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Towers Of Light Shine In Tribute To Those Killed On 9/11; America Remembers The Lives Lost In The September 11 Attacks; Kentucky Extends State Of Emergency Due To COVID-19 Surge; New Podcast Reveals Never Before Heard 911 Calls; 911 Dispatcher Reflects On Desperate Calls On September 11th; A Brother's Tribute Honoring A Fallen Firefighter Step By Step. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 11, 2021 - 07:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. It's Saturday, September 11th. We are so grateful to have you with us this morning as always, because today we're all pausing to mark this grim day, 20 years since the September 11th attacks.

SANCHEZ: It's hard to believe that it's been two decades and it's hard to really overstate just how impactful this day has been in American history. Last night, a tower of light lit up the sky from lower Manhattan, where nearly 3000 people lost their lives. And this morning, there's a similar tribute over the Pentagon where more than 180 people died.

And we watched just moments ago as the Pentagon unfurled the American flag of the west side of the Pentagon, a tribute to those lives that were taken there. 20 years have passed since terrorists hijacked planes crashing two of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and one of them into the Pentagon.

PAUL: passengers on a fourth flight fought back forcing the hijackers to crash the plane into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania with only about a 20-minute flight left there to get to D.C.

Now, for the first time as commander in chief. President Biden will pay his respects at those three sites. Yesterday, remember, he released a message to the nation recognizing the people that died and the people who are left without them.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's so hard. Whether it's a first year the 20th, so many grown up without parents, parents have suffered without children. Husbands and wives had to find ways forward without their partners in their life with them. Brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts. Loved ones and friends have had to celebrate birthdays, milestones with a hole in their heart. No matter how much time has passed, can these commemorations bring everything painfully back? As if you just got the news a few seconds ago.


PAUL: CNN's Laura Jarrett is live from what is now and will forever be Ground Zero. Laura, 20 years, I know this is such an important commemoration. It does not get easier every year. What, what is the expectation there today?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christi and Boris, so much emotion still so raw, even 20 years later, as you say, I'm standing here at the site of ground zero just behind me where the service is expected to get underway. In just a short time from now, many families who couldn't attend this memorial service that's so important as they mourn and they pay their respects last year, they couldn't attend because of COVID are expected to be in attendance here.

There were actually mailed letters to their homes that allow them to get in here just behind me. Most of the crowds that would normally be here on a tourist day are not here, the streets are basically clear. You can hear a little bit of music testing going on in the background every once in a while, but otherwise it is, it is eerily silent down here on this Remembrance Day.

President Biden as you mentioned, also expected to attend today as well as the Obamas and the Clintons, a host of other dignitaries, state and local leaders. And as I mentioned, as in years past, the families read the names of their loved ones that were lost on this day. They're expected to do that again, in person today. We'll also hear musical arrangements and also deafening moments of silence.

Six different moments marking the time is when both of the towers were hit when both of the towers fell. Also, they attack on the Pentagon. And of course, the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, as I mentioned security here, very tight guards posted up basically on every corner, different checkpoints. You can see some of the memorials here in the reflection pools still here today.

And of course, New Yorkers will also see that tribute in light that enormously remarkable spectacle, those two beams of light shining in the sky, sky for miles to see those are expected to come up at sunset later today. Boris and Christi.


PAUL: Laura Jarrett, we thank you so much. So, CNN's Darryl Forges is live for us in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We know that there's a memorial service scheduled there later this morning. Darryl, this is a very different scene. This was the site where the, the people on that plane heard what had happened. And what was striking to me when you look at the timeline of things, the South Tower collapsed at 9:59. The crash in Pennsylvania was just four minutes later. What do we expect today? DARRYL FORGES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi. At 10:03 -- yes, Christi, good morning to you -- at 10:03am is when United Flight 93 went down, and actually we're just standing just a few 100 yards away from the crash site. What was watching once an abandoned surface mine is now a critical part of American history.

