9/11 Terrorist Attacks - Ten Years Later
Live coverage for 9/11/2011
Minnesota Public Radio News will mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with an entire day of special programming on Sunday, September 11. Starting at 6 a.m. and continuing until 11 p.m., our listeners will hear live coverage of memorial services, analysis from reporters around the world, and in-depth documentaries. We will preempt most of our regular programming schedule. SUNDAY, SEPT. 11
6 a.m.-7 a.m. -- We Remember: StoryCorps Stories from 9/11
Stories from families and friends who tell us about their loved ones and their loss.
7 a.m.-1 p.m. -- Live coverage from NPR
Audie Cornish hosts live coverage of the official memorial ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks; with Robert Siegel at the World Trade Center site in New York, Tom Gjelten at the Pentagon, and John Ydstie in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
1 p.m.-4 p.m. -- NPR coverage continues
Neal Conan hosts. Neal will talk with first responders who were called to the sites 10 years ago, and with victims' family members and survivors of the attacks. He will also take calls from listeners about their memories of September 11th, 2001.
4 p.m.-5 p.m. -- All Things Considered
NPR will wrap up the day's events in this daily news magazine program.
5 p.m.-6 p.m. -- MPR News 9/11 Special
Hosted by MPR's Cathy Wurzer. This program will present coverage of Sept. 11 memorials held in Minnesota, as well as original reporting from MPR News.
6 p.m.-7 p.m. -- On Being
Krista Tippett hosts an event at St. Paul's Chapel, across the street from ground zero where first responders took shelter. Her guests are the New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, author and journalist Pankaj Mishra, and Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary.
7 p.m.-8 p.m. -- We Remember: StoryCorps Stories from 9/11
Stories from families and friends who tell us about their loved ones and their loss.
8 p.m.-9 p.m. -- The Sonic Memorial Project
This program ommemorates the life and history of the World Trade Center and the people who passed through its doors.
9 p.m.-10 p.m. -- The 9/11 Generation Speaks
WNYC's Radio Rookies look at the 9/11 attacks through the eyes of young people.
10 p.m.-11 p.m. -- Living 9/11
WNYC's Marianne McCune guides us through life in New York immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
In the New York Times: "Where Were You on Sept. 11, 2001? More than 28,000 readers posted a comment. Browse and filter by common words or location."
RT @markknoller: Pres. Obama has arrived in NYC and is on his way to the National September 11 Memorial at what was the site of the Worl ...by jongordon via twitter 9/11/2011 11:48:00 AM
A changed America: Marking 10 years since 9/11
By ADAM GELLER, AP National Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Ten years on, Americans will come together Sunday where the World Trade Center soared, where the Pentagon stands as a fortress once breached, where United Airlines Flight 93 knifed into the earth.
They will gather to pray in cathedrals in our greatest cities and to lay roses before fire stations in our smallest towns, to remember in countless ways the anniversary of the most devastating terrorist attacks since the nation's founding, and in the process mark the milestone as history itself.
View photo gallery of images from Sept. 11, 2001.
As in earlier observances, bells will toll again to mourn the loss of those killed in the attacks. Ceremonies also will consecrate new memorials in lower Manhattan, rural Pennsylvania and elsewhere, concrete symbols of the resolve to remember and rebuild.
But much of the weight of this year's ceremonies lies in what will largely go unspoken - the anniversary's role in prompting Americans to consider how the attacks changed them and the larger world and the continuing struggle to understand 9/11's place in the lore of the nation.
"A lot's going on in the background," said Ken Foote, author of "Shadowed Ground: America's Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy," examining the role that veneration of sites of death and disaster plays in modern life. "These anniversaries are particularly critical in figuring out what story to tell, in figuring out what this all means. It forces people to figure out what happened to us."
First, Saturday's dedication of the Flight 93 National Memorial at a former strip mine near the town of Shanksville, in western Pennsylvania.
Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden joined families of the 40 passengers and crew killed when their revolt against hijackers of the United Airlines jet ended with its crash, stood under gray skies in a field soggy from rain. Clinton likened the actions of those aboard Flight 93 to the defenders of the Alamo in Texas or the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae some 2,500 years ago, with a dramatic and telling difference: "They were soldiers. They knew what they had to do."
The Pennsylvania memorial park is years from completion. But the dedication and a service to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks are critical milestones, said Sally Ware, one of the volunteer "ambassadors" who has worked as a guide at the site since the disaster.
Ware, whose home about two miles away from the site was rocked by the jet's explosion on impact, recalls how hundreds of people flocked to the crash site in the days afterward to leave their own mementos and memorials. She began volunteering after finding one along the side of the road - a red rose placed atop a flight attendant's uniform.
"It really bothered me. I thought someone has to take care of this," says Ware, a homemaker whose own daughter is a flight attendant. Now, a decade later, she acknowledges the memorial may do little to ease the grief of the families of those who died in the crash. But the weekend's ceremonies recall a story with far broader reach.
The ceremonies honor those who "fought the first battle against terrorism - and they won," Ware said. "It's something I don't want to miss. It's become a part of my life."
On Sunday, the nation's focus turns to ceremonies at the Pentagon, just outside Washington, D.C., and in lower Manhattan for the dedication of the national Sept. 11 memorial. President Barack Obama planned to attend ceremonies at the sites of all three attacks and was scheduled to speak Sunday evening at a service at the Kennedy Center.
The New York ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m., with a moment of silence 16 minutes later - coinciding with the exact time a decade ago when the first tower of the trade center was struck by a hijacked jet. And then, one by one, the reading of the names of the 2,977 killed on Sept. 11 - those who perished in New York, as well as those who died at the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania.
They include the names of 37 of Lt. Patrick Lim's fellow officers from the police department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Lim, assigned to patrol the trade center with an explosives detection dog, rushed in to the north tower after it was hit to help evacuate workers. He and a few others survived despite still being inside a fifth-floor stairwell when the building fell.
In the years since, Lim said he has wrestled with survivor's guilt, realizing the last of those he'd urged ahead of him were crushed when the tower collapsed. He took shelter in selective memory, visualizing the ground covered with women's shoes amid the destruction.
"That's how I got through that, because what was attached to the shoes was a lot worse," Lim said.
The 10th anniversary has forced Lim to revisit an experience he's worried too many people have pushed from their minds. But the approach of Sunday's ceremonies has convinced him of the value of revisiting Sept.11, both for himself and others.
When it happened, talking about the events of that day "wasn't easy for me. This was very difficult. But it became ... a catharsis," he says. "What I want is for people to remember what happened."
And so arrives a weekend dedicated to remembrance, with hundreds of ceremonies across the country and around the globe - from a memorial Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York to a ceremony featuring nine-stories-tall replicas of the twin towers on a plaza in Paris.
But some of the most powerful ceremonies will likely be the smallest and most personal.
In Newtown, Conn., retired American Stock Exchange floor broker Howard Lasher planned a ceremony Sunday morning under the canopy of six maple trees standing alongside his gravel driveway; their trunks are painted to resemble an American flag. Lasher commissioned the painting in the weeks just after Sept. 11, 2001, as a tribute to nine Amex colleagues and the son of another who died inside the trade center.
"I wanted something that would reach out to people, that people would not forget," Lasher says of the memorial, which has since become a local landmark. "When people drive by here, I want them to envision what this country has been, for all its greatness, and that we should not forget the people who were lost that day and in all the wars, because they died defending what it represents."
And in Brown City, Mich. - with a population of about 1,300 and no direct connection to the attacks - firefighters will lay 343 roses on a 15,000-pound steel beam salvaged from the World Trade Center, in honor of the New York City brethren who perished in the disaster.
