9/11: Interviews by Peter Jennings
September 11, 2002
From ABC News, This is "9/11." Tonight, behind the scenes on the day America was attacked. Deep inside the corridors of power. From the secret bunkers near the capitol, to the Pentagon war room and on board Air Force One. Exclusive details of what the nation's leaders were thinking and doing in the moment of crisis.
03:45:27 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
You were authorized to shoot down that plane full of Americans. That is a, that's an order that had never been given before.
Then, we'll go inside the Twin Towers to reconstruct the final terrifying moments. An exclusive ABC News, "USA Today" report. You'll see for the first time how the smallest decisions meant life or death.
03:45:46 MALE ONE, SURVIVOR
I can see this big grey plane, with red letters and a wing and a tail. And it's coming, slow motion towards me, and I dove under my desk.
The anatomy of a tragedy told by the people who stared death in the face.
03:46:00 FLORENCE, WTC SURVIVOR
And that's the only reason I'm here today, is because I ran down the escalator with them, to make sure everybody was off the 77th floor.
How they survived while nearly 3,000 others died. An ABC News investigation. How safe are we one year later?
03:46:15 MALE THREE, PORT WORKER
No container leaves this port if it's high risk.
You'll be stunned to see how vulnerable we are to nuclear terrorism.
So the fact that we could get that shipment into a chest, on to a container, into New York, that shouldn't happen.
Brian Ross investigates the most urgent threat to America today. And the lingering questions. How was Osama Bin Laden allowed to slip away? And where is he now? Barbara Walters with the wives and children left behind. We followed them for a year. Tonight, an exclusive and intimate look as they try to recover.
03:46:50 FEMALE ONE, FAMILY OF VICTIM
Did he jump? Did he fall? Did he burn? Did he scream?
A grief like no other. They struggle to cope when reminders are everywhere.
03:46:59 ANNOUNCER (CONTINUED)
Diane Sawyer with the smallest victims of 9/11. 63 babies, 61 widows, and one day that changed them all. Their stories will inspire you. From horror to hope. The cycle of life continues. Now reporting, Peter Jennings.
[GRAPHICS: ABC NEWS: 9/11]
03:47:20 PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS
(OC) Hello again, everyone. And good evening. Now we begin our primetime coverage of this deeply felt anniversary. Some days ago when we were preparing, I walked in here to see this adaptation of New York City, including this representation of the Trade Towers. And I realized, as millions of other people have, what a signature they were against the New York skyline. As one photographer said of them in a picture tribute, it helps us remember them not as rubble, not as mass graves, but as symbols of strength and courage and unity. Our broadcast tonight is about all that and more, about what the country may be facing as well as what we have been through. We all know, I think, that this has been one of the most documented days in any nation's history. It is about memory, of course, and it is also about history. ABC's Charles Gibson is with us tonight and helps us to begin the day. this was, in a phrase, a moment of crisis which not a soul that I know of anticipated.
03:48:21 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(OC) Well, Peter, as well we remember, no one had a complete picture of what was going on a year ago today. Not in the media, and not in government either. So we set out to put the day together, minute by minute. We have interviewed not just the leaders of government, but the pilots scrambled that day, the air traffic controllers, the generals issuing the orders, the sergeants taking them. Photographers, stenographers. When you see the day from all those perspectives, well I think you'll find it gripping. The day of confusion and crisis started with calm and clarity.
03:49:01 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS (CONTINUED)
(VO) Across America, September 11th dawns crisp and clear. It is one of those late summer mornings when almost anything seems possible, except what is about to happen. The President is in Sarasota, Florida, on a 2-day swing to promote his education agenda. He goes for his usual early morning run.
Talk about tax cuts?
03:49:23 PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES
Not right now.
03:49:25 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In New York City, here at ABC? Good morning, America. How nice to see all of you. I'm Charles Gibson.
03:49:30 DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS
(OC) I'm Diane Sawyer, it's Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
Looking pretty good so far. We've got 60 degrees at Dulles airport, 66 at Reagan National.
03:49:39 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In Washington, everyone is talking about Michael Jordan and will he return to pro basketball?
03:49:45 RADIO ANNOUNCER
WTLB news time 8:31.
03:49:48 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) But at that very moment, in the headquarters of the Northeast air defense sector in upstate New York, something is amiss.
03:49:56 LT COLONEL DAWNE DESKINS, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
I have FAA on the phone, the shout line, Boston Center. They said they have a hijacked aircraft.
03:50:03 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) NIADS, as the Air National Guard installation is known, is part of NORAD, the North American Air Defense Command. And Colonel Bob Marr is in charge.
03:50:12 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
I was already in the battlecab that morning. We had the fighters with a little more gas on board. A few more weapons on board.
03:50:18 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) On this morning, they are in the midst of a full scale training exercise. Normally there would be only a handful of military fighters on duty across the US.
03:50:28 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
We had 14 aircraft on alert, seven sites, two aircraft at each site.
03:50:33 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) At a command Center in Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Major General Larry Arnold hears about a bogey, an unidentified aircraft.
03:50:42 MAJOR GENERAL LARRY ARNOLD, AIR FORCE
The first thing that went through my mind was, is this part of the exercise? Is this some kind of a screw-up?
03:50:48 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Back in upstate New York, Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley is supervising radar operations.
03:50:54 MASTER SERGEANT MAUREEN DOOLEY, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
We have a real hijack going on. So then, you know, boom, we're all in, in the urgency.
03:50:59 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Lieutenant Colonel Dawne Deskins is the Mission Crew Chief for the exercise.
03:51:04 LT COLONEL DAWNE DESKINS, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
And I picked up the line and I identified myself to the Boston Center controller, and he said, we have a hijacked aircraft and I need to get you some sort of fighters out here to help us out.
03:51:13 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
So what I did was call General Arnold, said boss, I need to scramble Otis.
03:51:17 MAJOR GENERAL LARRY ARNOLD, AIR FORCE
And I said go ahead and scramble them, and we'll get the authorities later.
03:51:21 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) At Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, two F-15 fighters are at their battle stations, engines quiet, cockpits empty.
03:51:31 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
Right about the same time that I was making that call, American Airlines flight 11 heavy was crossing the border from Massachusetts into New York and he turned off his transponder.
03:51:41 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Top guns, with the code names Duff and Nasty, wait for orders. The radio crackles.
03:51:47 LT COLONEL "DUFF", PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
He said it's Otis tower, something about a hijacking. He said this looks like the real thing.
03:51:54 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The pilots fire their engines and roll onto the runway. At NIADS, radar operators desperately search for American Flight 11.
03:52:02 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
At this point, we don't really know where the aircraft is. We just know that the FAA has lost contact.
03:52:08 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Its transponder is off, so the airliner no longer signals its identity, altitude or speed. The 767 is lost amid the clutter of more than 2500 planes in air this morning over the Northeast alone.
03:52:22 MASTER SERGEANT MAUREEN DOOLEY, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
We were going by the old fashioned method of, what was his last known speed, his last known heading, his altitude? And we were trying to kind of map it out on the scope.
03:52:31 MAJOR GENERAL LARRY ARNOLD, AIR FORCE
I hate to say it, but that was probably one of the, a perfect tactic. Because, it's a perfect arrow right to lower Manhattan.
03:52:37 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) It is 8:46 a.m.
This is an ABC News special report.
[GRAPHICS: ABC NEWS: SPECIAL REPORT]
03:52:50 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(OC) "Good Morning America" was in progress in the East coast and the Midwest, but we're joined by the entire network just to show you some pictures at the foot of New York City. This is at the World Trade Center.
