Cover Story

Remembering 9/11

"Remembering 9/11" Continued...

Issue: "Remembering 9/11," Sept. 10, 2011

In the towers, evacuees began discarding their shoes as they reached the 60th floor, holding hands and descending steadily, fog so thick they could not see beyond a few inches. "There was jet fuel, but we thought it was water," said survivor Florence Jones.

Bruno Dellinger, who worked on the 47th floor of the North Tower, headed down an overheated stairwell. He discovered "regular people, like me, and people from upper floors who were badly burned-no skin, no hair, just burned-they were coming down, walking or carried down helped by people." He met firefighters and security personnel: "In some of those eyes you could see that they knew something, it was dangerous, they knew something . . . and while there was no panic whatsoever in the stairwell, those people were concentrated, focused on doing their job . . . and while I was walking down they were going up to their death, and I was walking down to live."

On the street, sickening thuds could be heard in the plaza as, according to one bystander, "people were so frightened they jumped out of buildings and exploded on impact."

By 10 a.m. the South Tower collapsed suddenly and by 10:30 the North Tower followed-a seismic event equal to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake.

In addition to the 3,000 dead in New York, Washington, and Shanksville were 3,000 children under the age of 18 who lost a parent. Their average age was 9. Dozens more were born after 9/11 to grieving widows-including one who went into labor during her husband's memorial service.

Almost exactly 12 hours after the first plane struck, President Bush addressed the nation: "America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism."

Few if any could fathom what the words would mean: a decade of wars on two soils, countless controversial arrests of suspected terrorists, a Wall Street downturn, government reorganization with a new emphasis on homeland security, and changes to national defense so broad they would affect even what size shampoo bottle a passenger could carry onto a plane. But as President Bush declared, "Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them."

After the 9/11 broadcast, Bush returned to a bunker beneath the White House grounds, where his most senior national security advisers gathered as it neared midnight to chart a response to the deadliest attack on the U.S. homeland in American history.

Listen to Mindy Belz discuss 9/11 on The World and Everything in It.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…