Since venturing to New York in June to claim the beam and bring it home, the Michigan firefighters have finished building a brick plaza, lighted around the clock and crowned by three flagpoles. Already, this has become a local shrine, Chief Jim Groat says.
A few days ago, a couple from St. Joseph, Mich. who happened to be driving through, pulled into the fire station lot when they spotted a sign for the memorial. Groat came out to speak with them and the woman explained that she was a flight attendant for American Airlines who'd been aboard a plane the morning of the attacks.
Then she turned to face the steel beam from the trade center.
"She just stood there and cried. She said she was just honored that somebody still cares," Groat recalled. The chief observed silently, before offering an invitation.
"Will I see you here on Sept. 11?" he asked.
"I'll be here," she answered.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
On the air now: NPR's live coverage of the official memorial ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.by MPRnews via twitter 9/11/2011 12:00:09 PM
RT @FDNYnews: Today we honor the 343 #FDNY members & thousands of others killed 10 years ago. They were all heroes. #Sept11 #NeverForget ...by jongordon via twitter 9/11/2011 12:01:03 PM
RT @brianstelter: On NBC, Tom Brokaw rightly notes the role of television in transmitting 9/11. "For the first time, the attack on Ameri ...by jongordon via twitter 9/11/2011 12:05:15 PM
From NPR.org: "Lower Manhattan is locked down," NPR's Margot Adler tells us. To get to the site of this morning's service, she had to go through two security checkpoints.
Now, she says, "at the World Trade Center site, everyone is waiting. The families are standing in front of us. As always, some have brought pictures of loved ones. Some hold flags. The new One World Trade Center building — already some 80 stories high — is next to us on the right. It was lit red, white and blue early this morning. A large flag hangs down from the building."
Margot has spoken to several of the family members, including 17-year-old Elijah Portilo. His dad, an architect, was died at the World Trade Center. Now a high school senior, Elijah hopes to study psychology when he goes to college. Losing his dad opened him up, Elijah says. He learned to care for others in a way might not have otherwise.
"My dad," Elijah adds, "was a really great guy."
From NPR.org: "On NPR's broadcast, correspondent Robert Smith just echoed Robert Siegel's words about the memorial at Ground Zero. It was "a beautiful, beautiful sight" to see this morning, he said, as the sunlight played off the water in the pools and the young trees stood nearby."
The MPRnews page on the 9/11 anniversary, including stories from our reporters and an image gallery is here
More names of victims being read at 9/11 ceremony. Here's a complete list.
9/11 story from StoryCorps now on MPRnews
A story from MPRnews.org earlier this week:
Minn. heroes' stories diverge on fighting terrorism, a decade after 9/11
by Sasha Aslanian, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Ten years ago, two people with Minnesota ties tried to thwart the Sept. 11 terrorists.
One was an FBI whistleblower pushing the U.S. government to act on information about a suspected terrorist training at an Eagan flight school. The other was a businessman who led a passenger revolt that diverted United Flight 93 from its intended target — the U.S. Capitol or the White House.
A decade later, their stories point to sharply different views on how America should best respond to terrorism.
FBI agent Coleen Rowley and Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett Jr. acted on their beliefs in a moment of crisis. In the decade since the attacks, Rowley and Burnett's family are still urging Americans to act — but they don't advocate the same path.
THE BURNETTS: STILL FIGHTING THE TERRORISTS
Tom Burnett's final minutes were spent fighting the hijackers. His parents, Beverly and Tom Burnett Sr., formerly of Bloomington, Minn., were among the Flight 93 family members who pushed for access to the black box recording. Their response to hearing their son's last words is emotional and angry.
"His message was, 'We're going to do something,' and he was determined to do it," Beverly Burnett said. "That's the kind of young man he was."
Tom Burnett Sr. said what's remarkable is that their son and other passengers fought against the hijackers without weapons.
Tom Burnett Sr.
"Those bastard Islamists had knives, had box cutters, and he got injured there taking over that plane — trying to," Burnett said. "And he mentioned it. We heard him. He says, 'I'm injured,' and I imagine he got cut."