03:52:59 RADIO ANNOUNCER
Pretty dramatic picture we're looking at right now. Fire in one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
As I look at it now, there's a diagonal angle across the building at about a 45-degree angle. It looks like, just a definite gash. The upper right-hand side looks like it's the corner of a wing that just went straight into the building.
03:53:21 REPORTER (CONTINUED)
You can see quite a lot of damage. if it was an airplane, it had to be huge.
03:53:29 RADIO ANNOUNCER
Breaking news now on 1010 wins. This just into our newsroom, a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.
03:53:36 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) At that exact moment, the President's motorcade arrives at an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida, for a long-planned event. Simultaneously, the pagers of his aides erupt in a cacophony of beeps and tones.
03:53:49 DAN BARTLETT, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
He goes into the school, Karl Rove and I and some others were standing there and informed him of this. And, which, he being a former pilot, had kind of the same reaction, going, was it bad weather? And I said no, apparently not.
03:54:03 ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
The President was surprised. He thought it had to be an accident.
03:54:07 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The President ducks into an empty classroom and calls National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice back in Washington.
03:54:13 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
He said, what a terrible, it sounds like a terrible accident. Keep me informed.
03:54:17 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In the command center in New York, a TV set shows the World Trade Center on fire.
03:54:23 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
And the immediate assumption is that that guy that, that we couldn't find probably hit, hit the World Trade Center.
03:54:31 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) But the FAA still lists American Flight 11 as unaccounted for.
03:54:35 LT COLONEL DAWNE DESKINS, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
They told us that they showed the American Airlines Flight 11 was still airborne. So now, we're looking at this, well if, if an aircraft hit the World Trade Center, who was that?
03:54:49 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Whoever it is, Colonel Deskins knows she needs to call NORAD operations in Florida, to inform the Public Affairs Officer, Don Arias(SP?)
03:54:57 LT COLONEL DAWNE DESKINS, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
And his reaction to me at that point was, my God, my brother works in the World Trade Center, and I said well, you have to go call your brother.
03:55:08 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Arias hears the shock in his brother's voice.
03:55:08 DON ARIAS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
So not the typical phone voice I expected, you know. And, he was just like, hey, you know, he says, I heard a lot of background noise. He says, you know, it's lot of stuff going on here now.
03:55:18 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The Air Force officer is a former New York City firefighter. So he knows what his brother is up against.
03:55:24 DON ARIAS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
He says, he says, you're not gonna believe what I'm looking at here. I said, what? He says, people are at the windows. He says, there's a guy falling out of the building next door. He says, there are people jumping. And I said, you know, I, I think, I just got a call from the Northeast Air Defense sector. There's a hijacked plane. I think that's the plane.
03:55:44 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) At that same moment, three blocks from the White House at the St. Regis Hotel, two old friends meet for breakfast at a window table. George Tenet is the Director of Central Intelligence, his companion this morning is David Boren, the former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
03:56:00 DAVID BOREN, FORMER CHAIRMAN SENATE INT COMMITTEE
And out of the corner of my eye, I could see several people converging on our table. And I remember one of them said to George Tenet, Mr. Director the World Trade Tower has been, just been attacked by an airplane. I was struck by the fact that he used the word attacked.
03:56:18 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) An aid hands the CIA director a cell phone.
03:56:21 DAVID BOREN, FORMER CHAIRMAN SENATE INT COMMITTEE
After he, handed the cell phone back to his, security person, he said to me, you know, this has Bin Laden's fingerprints all over it.
03:56:30 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) At their air base in Massachusetts, Duff and Nasty rocket into the air at 8:52 AM just six minutes after the first Tower is hit.
03:56:39 LT COLONEL "DUFF", PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
As we're climbing out, we go supersonic on the way, which is kind of nonstandard for us. And, and Nasty even called me on the, radio and said, Duff, you're super. I said yeah, I know. You know, don't worry about it.
03:56:51 MAJOR "NASTY", PILOT AIR NATIONAL GUARD
I was kind of wondering why he going so fast. We really didn't have verbal authorization to go supersonic.
03:56:58 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The fighters are hurtling toward New York at mach 1.2, nearly 900 mile per hour. They are 153 miles from the World Trade Center.
03:57:08 LT COLONEL "DUFF", PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
I just wanted to get there quickly.
03:57:10 MAJOR "NASTY", PILOT AIR NATIONAL GUARD
We're going as fast as we could.
03:57:12 LT COLONEL "DUFF", PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
I called for bogey to open, they say, you're contact's over Kennedy. I said, okay, I know where that is, so we started heading right down to Long Island, basically.
03:57:19 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Ten more minutes pass.
03:57:21 RADIO ANNOUNCER
There's a great deal of smoke billowing from the towers. Phil, we can see flame coming out from at least two sides of the building. I can't see around to the other side. Brian, could you, were you able to tell us the size of the airplane? Was it a small plane? A commercial plane? Do you have any idea at all?
I will tell you from the size of the gash that the wingtip had to be at least 150 to 200 feet. Oh, my God. The next building.
03:57:48 RADIO ANNOUNCER
There's another one.
Just blew up.
03:57:49 RADIO ANNOUNCER
Oh, my God.
That looks like a second plane has just, we just saw another plane coming in from the side.
03:57:59 REPORTER (CONTINUED)
I don't believe this. The second Tower has exploded from about 20 stories below in a gargantuan explosion.
03:58:07 REPORTER (CONTINUED)
So this looks like it is some sort of a concerted effort to attack the World Trade Center that is under way.
03:58:14 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Jet fighters are still 60 miles away. It is just 16 minutes since the attacks began.
03:58:20 LT COLONEL "DUFF", PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
Called for bogey up again trying to get some information. And at that point they said the second aircraft just hit the World Trade Center. That was news to me. I thought we were still chasing American 11.
03:58:29 MAJOR "NASTY", PILOT AIR NATIONAL GUARD
There was smoke from fire, blowing southeast, towards New Jersey.
03:58:35 LT COLONEL "DUFF", PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
I had Had my head down basically looking at the radar scope, and we're about 60 miles out, and I could see the smoke from the towers. So at that point, obviously, everything changed.
03:58:45 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
When the second aircraft flew into the second Tower, it was at that point that we realized that the seemingly unrelated hijackings that the FAA was dealing with were, in fact, a part of a coordinated terrorist attack on the United States.
03:59:04 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) At the Pentagon, Brigadier General W. Montague Winfield is in the loop with the air defense command, and he alerts the Pentagon brass.
03:59:11 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
The senior military and civilian leaders in the building began to filter into the National Military Command Center to get a situation update. And as you can imagine, the reports were numerous and conflicting. We'll get duplicate reports and we would get bogus reports.
03:59:28 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In Florida, President Bush is in the middle of a reading lesson with second graders. He doesn't know about the second crash. Ann Compton is covering the President this day.
03:59:38 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
It all came to a blinding moment of realization when the President's Chief of Staff walked over to the President and whispered to him. Nobody interrupts the President, not even in front of a second grade classroom.
03:59:51 ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
I tried to be very efficient with my words. I knew that this was not the place to stand and have a conversation with the President. I said, "a second plane hit the second Tower. America is under attack." And then I backed away from the President.
04:00:05 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
And the President's eyes got wide and the face told it all. Something terribly grave, something terribly, something beyond imagining.
