors and all of the networks, CNN, everybody, they just did a fantastic job keeping everybody as much abreast as we could.

ANDY ROONEY, CBS "60 MINUTES": I was in my office at West 57th Street. We have a window that looks directly south. We could not actually see the building but we could see the smoke and everything.

KING: Do you remember what your first thoughts were?

ROONEY: Well, I thought it was a plane that had -- a small plane that somebody had lost control of. It didn't occur to me that it was a terrorist attack.

KING: And when the second plane went in, obviously?

ROONEY: Oh, it became immediately apparent, yes.

KING: Did you realize then that this world is upside down?

ROONEY: Well, I'm not a quick realizer of things like that.

KING: You're slow?


KING: What did you think?

ROONEY: I just sat there looking at television, sort of dumb, and thought how horrible it was. The grand aspects of it did not occur to me.

WALTER CRONKITE, FMR. CBS EVENINGS NEWS ANCHOR: I was in Florence the day, September 11, and we got back here as fast as we could but that was the first plane out was the following Sunday.

KING: What was it like for you to come back to New York?

CRONKITE: Well, we came back and we had a personal experience. We have an apartment down by the United Nations that overlooks the East River and looks downtown. We normally could barely see a corner of the World Trade buildings down there. When we came back, we could just see a great cloud of smoke and in the evening the red glow of fire still burning.

But when we opened our windows when the apartment had been closed for a day, we had to shut them instantly. The fumes were so bad and we're probably three miles north of the location.

KING: Wow.

CRONKITE: It was not pleasant.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How are people getting off the island right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, they're walking. A lot of people are getting onto the bridges and walking over the 59th Street Bridge. They're walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.




TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is hard even to contemplate the utter carnage and terror which has engulfed so many innocent people.

PRES. JACQUES CHIRAC, FRANCE (through translator): It is with enormous emotion that France has just learned of these monstrous attacks. There is no other word that it struck the United States of America.

YASSER ARAFAT, PRES., PALESTINIAN AUTH.: God help them. God help them. God help them.

ARIEL SHARON, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It is a most difficult hour. All Israelis stand as one with the American people.


KING: Tonight we are asking one question, where were you on September 11? Some of the most dramatic answers have come from them any world leaders we've talked with, leaders present and past.


KING: Where were you on 9/11, Mr. President?

BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Australia, but I had an unusual experience because my former staff members, Cheryl Mills and Bruce Lindsey (ph) were in Cheryl's office down in Tribeca with a full view of the World Trade Center, so they called me between the time the first tower was hit and the time the second tower was hit and talked me through it.

KING: You were watching it too? CLINTON: Later, I turned it out, but I was downtown in a little town in Fort Douglas (ph), where I had taken my family for vacation after the '96 election.

KING: Did you come right back?

CLINTON: I did. The White House was kind enough to give me military transport and I left the next day and got home as quick as I could.

KING: What would go through the mind of the immediate former president watching this?

CLINTON: I remember exactly what happened. Bruce Lindsey said to me on the phone: "My God, a second plane has hit the second tower." And I said: "Bin Laden did this." That's the first thing I said. He said: "How can you be sure?" I said: "Because only bin Laden and the Iranians could set up the network to do this and they wouldn't do it because they have a country and targets. Bin Laden did it."

KING: Did you also think at the same time we came pretty close to getting him?

CLINTON: Yes. I thought that my virtual obsession with him was well faced and I was full of regret that I didn't get him. I mean, I immediately thought that he had done it.

HIS MAJESTY KING ABDULLAH, JORDAN: I was in the air over Nova Scotia when we first started to hear the news.

KING: What did you do?


KING: Where were you going?

KING ABDULLAH: We were coming to the United States. I was actually coming to Los Angeles and we were going to see the president a few days after that, and then up to the United Nations Security Council, and it didn't dawn on us right away. I mean, a plane had gone into the building. We really didn't realize the extent.

And, I remember going to the cockpit and turning on the BBC World Service and it began to slightly dawn on us the extent of the catastrophe and we headed home. We realized that it was not the right time to burden the American administration with another guest.

BLAIR: I was literally just about to give a speech. In fact, I was about to address our Trade Union Congress, and it's one of those events that obviously you will never forget where you were and what you were doing at the time. And, I just watched it with a sense of shock and disbelief frankly.

KING: Did you know that there were that many British in that building? BLAIR: We didn't know, Larry, for sure, but I mean, it was obvious that because it was a major financial center there would be British people there. But in fact, the numbers of British people killed make it the worst terrorist incident in terms of British people that there's been.

PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK, EGYPT: Of course when I saw this incident on the television, I was sitting by chance listening to one of the channel. So I saw this plane coming to one of the towers. I couldn't believe it at the beginning. I thought maybe something, a dream, and after some time I changed the channel. On CNN, another tower, really it was shocking. I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought a nightmare. I was wondering how could something like this happen in the United States.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed in to the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward and freedom will be defended. I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for You are with me.


KING: Welcome back. Tonight, we're asking just one question on LARRY KING WEEKEND, where were you on September 11? In answering, I guess it's inevitable some of the people would make comparisons to another terrible day still etched in our memory.


KING: Where were you that morning?


KING: Do you remember how you first heard? Was the television on?

KENNEDY: Yes, it was, and then I think I was on the phone with my husband who was downtown, so.

KING: Was he anywhere near there?

KENNEDY: No, not too near, but he could see what was going on.

KING: You've lived with shock your life, your life has been a series of shocks. What was that like for you?

KENNEDY: Well, I think everybody just obviously was just horrified and I think that you know the loss was so overwhelming but I think it did bring people together and that was something that was really an extraordinary thing.

ANN RICHARDS, FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: To tell you the truth the first thing I thought, Larry, was what I thought when I was in Dallas and John Kennedy was killed. I thought, I've got to get home, and whatever home means to you, your instinct is that I've got to get to the place where I feel safe, where I feel protected, where I know there are people who love me.

And the more I thought about it, in reality America is my home. I've always thought of home as being that little country place where I grew up, but the reality is that this whole nation means so much to us and we don't really think about it or realize it until something happens like that travesty on 9/11.

BOB DOLE, FMR. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I was on my way for a little physical checkup at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington. I just walked out the door of the apartment building I live in, The Watergate South, and the doorman had said you know there'd been, a plane had flown into a building in New York, and we said that's a terrible thing.

We didn't know, of course, the enormity of it until we arrived at the hospital. Then I learned more about it and the second plane and it's sort of like other dates that, you know, are going to be etched in our memory forever and this is certainly an important one.

BETTY FORD, FORMER FIRST LADY: Actually, we were in Beaver Creek at our home up in Colorado and my husband...


FORD: Yes. My husband had gone out to swim and came back from the pool and normally we don't have television on in the morning, only in the evening when we're watching LARRY KING. But, the television was on and I heard all this noise and racket and I quick turned -- I was upstairs and I quick turned the television on to see what happened and I couldn't figure out where it was. I knew this was a terrible tragedy but I didn't know where it was.

KING: What did the president say?

FORD: Oh, he was just totally stunned by the whole effect. He couldn't believe that this could happen in our country.

MARIANE PEARL, DANIEL PEARL'S WIDOW: I wasn't back now. It's going to be hard. It's like the most remote and medieval state of India. I was doing a story there.

KING: Was Daniel with you?

PEARL: Yes, absolutely, he was with me.

KING: How did you hear about it?

PEARL: Well, we were coming back from this march. We were following a disciple of Gandhi, who was going to the most dangerous area of India and just walking, you know, and having all these villagers following him. So we were with him.

KING: You like stuff like this?

PEARL: Well, it was a story that I was doing.

KING: So how did you hear?

PEARL: And then we went back to a hotel and put the TV on and so like we were like in the medieval age there and we saw it first of all just collapse, you know, in front of us. It was like pretty weird. That's how I found out.

KING: Did Daniel immediately get on the phone?


KING: Got to go cover this, be part of this story?

PEARL: Yes. Oh, yes. He was South Asia bureau chief. He was the South Asia bureau chief, so you know, Afghanistan was not exactly part of his beat, but Pakistan was.

KING: Tell us the situation on September 11. You have offices. Give us the situation regarding you and that building.

SARAH, DUCHESS OF YORK: Well, we had an office on the 101st floor which was part of Cantor Fitzgerald, and Howard Lutnick had been very, very good to Chances for Children for many years now and indeed to Children in Crisis in Milan and in London.

And, I was just coming out of the "Good Morning America" studios and I looked up and Johnny, my assistant, said you know an airplane has just gone into our office on the 101st floor. I just couldn't believe it. I looked up. It was a clear, blue sky. I said it simply wasn't possible and then I realized, of course, it was a terrorist attack and then you know, and then I just like couldn't believe it, because we lost many friends in the building.

KING: So the television is on. You're seeing the buildings, both in disaster mode, and you're talking to your wife whose just been hijacked.


KING: And she says?

OLSON: She says we've just been hijacked. She told me that they did not know she was making this phone call. She told me that she had been herded to the back of the plane. She mentioned that they had used knives and box cutters to hijack the plane. She mentioned that the pilot had announced that the plane had been hijacked. I believe she said that. I had to tell her about the two airplanes that had hit the World Trade Center.