Tom Burnett Jr. was able to make four phone calls to his wife Deena in California on that day. He asked her to alert authorities to the hijacking, and gathered information from her about the other hijacked planes that had already hit their targets.
Burnett's last words to his wife were "Don't worry; we're going to do something." He was one of 37 passengers and seven crew members who died when the plane crashed near Shanksville, Penn.
For Burnett's parents, losing their only son brought profound private grief. They talk longingly of their popular middle child who made sure his dad got to do the three trips on his bucket list, and remembered to call while leading a busy career at a medical device company and raising three young daughters.
They also had to accept that their son's death in the tragedy had a public dimension.
"When it happened, I really wanted to pull the curtains," Beverly Burnett said. "For a long time I didn't want to share my grief with anyone. I was forced to do it because people ... wanted to show their love and grief for Tom. They would come up and hug me, and I'm kind of a private person. I've changed in the last 10 years; I've had to."
Beverly and Tom Burnett Sr.
The Burnetts hope to use their son's memory to inspire Americans to stay vigilant to the threat of terrorism. Now retired and living in Northfield, Minn., they gave up thoughts of golfing and found themselves meeting with a lawyer.
When Tom Burnett Sr. first proposed striking a blow to the terrorists, the lawyer advised him to calm down.
"I said, 'I don't want to. I got to get this done.' And he was talking about compensation," Burnett said. "I said, 'I don't want any compensation from airlines or anyone else. I want to get those people and we want to break them. We want to get at their underbelly and stop this flow of money, particularly out of Middle East."
The Burnetts filed a lawsuit in 2002 on behalf of a group of survivors and family members, known as 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism. The suit, which now represents some 6,500 plaintiffs, has had some setbacks, but is still moving through federal court in New York.
Tom Burnett also has spoken out against the National Park Service's memorial to Flight 93 in Shanksville, saying the "circle of peace" design looks more like the Islamic symbol of a crescent. They'll be running ads in newspapers to coincide with the anniversary, calling the planned memorial a "blatant declaration of Islamic victory."
If the Burnetts are vowing to fight on, Coleen Rowley sees a different path to confronting terrorism.
COLEEN ROWLEY: STILL FIGHTING TO CHANGE GOVERNMENT
When the terrorists struck, Rowley was an FBI agent in Minneapolis. Agents there had locked horns with officials at FBI headquarters about the local office's concerns over Zacarias Moussaoui, a French national who had aroused suspicion at an Eagan flight school the month before. Moussaoui was an inexperienced pilot who paid in cash, and seemed more interested in learning to fly a jet than in learning how to land one.
Colleen Rowley testifies
The FBI's mishandling of information that could potentially have revealed the plot ahead of time haunted Rowley. In 2002, she wrote an internal memo to FBI director Robert Mueller urging a thorough review of intelligence mistakes. Her memo was leaked, and prompted the Justice Department's Inspector General to investigate the agency's handling of intelligence information on the attacks.
Rowley testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2002 regarding her concerns. She was even named one of Time magazine's "Persons of the Year" for 2002, along with two other whistleblowers — Sherron Watkins of Enron and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom.
Despite her criticism of the FBI, Rowley hung on to her job after four U.S. senators wrote letters on her behalf. Her next memo to Mueller led to the end of her 24-year career with the FBI.
After her first memo, Mueller had told Rowley that he had an open-door policy and to contact him if she saw other concerns. In early 2003, as the Bush administration weighed an invasion of Iraq, Rowley wrote Mueller to say that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaida. She asked why the intelligence community wasn't correcting the misimpression.
"I sent this in an email to Mueller," Rowley recalled. "No response. It's March 7, the news says the United States forces are on the border, ready to attack Iraq. I called up the New York Times at that point. And that literally was the end of my career."
FBI agents said they could no longer trust her, so Rowley stepped down from her position as legal counsel but remained with the agency. For a year and a half, she volunteered for the jobs nobody else wanted.