Now, we're expecting the ceremony to start at 9:30 this morning, but that critical time, you talked about it, Christi is 10:03. That's when United Flight 93 went down. And that at that exact time is when we hear the readings of those 40 people who lost their lives followed by that, we will have a ringing of the bells.

And here's some remarks from of course for President George W. Bush and Vice President Kamala Harris. But another person that's going to be speaking as well is Steven Ruda. He is a retired Battalion Chief from the Los Angeles Fire Department who responded on 911. And in fact, he actually was responsible for finding the flight 93 National Memorial Mission Statement.

It was, "A common field one day of field of honor, forever." Now, once we finish hearing those remarks, we're going to have a very emotional moment, once the family pass by a ceremonial wall and walk out to the crash site. That only happens once a year. Now Christie and Boris, we actually spoke to one of the family members of those who lost their lives.

Ken Nakki, he's the brother of Joey Nakki. And he described his brother as fun caring and loving and love life overall. And he called him and it was 39 other people heroes. He also said that this world is a safer place because of them. But he also says that this world is not better because they're no longer here.

This flight did not hit its intended target, the United States Capitol and those 40 men and women who were on board that flight possibly saved countless lives. Christi, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Darryl, and it was the words that were said on board as they decided to try to storm the cockpit and take down the terrorist take control of the aircraft. Let's roll that inspired so many of us shortly after September 11th. Darryl Forges from Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Thank you so much.

Let's go now live to Jeff Zeleny, who's at the White House for us this morning. And Jeff, we're not expected to hear from President Biden today. Instead, he released that pre-recorded message to the nation that we played earlier.

This is something that the last four presidents have had to manage and perhaps today's events with President Biden leading the nation's commemoration, carry added significance given the withdrawal from Afghanistan book-ending 20 years of war.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Boris and Christi. It certainly is a book and a historic and tragic look into America's longest war, and indeed the combination of those attacks on September 11th. And President Biden is waking up in New York City this morning. He will be joining former President Barack Obama at the site of the World Trade Center and then going on to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where former President George W. Bush will also be. President Biden will be making a stop at all three locations marking the moment in history. Also, speaking about what he says has been lost since then, national unity.


BIDEN: The days it's fallen September 11th, 2001, we saw heroism everywhere, in places expected and unexpected. We also saw something all too rare. A true sense of national unity, unity and resilience, the capacity to recover and repair in the face of trauma, unity and service we learn that unit is the one thing that must never break. Unity is what makes us who we are. America at its best. To me, that's the central lesson of September 11th.


ZELENY: And, of course, President Biden at the time was Senator Joe Biden. He was Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He was one of those members of Congress standing on the steps of the Capitol Democrats and Republicans alike on the evening of 911. He spoke to President Bush repeatedly that day about the threats coming to the United States really he's been interwoven in all of this, but today he'll be visiting all three sites ending here in Washington at the Pentagon. We'll not be delivering remarks, we'll be remembering these moments in silent joining the other presidents as well today, Christi.


PAUL: You know, Jeff, we just showed the unfurling of the flag at the Pentagon and we would be remiss to not know that you were at the Pentagon on 911. Help us understand, from your perspective, what has stuck with you from that experience over the last 20 years? And how do you feel about it this morning?

ZELENY: Well, Christi, as we are watching that flag on the west front, that is a flag that was there for most of the year as the Pentagon was recovered. And you have to remember, of course, Washington was shaken by the events of New York that morning. But, you know, did not know what was coming here. And it was Flight 77 that struck the Pentagon right on the west front.

I was a reporter actually, for the Chicago Tribune at the time, and the Washington Bureau had just moved to Washington that summer, and race to the Pentagon. So, I was there about 12 hours that day, and what strikes me is seeing a, an army of medical workers waiting for the wounded to come out, and no one came out.

There were many, many, many injured more than 100 died, of course, but it clearly marked, you know, the, the beginning of what that building would oversee for the next two decades going into America's longest war. So, today, my thoughts are how the longest war indeed has ended. But certainly, the war on terrorism continues in a very different way.

