tv 9 11 Anniversary Coverage MSNBC September 11, 2011 5:00am-6:00am PDT
iraq and afghanistan. but, the idea that that moment occurred on our watch, on our air, on live television and took so many twists and turns as we were trying to describe it to the american people i don't think i'll ever face a challenge that great again. i hope i don't, to be perfectly honest with you. i hope there's nothing that even approaches that in terms of my professional career. that was the seminal moment for me. good morning. it was a decade ago on this hurricane warning when on a
beautiful sparkling today the united states faced the darkest day in history. as you can see as we look down on ground zero deep scars remain. tens of thousands of people have gathered here to witness this and remember this. thousands are family members who suffered the worst possible loss on that day. they are gathering as well this morning at the pentagon remembering another awful attack from the air that day. and in shanksville, pennsylvania where still another hijacked jet crashed into a field after a hero jooic group of passengers fought back. for the next three hours we remember the staggering loss ten years ago today. >> this is an nbc news special, "america remembers." reporting from ground zero in
new york, here is brian williams. >> and good day to you all. it is a somber occasion of course, made more poignant by today's weather. it is, again, a beautiful crisp and clear september morning. of course everyone alive back then and we assume some of you are joining us today because of your memories of that day will remember what september 11th was like, especially for those here in new york down on the ground the ceremonies will be beginning soon. things are happening like members of the new york emerald society are getting together and posing for a picture. those are the bagpipers, the drum corps who were so busy such a sad task they had, police officers, firefighters, funerals after september 11th. we'll have two united states presidents here and then of course our coverage will go on at two other locations across the country. along the way we'll show you the memorial that has opened here.
we'll show you the thousands of people who have gathered. with us this morning is a man who was with us that morning for what 100 hours afterwards in the anchor chair tom brokaw. tom, thank for being here. >> brian as you said it was darkest day in modern day history and set off a chain of reaction that continues to this day. more overfor the first time the attack on america was carried live on television. it seems surreal at the time, and it seams surreal again as we watch those images.
>> it's quite terrifying. i'm in shock right now. i looked up and there was a big ball of fire. i'm stuttering. i'm in shock. i've never seen anything like it. it was horrible. >> that was when the 21st century truly began. >> 0 something else just hit. a big plane flew over my building and there was another collision. can you see it? >> it literally blewett self lyly
blew itself into the world trade center. >> apparently it felt just a few moments ago like there was an explosion of some kind here at the pentagon. >> what we have is something that most americans thought could never occur. the federal aviation administration has shut down all air traffic nationwide. this country has been immobilized by these terrorist attacks in terms of air travel today and we don't know where it goes from here. >> their immediate reaction in a case like this would be to look towards osama bin laden and the collateral groups connected to him. he's the one terror leader who is capable this kind of highly coordinated attack. >> you need to step back. sir! >> the building has collapsed. that tower just came down.