04:00:16 ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
I think there was a, a moment of shock and he did stare off maybe for just a second.
04:00:27 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
So much so that I wrote it down in my reporter's notebook, by my watch, 9:07 AM.
04:00:32 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The President stays calm and lets the students finish.
04:00:40 KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR
The President thought for a second or two about getting up and walking out of the room. But the drill was coming to a close and he didn't want to alarm the children.
04:00:43 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Instead Bush pauses, thanks the children.
04:00:46 PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES
Thank you all so very much for showing me your reading skills.
04:00:49 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) And heads for the empty classroom next door.
04:00:52 ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
He came back into the holding room. And we had found a television, so we brought a television in so we could see TV, and they were replaying the crash over and over again.
04:01:03 ERIC DRAPER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
And next to him, as he's walking by in the classroom, you can see the, on a TV monitor that the, building's burning.
04:01:10 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) White House photographer Eric Draper is with the President this day. His job is to chronicle Bush's every move in public and in private.
04:01:18 ERIC DRAPER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
We're seeing that the video of the second plane hitting the second building, for the first time. And that's why you see Dan Bartlett pointing to that video.
04:01:29 DAN BARTLETT, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
You, you almost can't believe what you're seeing. And, and I just instinctively just pointed at it. And, but at that point, the President briefly looked back at, at the images.
04:01:40 KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR
The President said, I need to, I'm gonna need to make a statement before we leave here.
04:01:44 BYRON MITCHELL, EMMA BOOKER ELEMENTARY STUDENT
He was red and I seen that had tears in his eyes. So I knew something bad had really, really happened. His face was just red. And he was, his lips were just trembling.
04:01:55 MICHAEL ANDREWS, EMMA BOOKER ELEMENTARY STUDENT
He kind of stuttered, when he talked, and he kind of said it all slowly.
04:02:00 PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES
Today we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.
04:02:12 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Quick good-byes, and then a race to the Sarasota airport. At that moment, in the White House, . . .
04:02:19 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
I was in my west wing office.
04:02:21 DAVID BOHRER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
The Secret Service had come in, to his office. I think it was two or three agents, which is very unusual.
04:02:27 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) David Bohrer is another White House photographer, assigned to Vice President Dick Cheney.
04:02:33 DAVID BOHRER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
And agents came inside the office and said "Sir, you have to come with us."
04:02:38 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
Put his hand on the back of my belt, grabbed me by my shoulder and sort of propelled me down the hall way.
04:02:43 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) And to an underground bunker, the President's Emergency Operations Center, PEOC they call it.
04:02:49 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
It's got blast doors on each end. it's a secure phone there as well as a television set.
04:02:54 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Up above, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is trying to find the rest of the President's team. Secretary of State Colin Powell is in Peru, Attorney General John Ashcroft is in the air, and Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh is at a conference in Montana.
04:03:14 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
As I was trying to find all the principals, the Secret Service came and said, you have to leave now for the bunker. The Vice President's already there. There may be a plane headed for the White House. There are a lot of planes that are in the air that are not responding properly.
04:03:28 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In the bunker, the Vice President is joined by Rice and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
04:03:34 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
Someone came in and said Mr. Vice President, there's a plane out 50 miles.
04:03:39 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Mineta confers with Federal Aviation Deputy Chief Monty Belger.
04:03:43 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
And so I said, Monty, what do you have? He said, well we're watching this target on the radar, but the transponder's been turned off. So we, have no identification.
04:03:56 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) At the FAA's Air Traffic Control Center near Washington's Dulles Airport, Danielle O'Brien is at a radar scope.
04:04:03 DANIELLE O'BRIEN, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
It was an unidentified plane to the southwest of Dulles moving at a very high rate of speed.
04:04:11 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
Someone came in and said, Mr. Vice President, the airplane's 30 miles out.
04:04:16 LT COLONEL DAWNE DESKINS, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
We caught on the radar scope, a few blips, maybe seven or eight, you know, just enough to kind of go around in a half circle and then fade right over, losing radar contact right over, Washington. I said, my God, what is that?
04:04:31 DANIELLE O'BRIEN, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
He was fast and it was just, it would be unprecedented for a commercial plane to come screaming through your air space at that kind of speed, unidentified, without making some type of communication.
04:04:45 MASTER SERGEANT MAUREEN DOOLEY, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
We knew that he was headed in that direction and we were calling, Washington Center, oh, my God, you've got, he's coming towards you.
04:04:51 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
The fellow came in and said, it's ten miles out. Assuming that it was coming into, National Airport, Ronald Reagan National Airport.
04:05:01 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) At Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, F-16 fighter pilots Brad Derrig and Dean Eckmann scramble into the air. They are 105 miles, 12 minutes south of Washington. It is just 9:30 a.m.
04:05:15 MAJOR BRAD DERRIG, PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
We're directed to go and which turned out to be Reagan National which is right by the Pentagon.
04:05:20 DANIELLE O'BRIEN, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
Our supervisor picked up our line to the White House and started relaying to them the information. We have an unidentified, very fast moving aircraft inbound toward your vicinity, eight miles west, seven miles west, and it went, six, five, four, . . .
04:05:39 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
He said, uh-oh, we just lost the bogey, meaning the target went off the screen. So I said, well, where is it? And he said, well, we're not really sure.
04:05:49 ALLAN WALLACE, FT. MEYER FIRE DEPARTMENT
I happened to look up to my left and there is the airplane. The airplane is about 25 feet above the ground and it's about 150 to 200 yards away. And coming at us.
04:06:00 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) It is 9:38, just 52 minutes have passed since the first attack. Firefighter Allan Wallace is on duty next to the helicopter landing pad on the west side of the Pentagon.
04:06:11 ALLAN WALLACE, FT. MEYER FIRE DEPARTMENT
I look up and see the airplane. I hear the noise from the airplane. And bang, the airplane hits the building. And that's how fast it happened.
04:06:18 DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
The whole building jumped.
04:06:20 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is on the fourth floor of the Pentagon around the corner from the impact.
04:06:26 DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
The table shook and the building shook and, and it sounded, it felt like a bomb had hit the building.
04:06:34 MALE TEN, SPEAKER
I think we just had an airplane crash East of here. Must be in the district.
04:06:37 PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS
(VO) Claire Shipman is on the phone. Claire, what's that we're looking at?
04:06:41 CLAIRE SHIPMAN, ABC NEWS
(VO) Well, that's what we're trying to figure out right now.
There is visible smoke coming from that area, high visible smoke.
04:06:46 FEMALE FOUR, DISPATCHER
Okay, any unit responding to check the area of the Pentagon, . . .
An airliner plane headed eastbound.
04:06:54 RADIO ANNOUNCER
The Pentagon, a plane has crashed into the Pentagon.
04:06:56 ALLAN WALLACE, FT. MEYER FIRE DEPARTMENT
Uh, I don't believe I was knocked down, but I did at a certain point when I thought I was on fire, I thought I had ran as far as I should run, and then I hit the ground.
04:07:06 DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Then I went downstairs and went outside. And around the corner and of course, there it was.
04:07:11 ALLAN WALLACE, FT. MEYER FIRE DEPARTMENT
Everything around the fire truck and the fire station including the blacktop that surrounds the fire truck was on fire. There were trees alongside of the Pentagon that were, the leaves were on fire.
04:07:22 DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
There was metal all over the, the grass and there were people coming out of the building hurt and people were assisting them.