And the bookend is, Boris, as you're talking about these four American presidents really is quite remarkable. President Bush's re-election was a guaranteed because of the September 11th attacks, Barack Obama rose to prominence because of his anti-war status, President Trump changed the orthodoxy of the Republican Party and his view of the wars, and President Biden, of course, who's there from the very beginning, closed down the war in Afghanistan controversially at the end.

So, this is a moment of American history. We're seeing today, a bookend, again, certainly not the end of the war on terror by any means. But the end of at least this chapter of that, which will be certainly marked in all three spots today.

PAUL: Yes, very well said, Jeff. And thank you for sharing, you know, that image of medical teams waiting for people to come out and they didn't come out. I mean, that's pretty powerful.

Jeff Zeleny, we appreciate you. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Jeff. As Jeff noted, September 11th, marks the start of the war on terror, a war that has had a complex legacy. And that has led to questions that linger over whether the price that the United States has paid in Afghanistan and elsewhere, is ultimately going to be worth it and preventing future terror attacks.

Let's discuss with CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, who knows this conflict well. In fact, Peter produced Osama bin Laden's first live television interview for CNN, back in 1997, when the al- Qaeda leader first declared war. Jihad on the United States to a Western audience.

Peter, we appreciate you joining us this morning. And I'm curious, when you think back to that interview with Bin Ladin, you look at that picture, and you consider everything that's come since 9/11. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and other nations, the Arab Spring ISIS, the ramifications that Jeff was talking about to US politics that are felt to this day. What most stands out to you reflecting this morning, two decades later.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good morning, Boris. Well, you know, I mean, a lot of them on particular events happened. I mean, Jeff talked about some of the political ramifications. But I mean, we not only invaded occupied Afghanistan, invaded occupied Iraq as a result of 911. We also conducted various kinds of military operations in Pakistan, in Somalia, and Libya and Yemen.

More than 7000 Americans were killed, and those tens of thousands of Allied troops were killed. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Afghans, and other nationalities. None of this was really predictable in the in the days, you know, after 911, and certainly none of it was predictable. When we first talked to bin Laden in 1997.

During his first television interview, he did declare war against the United States that it was hard to take that cold entirely seriously, because he hadn't seemed to have done anything yet. But of course, a year later, Al Qaeda blew up to us, us embassies in Africa, killing more than 200 people. And from that point forward, it was clear that he was a serious, right.

SANCHEZ: So, your most recent book is a deep dive into the former leader of al-Qaeda. It's called "The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden." And you write, "the United States was insulated from a recurrence of a 9/11 skill attack, because bin Laden's decision to carry out the operation significantly increased the size, power and funding of the U.S. national security state." Across four different administrations now, where has the U.S. response to 911 been successful? And whereas it failed?

BERGEN: Well, you know, the great unforced error bars was the Iraq war which gave al-Qaeda, essentially rescued al-Qaeda from oblivion. But you know, what the successes, I think, you know, multilayered. We, if you look at, you know, on the on 9/11, there were 16 people on the No Fly List, the last time a publicly available figure was 81,000.

You know, on 9/11, we didn't have TSA, we didn't have the Department of Homeland Security, we didn't have the National Counterterrorism Center, the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the country has tripled. The intelligence budget, budget has tripled. So we've kind of created a multi layered level of defense, which makes it much harder to get one through that said, you know, the ISIS attacks we saw in the United States, when ISIS was at its height, were carried out by people who were already here American citizens or legal, permanent residents, who radicalized by what they saw online.

And my concern about this victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan is going to be tremendously energizing for anybody who has these kinds of views, including in the United States, but also around the world. And people can carry out terrorist attacks in the name of ISIS, we saw that, and they may well carry them out in the name of the Taliban or al Qaeda, or pick your Jihadi group that's now in Afghanistan.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and we should point out that part of the new leadership is interim, new government in Afghanistan has members of al Qaeda in it. So, ultimately, what's your assessment of the potential threat from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan moving forward quickly?

