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Nick Melvoin is Interviewed about L.A. Schools Mandating Vaccines; Bobby Valentine and Joe Torre are Interviewed about Baseball and September 11th; Man Walks to Honor 9/11 Firefighter Brother. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired September 10, 2021 - 08:30   ET



NICK MELVOIN, VICE PRESIDENT, LOS ANGELES UNITED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION: Insisted on for -- for generations. You know, my grandfather was -- contracted polio later in life and was riddled with it for most of his life. My generation didn't have to deal with that because we were vaccinated.


MELVOIN: And so there are a number of immunization requirements. This will be a new one to them.

KEILAR: Nick, let me ask you, what did you think about what Biden proposed for schools? And did it go far enough for you? Just to be clear, he leaves a lot of this up to governors. In the case offer L.A. Unified, you haven't waited on your governor. You've taken it upon yourself to make this decision. And, you know, he also basically said for head start employees, that they have to get vaccinated, but that was really it. Did he go far enough?

MELVOIN: I don't know that he did. And I appreciate that this was timed with his announcement yesterday where he was really aimed at getting more of the American adult population vaccinated. I believe that you'll see a lot of other school districts and states follow our lead. L.A. Unified educates more kids than there are people in the state of Vermont. We are the second largest school district in the country. And I think just as other districts and states have these other immunization requirements, you'll see the same for the COVID vaccine soon.

So I would like to see support. Dr. Fauci has endorsed this move. He has said that school districts should mandate this vaccination, just like we do others. And I believe that we'll see others following suit in the coming weeks.

KEILAR: Yes, we'll look -- we'll look and see if folks are following behind L.A. Unified.

Nick, thank you so much.

MELVOIN: Thank you. My pleasure. KEILAR: Coming up, they led the Yankees and Mets back onto the field

after 9/11 as a wounded America turned to baseball to heal. We are live with Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine, reliving that moment 20 years later.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: In the days after the September 11th attacks, baseball helped New York City and the country start just a little bit to heal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Baseball just happened to be the right vehicle at the right time to help us cope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Home run! Mike Piazza!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel honored that we gave the people something to feel good about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like, we could live again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ball game over! Yankees win! (INAUDIBLE)! Yankees win!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our job was to distract people from the horrors and the sadness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You showed what being New Yorkers is all about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we gave it to them.


BERMAN: All right, chills. Just a little bit, chills.

Tomorrow Major League Baseball is honoring the 20th anniversary of September 11th by having the Mets host the Yankees at Citi Field. For the ceremonial first pitch, Bobby Valentine will throw to Joe Torre. Some pretty good players there but also New York managers in 2001, and they join me now. They have teamed up to executive produce a documentary, we showed you just a clip of it, called "Extra Innings From 9/11: 20 Years Later." It premiers tomorrow on HBO Max.

Gentlemen, thank you so much for being with us and thank you for sharing the memories and this moment.

If I can, I want to take you back to September 11th, Bobby, because you were in Pittsburgh. The Mets were in Pittsburgh when the attack happened. And in the days after, I didn't even know this, you had to move hotels because your hotel in Pittsburgh was next to an FBI building. And you were nervous that it could be a target. And then you took the bus back to New York City. Tell me about that bus ride.

BOBBY VALENTINE, FORMER NEW YORK METS MANAGER: Well, it was a long bus ride. Nine hours of anxiety, wondering what it was going to be like to get back to New York. But the key moment in the bus ride was when we were on that New Jersey Turnpike, headed towards Meadowlands, and we knew we were going to have a view of the skyline of New York City. And as we came around the corner, everyone pushed their faces against the window to look to the right, and there was no skyline. The entire skyline was covered with smoke. And from that moment until we got to Shea Stadium the next hour, that bus rode in silence.

BERMAN: There was such remarkable absence. I mean I remember being overwhelmed by the absence. And I was at Ground Zero on that day.

And, Joe, the Yankees were supposed to play at home.

JOE TORRE, FORMER NEW YORK YANKEE'S MANAGER: Yes. Yes, we were supposed to play, I think it was the White Sox. We had, the night before, we were rained out. Roger Clemens was going to pitch against his former team, the Red Sox, and go for his 20th victory. We got rained out. And, like I said, I had a commitment the next afternoon at a charity luncheon and I hadn't even turned on the TV. I was upstairs getting my stuff together. And all of a sudden I got a call from the car service that says -- well, I guess it's called off. I said, what are you talking about? And I turned on the TV and I see what everybody else was watching. And my thought initially went to my daughter. It was her first day of school. And she was five years old. So I went down stairs and my wife was maneuvering that situation.

BERMAN: And then the Yankees ended up starting to play back on the road. You weren't back for -- what was it like to be out of New York City during that period?

TORRE: Well, you know, we were in New York City --

BERMAN: At -- for the day.

