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America Under Attack: Waiting For Word Of Survivors

Aired September 13, 2001 - 06:38   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VINCE CELLINI, CNN ANCHOR: Families of the victims in Tuesday's attack are beginning yet another day, watching, waiting. Many still have no confirmation of what happened to their loved ones.

CNN's Sheila Kast introduces us to one woman who has taken up a vigil at the crash site.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHEILA KAST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Traci Rowenhorst stands vigil as close as she can to the spot where jet slammed into the Pentagon. She looks for any movement, any relevant detail.

On Tuesday, her husband, Edward, an accountant for the Army, was working near that spot.

TRACI ROWENHORST, WIFE OF VICTIM: I feel I need to be here with him. If he's alive, then he'll definitely need me when he comes out.

KAST: It is a frustrating but not lonely vigil. Eddie's parents and the best friends and neighbors who knew him even before he married Tracy 10 years and 2 kids ago, keep each other's hopes up with wisecracks and jokes. That's what Eddie would do if he were with them, they say.

ROWENHORST: I am trying to be incredibly focused. If I don't, then I would be hysterical. And right now, I don't need to be there. I need to be here watching and watching.

KAST (on camera): Officials say the best prospects for finding survivors are at the edges of the impact zone, where the smoke and the heat may not have been as intense.

(voice-over): The husband of one who has survived keeps his own vigil at a hospital across town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can still see smoke wafting up from the Pentagon.

KAST: As soon as the first pictures flashed onto television, even though it was only Louise Kurtz's second day on the job, her husband, Michael, started to worry.

Hours later, the hospital phoned. MICHAEL KURTZ, HUSBAND OF VICTIM: I came in teary-eyed. I didn't recognize my wife of 31 years. She is doing better. She has got 70 percent burns on her body.

KAST: Back at what Traci Rowenhorst calls ground zero, touched by an occasional prayer, she intends to keep her vigil.

ROWENHORST: We're just sitting in limbo until they start bringing bodies out, I guess, either way, dead or alive. And we'll be here until the very -- if he's the last one out, we'll be here until he comes out.

KAST: Sheila Kast for CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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