"I went out on night surveillances," she said. "I even spent a Christmas vacation working ... for two days answering phones. We had one of these orange alerts where nobody wanted to spend Christmas vacation in the office, but I volunteered. So I did this kind of thing just so I could make it to retirement."
Rowley retired in 2004 at age 50, with what she calls a small pension. She'd been the breadwinner for her family of six.
Once outside the FBI, Rowley searched for ways she could effect change. She wanted to see the United States fight terrorism without undermining the rule of law.
Rowley wrote op-eds criticizing the Patriot Act, a law that granted the federal government greater access to individuals' information, often through secret proceedings. She derided the idea that "secret and unchecked government power equals greater security."
Rowley, who describes herself as a lifelong Republican before the terrorist attacks, ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2006. She challenged incumbent U.S. Rep. John Kline, a Republican, in Minnesota's 2nd District, and lost.
These days, Rowley is a full-time activist, speaking out against what she considers America's misguided response to the attacks. She was on the sidewalk last week when President Obama addressed the American Legion in Minneapolis.
She points to the State Department's most recent Country Report, which shows the number of terrorist attacks around the world has gone up over the past decade.
'Person of the Year'
"You'd think the media would be all over this, suggesting maybe the response to 9/11 was not a good response and maybe has made things worse," she said.
One example Rowley cites is how federal officials let known suspects slip through their grasp before the attacks. The government's solution — to vastly increase the amount of data gathered in intelligence databases — didn't persuade her that the intelligence was being handled any better than it was under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
"Rumsfeld's response was, 'Well, there was so much intelligence it was like a fire hose, and you can't get a sip from a firehose,'" she said. "If it was a fire hose before 9/11, it's Niagara Falls now."
Rowley said she doesn't have much faith in the two-party system, or the media's ability to uncover the truth of what the United States needs to reckon with in its fight against terrorism. But she believes the wars and massive spending on homeland security haven't made the nation safer.
"We want to believe," she said. "Certainly fear ... makes us want to believe that this can't have been all wrong."
Rowley is helping to plan a rally on Oct. 15 in Minneapolis to protest the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks this weekend, the Burnetts will be speaking at an event in Bloomington to honor their son and other 9/11 heroes.
@nytjim That because tragedies unite disparate hearts, especially if related to the great principle like patriotismby RoohSaud via twitter 9/11/2011 1:50:14 PM
NPR's Two-Way blog has audio of Yo-Yo Ma's performance at the 9/11 ceremony earlier this morning...
RT @nprnews: What were you doing #onSept11, 2001? Please let us know and include that hashtag.by jongordon via twitter 9/11/2011 2:00:35 PM
#onsept11 was @ an islamic middle sxhool herein the us.. The sxhool was thratened by many angry americans and was shut down for a weekby Alyy_E via twitter 9/11/2011 2:02:31 PM
RT @AP: 9/11 10 years ago: 10:03 a.m. - Flight 93 crashes in Pennsylvania field.by Jim Roberts via twitter 9/11/2011 2:03:38 PM
Where were you #onSept11 ? Use the hashtag in your response.by MPRnews via twitter 9/11/2011 2:04:37 PM
RT @BumillerNYT: Biden at Pentagon: "I know what it is like to receive that call out of the blue when the dearest thing in your life is ...by Jim Roberts via twitter 9/11/2011 2:05:47 PM
@MPRnews I was sitting in my middle school computer lab watching television with my classmates #onSept11by coffeecobber via twitter 9/11/2011 2:07:53 PM
@MPRnews #onSept11 I had just returned home from my night shift driving cab in Las Vegas.by TheShannonFiles via twitter 9/11/2011 2:07:55 PM
@MPRnews #onSept11 in my sophomore physics class.by tremainev via twitter 9/11/2011 2:11:46 PM
From NPR.org, a great infographic: Sept. 11 Then And Now, In One Word