TORRE: The day. And we did visit Ground Zero. We did visit the staging area and the Javits Center. Unfortunately, when we went to Saint Vincent's Hospital, there were just some firefighters suffering from smoke inhalation. The armory was the heavy duty one. I man that's where the members, family members were waiting for DNA results. And I wasn't sure it was our place to be in there. And to be honest with you, John, I think that's where we realize when we did go in, that baseball had a job to do because we had to get in the way of their feelings.

BERMAN: Baseball had a job to do. And all of baseball, but the Yankees and the Mets especially, did it.

Bobby, the Mets were the first team to play back here in New York City.


And that game, you mentioned that -- even before the game actually started, you felt like it was a victory. What do you mean?

VALENTINE: Well, just getting on the field. You know, our commander in chief wanted the gamed to resume and he wanted it in New York for some reason. We could have easily played our games away and Joe could have played their games away. But everyone made a conscious decision to play games in New York.

Of course, our stadium was a couple miles from the airport. We always had planes flying over, landing and taking off. But the Atlanta Braves came up. They decided to brave it to New York and, thank God, the good guys won. And the superhero prevailed.

BERMAN: Well, he -- just, first of all, there were all the hugs before the game, you know, on the field, which -- it was so emotional to see the players on the field sharing that moment with the rest of the country. And then it was, what, you guys were down in the eighth?

VALENTINE: Yes, we were down in the eighth. And the hugs were that moment of unifying. You know, we -- we actually did show that, that bad guys of Atlanta and the good guys of New York were hugging before the game, never before in a professional baseball game. But we were behind. And the crowd came to their feet wondering what could happen as Mike Piazza came to the plate. And somehow, some way he hit --

TORRE: It was magical.

VALENTINE: Yes, it was magical.

TORRE: It really was.

VALENTINE: He hit that ball with a sound and the repercussion from the fans of elation and joy was miraculous.

BERMAN: Look, it's a message to the world, we're still here.

VALENTINE: We're here and we're back.

BERMAN: And then the Yankees, when you played at home, what was it, the 25th.

TORRE: Well, yes, but, John, before that, you know, we played on the Tuesday, a week later.


TORRE: After 9/11, we played in Chicago. And, you know, when you're a Yankee -- I mean, when you're a member of the Yankees, people either hate you or love you. It was --

BERMAN: I'm option A, just so you know. I'm a Red Sox fan. Strongly an option A.

TORRE: OK. All right. Yes. Yes. Yes. You'll get over it. Don't worry.

And, you know, so, you know, we come out to -- into -- into Chicago and we come out and all of a sudden you look out in the stands, people are holding banners, "we love New York," "we love New York." It was such a different feel.

And I had said to my players in our pregame meeting, and after, you know, having gone to the armory and realizing that what -- as I said, we had a job to do, I just told them that the NY on the cap, it represents more than the Yankees. It's going to represent the city of New York. And, you know, that's our responsibility.

BERMAN: And then President Bush --

TORRE: That was amazing. He comes out of the dugout in game three. We had lost the first two games in Arizona. And he -- I'm at the end of the runway and he says -- he says, are you going to kick their butts tonight? I said, we're going to try. And with that, he just jumped up the steps and waved to the fans and made a b-line for the top of the mound, which, by the way, Derek Jeter said, you'd better throw from the top of the mound, otherwise people are going to boo you. And then he threw a strike.

BERMAN: I was at the White House covering Bush the September before. It was before September 11th. He had thrown a game out -- first pitch out at a game in Milwaukee. And he practiced all summer long. Man, he wanted to throw a strike no matter what. And I promise you, for that game, throwing a strike was so important to him.

You know, when you look back, what do you think the legacy of that will be -- of this moment in baseball, and in American history will be, Bobby?

VALENTINE: Well, the legacy is that if you come together, if you have trust in leadership, that you can have teamwork and our whole country came together following the teams on the field. Joe's team that went to the World Series, our team that won that dramatic game. And with teamwork, we had victory. And I think that's the legacy and the lesson to be learned.


TORRE: Well, I feel the same way. I mean, any time something happens, you know, New York gets a -- it gets a bad rap, you know? They're cold. They're not -- they don't have time for anybody else. You know, everybody's in a hurry. But when things happen, they look to embrace you. They open up their arms and their homes to you. And it doesn't matter politically, everybody's working together. And I think it's just a reminder of how we are a United States. And I'd like to have hopefully, you know, people keep that in mind.

BERMAN: Well, listen, Bobby Valentine, Joe Torre, from this Red Sox fan, I want to thank you for what you did then, that once, though.

TORRE: Then.

BERMAN: Thank you.

TORRE: You did it to -- to me -- to me, you know, in '04.

BERMAN: Thank you so much for really helping the nation through that moment, because we needed it.


We really did. And I appreciate it.

TORRE: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: "Extra Innings From 9/11; 20 Years Later" premieres tomorrow on HBO Max.

And coming up on the eve of the 20th anniversary of September 11th, hear the brother of a fallen firefighter and how he's paying tribute one step at a time.