04:07:29 ALLAN WALLACE, FT. MEYER FIRE DEPARTMENT
Almost directly behind the fire, truck, that there are people trying to get out of the building and there's someone back there who is trying to help them.
04:07:36 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Other firefighters by nearby Fort Myer and Arlington Virginia join the rescue efforts.
04:07:41 ALLAN WALLACE, FT. MEYER FIRE DEPARTMENT
From the time we first assembled there, I would say 30 seconds later there were probably 30 people there. And 30 seconds after that, there were probably 100 people there.
04:07:51 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Among those helping the wounded and injured is the 69-year-old Rumsfeld himself.
04:07:56 DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
There was a, a young woman bleeding, sitting on the ground, and I think she said to me, she didn't know who I was, she said, she could see people holding, drips going into people, IV of some kind, and she said, something to the effect, if people would, if someone could bring that person over, I could hold it.
04:08:25 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The Secretary of Defense is outside the burning building, while inside the Pentagon, . . .
04:08:31 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
For 30 minutes we couldn't find him. And just as we began to worry, he walked into the door of the National Military Command Center.
04:08:39 GEN RICHARD MYERS, CHAIRMAN JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
Very, very quickly he's in there in his shirt sleeves as I recall.
04:08:42 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) On 9/11 General Richard Myers steps in as acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
04:08:48 GENERAL RICHARD MYERS, ACTING CHAIRMAN
It was a, from my viewpoint, a very professional scene. There was no, no panic, no undue alarm.
04:08:55 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) High overhead, jet fighters arrive. Just moments too late.
04:09:00 MAJOR DEAN ECKMANN, PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
We get in closer and I can start to see smoke coming up.
04:09:02 MAJOR BRAD DERRIG, PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
I look down and started seeing the landmarks. And, yeah, it was obviously the Pentagon was on fire.
04:09:07 MAJOR DEAN ECKMANN, PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
Looking down and actually seeing the Pentagon burning, you know, big, black billowing smoke out of it. Just looking back and I'm thinking, we're at war.
04:09:16 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In the Pentagon Command Center, General Winfield is juggling a secret conference call.
04:09:21 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
We added the White House and we added Air Force One to the conference. All of the governmental agencies there that, that were involved in any activity that was going on in the United States at that point, were in that conference.
04:09:33 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Rumsfeld orders US forces to Defcon Three. The highest alert for the nuclear arsenal in 30 years.
04:09:41 GEN RICHARD MYERS, CHAIRMAN JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
The smoke got intense at one point, I, actually recommended to the Secretary, you know, maybe we ought to think about an alternate location.
04:09:47 DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
They wanted to evacuate us in the building and, I decided I'd prefer to stay.
04:09:52 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Instead Rumsfeld sends his deputy Paul Wolfowitz to a secret remote bunker where there is a duplicate of the Pentagon's Command and Control System.
04:10:01 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
We flew them out by helicopter to site R, the Deputy Secretary, flew out there and he was in charge of our alternate site.
04:10:09 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Just moments earlier on Capitol Hill, to testify before Senator Edward Kennedy's Education Committee, the First Lady learns about the New York attacks.
04:10:17 FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH, UNITED STATES
Our hearts and our prayers go out to the victims of this act of terrorism and that our support goes to the rescue workers.
04:10:25 SENATOR EDWARD KENNEDY, D, MASSACHUSETTS
We had walked down the corridor and just as we were about to get in the elevators, the Secret Service said, is there someplace we can go right away? We heard that the Pentagon had been struck.
04:10:45 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The Pentagon crash literally reverberates in Congressional corridors. In under an hour, three hijacked planes have struck buildings in New York City and Washington. Police warn the leaders of Congress, the Capitol building could be next.
04:10:53 REP DENNIS HASTERT, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
Well, they said, we think there's a plane heading for the, for the capitol.
04:10:56 SENATOR TOM DASCHLE, MAJORITY LEADER
Some capitol policemen broke into the room and said, we're under attack. I've got to take you out right away.
04:11:03 REP DENNIS HASTERT, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
As I looked, hung up the phone and looked, back down the window, out my window and down the mall, this huge cloud of rolling black, blue smoke was coming across.
04:11:13 SENATOR TRENT LOTT, MINORITY LEADER
When I looked out that window of my office and I could see the smoke billowing up from the Pentagon, and my immediate impression, you know, we're fixing to be hit, too. And let's get out of here.
04:11:24 SENATOR TOM DASCHLE, MAJORITY LEADER
People were just as fearful as I've seen. I saw looks in Senators' faces, looks in staff faces that I've never seen before.
04:11:33 MALE FIFTEEN, OFFICER
Get off the sidewalks.
04:11:34 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Workers, tourists, Senators scattered as word spreads of another hijacked plane.
A plane is heading for the capitol.
04:11:44 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The Senate chaplain offers a prayer.
04:11:47 MALE SIXTEEN, SENATE CHAPLAIN
So Lord, be with us.
04:11:49 MALE FIFTEEN, OFFICER
Moving everybody back. Moving everybody back.
04:11:51 DENNIS HASTERT, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
I'm thinking to myself, here I am Speaker of the House, something I never dreamed would ever happen to me, and we're evacuating the Capitol. It just can't be happening to us.
04:11:59 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is third in line of succession to the presidency.
04:12:03 DENNIS HASTERT, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
I was put in a, one of our secure automobiles, and the next thing I knew I was hurtling through the back streets of Washington.
04:12:09 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The other leaders jam into a room two blocks from the Capitol.
04:12:19 SENATOR TRENT LOTT, MINORITY LEADER
We were in a vulnerable position. We were all in one place and I started asking, you know, who is in charge here?
04:12:19 REP RICHARD GEPHARDT, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER
We were like everybody else. We were in complete chaos.
04:12:23 MALE SEVENTEEN, CAPITOL HILL SPEAKER
I think it might be a good idea if we got out of this crowd.
04:12:26 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Some leaders rushed to the west front of the Capitol where military helicopters await.
04:12:31 SENATOR TOM DASCHLE, MAJORITY LEADER
Then we flew over the Pentagon and we saw this, the remnants of an airplane, into the side, the side of the Pentagon with, with this whole facade caved in with black smoke and thousands of people gathered around. It was a terrible sight.
04:12:53 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) While in Florida, the President hurries aboard Air Force One.
04:12:56 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
(VO) He was virtually shoved on board the plane. The rest of us being forced to move faster, faster, faster to get on board.
04:13:03 KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR
The President sat down in his chair, motioned to the chair across from across from his desk for me to sit down, and before both we could, both of us could sit down and put on our seatbelts they were rolling the plane. And they stood that 747 on its tail and got it to about 45,000 feet as quick as I think you can get a big thing like that up in the air.
04:13:21 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) It is 9:55 a.m.
04:13:24 ELLEN ECKERT, WHITE HOUSE STENOGRAPHER
It seems we were wheels up in nanoseconds.
04:13:29 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Ellen Eckert is a White House stenographer.
04:13:31 ELLEN ECKERT, WHITE HOUSE STENOGRAPHER
The chatter in the press section of the plane where I was sitting, was where are we going, where are we going? And we were looking out the windows trying to see if we could figure out geographically where we were going.
04:13:41 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) That's what the President is trying to decide up front.
04:13:44 ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
I was focused on getting the President, in a safe environment, and which meant on the plane, and the plane should be in the air. And then it came a question as where should the plane go?
04:13:56 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
He said, I'm coming back. And I said, you may not want to do that, Mr. President, because Washington's under attack. We don't know where the next attack is coming.