BERGEN: You know, it may take a while to develop. But you know, the Ministry of the Interior where she was a senior cabinet official is, according to the UN leader of al-Qaeda. It's an astonishing fact 20 years after 9/11 that al-Qaeda is management set itself into the cabinet of a sovereign government.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it is Peter Bergen, thank you so much for your expertise. We very much appreciate your time.

BERGEN: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: I now want to bring in Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. He's Joining us this morning to discuss the legacy of September 11th, and the Global War on Terror. Secretary, we appreciate you being with us today. The Department of Homeland Security was obviously founded in 2002 in the wake of 911. And looking back over two decades, how successful do you think the department's mission has been? And where do you think it's fallen short? ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, DHS SECRETARY: I'm very proud to be here in New York City this morning, to pay tribute to the lives lost as a result of the 911 attacks. This country 20 years later, is stronger and more secure than ever before. And 250,000 people in the Department of Homeland Security around the country and around the world work every day to make itself very proud of what we've accomplished over the last 20 years.

SANCHEZ: And Secretary, given the conversation we just had with Peter Bergen, about members of al-Qaeda now being part of the new Taliban government in Afghanistan. What's your assessment of the terror risk as we discuss 20 years following the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda on 9/11? You said yesterday, there was no specific credible threat to the homeland, does that remain true?

MAYORKAS: That indeed does remain true, there is no specific, credible threat to the homeland at this time. And what we do is we remain vigilant every single day. And Mr. Bergen, I think, described it very correctly, that we have a multi-layered approach to ensure the safety and security of the American people.

We have an entire architecture across the federal government, and critically with our state, local partners, like the New York City Police Department to ensure the safety and security not only of the people of New York, but the people of America.

SANCHEZ: And Secretary what is it that you may want to see improved or changed within DHS, and perhaps more broadly across the administration in order to manage the multitude of crises that this White House is dealing with?

MAYORKAS: You know, I think what we have accomplished now under the leadership of President Biden is really remarkable in that it is an all of government, all of America effort to ensure our safety. I think we in the federal government are working more cohesively more collaboratively than ever before. We're really quite proud of the way in which we work as a single administration, in partnership with others around the country.

SANCHEZ: Secretary, you're facing a once in a lifetime pandemic, you're also facing a crisis at the southern border with immigration, a difficult chaotic exit from Afghanistan, not to mention the rising threat of China and other nations with an authoritarian streak that seek to expand their influence in the global order. Does any of that strain your mission at DHS? Does it make it more difficult to do your job given that you're facing so many challenges on so many fronts?


MAYORKAS: It is certainly a challenging time. But we meet the moment. And we meet all those challenges, because of the remarkable people we have in the Department of Homeland Security. Let me give you, if I may, one example. We do indeed have a pandemic. And of course, the Delta variant has really given us a setback when we were so much on the slope of emerging from the pandemic, once and for all. But in response to the pandemic, what did we in the Department of

Homeland Security do with our partners across the federal government, we set up 2285 community vaccination centers around the country, to reach the otherwise disenfranchised, to reach every corner of a community of people who wanted that vaccine, and we delivered on the promise. So, I have tremendous faith and tremendous pride in the people of the Department of Homeland Security and across government service.

SANCHEZ: Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, thank you so much for your time this morning.

MAYORKAS: Thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Of course. 2997 lives were lost on September 11th. And a countless number have been irreparably affected. As a result of what happened that day, we're honoring that legacy today on CNN. Join Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer, and Paula Reid, as we remember 9/11. Our special coverage begins at 8:00 am Eastern.

PAUL: They're also rising hospitalizations that are increasing cases among kids. The Biden administration rolling out a new round of vaccine mandates but what is happening there in Kentucky? We'll talk about it.