[ screaming ] >> just the tip of the iceberg. there's going to be massive amounts of casualties. [ sirens ] >> you can only imagine the confusion and the terror that is in that area after not one but both trade center towers have now collapsed. >> this is war. this is a declaration and an execution of an attack on the united states. >> terrorism against our nation will not stand. >> we have this report from ap that i'm just simply going to read. a large plane crashed tuesday morning just north of the somerset county airport about 80 miles southeast of pittsburgh. >> the most powerful nation in the world and national security
officials and terrorist experts have been saying for some time a small band of sophisticated people can bring us to a halt and they have done just that. >> it is hard to overstate the consequences of all this and this is just the beginning. >> of course, it was unfolding on live tv for the longest time we didn't know what we had here, how many prongs were there. you summed it up saying willful and sophisticated. it was sophisticated tom in that its simplicity, they used our own system against us with the expenditure of human life and just a few dollars of capital. >> they punk turctured our innocence. 26 days later we were in war in afghanistan. we were in a war against
insurgency, people that don't wear one forms and fight on the front lines. you were here in '93 when the world trade center was hit. they learned from that they could do it again and they did. the fact that we've not had another attack since then is testimony to how this country responded to that very fateful day. >> what you believe and we all know now a truck bomb went off yesterday in afghanistan injuring 80 u.s. service members. yesterday we went down to the white house and i spoke with president obama about the day 9/11 and he reminisced as to what he was doing and where he was. >> mr. president, as the day arrives, what does the day 9/11 on the calendar mean to you? >> i always think back to where i was that day. sasha had just been born. she was only a couple months
old. we were in diaper changing mode. i still remember it was gorgeous in chicago like it was in new york. we were driving down lake shore drive. i was driving down to go to a meeting in the state building. and heard the first report about a plane going into the towers and assumed it was a cessna or somebody who had an accident. by the time i parked my car and got into the meeting that i was attending the reports were starting to come in that this had been a jetliner that many people had been killed. at that point he started to evacuate the building and then going to my office and watching, you know, the towers come down and, month, the images of people falling from the skies and the clouds of smoke and dust
settling on everyone. and then going home and holding sasha. you know, rocking her to bed as i was watching the reports of what had happened. and, you know, i think that for me like for most of us our first reaction was and continues to be just heartbreak for the families. the other thing we all remember is how america came together and so ten years later, i'd say america came through this thing that was in a way that's consistent with our character. we made mistakes. some things haven't happened as quickly as they needed to. but overall, we took the fight to al qaeda. we preserved our values. we preserved our character. >> and yet you hear that, you think about it differently now? it's just a jet going into a national airport. we're surrounded by a house with machinery. this is your home base.
it was a game changer and remains that we will always listen to that sound differently now. >> you know, there's no doubt that airports are a lot more inconvenient, pennsylvania avenue is shut down but i'm struck by how much continuity there is. there are still folks working in office buildings in manhattan. new york is still this incredible vibrant place full of diversity. immigrants are still pouring in from all over the world because they want that piece of the american treatment. you know the truth of the matter is that there have been some changes since 9/11. some innocence, perhaps has been lost. but, our core values our core character, how we interact with each other, our love of this country, and our ability to work
through difficult issues in a way that's peaceful and democratic, you know those things haven't changed and that's a testimony to the strength of the american people. >> that was just yesterday afternoon at the white house in the portico, separating the residence from the west wing. two u.s. presidents current and former, two u.s. first ladies current and former greeting family members alongside one of the two pools, the waterfalls that now mark the footprints of these buildings. they entered this plaza area. there's a small group waiting for them and each of them getting a personal greeting the first emotional moment of the day that promises so much of that. we'll take a break. when we come back our conversation with former new
as we look at the live scene again adjacent to one of the two waterfalls, the two pools and you can hear the whoosh, the nice of the water. you see former president george w. bush and president obama talking with some of the children of 9/11. many of the loved ones are arrangeed. the president and governor christie of new jersey just had a nice moment there. of course mrs. rudy giuliani. as we look at the former mayor greeting the president i want to show you a conversation we had moments ago with former mayor rudy giuliani. during this conversation we may dip in and out and show you the live pictures of what's is going on down at the plaza level.
