tv Beyond 911 Portraits of Resilience CNN September 8, 2013 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
♪ >> 8:45, i was typing away at my keyboard. 8:46, a minute later i heard this double explosion. boom, boom. then my peripheral vision caught something in the window behind me. i spun around and just two or three yards from me, 84 floors in the air right against the glass, swirling flames. not what you're used to seeing. it dissipated after two or three seconds and floating in the air were singed paper, computer papers, whatever. office papers. just all singed and floating like semi flaming, smoking confetti. i thought an explosion had happened just a couple of floors up. a welder hit a gasoline or something. >> they were yelling a bomb had went off. >> when the first plane hit tower one, i thought it was a cessna that hit and ran over and
saw the damage. >> seeing all the papers flying out of the window and flames shooting from the upper floors. i called my wife in new jersey to let her know that i was okay, you might be seeing something on the news and i wasn't involved, it was the building across the way. >> at about three minutes to 9:00, i told my wife, something happened next door. turn on the television, there is a developing story. i'm okay. it's next door. >> the vifirst building was apparently hit. i didn't have a clue. i was in the elevator. the phone rang and my father was on the phone. stan, how are you doing? i'm doing fine. and my brothers, they all took turns asking me the same question. i'm saying to myself, it's not even 9:00, there's a lot of love here. hung up the phone telling them
i'm fine. nobody up to this point told me the plane hit the first building. nobody. i am angled towards the north building. what i saw was chunks of fire balls coming down from the sky. we saw chunks of fire balls, my god, what is happening? >> i ran into brian, a co-worker of ours. i told him people were jumping from the building. we walked over watching more people jump to their death. brian just walked away. he couldn't believe what he was seeing. >> the strobe lights flashed throughout the office, a siren gave a whoop-whoop and a familiar voice. the man who had conducted all the fire safety drills came on the p.a. system and said, your attention, ladies and gentlemen. building two is secure. there's no need to evacuate building two. if you're in the midst of evacuation, you may use the re-entry doors and elevators to return to your offices. repeat, building to -- and went through the announcement again. i went out movie office and sort
of told everybody, move. we've got to go to the center core and wait for further instructions. that is what we were supposed to do. i volunteered to be a fire martial after the '93 bombing. >> i told them i'm going downstairs. i'm not feeling comfortable up here. i'll come back up later if they allow us back into the building. pressed the button for the elevator. the light lit up to go down. waited a couple of seconds. the doors opened up. i figured, looks like a good elevator instead of walking down 84 flights of stairs. >> every split second it's getting larger and larger and coming towards me. i can see the tail. this plane is looking me eye level on contact the plane starts to tilt as it's coming toward me. all i remember saying, lord, i can't do this. i dropped the phone screaming and ran under the desk. the plane crashed into the
building much. >> the plane hit our floor. >> again, that double explosion, boom-boom. >> it went underneath me. >> the plane went from 78 to 84 and took out our trading room. >> in a split second our floor fell apart. everything came out of the ceiling. it was total destruction. >> every wall is flattened, every piece of furniture was broken. the only desk that stood firm is the one i'm hiding under. my bible was on top of that desk. >> at that point we thought the building was going over. >> the whole building was going to topple over. the sway. >> the building swayed slowly one way toward the hudson river, to the west. six to eight feet was the sensation. i mean we were used to a little sway in the wind, but this was extraordinary, a horrible feeling. >> by the time it came back, i just jumped up and had to get out of the elevator. >> so with this group of people following me, we went down three floors when on the 81st floor landing a woman said, stop, stop, you can't go down. there's flames. there's smoke.