PAUL: 26 minutes past the hour and the White House says it could be a matter of weeks before President Biden's new vaccine and testing mandate for certain employers goes into effect. The country's averaging more than a thousand COVID deaths a day.

More than 101,000 people are hospitalized with coronavirus and nearly 26,000 are in ICUs. Now COVID hotspot Florida has less than 10 percent ICU bed capacity. It's averaging more than 14,000 new cases a day and yesterday an appeals court ruled to uphold the state's ban on school masks mandates.

We should point out, Kentucky is seeing a dramatic surge in cases and hospitalizations. Lawmakers there have voted to override the governor's partial veto of a bill pertaining to COVID safety. That means schools there now have the choice as to whether they will mandate masks.

Dr. Mark Dougherty with us now he's an Infectious Disease Specialist at Baptist Health in Lexington. Doctor, thank you so much for taking time to be with us here. First of all your reaction to those mask mandates that will be lifted now in your state.

DR. MARK DOUGHERTY, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, BAPTIST HEALTH LEXINGTON: Well, I don't think it's a good idea. You know, we, we have a toxic brew going on right here in Kentucky right now where we don't have enough vaccine uptake. We're very disappointed in the proportion of the population that's been vaccinated, especially in some parts of the state in our immediate area, in Fayette County, and surrounding counties. The vaccine uptake has actually been higher than the national average.

But we have some counties where the vaccine uptake has only been about 25 percent. That means a large proportion of people are, are potentially going to get the virus very soon with the, with this Delta variant. It's so contagious that if you haven't been vaccinated, you're going to get infected.

Now, unfortunately, the children below 12 can't be vaccinated, they're going to get it going back to school. We have to have kids going back to school. It's been children -- and they're very poorly being in remote learning situations. And we really can't do that type of social distancing anymore.

If we're not doing the social distancing, we have to implement other measures -- and that is really masking. And we know that the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended masking for any child over two. Is it going to be perfect? No, not every child will be able to keep the mask on, but it does mitigate risk, it lowers risk.

And the dynamic that we're seeing right now with the highly contagious Delta variant is that kids are spreading around in schools. And then they're spreading it to their teachers. In fact, that's teachers are one of the highest occupation patients that we're seeing in the hospital. We have teachers on ventilators, we have teachers on high flow oxygen, that most of whom have been vaccinated.

So, please, if you're a teacher, get out there and get vaccinated. And we really need more cooperation in terms of the masking I know that the masking has been controversial. I think that's been a huge mistake. We know that this is a disease is transmitted by respiratory droplets and in some cases airborne. We need people to, to control their secretions to put a mask on to prevent spreading, they're spewing their secretions all over other people and getting them infected.

We can see in the hospitals that mask work, we can see that immediately at the beginning of the pandemic. Everyone was afraid when the patients were first coming in that, that the healthcare workers are going to get into fact that they get home to their, their families. And we can I can see as a hospital epidemiologist that that didn't happen as soon as we start putting the mask on.

When I investigated cases that we had in the hospitals and among healthcare workers, it was primarily cases that they were getting from home or cases where they were pulling down their masks to eat in front of each other, not inpatient care, as long as they had their mass on.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Doctor --

DOUGHERTY: The mask do work.

PAUL: Dr. Mark Dougherty, we appreciate you taking time to talk with us. We wish you and all the frontline workers there the very best. We know that it's really hard for you right now and we do not forget that. Thank you, sir.

DOUGHERTY: OK, thank you.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): 20 years ago, 911 dispatchers were overwhelmed with calls from inside the World Trade Center, and now a new podcast is revealing new audio from that horrific day.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.



PAUL: So, we're marking together here 20 years since the horrific events of September 11th. And there's a new podcast that's revealing never before heard 911 calls from the World Trade Center.

Its 1000s of calls flooded into 911 call centers that day. Some were from frightened onlookers, many were from people who were trapped in the Twin Towers, including first responders.

