We must never forget what evil took from us on September 11, 2001.
Via The Sun:
IT is a story we all think we know – but what was it like to live through the horror and heartbreak of September 11, 2001?
Today marks the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 people as four planes crashed in New York and Washington.
An American academic has meticulously pieced together testimony from those who were there, using declassified documents and having conducted hundreds of new interviews.
The resulting book is a harrowing picture of a day that changed history. Here, we share some incredible extracts . . .
TUESDAY, Sept 11, 2001, 5.43am Mike Touhey, ticket agent, Portland International Jetport:
“I saw these two fellows standing there looking around. I looked at the tickets. I go, ‘Whoa, first-class tickets’. You don’t see $2,400 tickets any more. There were less than 30 minutes to the flight. I said, ‘Mr Atta [a hijacker], if you don’t go now, you will miss your plane’.”
Over the course of the morning, 17 men check in to their flights at Boston, Washington and Newark airports. While some have their checked bags searched, the knives they are carrying are allowed under security regulations of the time.
7am Herb Ouida, World Trade Centers Association, North Tower, 77th floor, and father of Todd Ouida, Cantor Fitzgerald, North Tower, 105th floor:
“As we did every morning, my son Todd and I left our home together to travel to work. I told him, ‘Have a great day, sweetheart’. Those were my last words to Todd.”
Ted Olson, solicitor-general, US Department of Justice, husband of American Airlines Flight 77 passenger Barbara Olson:
“Barbara was supposed to travel on Monday, and my birthday was on Tuesday. She decided she did not want to be gone on the morning of my birthday, she wanted to be there when I woke up.
“She left for the airport and called me before she got on the plane.”
8.09am Michael Lomonaco, executive chef, Windows On The World, N Tower, 106th floor:
“My glasses were in need of repair. When I hit the street in front of Tower Two, I thought, ‘Wow, it’s not even 8.15. I bet I can get the optometrist to see me and I can have my glasses this afternoon’. I made a detour.
8.19am Betty Ong, 45, a flight attendant aboard American Airlines Flight 11, calls the airline’s reservations line, reaching agent Winston Sadler:
“Um, the cockpit’s not answering. Somebody’s stabbed in business class, and, um, I think there is mace — that we can’t breathe. I think we’re getting hijacked.
“Our, our No1 [flight attendant] got stabbed. Our purser is stabbed. And our No5. We can’t get to the cockpit. The door won’t open. Hello?”
8.44am Madeline “Amy” Sweeney, American Airlines 11 flight attendant, calls American Airlines Flight Services:
“There is a bomb in the cockpit. The coach passengers don’t know what’s happening. The hijackers are of Middle Eastern descent.
“It is a rapid descent. Something is wrong. I don’t think the captain is in control. I see water. I see buildings. We’re flying low. We’re flying very, very low. Oh my God.
8.46am American Airlines Flight 11 roars south over Manhattan, traversing the length of the island before it crashes into N Tower, known as One World Trade Center, at about 465mph. William Jimeno, Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) officer:
“A shadow came over 42nd and Eighth Avenue. It completely covered the street for a split second.”
Flight 11 hits between the 93rd and 99th floors, exploding 10,000 gallons of jet fuel into offices.
9am The second hijacking. Brian Sweeney, 38, passenger on United Airlines Flight 175, former F-14 pilot in the Gulf War, tries calling his wife, Jules:
“Hey Jules, this is Brian. Ah, listen. I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know I absolutely love you, I want you to do good, have good times — same with my parents.
“I’ll see you when you get here. I want you to know that I totally love you. Bye, babe. I hope I call you.”
Peter Hanson, 32, passenger on United Airlines Flight 175 with his wife, Sue Kim, 35, and their daughter Christine, two:
“It’s getting bad, Dad. A stewardess was stabbed. They seem to have knives and mace. They said they have a bomb.
“The plane is making jerky movements. I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane. I think we are going down. Don’t worry, Dad. If it happens, it’ll be very fast. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”
Alice Ann Hoagland, at home in California, mother of United Airlines Flight 93 passenger Mark Bingham:
“The call came at 6.37am [Pacific time]. He said, ‘Mom, this is Mark Bingham’. I knew he was a little flustered because he used his last name. He said, ‘I want to let you know that I love you’.”
Linda Gronlund, United Airlines Flight 93 passenger, in a voicemail to her sister:
“Elsa, it’s Lin. Um, I only have a minute. I’m on United 93. It’s been hijacked by terrorists who say they have a bomb. Apparently, they, uh, flew a couple of planes into the World Trade Center already and it looks like they’re going to take this one down as well [sobbing].
“Mostly, I just wanted to say I love you and I’m going to miss you. I don’t know if I’m going to get the chance to tell you that again.”
9.50am Beverly Eckert, wife of Sean Rooney, vice-president of risk management, Aon Corporation, S Tower:
“When I heard his voice on the phone, I was so happy, thinking he had made it out. He told me he was on the 105th floor. I knew right away Sean was never coming home. There was a building in flames underneath him. I will always be in awe of the way he faced death. Not an ounce of fear. He told me to give his love to his family, and then we talked about all the happiness we shared during our lives. In the end, as the smoke got thicker, he kept whispering, ‘I love you’, over and over.”
Harry Waizer, tax counsel, Cantor Fitzgerald, N Tower:
“My office was on the 104th floor. I was in the lift somewhere between 78 and 104.”
Richard Eichen, consultant, Pass Consulting Group, N Tower, 90th floor:
“I’m one of five survivors from the 90th floor of the North Tower. I didn’t have the key to my office, and that’s what saved my life.
“I was waiting outside, reading the Times, leaning against the wall, my coffee cup on the floor, eating a bagel.”
David Kravette, bond broker, Cantor Fitzgerald, ground-level lobby, N Tower:
“All of a sudden, jet fuel blasted out of the central lift bank and mushroomed everywhere. People were, 20 yards from me, lifted on this fireball and thrown through those lobby windows and incinerated.”
“I saw off my left shoulder an Asian man coming toward me. He looked like he had been deep-fried. His skin was hanging like seaweed. He was begging me to help him. He said, ‘Help me, help me’, and then did a face plant right between my legs. He died between my legs.
“I looked down and that’s when I saw my shirt was full of blood. I didn’t know before that I had been hurt. Continue Reading
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