we've got to go higher. she was insistent. >> i'm pushing 111 and dodging all these cables with a sprinkler on looking at a piece of the plane that was broken in the doorway. other part of the floor is in flames. i can hardly breathe. i'm scared of getting sucked out and started to scream, somebody, help me. >> i strained to concentrate, made it out this stranger is yelling, help, help, i'm buried. i can't breathe. >> i instinctively grabbed the person beside me and said, come on, ron, we've got to get this guy. the fire escape door had blown off the wall. we were able to push the drywall
back. i have a memory of my co-workers and this heavy set woman going around, starting up the stairs. >> i started screaming and somebody at the door had a flashlight and they were shining it. >> halfway to the stranger's voice screaming for help, ron was completely overcome with smoke. he left me and went back to the stairs and went up. i continued on. around me, i can't explain, was this bubble of fresh air. >> as i got closer to where that light was, i'm confronted by that one sheetrock wall that stood firm. >> we discovered strangely we were separated by a wall. i stood a desk up and stood on top of that desk and looked down into the pit where he was. i said the only way out of there is for you to come up. >> think about your children. climb over. i'll catch you on the other side. i jumped the first time trying to grab on. missed. part of a hanging low ceiling that was still there fell and tried to prevent it from hitting my face.
a sheetrock screw went through here and got stuck on the other side. i'm in worse shape before. the man said hit on the wood the nail will come out. hit on the wood, the nail came off. >> he said you must do this. up he came and i hooked under his arm pit or something. >> one fluid motion. i don't know how he did it. >> lifted him up over the wall and we fell down on my back, really. >> i grabbed this man, hugged him and give him a kiss. i don't know how to thank a man who just saved my life. >> this big kiss and i said, i'm brian. he said, i'm stanleyes a stood up dusting himself. brian clark, nice to meet you. he said, we'll be brothers for life. i said i don't have any brothers, so i always wanted one. you can be my brother. >> this man i'll remember the rest of my life. >> at that time i noticed he had a puncture wound. >> on his left palm he had a gash. >> i said we'll be blood
brothers for life and smushed the hands together. a strange thing to do, but nonetheless i did it. i said let's go home. >> i was touched to the core of my being was touched. we started this long journey home. >> i shined the light down the stairs and sensed in my mind i wanted to test it. i wanted to see those flames for myself. stanley and i, my new brother, he and i started pulling debris away and dug our way through a slot and we on the 78 floor which we learned was the center point for the impact, the wall was cracked and flames were licking up through the cracks. it wasn't a raging inferno. it was quietly licking up. i guess it was starved for oxygen in the interior. stanley and i continued on down on the stairs, down, down, down. back down through the escalator into the main lobby behind us. we had seen nobody in the stairway. our entire descent, we've got the heavy set woman and that was it. in firemen or policemen.
>> brian and i reached downstairs. i don't know where to go. >> i peeked up and said, stanley, i don't see anything coming, you ready? we ran a block and a half. >> run, run, run. do not look up, do not look around. just go for it. >> ron who went in the 81st floor with me, he went up to 91, caught up to the people laying down on the floor thinking there was fresher air at floor level. he made his way back to the stairs. i guess he went through the slot that stanley and i sort of created down the stairway "a." >> i started to run downstairs. so i ended up on ground level. i went to walk out and i wanted to walk out into the court yard but there's a lot of debris and people jumping. it looked like a war zone. so they made us go through the concourse area. >> when he was exiting the building, he heard an explosion.
he spun around and a fire ball was coming down the hallway at him. he put his arms up, blew him across church street. he woke up in the hospital two days later. >> i had burns, they say, on 80% of my body. i had a broken bone in my back. i had my contacts in so they were melted to my eyes. my wife said she came onto the hospital two days later and walked right past me. i guess my ears were turned inside out. my head was very swollen. i was in the hospital for 12 days. then i went home back to new jersey to recover. >> i enjoy living, and i've learned life is precious. they were snuffed out, so many people randomly, haphazardly and senselessly. you take a deep breath and think what a gift life is.