04:14:02 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) President Secretary Ari Fleischer is keeping notes.
04:14:04 ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
He turned to the head of the Secret Service detail and he said, I want to go back home ASAP. I don't want whoever is doing this to hold me outside of Washington. And the head of the Secret Service detail said to him, our people are saying it's too unsteady still.
04:14:05 ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
There was a little bit of pulling and pushing with him to suggest that we should fly to a secure location, and where we could have good communication and, and then make a decision when he should return to Washington.
04:14:29 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
When I got to the bunker, the President was talking to the Vice President on the phone, and the Vice President was saying the same thing. You can't come back here.
04:14:37 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
At that point, urged him not to return to Washington because it was clear then that the attack included Washington as well.
04:14:44 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(OC) So, it was on the basis of that third plane that you said, at that point to the President, you can't come back here?
04:14:49 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
Right, we don't know what's happening.
04:14:51 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
(OC) On board Air Force One, we seemed to be flying forever. And one of the Secret Service agents leaned over to me and said, look down there, we're at 44,000 feet, and we're not going back to Washington.
04:15:04 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Deep beneath the White House, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta issues an unprecedented order.
04:15:10 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
The planes that are coming into the eastern seaboard, turn them around and get them going west. If they're going west, have them land at their destination, but in any event if they're not too far away, have them land.
04:15:22 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) More than 4,000 planes are in the skies over the US. FAA policy allows pilots to use their own discretion to decide where and when they land in an emergency. But on this morning, . . .
04:15:35 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
I said, "screw pilot discretion, get the damn planes down."
04:15:39 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Up above, the Secret Service orders the White House staff to evacuate.
04:15:45 JENNIFER MILLERWISE, VICE PRESIDENT'S PRESS SECRETARY
As soon as we were outside, Secret Service agents told us to run. And they kept yelling to run. If you looked at their faces, they wanted us to run.
04:15:53 MALE EIGHTEEN, SECRET SERVICE AGENT
Everybody out. Everybody out.
04:15:55 JENNIFER MILLERWISE, VICE PRESIDENT'S PRESS SECRETARY
One of them yelled, you know, women take off your heels and run. Take off your heels and run. And so I did. I took them off and I started running as fast as I could. The gates opened and we all went pouring out.
04:16:08 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Dozens of fighters are buzzing in the sky. F-16s scrambled at Andrews Air Force Base in nearby Maryland.
04:16:14 CAPTAIN BRANDON RASMUSSEN, USAF PILOT
We were told to get airborne and protect the Capitol.
04:16:18 MAJOR DEAN ECKMANN, PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
I believe there were over 20 fighters, plus tankers, AWACs, you know, the other support airplanes. Total military in the area, I'd say, was probably 30 plus airplanes.
04:16:30 CAPTAIN BRANDON RASMUSSEN, USAF PILOT
It never in my wildest dreams occurred to me one day I'd be orbiting over the Pentagon that had just been hit, looking for possible incoming aircraft.
04:16:38 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In the Pentagon Command Center, there's a report of another hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 93.
04:16:45 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
We received the report from the FAA that Flight 93 had turned off its transponder, had turned, and was now heading towards Washington, DC.
04:16:56 DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
We rapidly developed some rules of engagement for what our military aircraft might do in the event another aircraft appeared to be heading into some civilian, large civilian structure or population.
04:17:10 MAJOR "NASTY", PILOT AIR NATIONAL GUARD
Said, if we get one, another one of these, you're gonna have to shoot it down.
04:17:15 PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS
(OC) You heard the Speaker of the House of Representatives say there, it can't be happening to us. So much more that we didn't know then. In the next half-hour, you will see how this crisis led the nation's leaders to create rules of engagement for something never before done in American history, ordering the military to shoot down a civilian aircraft.
When we come back, life and death decisions in the skies over Washington.
04:17:41 MAJOR DEAN ECKMANN, PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
It was the first time in my career that I ever actually wanted to go out and use my airplane to kill someone.
[GRAPHICS: ABC NEWS: 9/11]
ABC's coverage of "9/11" will continue in a moment.
[GRAPHICS: ABC: 9/11]
ABC News "9/11" continues. Once again, Peter Jennings.
04:20:07 PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS
(OC) Welcome back to our coverage of the first anniversary. In this half-hour, we will continue our extraordinary look behind the scenes on the day that America was attacked, on board Air Force One with the President, at the site of the crash of the hijacked plane in rural Pennsylvania, and in the secret bunkers, where the government leaders took shelter. Here again is Charles Gibson.
04:20:36 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) It is just before 10:00 AM, jet fighters swarm around the capitol.
04:20:40 CAPTAIN "LUCKY", PILOT, USAF
One whole side of the pentagon is just completely burning. There's ashes falling, and there's fumes in the air, and the smoke is billowing around.
04:20:48 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Only minutes before, the Pentagon was struck by a hijacked airplane.
04:20:52 MAJOR DEAN ECKMANN, PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
It was the first time in my career that I ever actually want to go out and use my airplane to kill someone.
04:21:02 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Only an hour has passed since the attacks began in New York City.
04:21:05 CAPTAIN BRANDON RASMUSSEN, USAF PILOT
In the defense of the nation's capitol, we would've done what we had to do.
04:21:09 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) But there is little the pilots can do, even though another hijacked aircraft, United Flight 93, is heading for Washington.
04:21:17 MAJOR DEAN ECKMANN, PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
At that point we had no authorization to shoot anyone down.
04:21:21 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The President is in his cabin, aboard Air Force One.
04:21:24 ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
I was there when he was talking with the Vice President and Secretary of Defense. And this was not an easy, thing, you know, it's a decision that can't be made by others, other than the President.
04:21:36 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Moments earlier, in a hardened bunker beneath the White House, the Vice President is with Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
04:21:43 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
And he's just methodical in the way he goes about doing things, but he's very effective in terms of his cool, collected way of getting things done.
04:21:53 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
I had a yellow legal pad with a list, . . .
04:21:55 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Cheney personally compiles a list of possible threats from the air.
04:21:58 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS (CONTINUED)
(OC) Of the flights that you didn't know where they were?
04:22:02 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
That we couldn't account for.
04:22:04 DAVID BOHRER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
At first it was one of a few planes that they had questions about.
04:22:07 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) White House photographer David Bohrer watches the tense moment and records it on film.
04:22:13 DAVID BOHRER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
Eventually it narrowed to Flight 93. That was the biggest threat at that point.
04:22:19 KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR
If you take the trajectory of the plane, of Flight 93 after it passes Pittsburgh and draw a straight line, it's gonna go to Washington, DC.
04:22:27 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
You just had to do something instantaneously.
04:22:30 DAVID BOHRER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
There was a, a PEOC staffer who would keep coming in with updates on Flight 93's progress towards DC.
04:22:40 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(OC) Did you have any thoughts at the time as to what the target of that airplane might be?
04:22:44 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
I thought probably White House or Capitol. We found out later from interviewing people who were detained Al Qaeda members, that said the fourth plane was intended for the White House.
04:22:55 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
The decision was made to try to go intercept Flight 93.
04:22:59 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
The significance of saying to a pilot that you are authorized to shoot down that plane full of Americans, is a, you know, it's an order that had never been given before.
04:23:10 ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
Very, very tough decision. And the President understood the magnitude of that decision.
04:23:30 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
The President did give the order to shoot down a civilian plane, if it was not responding properly. And it was authority requested through channels, by Secretary Rumsfeld, Vice President passed the request, the President said, "yes."