KING: Why?

OLSON: I just felt that I had to. I had to tell her.

LISA BEAMER, HUSBAND TODD WAS FLIGHT 93 HERO: I was walking out the door to go to the grocery store and the phone rang and it was a friend asking if Todd was OK and where he was. She knew he was flying that morning and I had no idea what she was talking about when she told me the World Trade Center had been hit with an airplane. I immediately turned on the TV and, of course, like every American, I was just shocked and knew the day wasn't going to turn out anything like I expected and was just glued to the TV.

KING: Saw the second plane hit?

BEAMER: Saw the second plane hit and I still hadn't had any thought that Todd was involved. I wanted to talk to him because I think everyone wanted to connect.

KING: Were they giving you flight information then or where the flight was going? Did you know this?

BEAMER: I didn't know what flight he was on. I knew he was flying to San Francisco. The crash in Pennsylvania came on the TV and at that point I was very concerned. I knew that's the direction that his flight would have been going and the timing was about right, and initially they said it was a flight that was bound to Chicago, so I thought OK we're off the hook with that one. And, a few minutes later they came back on and said it was a New York to San Francisco bound flight. I mean I...

KING: Did you know then?

BEAMER: I knew immediately and I was standing behind my couch looking at the TV and I just, I remember I yelled no, and my friend who was there said, you know, it's OK. You know maybe he's on a different flight. We don't know anything yet and I said no, this is his flight. And, I had already seen the pictures and I knew that no one was walking away from that plane.


KING: Lisa Beamer's husband Todd was, of course, one of the heroes on Flight 93. We haven't heard as much about some of the other victims of the 9/11 attacks and this week we want to remember them and the people they left behind.


WIFE OF JONATHAN UMAN: He worked long hours and, you know, it was a good way for us to just kind of touch each other in the day, and I sent him an e-mail at 8:47, and within the subject line it said "ILY no text" for "I love you, no text."

I just felt like I had to tell him that I was thinking about him at that minute. I don't know why, and I turned on the TV and I saw what had happened and I made moan four times and my 3-year-old son saw me and said "what's wrong?" I'm just really glad that he had -- his last week of his life was with his kids. And I sat him down and I said, "Daddy's not coming home. Daddy died." I don't know how old your kids have to be, but that has to be the hardest thing.




BROTHER OF JAMES CARTIER: He was respectful, intelligent, courteous, caring, always went out of his way for you. My sister Maria got in touch with James twice. She asked him where was he? He was on the 105th floor. My sister asked him if he was alone. He said "no I'm not alone. There's a lot of people here." They were stuck. And, at the same time that my younger sister and I were running for our lives, my younger brother, James Cartier, 26 years old, was losing his. There's no closure. There's nothing. There's a giant void, an emptiness that will never, ever be filled.


KING: Welcome back. Tonight we are asking just one question, where were you on September 11? Many entertainers make their careers playing out dramas. On 9/11 they watched with us all as a horrific drama was being played out in real life.


CELINE DION, SINGER: I was in Rose Mer (ph). It's near Montreal. I was at my parents' place.

KING: Were you up or did they have to wake you?

DION: We were up and we were watching.

KING: Television?

DION: Television. And, of course like everybody else...

KING: Was the baby with you?

DION: No, the baby was sleeping. And, like everybody else we thought it was a nightmare and it is a nightmare but we thought it was not real. We got very nervous about what we were seeing on television and I started to cry and I said "I can't believe, how can we raise children into this world." I ran downstairs. I looked at my son sleep. I came back up and I said in answer to myself, I know why.

JODIE FOSTER, ACTRESS: It was the first day of my son's preschool. I was, well I was asleep and was quickly awakened by it and watching TV like everyone else.

KING: What were your first thoughts?

FOSTER: Yes, I just couldn't believe it, just I couldn't believe it. Just couldn't, just impossible to believe.

KING: Did the boy go to school?

FOSTER: Yes, he did. Did I tell him about it? Absolutely not.

KING: What do you think of the aftermath of it, all that's gone on?

FOSTER: Well, it's an amazing time in American history. It really is for -- there's a part of us that's all of us that are so proud of New York City and people in Washington and how they've reacted, of the community feeling, but also this horrible feeling that we in some ways, Americans are like these beautiful children that are kept from really seeing what's out there.

TON CRUISE, ACTOR: I was in my house here in L.A. and woke up with the kids. That's where I was.

KING: The kids?

CRUISE: Yes, the kids.

KING: Did they see it when you saw it?