i'm deeply appreciative. i know how precious life is. ♪ we got a call around 8:00 in the morning. for a gas leak in the street at church. while we are standing in the street, we heard the loud roar of a plane. you never hear planes flying overhead in manhattan because of the heights of the building. we heard this plane racing down
the hudson river. i saw the plane aim and crash into the north tower of the world trade center. after that moment, i knew that this was not an accident. that this was a terrorist event. >> i was at home and i was having my first yoga lesson at my wife's insistence. he was really putting me through lots of difficult poses. so at about 8:50 the phone rang and i was relieved to take a break. they said a plane hit the trade center, can you come in right away? >> i was in scotland and commander of the blackhawk helicopter company in chicago. when 9/11 happened, i was desperately trying to get back to the states. i was desperately trying to pool all my pilots and crew members together from scotland because we didn't know if chicago was going to be next. we had the only military asset in the city. >> my son jimmy was a
firefighter on 9/11, assigned to engine 4. i knew my son was working. his 30th birthday was the next day september 12th. i went for my run along the shore down under the verrazano bridge. the planes that hit the towers, went home, turned on my tv set and knew jimmy would be down there he was working around the corner at the time. i said, oh, boy, he's going to be right in the heart of the biggest fire new york city's ever seen. >> lost my brother jimmy on september 11th. he's a firefighter. i was in college. i woke up and i didn't even think that maybe my father or my brother -- i was trying to call home. i couldn't get through right away. when i finally did, i remember my mom right away said we might have lost jimmy. i just broke down. it was the worst thing i could
hear. i was blind-sided. just sadness. everything. i just collapsed. i couldn't believe what i heard on the phone. >> i was in boulder, colorado, on a mountain top. was the most beautiful day. september 11th is the day that my husband and i were supposed to come back and we were having a family breakfast in the hotel room when someone screamed from outside and said, better come look at the television. and there i saw the towers. literally crumbling. my husband's mosque was only ten blocks from that site. it was a very personal, personally traumatic. it wasn't that america was attacked, it was my neighborhood, my city and i'm not there. >> i was and i am still the chairman and chief executive officer of cantor fitzgerald. september 11, 2001, it was my son kyle's first day of kindergarten. my wife and i took him that morning. that's where i was standing when
the planes hit the world trade center. i was standing with my son kyle taking a photograph in front of his school for his very first day of school. unfortunately, because the firm was on the very top of the building, the airplane that hit the world trade center came in below our offices and took out any possibility that anyone who was at work that morning could escape. >> i'm walking into the lobby. one of the fire safety directors came to me and said the fire was somewhere above the 78th floor. as the firefighters came in, we ordered them to go up, not to put out the fire. we ordered them to go in the building to evacuate people and to rescue those that couldn't get out. one lieutenant from engine 33 came up to me and just looked, concerned about whether we were going to be okay. i told that lieutenant to take his unit and to go up and start to evacuate and rescue those
that were in trouble. that was the last time i saw that lieutenant. that lieutenant in the lobby was my brother. it was good that we met. >> on 9/11, i knew that somehow that was going to cause my son's death. i didn't know how it was going to be. we didn't hear from him. he was in ft. hood, texas. we didn't hear from him a couple of days because their bases went on high alert. casey was sent to iraq in 2004. he was only in iraq a few days when he was killed in battle. he was a humvee mechanic. he actually refused the mission. he said, no, i'm just a mechanic. i'm not going to go into this battle. his sergeant made him go and a few minutes later, he was dead.