KEILAR: The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks tomorrow will see many heart-felt tributes to the people who lost their lives. One man's tribute to his firefighter brother literally has been a journey of several hundred miles that ends Saturday in lower Manhattan.

CNN's Jason Carroll joins us with that story.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Brianna, this is really a story of dedication and determination. It has been 20 years since Frank Siller lost his brother and he wanted to do something to mark the day. He knows that he's always loved walking. It's something that he's always done. And so he decided to set out on something called The Never Forget Walk.


CARROLL (voice over): One might say that with every step Frank Siller takes, he comes one step closer to honoring the memory of his brother Steven.

FRANK SILLER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, TUNNEL TO TOWERS: Everyone thought he was their best friend. You want to know why? Because he treated everybody that way.

CARROLL (on camera): He sounds like a wonderful man.

CARROLL (voice over): Steven Siller was a New York City firefighter who, on the morning of 9/11, had just finished his shift with Brooklyn Squad One. He went back to work after learning a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower. Siller grabbed his gear and drove toward Manhattan. When he saw the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was closed, he got out and ran through the tunnel with 60 pounds of gear on his back toward the Twin Towers. Steven was one of more than 300 New York City firefighters killed that day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Frank, way to go!

CARROLL: Now his brother Frank is paying tribute to him by trekking more than 500 miles through six states in six weeks to honor not only his brother, but all the heroic first responders from that day.

CARROLL (on camera): How did you get the idea to do something like this?

SILLER: Well, I was -- I know I was going to do something with walking because --

CARROLL: Why -- why walking?

SILLER: Because walking is very therapeutic. And I like only doing things if it -- if it has meaning. It just has to be the right thing. And once I thought of that, I said, oh, my God, that's it. I didn't know how many miles it was and I didn't care, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

CARROLL (voice over): On August 1st, Siller began his journey at the Pentagon.

SILLER: Our first mission is to make sure we never forget what happened 20 years ago.

CARROLL: Twenty days later, he made it to Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The week after that, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

SILLER: Thank you. God bless you.

CARROLL: Where word of his journey had started to spread.

CARROLL (on camera): Emotionally, I'm just wondering how this walk has affected you.

SILLER: Look, every day was very emotional. And many times I've broken down and cried privately. You know, I just can't help myself because -- and I don't know what moment it's going to be and I don't know what little thing was going to trigger it.

CARROLL (voice over): Last week, Morristown, New Jersey. This week it's New York City.

SILLER: I like that. Let's be happy. Let's be happy.

CARROLL: Throughout it all, never missing a step, walking a little every day, sometimes with a group, or alone. And when the weather was not so great, at times talking to his brother Steven.

SILLER: Yes, I laugh at the rain. He laughed at the heat. Whatever my brother wanted to throw my way, because he was a big buster.

CARROLL (on camera): Really?

SILLER: Oh, he was a -- he liked to bust chops. And so whatever he threw my way, I laughed. I said, Steven, I know what you're doing. I know what you're doing.

CARROLL (voice over): The final and most challenging leg comes this Saturday, September 11th.

CARROLL (on camera): What do you think you'll be thinking about when you walk through the tunnel, the tunnel that your brother walked through on that day?

SILLER: I've been -- I've been looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time because I know how much I'll be overcome with emotion.

CARROLL (voice over): But he says he's ready to complete his walk and carry the memories of his brother and the other men and women who lost their lives that day.


CARROLL: And a lot of folks supporting him on that journey, which will end right here at Ground Zero on Saturday.

Now, Brianna, in addition to his Never Forget Walk, Siller also started a foundation, a non-profit group called the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. And what they do is they set out to help first responders who died that day and first responders who died later of 9/11 related illnesses, helping them buy homes. But the foundation also sets out to educate people, to make sure everyone remembers what happened on 9/11.


KEILAR: I love that, Jason, where he says it's his brother busting his chops as he makes his way to New York.


KEILAR: That is just a -- so sweet, you know.

Jason Carroll, great report, live for us from New York.

Join Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer and Paula Reid as we remember September 11th. Live coverage beginning tomorrow morning at 8:00 on CNN.



BERMAN: Cervical cancer kills thousands of women in countries around the world. This week's CNN Hero left her Beverley Hills practice to begin her mission to eradicate cervical cancer globally one woman at a time. Meet Dr. Patricia Gordon.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Free cervical cancer screening. Screen and treat for free of charge.

DR. PATRICIA GORDON, CNN HERO: There are 350,000 women dying a painful, undignified death globally. And it's almost 100 percent preventable. So, this is everything you need to screen and treat a patient.

We bring in these big suitcases. We teach local health care professionals the see and treat technique.

At the end of the week of training, we pack up that suitcase and give it to the nurses that are going back to their clinics. Within a day we can literally save 20, 30 lives depending on the number of women we screen.


There are 8,000 women who are alive and well and able to provide.