Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th, 2001 As It Happened

Facebook users... this post is heavy on video, which you will not see if you are viewing this in Facebook. Please click over to to see the entire blogpost.

To see previous thoughts, essays and recommended September 11th material, click here (or scroll down a few posts)

And friends of the blog and/or mine--The Official Clouds In My Coffee Ombudsman Brad Latta, Erin the Marine Wife and Kris "Buble" Dekker--gave me their thoughts and experiences on 9/11, so scroll to the next post, or click here, to read those. My intent was to inter-sparse their writings with what I was doing here on this column, but it didn't flow well, and I didn't want to edit what they had to say, so I made them their own post.


Alright, after a week or so of trying to decide exactly what I wanted to do with today's post, because I knew I wanted to do something for today (September 11th) and the 8th anniversary of the attacks, I thought the best thing to do was just... well, go through the morning. I hate using the phrase "the best thing to do" because really, its not pleasant. Its not comfortable. It's really not fun. But its is important.

I'm steering clear of any political rhetoric (and I ask you do the same) and I'm hoping you don't find this particular blog as an exploitative veering towards such a thing--its not intended to be. Its just intending to give you--and me--a reminder of what happened that morning, as it happened.

None of the videos that have been posted are set to music, or have encouraging and faith filled songs in the background--I've disabled the music playlist (you're welcome, Lily) and only put Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" on the list itself--you'll have to scroll down and click to hear it. Why? Because I like that song, that's why.

Don't worry, I'm not becoming all serious and such--on Monday, the regular Clouds banner will return, and I'll probably have a Billy Ocean/Billie Jean/Corey Squared-less playlist to post but for the weekend, this is my nod and paid respects to everything that happened.

Some of the video you'll see is hard to watch, so use your best judgement. Also, just a note, all times mentioned are Eastern times, and much of the text is taken from CNN's timeline.

Tuesday September 11th.


9:03 a.m.:

The video at the 6:29 mark is incomprehensible and will give you goosebumps. Next, at the 6:51 mark. Jean Cochran is speaking for NPR in a typical NPR monotone, unemotional voice. When the second plane hits, she screams and suddenly becomes filled with the emotional we all shared at that very second.

Also, this very moment is the moment when four words come to mind... "This is no accident"
9:17 a.m.: The Federal Aviation Administration shuts down all New York City area airports.

9:21 a.m.: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey orders all bridges and tunnels in the New York area closed.

Sometime during the morning

9:30 a.m.: President Bush, speaking in Sarasota, Florida, says the country has suffered an "apparent terrorist attack."

9:40 a.m.: The FAA halts all flight operations at U.S. airports, the first time in U.S. history that air traffic nationwide has been halted.

9:43 a.m.:

9:45 a.m.: The White House evacuates.

9:57 a.m.: Bush departs from Florida.

10:05 a.m.:

Peter Jennings asks, “We now have… what do we have?” He has to ask several times about whats going on, even though the reporter is speaking very plainly... Jennings, like us, cannot even fathom the idea that the entire building... just came down.

A view from the street

10:08 a.m.: Secret Service agents armed with automatic rifles are deployed into Lafayette Park across from the White House.

10:10 a.m.:

10:10 a.m.:

10:13 a.m.: The United Nations building evacuates, including 4,700 people from the headquarters building and 7,000 total from UNICEF and U.N. development programs.

10:22 a.m.: In Washington, the State and Justice departments are evacuated, along with the World Bank.

10:24 a.m.: The FAA reports that all inbound transatlantic aircraft flying into the United States are being diverted to Canada.

10:28 a.m.:

10:45 a.m.: All federal office buildings in Washington are evacuated.

10.46 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell cuts short his trip to Latin America to return to the United States.

10.48 a.m.:

10:53 a.m.: New York's primary elections, scheduled for Tuesday, are postponed.

10:57 a.m.: New York Gov. George Pataki says all state government offices are closed.

11:02 a.m.: New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani urges New Yorkers to stay at home and orders an evacuation of the area south of Canal Street.

11:18 a.m.: American Airlines reports it has lost two aircraft. American Flight 11, a Boeing 767 flying from Boston to Los Angeles, had 81 passengers and 11 crew aboard. Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles, had 58 passengers and six crew members aboard. Flight 11 slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.

11:26 a.m.: United Airlines reports that United Flight 93, en route from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California, has crashed in Pennsylvania. The airline also says that it is "deeply concerned" about United Flight 175.

12:04 p.m.: Los Angeles International Airport, the destination of three of the crashed airplanes, is evacuated.

12:15 p.m: San Francisco International Airport is evacuated and shut down. The airport was the destination of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

12:30 p.m.: The FAA says 50 flights are in U.S. airspace, but none are reporting any problems.

1:04 p.m.: Bush, speaking from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, says that all appropriate security measures are being taken, including putting the U.S. military on high alert worldwide. He asks for prayers for those killed or wounded in the attacks and says, "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts."

1:27 p.m.: A state of emergency is declared by the city of Washington.

1:44 p.m.: The Pentagon says five warships and two aircraft carriers will leave the U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia, to protect the East Coast from further attack and to reduce the number of ships in port. The two carriers, the USS George Washington and the USS John F. Kennedy, are headed for the New York coast. The other ships headed to sea are frigates and guided missile destroyers capable of shooting down aircraft.

1:48 p.m.: Bush leaves Barksdale Air Force Base aboard Air Force One and flies to an Air Force base in Nebraska.

2:30 p.m.: The FAA announces there will be no U.S. commercial air traffic until noon EDT Wednesday at the earliest.

2:49 p.m.: At a news conference, Giuliani says that subway and bus service are partially restored in New York City. Asked about the number of people killed, Giuliani says, "I don't think we want to speculate about that -- more than any of us can bear."

4:10 p.m.: Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex is reported on fire.

5:20 p.m.:

7:02 p.m.: CNN's Paula Zahn reports the Marriott Hotel near the World Trade Center is on the verge of collapse and says some New York bridges are now open to outbound traffic.

7:45 p.m.: The New York Police Department says that at least 78 officers are missing. The city also says that as many as half of the first 400 firefighters on the scene were killed.

8:30 p.m.: President Bush addresses the nation, saying "thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil" and asks for prayers for the families and friends of Tuesday's victims. "These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve," he says. The president says the U.S. government will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed the acts and those who harbor them. He adds that government offices in Washington are reopening for essential personnel Tuesday night and for all workers Wednesday.

9:22 p.m.: CNN's McIntyre reports the fire at the Pentagon is still burning and is considered contained but not under control.

Thank you for indulging me. And here's how I want to end:


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