>> i went to the pentagon early in the morning and was hosting a breakfast for a group of members of congress to talk about the defense budget. they were concerned about an increase in the defense budget, which i was convinced was needed, and as they were leaving this senior military assistance came into the office and said a plane had hit the world trade center tower. it was obviously an accident at that point. >> then as we watched, we saw the second plane strike. then we knew it was a terrorist attack. then my secret service agent, lead agent came bursting through the door of my office and said, sir, we have to leave now. and grabbed me and didn't leave
me any option really. moved me as fast as he could out to the west wing and down into the tunnel that leads to the emergency operations center. when we got to the tunnel, we stopped. there was a place there that was relatively secure. that had a secure phone as well as a small television set. the agent informed me the reason he moved me he heard there was an airplane headed for crown, code name for the white house. >> i was sitting at the round table where i was getting briefed and the building shook. you could feel a bomb or something hit the building. i had no idea what. >> the way i remember, the whole building shook. i rather stupidly thought it felt like an earthquake. rumsfeld immediately made the connection and figured out what was going on. as you know, he went running
down to the crash site. it took me a few more minutes to realize what was going on, which time there were alarms all over the building. the room was slowly filling with this acrid smoke which we had no idea what it was made of, but seemed it was highly likely it wasn't a good kind of thing to breathe. my recollection of it is i said to secretary rumsfeld at least two or three times, you should really get out of here to someplace that's not filling up with gas. >> the smoke was so bad you couldn't go any farther. you had to go downstairs to get outside. i walked around the side of the building and you could see pieces of metal laying all over the grass out there. people that were wounded, people that were being brought out of the building who were dead and injured, and the first responders had not yet arrived. it was a terrible, terrible site. i returned to my office and was engaged in the beginning process
of trying to figure out what next. and talking on the phone with the vice president who was in the white house. the president called from down south where he had been speaking to a school group. >> and told washington was under attack as well as new york, and strongly recommended that he delay his return so we wouldn't both be in the same locale until we figured out exactly what was happening. >> there are a couple of things i was concerned about. initially, first of all, of course, to find out what the scale of the attack was. how many planes were out there that had been hijacked. >> my husband was taking a routine business trip to california and our new baby was just 11 weeks old. i went up to my parents' house to get some help with the baby. i sat down to nurse the baby and i turned on the television and i
saw a plane hit the world trade center. jeremy had called before his plane took off, as he always did, and he talked to my dad and everything was routine and about, i guess it was 9:27, 9:28, the phone rang. i was in the kitchen and my parents were in the living room down a long hallway. i heard my mother say, thank god, jeremy, it's you, i was so worried. i ran into the room and all the color had gone from her face. she handed me the phone. sorry. and he was on the phone and he told me his plane had been hijacked, at the same time he is telling me i see everything unfolding on a big screen television. his plane had been hijacked by three men.
he thought they were iranian looking. they were wearing redhead bands and claimed they had a bomb around him. first we both went onto a little bit of a panic and started saying, "i love you" to each other. when i think about it ten years later, i don't know if you can see into somebody's soul at that minute, but we were so close. i think just talking to each other we brought calm and peace to each other. and then it was as if we both had a job to do. >> when i got the word that jimmy boyle, the president of our local union, when i heard he lost his son, his son was missing, i said i'm going down there to find this kid. i was supposed to go down there my family told me don't go down there, you're too old. i was 69 years old. they said don't go down there.
i said i've got to get down there. in the rubble we found the crushed fire truck and we told the crane operator. he came over and we told him put that on the corner, which was bessie and west, which he did. >> i had choppered into the scene, into new york city with rudy giuliani and george pataki in the chopper. we took a quick motorcade to the ground zero area. i remember driving down the west side avenue lined with people, hoping that the country could recover. they view the president as a symbol of that potential recovery. giuliani said it's great they're
all out here to see you. none of them voted for you. >> we kept working. we were finding people and parts -- all of a sudden they said the president is here. so a couple of guys started to get down. i went out with them to the street. i walked out to west street and i saw the pumper we had found in the rubble. nobody was standing on it. i jumped up on it to see what was going. across the street was a command post, a tent with all microphones in front of it. i thought, this is probably where the president will be. he was down the street. you could hear him. this guy comes over to my right and he yells up, i could hardly hear him. he said, somebody is coming over here. you help them up and then you
get down. i figured it's a politician's coming over here and i'll help him up and i'll do what i'm told. >> i felt like i needed to say something. i got up on a pile of rubble. i wanted a firefighter to be with me as a statement of solidarity. i get up on this, what turns out to be a fire truck that had been destroyed. >> he comes in front of me and puts his arm up. i pulled him up. i turn him around and i said, you okay, mr. president? he said, yeah. i start to get down, he said, where are you going? i said i was told to get down. he puts his arm around my shoulder. that's it. that's my story. >> it was a very emotional moment. the whole event was emotional because i was looking in the eyes of people who rushed into danger. to find loved ones.