04:23:32 DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
It was a totally different circumstance for our country, the thought of having to shoot down one of our own civilian aircraft.
04:23:40 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(OC) Do you remember your own thoughts as to what you were thinking?
04:23:43 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
Yeah, that this was a very difficult, difficult proposition, but it had to be done. If we had been able to intercept the planes before they hit the World Trade Center, would we? And the answer was, absolutely yes.
04:23:55 DAVID BOHRER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
And the President gave the, the VP authority to make that call. It was a chilling moment, chilling moment.
04:23:59 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
The Vice President briefed into the conference that the President had given us permission to shoot down innocent civilian aircraft that threatened Washington, DC. Again, in the National Military Command Center, everything stopped for a short second as the impact of those words sunk in.
04:24:26 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
The rules have changed. We could do something about it now.
04:24:29 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Colonel Bob Marr is in command at the Northeast Air Defense Sector base in Rome, New York.
04:24:34 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
I got the call and I, the words that I remember as clear as day was, "we will take lives in the air to preserve lives on the ground."
04:24:43 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Marr orders his air controllers, tell the pilots to intercept Flight 93.
04:24:49 LT COLONEL DAWNE DESKINS, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
Nothing any controller would ever want to pass to a pilot, to shoot down an airliner filled with innocent people.
04:24:56 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
And we of course passed that on to the pilots. United Airlines Flight 93 will not be allowed to reach Washington, DC.
04:25:03 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The closest fighters are two F-16 pilots on a training mission from Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Detroit.
04:25:11 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
So we were able to get hold them on the radios and say, hey guys, we may need you to come down south and try and head off United Airlines Flight 93.
04:25:19 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) But, there's a problem.
04:25:21 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
The real scary part is that those guys are up there on a training mission. They don't have any weapons on board they can use.
04:25:26 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
We started receiving reports from the fighters that were heading to, to intercept. The FAA kept us informed with their time estimates as the aircraft got closer and closer.
04:25:38 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
The first question that came from my mission crew commander, the, the individual that's in charge of the operations force, said, "well, sir, what are they gonna do?" I said, "we're gonna put them as close to that airplane they can get, in view of the cockpit, and convince that guy in that airplane that he needs to land."
04:25:54 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) And if that doesn't work? Without any weapons, what can the fighter pilots do except crash into the hijacked plane?
04:26:01 COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE
Well, as, as military men, there are, times you have to make sacrifices, that you have to make.
04:26:07 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
And at some point, the closure time came and went, and nothing had happened. So you can imagine everything was very tense in the NMCC. We had basically lost situational awareness of where this airplane was.
04:26:26 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Flight 93 is about 175 miles north and west of Washington, flying over Somersette County, Pennsylvania.
04:26:34 RICK KING, SHANKSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
At about 10:00, I, I called my sister Jodie. I hadn't heard anything from her that morning. And we were talking about what was going on, you know, in New York, and at the Pentagon.
04:26:43 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Rick King is the Assistant Chief of the Shanksville, Pennsylvania Volunteer Fire Department and the proprietor of Ida's Country Store.
04:26:51 RICK KING, SHANKSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
She said to me, Rick, I hear a plane. And I said, yeah. And she said, it's really loud.
04:26:57 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Just outside Shanksville, Valencia McClatchy is startled by the noise.
04:27:02 VALENCIA MCCLATCHY, SHANKSVILLE RESIDENT
Just as I'd heard the roar, I glanced out my front window and just caught a glimpse of a reflection of the sun hitting on something.
04:27:13 RICK KING, SHANKSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
And I could hear the engine screaming. And seconds later, it hit. And I remember, the ground just shook.
04:27:20 VALENCIA MCCLATCHY, SHANKSVILLE RESIDENT
It almost jolted me to the point of losing my balance.
04:27:24 RICK KING, SHANKSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
My sister said to me, "oh, my God, Rick it crashed." And I said, "I know." And I said, I gotta go.
04:27:29 VALENCIA MCCLATCHY, SHANKSVILLE RESIDENT
I had my camera right by the doorway. I grabbed my camera as I was going out the door, opening the door. It was very startling, against that clear blue sky, to see that huge ball of smoke coming up.
04:27:44 TERRY SCHAFER, SHANKSVILLE FIRE CHIEF
I placed a phone call then to our 911 Center in Somersette.
04:27:48 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Terry Schafer is the Shanksville Fire Chief.
04:27:50 TERRY SCHAFER, SHANKSVILLE FIRE CHIEF
Pulling into the crash site, I remember just seeing vehicles everywhere, firefighters' vehicles, other fire department vehicles, just a lot of confusion.
04:28:01 RICK KING, SHANKSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
But when I got there, you know, I wondered to myself, where is it? You know, there was just, the plane was just totally disintegrated.
04:28:11 TERRY SCHAFER, SHANKSVILLE FIRE CHIEF
It's a smell that you'll never forget, a smell of jet fuel, burnt flesh.
04:28:21 RICK KING, SHANKSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
You know, after about the first five or ten minutes, we realized that we didn't have any survivors.
04:28:25 WALLACE MILLER, COUNTY CORONER
My role is to determine the cause and manner of death, recover the remains, identify the remains, and return the remains to the families. That's my role in every case.
04:28:39 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Somersette County Coroner Wallace Miller arrives at the crash site.
04:28:43 WALLACE MILLER, COUNTY CORONER
So, everybody's just kind of walking around. And after a few minutes I did run into Rick.
04:28:48 RICK KING, SHANKSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
He wanted to see what I had seen. And as we were walking through, I remember looking up into the, into the hemlock, into the trees.
04:28:56 TERRY SCHAFER, SHANKSVILLE FIRE CHIEF
You could see all kinds of stuff hanging out of the trees, like socks, and pieces of suitcase, and luggage, and seat covers, and seat belts and, . . .
04:29:05 RICK KING, SHANKSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
The only thing we didn't see were people.
04:29:08 WALLACE MILLER, COUNTY CORONER
Nothing to indicate that, that there was even anybody on the plane.
04:29:15 RICK KING, SHANKSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
We are trained to help people, we're trained to rescue people. And we couldn't do any of that.
04:29:23 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Up above, a fighter jet streaks by.
04:29:28 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
It was about, you know, 10:03 that the fighters reported that Flight 93 had crashed.
04:29:36 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
Eventually of course, we never fired on any aircraft.
04:29:39 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(OC) When you heard the plane was down without a shot being fired at it, do you remember what you said?
04:29:44 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
We just witnessed an act of heroism.
04:29:48 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In Washington, there is little information, just rumors.
04:29:56 MALE TWENTY-ONE, PERSON ON STREET
We know there was a car bomb at the State Department.
04:29:58 BRIGADIER GENERAL W MONTAGUE WINFIELD, US ARMY
The day just didn't end at 93. We were responding to possible hijackings. We had a car bomb reported at the State Department.
04:30:09 RICHARD ARMITAGE, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE
It ran on the the crawler on the TV that a car bomb had exploded outside the the State Department.
04:30:15 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is a former Navy SEAL.
04:30:19 RICHARD ARMITAGE, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE
I went out and looked with diplomatic security, and didn't see anything. I called my colleagues around town and on the video conference screen, and said there was nothing to it.
04:30:28 COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE
It was frustrating. We flew seven hours. And the worst part of it, is that because of the communications problems that existed during that day, I couldn't talk to anybody in Washington.