mr. mayor, welcome. thank you for coming here. i know this is -- well where to begin to describe your emotions on this day. i was in a book store the other day in new york and saw one of the many books published about 9/11. and the title was something like "a decade of hope." and to be honest i don't see it that way. it's been a struggle. the area is not done. this is still a big scar. we're still paying for it in many other ways. look at this threat level right now. how do you see it? >> well, i probably see it somewhat the same way but i expected it to be that. expectations mean everything. a couple of days before i left office i wrote a speech about the future gave it at st. paul's and i said in the speech it will take many years to figure it out. if i knew the burning conflicts,
the tremendous views. there are thousands of those. >> no two people will -- >> it took often years for oklahoma city. so that expectation, i'm kind of okay with. we did a pretty good job. it's about where i think it could be. i don't think we're through this because the struggle until goes on. after all we're celebrating the anniversary, the bravery and the overcoming of this attack and we're under threat of attack again. so it's a reminder this still goes on. this whole thing that caused it is still going on and arguably may be stronger or not as strong but still going on. >> talk to me about michael judd that morning. really a face of an angel on earth. i know you had some words with him before you learned that he didn't make it. >> you know last night judith
and i were at a mass and father judd's picture came up. i see exactly where i spoke to him the last time right behind that bridge. i was rushing for the fire to come out, the command post right there. i saw him. i reached his hand. i always said, father, pray for me. he said you know it's more effective if you pray for yourself. always kidding around. great sense of humor. no sense of humor. stone face. never saw that on him. it was my first real sign that this is much worse than anything. then two hours later when i go to the command post i was informed he had been crushed probably giving the last rites or cold fronting someone. being carried to st. paul's church. the man was a saint. he was at the death bed of 25 firefighters with me. he knew how to explain death to
people. which is quite an art. >> of course if you got through that day, what else can life throw at you, really? >> there's a contemplation that there's been many difficulties since then. when things are annoying in business or politics or personal life you just say to yourself wow, this is nothing like what the people went through on september 11th. >> it's true. it gives you a sense of perspective. which is why i think the city is stronger. this is a stronger city today than it was ten years ago. remarkable fact. more people live here now than before. >> that's true. >> twice as many people live here. so the terrorists aren't scaring them. >> mayor rudy giuliani, thank you. >> thanks for your coverage. it's beautiful. >> thanks. our conversation earlier with former mayor rudy giuliani.
during the conversation again, you've been watching some of the live pictures going on. two families, the bushes and the obamas walking through the plaza, creating the other families of 9/11. we'll take a quick break and our coverage will continue after this. we believe honor is not exclusive to the military. and commitment is not limited to one's military oath. the same set of values that drive our nation's military are the ones we used to build usaa bank. from free checking to credit cards to loans, our commitment to the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. ♪ ♪ visit us online to learn what makes our bank so different. usaa. we know what it means to serve. ben and his family live on this block. ben's a re/max agent, and he's a big part of this community. re/max agents know their markets and they care enough to get to know you, too. nobody sells more real estate than re/max. visit remax.com today.
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the ceremony gets under way here in new york. but, of course, this is a three prong day of remembrance. the moderator of "meet the press" david gregory, my friend and colleague is covering things down at the pentagon this morning. david, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, brian. this morning a heavy day both in the air and also in the tone around the pentagon as we prepare for a memorial here as well to honor those who were lost on 9/11 as a result of the attacks here, the american flag unfurled over the west side of the pentagon outside of that e-ring where the damage was done from flight 77 ten years ago. it is striking, i was listening to you earlier, brian talking about the scars that remain on ground al jazeera here in new york. here with the military efficiency within a year that scar, that hole on the side of
the pentagon was repaired so quickly as of course, things were in motion. war planning had not only begun but was being executed. it was also, i think a sign of the difference in scale between washington and new york in terms of the sheer loss of life. president bush was here yesterday to lay a wreath at the site of the attack as the memorial got under way. that of course reminds us of ten years ago and the morning after the attack. the president back in washington and came to visit that day as well. we remember the audacity of the attacks, brian, this morning against our center, the very center of our military might which took many people not just by surprise but horrified them further. >> absolutely. david gregory heading up our coverage as he mentioned a heavy day both in the air and concerning the mood outside of the pentagon.
david, thanks. of course as we get ready for the remembrance ceremony to begin, we'll take a break come back with that right after this. we're centurylink...a new kind of broadband company committed to providing honest, personal service from real people... 5-year price-lock guarantees... consistently fast speeds... and more ways to customize your technology. just one phillips' colon health probiotic cap a day helps defends against occasional constipation, diarrhea gas and bloating. with three strains of good bacteria to help balance your colon. you had me at "probiotic." [ female announcer ] phillips' colon health.