and co-workers and people that they cared about. it was evident that it was going to be virtually impossible for people to have survived in the collapse, in the buildings, in the rubble that was there. at first there was kind of a politeness. then it seemed like people wondered who i was, whether i had the leadership capabilities necessary to seek justice. there was blood lust. a lot of emotion. people, the rescue workers, wanted their president to make it clear that whoever had done the damage to 9/11 would face american justice. i had made up my mind that was going to be the case anyway. >> the first priority, obviously, was afghanistan. because that's where bin laden
was. that's where al qaeda had been head quartered. that's where they established training camps that trained some 20,000 terrorists in the laid '90s. so first we moved on afghanistan. iraq was of concern because you had a situation which we were focused especially on this problem of weapons of mass destruction. >> i remember one discussion in my office must have been friday after the attack. before we went up to camp david on saturday. a number of people saying, look, this isn't just about retaliating for this specific attack. the goal is to eliminate global terrorism as a threat. >> the president made a decision, which i whole-heartedly supported that we needed to deal with iraq as sort of the next major threat. and that if we didn't act in a
timely fashion, would have been a very real possibility we would see him reconstitute his deadly technologies. >> we actually spent some time, including with rumsfeld commission thinking about the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the united states. there were scenarios done, think tanks in washington. one was called dark winter. >> dark winter speculated on placing small pox in three locations in the united states. within a year close to a million people would have died under that scenario. >> suddenly we have an anthrax attack, which to this day remains a little bit mysterious. certainly through most of that period we didn't know where it had come from. >> the fbi says they've got good night and he is the one who committed suicide and worked at ft. dietrich. we were so busy at the office, and i happened to have at that time a great personal assistant erin o'connor.
she had gathered a stack of threatening letters and had them off to the side of her desk. i asked her about them and she showed me one that said, take penicillin now, death to america, death to israel. a couple of days later, erin said to me, i've got some kind of a skin inflammation going on. she very fair-haired, irish american. she didn't seem unduly upset by it. she had gone to see a couple of doctors. they weren't sure what it was but started her on cipro, thank god, which is the antibiotic you use. by the following monday she was in pretty tough shape. she had a large mass. she came into the office and said, i'm feeling better because of the cipro, but i still have this mass. her girlfriends took her into the rest room and looked at it and came out to me wide-eyed and said to me, this is really serious.
i have a friend who is a well-known infectious diseases expert. we sent her to him the next day. he was the first one to say us to, i can't rule out anthrax. he had seen it in africa. it's hard for me to describe even now how disorienting that was. i called erin immediately. she had already been called. she was very, very upset with very good reason. at the same time, we were hearing stories about abc, cbs and the "new york post" and the capitol tom daschle. the letter that said, take penicillin now, death to israel, death to america, we still had. when the hazmat crowd came in to test that from the nypd, it was very hot. erin got well physically, but it was emotionally very difficult for her. if she could, just sitting in my office, be the subject of that
kind of attack, what else might happen? >> i understand, you know, how difficult it can be for passengers. we want to try to make that easier. at the same time, we are wearing a lot of different hats. we are the policemen, the firemen, we're the nurse, we're the surrogate air martishal. >> i was on flight 633 coming from paris to miami. this is the flight that later became known as the shoe bomber flight. we were carrying richard reid. in fact, he had been noticed during boarding by several of the boarding crew members during the dinner service. he had not wanted to drink or eat. >> on a ten-hour flight, it's not normal. it's a transatlantic. we make jokes he is probably on a diet. we finish the service,
everything was okay. christine was in the back. they were fixing the galley. we were ready to show a movie. >> i was in the back galley stowing the service items when it was noticed by passengers and crew there was a burning smell in the cabin. >> it smell like burned match. in my mind, the only person who could be doing something wrong is the person who stands out of all the other ones. i said, excuse me, sir, what are you doing? he ignored me. what are you doing? he ignored me completely. he was huge and he was sideways. i pulled him back. when i pulled him back is when he just lit the match. i was expecting to see a cigarette or cigar and i saw a big shoo-in between his legs with the shoe laces burning halfway. i jumped.