04:30:40 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Secretary of State Colin Powell is in the air on his way back from Lima, Peru.
04:30:45 COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE
There were rumors that the fourth plane might have been heading either to the White House or the State Department. We didn't know. Who could have imagined?
04:30:51 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
At that moment, you have to worry about the continuity of the United States' government. It's very clear that Washington was under attack.
04:31:00 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
We arranged for the evacuation of the Congressional leadership, especially Denny Hastert, the Speaker, who was in line of success for the Presidency after me. Whatever was going on, that the government of the United States would survive.
04:31:11 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Congressional leaders are safe. Aboard military helicopters, they fly to a top secret bunker.
04:31:16 SENATOR TRENT LOTT, MINORITY LEADER
It was granite-like stone on the sides. Literally, there it was, like a cave.
04:31:21 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The bunker part of a nuclear survival plan equipped with food and phones. A secret State Department report says there are 19 emergency operating facilities for dispersing Federal officials, located within a 300-mile radius of Washington.
04:31:37 SENATOR TOM DASCHLE, MAJORITY LEADER
Well, the hope was that the government could go on. But the feeling was that if there was a group of people who would be in a position to make the decision about how the government goes on, it ought to be the leadership, Republican and Democratic, Senate and House.
04:31:55 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The President, too, is safe, in a protective cocoon at 45,000 feet.
04:31:57 ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
The fear ran so deep that a concept that was a Cold War concept that I had never heard of actually came into play that day. The fear was this was an attack whose intent was to decapitate the government, in other words to take out the Congressional leaders, to take out the President, to take out the Vice President, so our government cannot function, decapitation.
04:32:16 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(OC) Was there any talk in the PEOC about the fact that they may be trying to decapitate the United States' government?
04:32:25 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
Certainly, that was a thought that occurred to me, and I assume to others, too. That's in part, why, number one, I urged the President not to return until we could find out what was going on. It was important that we not bunch up in Washington.
04:32:36 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
It was clear they were going for symbols of power and the seats of power. And to bring the President back and to put him in the same building with the Vice President would have been foolhardy, frankly, because decapitation then of the US government is quite easy.
04:32:54 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) But no one in the back of the plane knows where Air Force One is going.
04:32:59 ELLEN ECKERT, WHITE HOUSE STENOGRAPHER
Everybody was looking out, going ah, the plane just took a sudden left. We're not, we're definitely not going back to Andrews.
04:33:04 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
(OC) At one point, Ari Fleischer, the Press Secretary came back and said, this is off the record. The President is being evacuated. The President, being evacuated for his safety and the safety of the country.
04:33:18 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) TV monitors aboard the President's plane show flickering images of the destruction in New York and Washington.
04:33:24 ERIC DRAPER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
Some stations would fade in and fade out. So we weren't getting complete reports, just kind of pieces, bit by bit.
04:33:30 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) It is just 50 minutes since the Second Tower of the World Trade Center was struck.
You can see the firemen assembled here, the police officers, FBI agents. And you can see the huge towers, a huge explosion now reigning debris on all of us. We better get out of the way.
04:33:47 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) It is 9:59 AM.
The second building that was hit by the plane has just completely collapsed. The entire building has just collapsed. It folded down on itself, and it is not there any more.
04:34:03 PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS
(VO) The whole side is collapsed?
The whole building has collapsed. The building has collapsed.
04:34:10 PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS
(VO) Oh. This is what it looked like moments ago. My God.
04:34:23 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Another 30 minutes ticked by.
Very strong noise, as you remember from the blast the last time.
What does it take as an engineer to do, . . .
My God, there it goes.
The second and last Tower has just collapsed.
04:34:48 PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS
(VO) The second Tower. Both trade towers have now been attacked and destroyed with thousands of people either in them or in the immediate area adjacent to them.
04:35:03 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Duff and Nasty watch from their jet fighters high overhead as the towers collapse.
04:35:07 LT COLONEL "DUFF", PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
I casually looked back over my shoulder and I looked and I said man, I called it right away, I said, "I can't see lower Manhattan."
04:35:16 MAJOR "NASTY", PILOT AIR NATIONAL GUARD
I, I didn't know what to think. I thought it might be some sort of other attack.
04:35:21 LT COLONEL "DUFF", PILOT, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
So, I went up to take a look at it and so I was right over the top of it, looking down. And as I was looking at it, all of a sudden, it just started getting smaller. And to me, it didn't make sense. And to see this thing just, just falling away from me, and then I realized what, was going on. It was absolutely the, sickest feeling I've ever had in a plane.
04:35:40 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Meanwhile, in the White House bunker, . . .
04:35:43 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
The mood was very somber at that point. I've seen pictures as we sat there and watched on television as you can see that first building collapse.
04:35:51 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) On Air Force One, reporters recoil in horror.
04:35:58 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
(OC) We'd been in the air for two hours. And as the plane was beginning to lose altitude, Ari Fleischer came back and told us, the President is going to keep moving.
04:36:11 KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR
We didn't have a full load of fuel. They said, well the nearest secure facility we can, we can refuel the plane is Barksdale, headquarters of the Eighth Air Force. And so we flew into Barksdale.
04:36:24 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Air Force One touches down at the air base in Louisiana. It is just before noon. On the tarmac, Fleischer holds a brief news conference.
04:36:33 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
(OC) I said, for the credibility of this President, not only for the American people but for the world, you need to have press with you to say, this is where the President is and what he's doing. It's not enough to have Air Force One jet off into the sunset and have none of us know where he is.
04:36:50 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Surrounded by armed guards, the President goes inside to call the White House bunker.
04:36:55 ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
Got on the phone with the Vice President, and he said to him, I can't wait to find out who did it. It's going to take a while, and we're not going to have a little slap on the wrist crap.
04:37:03 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Air Force One is refueled, President Bush records a statement to the nation.
04:37:08 ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
Oh, there's no question he was angry. He was hot. It was reflected in his words. I'll never forget it. His first reaction was, we are at war.
04:37:18 PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES
Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward. And freedom will be defended.
04:37:25 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
(OC) I swear his eyes were red-rimmed. Not the crying kind of red-rimmed, but a stress and a tension.
04:37:35 PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES
The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.
04:37:45 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Air Force One lifts off again, with a lighter load, aboard are just a few key aides and Secret Service agents. The press pool has been trimmed from 13 to five.
04:37:55 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
(OC) And Ari Fleischer told us, I can't tell you where we're going. And you got the distinct feeling it was because he didn't know. Because they didn't know.
04:38:05 ELLEN ECKERT, WHITE HOUSE STENOGRAPHER
I remember thinking it was like being on the "Twilight Zone" plane because there was nobody around anymore.
04:38:10 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
(OC) The fear was palpable. Fear for the country, fear for the structure of the government, agents fearful of protecting the chain of command, the line of succession.
04:38:21 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Jet fighters appear just off the wing.
04:38:23 ELLEN ECKERT, WHITE HOUSE STENOGRAPHER
This fighter jet was so close. It was so close I could see the pilot's face. And I had my face, you know, just pressed right up against the, the little portal window. And the, I can't tell you, I was instantly calm.
04:38:37 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In his cabin, the President wants to get back to the Capitol.
04:38:41 KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR
And finally, he just basically said, I'm not gonna let, you know, whoever did this keep the President of the United States out of Washington, DC. We're going.
04:38:47 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) But first, another stop, at Offutt Air Force base outside Omaha, Nebraska. The President and his aides disappear into a tiny brick building, and descend into a blast-proof bunker. It is now 3:30 in the afternoon.