back here from new york a sunny september day. we have some thin, light clouds at a low altitude passing overhead but mostly it's a blue sky, sunny day. two presidents, bush 43 and obama, two first ladies are looking at the memorial here. it's kind of a campus set up but make no mistake in the middle of what is a construction site and we're getting ready for the memorial. our coverage of "america r-s" continues here on msnbc. we're back from ground zero
in new york. i'm joined this morning by tom brokaw. and, tom, rudy giuliani has said that this commercial building, this massive building which will be the tallest in the united states has no place here. he's against it. others have expressed and as a new yorker i want to get your opinion, frustration that this is still a decade later a construction site. david gregory said at the pentagon while they were planning two wars they got their problem all fixed up and the pentagon looks back to normal now. what do you make of this? is at it symptom of anything larger and what does it say about us? >> it is new york. it is what is it. no construction site even getting a closet built in an apartment takes two years, and everybody has an opinion. everybody had an opinion about this. all the families all the political people. actually i think they've done pretty well. i don't think the mayor is wrong
about the commercial building at this site. i think it's worth reminding our viewers who are not familiar with new york they thought just two trade towers came down. there were seven buildings in the world trade center. i came down the saturday afterwards. i was just stunned by the magnitude of the violence, 16 football fields of collapsed buildings and steel and debris. i think that ten years later brian, this is probably a restart. that we'll begin to think again about who we are and where we're going and what this site ought to represent. i was here the other night taping for "dateline" and they were working through the night on that construction site to get things done. new york is in a constant state of renewal. >> what do you think of the theory that the most effective memorial might have been that last surviving charred of ten stories of that violent looking
♪ book here at ground zero in new york on a sunny september 11th morning, ten years after the darkest day in modern american history. we've been chatting with members of our nbc news family. you're looking at the memorial here at ground zero. and the reason we don't see right now the obamas or the bushs, they are looking at this very new and very solemn facility. colleague lester holt is here with us at a look of what's going on here. >> i want to tell you about the transformation we've seen behind us. challenge of rebuilding and the question of how do you erase the ugly scars of the attack while
not erasing the memories. there were times we couldn't look away. at times it seemed like we couldn't bear to look any more. but what emotional pit that became an icon for a national wound has been erased. while curious eyes these days are drawn upward at the rapidly rising tower known as one world trade center unseen to tourists and passers by now the 9/11 memorial black reflecting pools sprayed with waterfalls where the twin towers once stood. >> this is sacred ground because of the loss suffered here. >> reporter: joe daniels is president of the national september 11th memorial. >> a terrible fact that should never be forgotten is 40% of all victims were never found. that means 40% of all the
families never got to go through that traditional rite of burying the dead. >> it's emotional to walk up to these pools for the first time, to see the footprints of where the buildings stood and see the thousands of names etched in bronze. >> the pool bearing the names have been finished for weeks. paula berry was one who knows the design. >> i hope it's therapeutic. i hope when people come they are able to feel differently about their grief. >> everything from what kind of a memorial to what kind of an office tower has been here has been mired in controversy. >> we've ended up with a central