i jumped on the top of him trying to get the shoe away from him. twice i tried to reach because he pushed me the second time. i run to the back and get christina. >> she was very frightened and panicked and shouted to me to go get him, go get him. >> go stop him. don't let him pick up anything from the floor. >> he bent down. he had something between his leg and the wall of the airplane. he's working frantically at something. >> i jumped into the seat next to him. i wrapped my arms around his upper body in an attempt to pull him up away from what he was doing. he bent his head down and latched on to my hand and he bit me over the knuckle over my thumb. i couldn't remove my hand from his mouth. it was really painful. at that point, i started screaming, help me, help me,
help me stop him. >> that's when i started screaming. all the languages that i know in english, french, italian because the plane was full of french and italians. i am native italian and french speaker. >> and passengers came from over the middle aisles, from forward, from back. >> the italian guy in front of him, mr. richard had a ponytail. we grabbed him from the ponytail and immobilized him. >> he released my hand. i moved out of that area and saw flight attendant ledee in the other aisle. i screamed to get the flex cuffs. >> the passengers didn't know what was going on, but you could see fear in their faces. >> first officer kent took control of the situation. he did an incredibly awesome job of tying up richard reid. >> he was fighting back. >> i was in the forward area when the shoe appeared. i looked at it and thought,
what's that? what now? it was quickly determined that it was an explosive device. it was the knowledge of what had happened on 9/11 that was fresh in everyone's minds. i think that the flight attendants on board those flights were extremely courageous. they're my heroes. >> i know that two of the flight attendants, amy sweeney and betty ahn actually made phone calls to flight service identifying the hijackers on board that plane, one of whom was mohammed atta, 20 minutes before the first airplane hit which was invaluable information for the authorities. >> two weeks after september 11 i went to shea stadium. they were wearing the fire department, police department hats. usually when i go to shea stadium i get booed because i'm
a yankee fan, a very, very annoying yankee fan. i show up that night. first game in new york after september 11. i got a standing ovation at shea stadium. after the press asked me, how did it feel to get a standing ovation at shea stadium? i said it felt very, very good. it showed how everybody can come together, even yankee and met fans after september 11, but i'll feel better when they boo me again because we'll be back to normal. >> i had thrown out other first pitches. i knew what it was like to throw a pitch with a bulletproof vest on. felt pretty confident that i'd be able to make the pitch. jeter comes in and says are you going to throw from the mound? he says if you don't throw from the mound, they'll boo you. i said, okay, i'll throw from the mound. as he said, don't bounce it, they'll boo you. i've got his words echoing in my
mind. adrenalin coursing through my veins. the ball felt like a shot put. todd greene the catcher looked really small, 60 feet 6 inches seemed like 1/2 mile. anyway, i took a deep breath and threw it. thankfully it went over the plate. the response was overwhelming. it was the most nervous i had ever been. it's the most nervous moment of my entire presidency, it turns out. >> march 25, 2002, we're down there and we had found the helmet, my son's helmet was crushed. he had the 114 on it and he had his name on it, so we knew he would be probably nearby. with that a whole crew of us got down on our hands and knees and dug with our hands. usually had the big graplers.