04:39:02 KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR
You go downstairs and go downstairs and go downstairs and you go downstairs. I mean, it's a long way down, and then you emerge and go through a series of hallways, and special doors, blast doors and so forth, and then you enter into a conference center which is, you know, several stories underground.
04:39:19 ERIC DRAPER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
I do remember going underground.
04:39:21 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) White House photographer Eric Draper records the moment as the President convenes a meeting of his national security team on a video teleconference.
04:39:30 RICHARD ARMITAGE, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE
The Secretary of Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Vice President, myself, Dr. Rice who is with the Vice President.
04:39:37 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
And we, we sat down, and the President said, first of all, let me tell you that, whoever did this to us, we're gonna get them. George, you get ready. Don, you get ready.
04:39:48 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
He was ice, ice cool. And I thought, very appropriately so.
04:39:53 NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY
And I remember he, the President was saying, we're gonna find out who did this, we're going to seek them out, and then we're going to destroy them.
04:40:03 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
And then he said, and I'll be back tonight. I'm getting, I'm coming back tonight. And he said it in a way that it was pretty clear that there was no arguing with him this time.
04:40:12 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
The Secret Service didn't want him to come back. And he asked me then what I thought. And I said, I think it's okay to come on back.
04:40:19 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Just before 5:00 PM, Air Force One is readied for takeoff. A few moments later, in the air, the President walks to the rear of the plane.
04:40:28 ELLEN ECKERT, WHITE HOUSE STENOGRAPHER
He just, like, leaned in and said, "hey." And I said, "hey, sir. How's it going?" He goes, "I'm all right. How are you?"
04:40:36 CLAIRE SHIPMAN, ABC NEWS
(OC) And he pointed at our notebooks, said, no. Meaning, this is off the record, you can't report this.
04:40:43 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
So I said, "were you able to reach Mrs. Bush?" And he came over and actually put his, like patted me on the back, and he said, "I just talked to her, thanks for asking."
04:40:52 CLAIRE SHIPMAN, ABC NEWS
(OC) There was an antsy-ness about him, he couldn't wait to get back to Washington, he couldn't wait to do something, say something.
04:41:01 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) It is late afternoon. Congressional leaders stream back to Washington and gather on Capitol Hill. More than 200 members are waiting.
04:41:10 SENATOR TOM DASCHLE, MAJORITY LEADER
Congress will convene tomorrow.
04:41:12 REP DENNIS HASTERT, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
As we started to leave, the lectern and the area of the steps, somebody on the house side, Someone began to sing "God Bless America."
[SINGING "GOD BLESS AMERICA"]
04:41:35 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) The President arrives at Andrews Air Force base.
04:41:38 ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS
(OC) At approximately 6:42, President boards Marine One, looks very somber but does salute.
04:41:43 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) On the way to the White House, . . .
04:41:45 ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
The helicopter flew a path this day over the mall. And off the left side window you could see the Pentagon. So it was the President's first eye-to-eye connection with the attack on our country. And he said aloud, to nobody in particular, "the mightiest building in the world is on fire. That's the 21st century war you just witnessed."
04:42:06 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) At the White House, government officials wait, with Vice President Cheney and Laura Bush.
04:42:11 ERIC DRAPER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
The First Lady was there when he arrived. And they embraced.
04:42:16 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(OC) When you first sought President that day, when he arrived back, can you describe what he was like? What his mood was like?
04:42:23 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
Well, for all of us, it was, somber. It had been a very emotional day.
04:42:32 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(OC) Was he angry?
04:42:34 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
Determined, I would say.
04:42:36 JOE ALLBAUGH, DIRECTOR OF FEMA
I could tell he was angry. I could tell he was as emotional as any of us about the day.
04:42:45 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Darkness falls across the East.
The World Trade Centers, there is no Trade Centers.
04:42:50 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In New York, exhausted rescuers desperately search for survivors.
04:42:53 DON ARIAS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
Although Tower Two was the second tower to be struck, it was the first to fall down and that's where my brother was.
04:43:01 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) Air Force public affairs officer Don Arias last talk to his brother Adam moments before the second Tower was struck.
04:43:09 DON ARIAS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
I knew that night that he didn't, when he didn't come home from work that he, he didn't make it. I just knew in my heart that he didn't make it.
04:43:19 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) And in Washington, National Guard humvees patrolled the streets.
04:43:23 JENNIFER MILLERWISE, VICE PRESIDENT'S PRESS SECRETARY
And the city was just different. It was so quiet here. So quiet. There were the helicopters above, but it was still very quiet.
04:43:33 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In the White House, the President prepares to address the nation.
04:43:37 COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE
The word "war" crept into the language, and then it went out again, and we, we argued whether it was the right word.
04:43:44 VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, UNITED STATES
Well, he used the word during the course of the day, that we were at war. My recollection is that he was concerned about, that his speech that night needed, in part, to be reassuring to the American people.
04:43:54 ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
We made a number of edits and suggestions. And he finalized his, his words, and he addressed the American people from the Oval Office.
04:44:01 ERIC DRAPER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
The President sitting at his desk. On the other side, just moments away from addressing the nation. And in the frame you can see the opening words to his statement.
04:44:14 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) It is 8:30 in the evening.
04:44:16 PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES
Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom, came under attack.
04:44:24 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) In the bunker below CIA Director George Tenet and members of the President's cabinet and national security team watched the speech.
04:44:32 DAVID BOHRER, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER
It was one of those, you know, moments where you could hear a pin drop.
04:44:34 COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE
We had watched him downstairs in the PEOC. And then he came and joined us, and we, you know, congratulated him. It was the first time we were all together. And it was a tense time, but I recall it also as being a calm time.
04:44:52 JOE ALLBAUGH, DIRECTOR OF FEMA
The President's normal routine, particularly in a large setting like that, is to start with the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and go on through the, the members who were present, to get the latest report.
04:45:06 CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
We really began to hand out assignments for the next day, to begin to think about response.
04:45:11 JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL
He made it clear that this was not to happen again. I think he used words like "don't ever let this happen again."
04:45:18 COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE
There was a task ahead of us, there was a serious job ahead of us. And the President was ready for it. And we were there ready to help him.
04:45:25 ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
And that's where they started planning for what would become war.
04:45:30 JOE ALLBAUGH, DIRECTOR OF FEMA
I mean, the order was, get the troops ready. It was that simple, it was that direct. Get the troops ready.
04:45:39 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS
(VO) It is 9:30 PM, only 12 hours have passed since the attacks began, a day that dawned full of possibility and promise ends on the eve of war.
04:45:52 CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS (CONTINUED)
(OC) So much in just 12 hours and who among us ever imagined that we would see the country go into sort of a lockdown? But that's what we did that day, and we haven't really come out of it yet. Symptomatic of that, the fact that the Vice President right now, back in a secure facility.
04:46:08 PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS
(OC) Thanks very much. That's extraordinary, extraordinary to relive it in, in that fashion. Charles Gibson. when we come back this evening we'll re-live something else, I hope you'll stay with us for our prime time coverage on this anniversary of 9/11.
From ABC News, this is 9/11. Tonight, how critical decisions meant life or death for those inside the Twin Towers. An exclusive ABC News "USA Today" report, what really happened after the planes hit?
[GRAPHICS: ABC NEWS: 9/11]
Miraculous stories of survival told by those that escaped death when so many others did not.
[END OF TAPE]
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