Listen here to a little bit of the podcast, it's called "First on the Scene". And this is where you'll -- you're going to hear calls from that day and the reaction now from the dispatcher who answered so many of them.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get everybody out of there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I here now the building collapse, like I don't know who was there. Did I send them in? Did I tell them to go in there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, 9216, are you in the building?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 216, we're in the building. I can't see a thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had to send units into this place that was going to take their lives that I did not know. And that's (INAUDIBLE) what I live with every day.


PAUL: That dispatcher you just heard is Gladys Mitchell. She's a retired 911 dispatcher for the New York Police Department. And there she is with us now. Also, Jillian Crane, president of First Responders Children's Foundation.

Gladys, when you listen to that, again, help us understand what you're feeling. It sounds like you're feeling guilt. I hope you know nobody, nobody is placing that on you.


It has -- it makes me -- the guilt feelings, it has taken a lot of years to try not to feel that way. But you know, just constantly thinking about the families, about the victims that were lost that day, and it's just been an emotional roller coaster, Christi.

PAUL: None of us can understand what it's like for you, Gladys.

And I -- and I know Jillian as the foundation -- the foundation's new podcast is first on the scene. It's excruciating for us to hear that. It's excruciating for the people, I'm sure who lost family that day even more so than any of the rest of us.

Walk us through your headspace your reaction to hearing what you hear and why it's important for all of us to hear it.

JILLIAN CRANE, PRESIDENT, FIRST RESPONDERS CHILDREN's FOUNDATION: Well, the first responders, Children's Foundation really is a children's foundation. And we began 20 years ago on 9/11, right after 9/11 when 800 children lost a first responder parent.

And when we decided to work on a podcast to honor our 20th anniversary. We, our creative director Jodie Burke was going through the over 9,000 COVID-19 emergency financial grants that we gave.

And she found this 911 -- NYPD 911 dispatcher named Gladys Mitchell. And she said we -- what does a 911 dispatcher do? How do they work? Who are they? And so, we interviewed her about a year ago. And we realized that this disembodied voice that we hear when we call 911, these are real people.

These are really the first people on the scene. First on the Scene, which is the name of the podcast. And they are the ones who answer the call every day. They -- who -- they're who you hear when you call in distress, they are empathetic and kind, and they serve their communities fairly unrecognized and unseen.

And so, we had the opportunity to take Gladys Mitchell back to where she worked at the NYPD MetroTech in Brooklyn recently last week, actually. And she saw her old colleagues and we talked to them.

And we walked into a room of like a 10,000 square foot room of a sea of women, mostly women of color, who are basically the glue that holds the city's first responders together and dispatches the right first responder to every emergency scene.

PAUL: So, Gladys, I mean, you're the voice you set the tone when crisis is standing in front of somebody. And the reality is, you may have been the last person that somebody spoke with.

And I know that you've said that, I know that you know that. At what point did you realize this was something unprecedented and extraordinary?

[07:40:00] MITCHELL: Well, I was the first one to get -- I was the first operator, the 911 operator to get the first call, the very first call. So, that's how my day started. So, once I got that call, I realized then that something truly catastrophic had happened. And then, I was directed into the radio room, to the -- my principal told me, have a seat and do what you do best.

And for hours and hours, I just dispatch them, the units to and from ground zero. And wherever else they were needed in the zone one area as this call.

PAUL: You said, I mean, we look at this, and we hear this and we think you can't train someone enough for a situation like this. And here is something that you said about it. You said, "I remember them saying that everything had turned black," talking about the cause you were getting. "The building was going down, they couldn't see anything. They couldn't get out. A lot of them were trying to crawl their way out. Doors were closed. They were asking me what's going on. Is anybody out there? Central, help us. How can we get out? And then after that, I didn't hear any more from them."

MITCHELL: Well, you know, we -- when they're calling for help from us, we have to remain calm, always. And we have to make sure that we always know where the units are. Because for a situation like this, if we don't know at every moment where every unit is, then we cannot send the help to them. If they are unable, like, they were that day to transmit to us where they were.