we found his turnout coat, his pants and his boots. decomposition set in. it was naturally six months later. we wrapped his body in an american flag, put him in a body bag, wrapped him in an american flag, just like we did all the people that died down there. we wrapped them in american flags and put them on the stretchers and had a procession out. we lined up all the men, everybody stopped. there was no digging. my three sons came. my one son timmy was in the fire department then. they bought him down. my other two sons were young and were at home. i called up and they came over. >> dad brought us down there and we were all able to carry him out. >> it was a lot of emotion. it was sad. everybody lined up along the ramp and we went down. everybody was very respectful. you could feel the love there like from a lot of the guys, the
firemen, the port authority cops, everyone. everyone was just together like family. you could feel the support. >> shows the type of person my dad is. he was there the next day after the funeral making sure that he could help the other fathers and other people find them. he didn't give up. we made sure everyone got to go home. >> we stayed to the end until we got the last person out of there. some days i just couldn't go down there your body was emotionally and physically destroyed. i don't know how he did it for the year that he did do it. >> being a spokesperson for the u.s. military led to me being handpicked, chosen specifically to serve as the muslim chaplain down in guantanamo bay after our troops went into afghanistan and we began taking prisoners and housing them in this camp called
guantanamo. in the process of raising concerns about prisoner abuse in guantanamo, i thought i was being recognized for doing a good job. was actually given what we call r&r, rest and relaxation. i was allowed to take a two-week leave to go home. i was able to get on a plane, which would land in jacksonville, florida. i had a connecting flight back to seattle to see my wife and daughter. but i would never make that connecting flight to seattle. instead when my plane landed at the jackson naval air station, i was swarmed by customs officials, immigration officers, intelligence officers that included army counterintelligence, naval criminal investigators and also the fbi. at first the customs officials claimed that i was carrying some suspicious documents and i was secretly arrest and locked away in maximum security prison in
charleston, south carolina. nobody knew i had been arrested. i was arrested in secret. i never showed up at the airport in seattle to meet my wife and daughter. later i learned they cried for hours waiting for me to show up and i never did. my parents had no idea what happened to me. it was like i had disappeared in america, in my own country. what is also shackled at the wrists and at the waist and at the ankles. when they transported me, i had these goggles, blackened, put over my eyes so i couldn't see. then i had heavy industrial-type ear devices or earmuffs put over my ears to prevent me from hearing. that's called sensory deprivation. it's done to instill fear and confusion. i was held in prison 76 days. i was never charged officially with spying or espionage or aiding the enemy even though the government was accusing me very publically of those things. by march 2004, all charges had
been dropped. by late april of 2004, my record was completely wiped clean. when i separated from the u.s. military, i even received a second u.s. army accommodation medal for exceptional service. >> most americans perception is largely shaped by events that happen overseas. if they see a stoning of a woman or suicide bombing, these are very powerful images. but they don't see the stories of muslims who are law-abiding citizens, who is your doctor, who is your street vendor, who is very integrated in america. happy to be here. living in a democratic society. living amongst people of all faiths. and really disproving all the things the extremists say. first i could not believe that there were people that would actually hate people they did not know. or would just hate a group of
people because of the actions of a few. it seems to me very unfair as an american. we don't do that. >> it is important to hold your government to account for their words and their deeds. we live in what i believe to be the greatest democracy with all its failings, it's still the best model we've come up with. it is imperative that people take the last decade and the lessons learned and make sure that you apply them and hold your public officials to account. >> i remember walking the streets of lower manhattan that morning after the towers came down and just shaking hands and talking to people to try to buck them up. it was obvious that people didn't care if you were young or old, rich or poor, black or white, christian or jew. it just didn't matter. we were all americans. we had been attacked in a horrible way. we had a sense of unity that
tragically we don't still share today. i think that's one of the sad things about the past decade is that sense of common purpose, that love of our freedom that united us as americans, not just on september 11th, but for days and weeks after that. kind of vanished. >> on 9/12, we had a feeling throughout the whole country of patriotism. we were all looking out for each other, black, white, latino, whatever. >> there was at the moment of the attacks and days afterward a joining of hearts and minds and will in america to get through this together. somehow that's begun to fray. i think that's sad. i don't think it's a worthy tribute to the people who died and ought not to be our legacy. we have to find a way to rekind that flame in some respect. >> i no longer dwell on the 9/11
events. people ask me to tell the story and i can tell it, but on a daily basis i don't think about it. >> i still deal with it daily. unfortunate, but still i have a lot of baggage, i guess you'll say. i'll carry that with me to my grave. >> it was very difficult speaking about my experience. it really took years, and even after maybe a year or two, i couldn't put all the pieces together. >> i know a lot of spouses are saying, what did my husband say? and that was very difficult. was he frightened? we were all very frightened, so it was quite difficult. >> i struggle a little bit that survival's guilt for a long while. lord, why me?