CRUISE: Yes, they did.

KING: Reaction?

CRUISE: They didn't understand. They didn't quite get it so I just, with everything going on I just sat down and I just told them that they're safe, that they were going to be OK and not to worry about it, and then we just kept them away from the television. They're young kids. We just kept them away from the television and just talked to them about there are some very bad people in the world and not of them. There are not a lot of bad people in the world.

KING: What did Tom Cruise think?

CRUISE: I was furious.

KING: Angry.

CRUISE: I was so angry. I was absolutely furious.

KING: Where were you on the morning of 9/11?

ROSIE O'DONNELL, TV TALK SHOW HOST: I was in makeup at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and John McDaniel came in to tell me that Glenn (ph) who he lives with down in Tribeca had seen a 747 go into the World Trade Center. I had the "Today Show" on and I said it's impossible. It must be a small plane, and he was crying, and Glenn was crying on the phone, and then we turned on the TV and saw the other plane go in, and I don't know that I'll ever be able to adequately describe what that moment felt like.

It felt to me as though the entire world shifted, as though my perspective on life and good and evil and Republican and Democrat was, everything was shaken up like a snow globe in that moment and I still have a hard time believing that it actually happened.

MARTHA STEWART: We got back to our hotel room on September 11, early evening, and there we saw everything happening. It was horrifying and especially, you know, my offices are on 42nd Street and also on 26th Street all facing south, so everyone who works for me saw the whole thing and it was horrifying.

KING: We understand you had a remarkable experience at a temple outside Kyoto, what happened?

STEWART: Oh, we did. We went to the Miho Museum and attached to the Miho Museum is a very beautiful temple, and it's a sect in Japan, a religious sect, and the lady who is the -- they call here the goddess, we asked her if we could go and see the temple and she gave us permission.

And, you go across a valley and up a mountain and the temple was designed by Yamasaki, the same architect of the World Trade Center. And, as we approached, the bell tower chimed out "America the Beautiful" and you know we all started to sob but it was just so nice and so thoughtful of our hostess and incredible that the world around just sympathized and was as horrified as we were.

JUDGE JUDY SHEINDLIN, "JUDGE JUDY": I was at my home in Putnam, New York with Jerry having a cup of coffee and watching the "Today Show."

KING: So you saw it happen?


KING: Tell me your first reaction.

SHEINDLIN: My first reaction was disbelief and then once it settled in I said I will probably only remember where I was twice in my life, exactly where I was, and that's on September 11 and the day that Kennedy was assassinated.

KING: November 22.

SHEINDLIN: November 22.


KING: When we come back, an appropriate close for tonight's show, Alan Jackson performs in concert "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning." Stay with us.


KING: We close our show tonight with one of the great country performers, Alan Jackson who was accorded the honor from the Country Music Awards this year as the top male vocalist and also the top song and the top single. That's the song we're going to close the show with. Alan, how did you come to write "Where Were you When the World Stopped Turning?"

ALAN JACKSON, SINGER: Well, Larry, it just came out of nowhere in the middle of the night. I played a show earlier that night and I flew home and I was laying in a bed and about three in the morning I woke up and the chorus was just literally running through my head, the melody and the lyrics, and I got up in my underwear and went downstairs and put it on a little digital recorder. I knew if I didn't I'd forget it by morning and wrote down, I mean I recorded some of the verses as well and got up the next day and finished writing the verses for the song, so it was just a gift from God I believe.

KING: And when you perform it, as we're going to see in a minute, are the crowds' reactions always the same? I mean is this a real emotional occurrence?

JACKSON: Yes, sir. It's a very moving part of the show. It's really a difficult song to mix in. It changes the whole mood of the show. I had to really kind of rethink my show schedule when we started doing the song live in concert but the crowd reaction is always amazing. It's a very emotional and uplifting and it's a little nervous for me every time. It really moves me as well.

KING: Especially more than emotion tonight, Alan. You're in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania kind of a suburb of Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania, not far from where that flight went down on 9/11. That's going to add something for tonight, isn't it?

JACKSON: I know it. I had the opportunity to sing on the streets of New York and it was really moving to be there where the towers were, and this is the first time I've played this close to the crash site as far as I know, and so people sometimes tend to forget about the Pentagon and where this plane went down and I always try to remember that that was as well a big part of that tragedy.

KING: Alan, we wish you the best of continued success. Good luck with the album "Drive," and thanks so much for closing the show for us tonight.

JACKSON: Larry, thanks again for having us. We appreciate it and we'll see you on CNN.

KING: You're a good man. We're in the song too. Here's Alan Jackson to close it out singing "Where Were you" and he's on stage in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.