building of supreme banality. a large glass block on a rock. >> it would have been better if they left the scar in the ground as a reminder of what hatred can do. >> planners say that story and events of 9/11 will be told in tennessee 9/11 museum going up next to the memorial. >> i'll tell you that the day after the 10th anniversary we'll reset our countdown clock that we have in our office for 365 so that on 9-11-2012 we open the museum one year later. >> brian trying to balance the need to get construction moving with sensitivities. there were signs up that said please don't photograph the names. they didn't want to see them on facebook or twitter. >> debuted and then there were automatic weapons in front of the names because of this threat we're one. >> it's so bizarre. we're not at the end of a
chapter. we continue to live these days past 9/11 and reminded every day such things don't change. >> and to the folks at home and you and me this is a portrait of the fabric of new york. so interesting to hear architecture critics. it's new york. >> everybody has an opinion. >> lester, thank you. good to see you. as we look at some of the scenes here in new york, and the emerald society the bagpipers and drum corps taking its position, a third part of today is shanksville, pennsylvania. tamron hall is there covering for us. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, brian. the ceremony is just starting. we hear children's choir perform. yesterday it was an amazing scene. thousands of people dealt with awful weather conditions to come to this destination to pay their respects to those on flight 93
president clinton, president bush and vice president biden were in attendance. this is what you're looking at. this is what was unveiled. an eight-foot granite white wall that includes the name of passengers and crew members who fought back on that morning and it was just a sense of serenity and a somber mood as well. another thing that was unveiled about 200 yards from where we're standing, a 17 ton boulder that marks the exact spot where flight 93 crashed into the ground. it's hallowed ground. only family members can walk on that. everyone can walk along the edges and see where that boulder is located and where those heroes died. the ceremony is starting right now. we're expecting the governor of the state as well as the president of the united states
will be here later this afternoon. back to you. >> tamron hall, thank you in shanksville, pennsylvania. the memorial ceremony here at ground zero is going to start to begin with the brooklyn youth chorus. they will be performing the national anthem and see and hear new york mayor michael bloomberg who will lead this city to the first moment of silent. we'll pause here and take some of this in as it unfolds.
>> ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. since then we've lived in sunshine and in shadow and although we can never unsee what happened here we can see children who lost their parents and grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost. in all the years that americans have looked at these ceremonies, we have shared both words and silences, the words of writers and poets have helped express what is in our hearts, the silences have given us a chance to reflect and remember. and in remembrance of all those who died in new york in 1993 and 2001, at the pentagon and in the fields near shanksville,
>> god is our refuge and strength. a very present help in trouble. therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. there's a river whose stream shall make glad the city of god. the holy place of the tabernacle of the most high. god is in the midst of her. she shall not be moved.
god shall help her just at the break of dawn. the nations raged, the kingdoms moved, he uttered his voice the earth melted. the lord of hosts is with us. the god of jacob is our refuge. come behold the works of the lord who has made desolation in the earth. he breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two he burns the chariot in fire. be still and know that i am god. i'll be exalted among the nations and amongst the earth. the lord of hosts is with us. the god of jacob is our refuge.
[ applause ] >> they were our neighbors. our friends. our husbands wives brothers, sisters, children and parents. they were the ones who rushed in to help. 2,983 innocent men women and children. we have asked their families to come here, to speak the names out loud, to remind each of us of a person we lost in new york in washington and pennsylvania. and they each had a face a story, a life cut short from under them. as welissen let us recall the words of shakespeare, let's not measure our sorrow by their worth for then it will have no end.