PAUL: So, that night when you were finally able to take a breath, and now, 20 years later, how are you? Are you OK?

GLADYS: I'm not really. I'm better than I was before. But this some -- this event will never leave me. It will always be with me. But what I want to say is this one thing. I just want the public because this is really our first opportunity to be seen. After all, we were always heard, everybody calls us.

We are the lifeline to the city. We are truly the first, first, first responders. And what I would like people to know is that we are always here for you when you have an emergency, you call 911. And all that we ask is that we not be forgotten anymore. Because that's how we feel.

We feel like we are the forgotten heroes. And we just want to be remembered as everyone and everything has been remembered for these last 20 years.

PAUL: Gladys, I can assure you, you are not forgotten.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

PAUL: And you are indeed a hero because it takes really special people to be able to navigate other people in a situation like that.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

PAUL: Gladys Mitchell and Jillian Crane, we appreciate both of you. (CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL: And thank you, Jillian.

PAUL: We respect both of you.

MITCHELL: I'm so sorry. Thank you, Jillian for bringing me to the forefront like this. For helping me, helping us to be seen. Thank you so very much.

PAUL: Gladys, we wish you the very best.


CRANE: You deserve it.

PAUL: We wish -- we wish both of you. You absolutely deserve it. Thank you both so much.


CRANE: All of you, thank you very much for having us.

PAUL: We'll be right back.

MITCHELL: Thank you, Christi for having us.

PAUL: Always, always.



SANCHEZ: The United States has halted flights of Afghan refugees after four cases of the measles were discovered Friday among Afghans arriving in the U.S.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Officials have not said where those infected are located here in the United States, but flights of Afghans have been coming to the U.S. from military bases in Germany and Qatar, and many are operated by commercial airline carriers.

Measles was declared eliminated in this country back in 2000, but travelers have continued to bring the virus here leading to local spread and outbreaks among people who are not vaccinated.

PAUL: Biden administration is appealing a ruling that affects the lives of more than 600,000 so-called DREAMers.

PAUL (voice-over): The DACA program allowed immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay.

Now, a Texas court ruled the program is unlawful. The administration's appealing that ruling to federal courts. The case also puts additional pressure on Congress to take more permanent action. SANCHEZ: Today, people around the country are remembering the victims of September 11th, 2001. Next will tell you about one man who's walking 500 miles to honor his brother. That story next.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER (on camera): They may look similar, they may taste similar, but sweet potatoes and yams have some differences.

HOWARD (voice-over): These root vegetables are not even related. True yams are native to Africa and Asia. Most yams today, 95 percent are harvested in West Africa. While many of the yams sold here in the U.S. are typically grown in Caribbean countries.


HOWARD: And yams are closely related to lilies and grasses. While sweet potatoes are native to the Americas and are part of the morning glory family.

Now when it comes to your health, both of these root vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrients. One-half of a large sweet potato has just 81 calories. And the flesh of a medium-baked sweet potato has enough vitamin A that's in the form of beta carotene to meet your entire recommended daily amount.

Yams tend to be starchier. They also are good sources of nutrients like vitamin C.

HOWARD (on camera): And both are delicious and a great way to celebrate the fall season.



PAUL (on camera): Well, his younger brother Stephen died on September 11th. And today, Frank Siller honors his brother and all the first responders who died that day. Siller is chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

SANCHEZ: Six weeks ago, he set out on a 500-mile journey. It ends today with him retracing his brother's footsteps to ground zero.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emotionally, I'm just wondering how this walk has affected you.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: The foundations raised millions of dollars to give to providing homes to families of soldiers and first responders who are injured or killed on the job. Thank you, Frank Siller.

SANCHEZ (on camera): Yes, such important work. Thank you so much for joining us today. Make sure to stay with CNN throughout the day.

PAUL: Yes, we have special coverage with Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer, and Paula Reid. Take good care.