of all these good men and women. >> me? >> it put life in perspective. it's short. you could die at any day. you know what? live life to the fullest. cause tomorrow could be your last. >> i'm remarried to a wonderful man. so my life now, it's very joyous. i don't think you ever get over the loss or the pain. somewhere along the way i learned to separate the pain from joy. i know many families do want more of revenge. for me, i think judgment comes in another life from here. >> 9/11 is not just a new york city fire department or new york city, it's an event of global trauma. it actually connected all victims of terrorism and it's really the world community coming together and saying that these are acts against humanity.
and we can stop it. >> i think that i would just spend the rest of my life full time grandma and teach iing. teaching my grand babies way should have taught my son. >> i'm thankful that i can wake up every morning. there are so many other people that didn't have the opportunity that i have to wake up every morning, and to be grateful for every day that i have. i'll even have people at work, i see them get upset over what just goes on in work. they'll tell me, why don't you get upset? they always see me smiling. i tell them, as long as there's not an airplane crashing into this building, you're having a good day.
>> here are your headlines this hour. just hours away now congress returns to washington divided. many members still unsold on the president's plan for a military strike in syria, and news just into cnn. politics at the dinner table. president obama is attending a dinner tonight with republican senators at vice presidento joe biden's residence. hillary clinton is preponderanced to make brief comments on the syrian crisis during a visit to the white house. john kerry met with arab league ministers in paris today. he said that saudi arabia has approved international military intervention in syria. other key regional support is uncertain, but kerry emphasized urgency. meantime, white house chief of staff dennis mcdonough took to the sunday shows this morning making a case for the obama administration. >> this is not iraq or afghanistan. this is not libya. this is not an extended air campaign. this is something that's targeted, limited, and effective so as to underscore that he should not think that he can get
away with this again. >> meanwhile, on tuesday president obama will go to capitol hill to make his case for military action on syria to senate democrats. wednesday on the anniversary of 9/11 and the attack on the u.s. consulate in ben ghazi, susan rice will brief all senators showing them the graphic videos of the apparent chemical attack in damascus on august 21st. sfwlimplgts the president has a tough job ahead in congress and according to cnn's latest count in the senate, 25 senators are in favor of authorizing a military strike in syria. 23 are opposed, and 52 still undecided. over m house 143 members are against the authorization. mostly republicans. just 25 have come out in favor. more than 260 remain undecided. when congress returns, the big item on the agenda. the proposed military strike in syria. that will also be the topic when president obama sits down with
>> more than a dozen children have been injured after a terrifying accident on a children's swing ride in connecticut. it happened at the oyster festival in norwalk. it appears the ride lost power, and sent children tumbling to the ground. 13 children were injured. two seriously. one witness says he heard a big crash and then a whole bunch of screaming. another described the aftermath.
>> i wouldn't be surprised if there are some broken bones. >> the ride owner says the swing was just inspected on friday. he is the takes of the naacp, the larnlest civil rights organization in america, but ben jealous says he will resign as president ask ceo on the last day of the year. he says the constant travel has kept him away from his wife and young family too much. jealous has two children, ages 7 and 13 months. he took over as head of the naacp in 2008. in tennis serena williams has won her fifth u.s. open title. she beat victoria in three sets. it's serena's 17th grand slam title. the men's final is tomorrow between novak djokovic and rafael nadal. tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern cnn films presents "the flag." it explores a mystery surrounding the american flag that raised over the rubble of
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