gordon m. aamoth jr. edelmiro abad maria rose abad andrew anthony abate vincent abate laurence christopher abel alona abraham william f. abrahamson richard anthony aceto heinrich bernard ackermann paul acquaviva donald leroy adams. patrick adams shannon lewis adams stephen george adams ignatius udo adanga christy a. addamo
joshua todd aaron, we love you forever and you're forever in our hearts. >> we love you and miss you. you're always in our hearts. terence e. adderley jr. sophia b. addo >> tom, this is the reading of the names and sadly just because of sheer necessity, talking about almost 3,000 people this will take quite some time, volunteer readers, family members, and this is the kind of thing we've seen on each anniversary. it is the saddest kind of roll call in the world and as members of the new york community, over
the years you end up coming to know these families so intimately. >> what is striking to me, i've been spending time with them. is their determination to live their lives in a more meaningful fashion. a number of the widows have remarried. many who have not gained some attention because of her ability to write. was picked up on a blind date and looks at the guy in the eye and talks to her husband is this your idea. it's remarkable that more than 1100 bodies have not been identified or found any remains of them. and those that were able to be identified, it was just a fragment of dna in many instances. they got a battered fire helmet back or paves credit card or ring and that's all they had because of the utter violence of
that day. so i think the rest of us can draw strength from these families and the meaning that they bring to these occasions. when they read those names i'm sure there's a flood of great memories that come back to them and a mention of the loss only they can hold. >> here in new york it's not uncommon in the local papers in the "daily news" a small box item whatever week at a construction site or on a rooftop in new york they have identified more human remains or the medical examiner's office after ten years of research has identified another name. it's absolutely extraordinary. >> we were talking just earlier this morning i was here on december 7th because we were tying it to pearl harbor and overlooking the site and looking down into that pit that's been filled in they recovered four bodies and the virtuals were
that everything would come to a stop. the honor guard or firemen or policemen and bring the remains out in a very ceremonial fashion. at the end of that day i was so drained i could barely move emotionally and most of the people working with us as well. now after ten years these families are determined to get on with their lives. i think that they are helped with their relationships by one another. they have worked together on security issues. there's a second generation of firemen coming up and policemen coming up children who decided they wanted to follow their father's footprints. >> much today brings back so much from ten years ago and subsequent years and anniversaries and those grim awful days and nights that became known ground zero did as the pit.
it became a calling, it became a talisman for people working on it. we should quickly add 52 lives have been lost since the initial loss of life. many people will tell you because of the toxic nature of what they were exposed to in that pit, and we should also hasten to add, of course, the obviousness, this is one of three prong remembrance, the other shanksville, pennsylvania and the other at the pentagon in washington where my friend david gregory is heading you our coverage. david? >> reporter: brian, i've been thinking about the chronologiy of this morning which was the chronology of september 11th. i'm with karen hughes who is president, george w. bush's top
advisor, counselor on that morning. karen, you were not with the president in florida, september 10th is your wedding anniversary. you were here in washington. can you bring us back to how uncertain these moments ten years ago were four and for the government? >> well i just remember the complete shock and horror. i was, as you say in washington. i was at home because i was scheduled to represent the white house at another event. my assistant called me from the white house and said karen, a plane has hit the world trade center. like many of us i thought a small plane and i turned on the television and called my deputy traveling with the president in florida and i watched in horror as the second plane crashed into the second towers as so many americans did and i remember telling him another plane hit the second tower. then we knew it wasn't an accident. he said what kind of a plane? i said i don't know a big plane like a passenger plane. it never occurred to me there
were passengers on the plane. it looks like a big plane. i remember dropping to my knees and saying a prayer for these people. and then i felt this great sense of responsibility. you know, i knew i had to get to the white house as soon as i could. i was talking by phone with the president and his staff in florida until air force one took off and we lost contact with them for a while and that was one of the very frightening moments when i tried to call and the white house operator said ma'am we can't reach air force one. >> for a new administration, nine months into the president's first term there was an overwhelming sense what do we do now. >> i was struck, watching on television, the white house was evacuated. i was on the phone with my assistant and she said the secret service is yelling at us to get out of here. i said go. the pentagon was hit. and the state department was being evacuated. i remember the sense it looked very chaotic. when i arrived the vice president sent a military driver to get me to bring me back into
washington which was at that point being shut down. when i got to the emergency operations center i was struck by the very calm and methodical decision-making that was taking place. planes were being grounded. the vice president was consulting by telephone with president bush. of course we all knew in that moment everything had forever changed. the presidency our country. >> we were talking earlier this morning, you remembered the crowds, the throngs in new york city. you remarked about this morning how important it is to see president obama and president bush side-by-side. and yet that kind of unity is not what has marked the past ten years or certainly our current political climate happen how do we reckon that? >> i think it's still there but it's beneath the surface. this has been years of anxiety.