Skip to main content /transcript




America Under Attack: America Reacts All Over the Country

Aired September 14, 2001 - 01:02   ET


JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: The mayor of New York also urging the people of his city to be patient as the painstaking rescue and recovery effort really pushes ahead.

CNN's Garrick Utley has been monitoring the situation in New York. He joins us now once again live. Hello, Garrick.

GARRICK UTLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Jim. And as we've been saying really for the past couple of days, one of the interesting aspects of the human dynamics here, the communication between official and people who are still waiting for news about their friends and family who may have been lost at the Trade Center is how the officials, starting right with Mayor Giuliani, are not offering or holding out undue hope.

They are not really going any further beyond precisely what they know. They put the figure out, 4,600, 4,700 people believed to be missing. And the subtext of that is that the fear is that they probably have been lost with perhaps one or two miraculous exceptions who will be found. So, there is sort of a waiting process going on here.

Now, you can call that grieving, you can call that just holding out hope day after day. Whatever you want to call it, it has a very human face. And our Jodi Ross was over at the armory where people have been gathering, has some examples of those hopes and how they continue to burn bright.


JODI ROSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Garrick, I think I would call it hope out here. This is becoming an all too familiar site here in New York City and probably now all over the world - pictures, poster signs about missing people, men and women, who haven't been seen since the terrorist attack on Tuesday.

This picture belongs to this family here with me. You guys, tell me about Moira (ph).

ALLISON (ph): This is my aunt Moira Smith. She's an NYPD police officer currently, the only female police officer that's missing in this terrible tragedy. She was the first one -- one of the first ones to see the first plane hit the building. She called it in right away. And she was last seen in the second tower on the first or second floor at 9:30 on Tuesday, and she was helping people. And that's all she really wants to do is help people.

And if you have any information, if you've seen her or if you can give us any information whatsoever, we're desperate here. Just call the 13th Precinct. That's who she's with and ...

ROSS: Mercedes, tell me, has there been any information, any leads, any news about her?

MERCEDES: As Allison said, the last news we got is that a detective saw her in tower two on the second or first floor around 9:30 yesterday. And he said she was just doing a remarkable job, pulling people out, helping people, comforting people.

And she's dedicated to the people of New York and to her fellow officers and she's just -- she's a remarkable person. And we know everyone is doing everything they can, but just if anyone has seen her we're trying to find. We're not going to leave any rock unturned. We're going to find her. We're hopeful. We're prayerful. We're praying for Moira, and we're praying for all the rescue workers.

I don't know, she's just a remarkable person and we know she's coming home. We're just trying to make it happen quicker and ...

ROSS: Is that your feeling? You feel like she's out there and just needs to be found?

MERCEDES: Absolutely. Absolutely.

ROSS: Allison, you mentioned that you're having trouble sleeping. Is it hard to have a normal life right now?

ALLISON: Well, absolutely. I think everyone -- no one is unaffected by this. I mean, everyone I know knows someone who's been in this -- who's been affected by this. And I just -- we're all praying and I just hope everyone out there is praying out there for everyone in the world right now.

ROSS: I think that is the case. Did you want to say something?

MERCEDES: I brought this picture. This picture was taken in July, July 6th, at my brother's wedding. And this is Moira, and her husband Jim, who's also a police officer, and her baby, pictures of Mary, who's two years old. So, I know, as I just said, everybody's doing everything they can. But if -- people need encouragement to keep looking. Think of Patricia Mary. This is her face right here, and help us bring her mother home. She's two years old.

ROSS: And the first New York female police officer so far missing in action.

MERCEDES: That we know. That's the report that we got, that that's the information we were told. So -- and we -- and the New York police have been unbelievably supportive of our family. We can't thank them enough.

ROSS: Good luck to you. OK. Thank you very much. Well, that's the feeling here. We meet so many people like this, so many stories. They get to sort of tell their stories behind me at the armory, which is open 24 hours.

It's raining now. I don't think that's going to deter anybody from coming down here and doing what they can to help because it's impossible, New Yorkers tell me, to sit at home and do nothing. They have to do something, whether they're here providing food, providing support, providing comfort, or they're here to actually find people that are missing. Whatever the case, New Yorkers are out in full force tonight in spite of the weather.

Garrick, back to you.

UTLEY: Thank you very much, Jodi. We're hearing those very personal stories and, of course, are stories which are of tragedy and there are too many of them in New York and the Pentagon and that area because of the tragedy there and the plane that was lost over Pennsylvania.

But stories also have contrast. There are two sides of what are going on or two parts. We're seeing that this day, both on Thursday and today, Friday, and for days to come in Manhattan and New York City because the city is coming back to life. There are the people gathering at the armory and trying to find out what's happened to their friends and family.

But at the very same time, schools were open, most businesses were open, and tonight on Broadway the lights went back on, as they say. The Broadway Theater started up again. The show is going on. The lights are bright in Times Square. Times Square is filled with more and more people after these past three nights of almost total emptiness and a eerie silence. So, these are the dual channels of human life, a narrative, if you will, which we're hearing these days.

We want to hear another example of that from one of our reporters, Maria Hinojosa, who visited some people who are also still holding out hope.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just seven weeks ago Ann McGovern posed with her new grandson minutes after he was born.

TERRY (ph): I've never seen her look so happy as when he was born, she was there. She was so excited.

HINOJOSA: But now her daughter, Terry, wants that smiling picture on television. Her mother worked on one of the top floors of the World Trade Center. Her daughter wonders if anyone has seen her alive.

TERRY: We were interviewed by police detectives and they -- we had filled out a questionnaire. And it was really like what jewelry would she have been wearing. Do you know what she had on? Did she have any identifying body marks? HINOJOSA: Her sister Liz worked in the World Financial Center across the street, but managed to escape. She was supposed to meet her mother that day for lunch.

LIZ: I was just about to call her and I just -- I just -- I can't believe. I don't think it's sent in yet. I just -- I just feel so like powerless and I wish I could have done something.

HINOJOSA: That same awful feeling consumed an emergency center on Lexington Avenue, where authorities are compiling a list of the missing. It's become a place of public grieving and a place to hope for miracles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was on the 104th floor candidate today. We have gone to hospitals. We have called every hotline. They don't know where he -- we can't find him. He's not on any list.

HINOJOSA (voice-over): Hope is the word, the emotion that keeps these people going. But that hope hits hard against the reality that thousands of body bags have already arrived into New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The triage centers remain relatively quite, the one at ...

HINOJOSA (voice-over): At a center for Mexican immigrants, 15 friends are confirmed dead so far. Radios are kept on in hopes there'll be word of hundreds of others, immigrants from Mexico who labored in the Twin Towers hoping to make a better life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my heart -- in my heart I feel that I am crying.

HINOJOSA: But there is not much concrete news for these people today, just fears for the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mother was so excited that my son was born. She was there at the birth seven weeks ago and he's not going to know her.

HINOJOSA: And so, there's resignation. Maria Hinojosa, CNN New York.


UTLEY: Just one more example or several examples of the scars left by what happened here last Tuesday. Jim.

CLANCY: Let's face it, there are people down there around where the World Trade Center used to be this night risking their lives, trying to recover people alive, trying to recover bodies, trying to perhaps bring some hope to all of those thousands of people that we've seen here in the last few minutes, waiting to find something about their loved ones.

But now, there's also a rainstorm moving in. What kind of a threat is that going to pose to the rescue workers with all of that dust in the area?

UTLEY: Well, one of the good strokes of fortunes past over has been the beautiful, excellent weather amid this tragedy, but you're right, the storm is moving in. Even inside here, we can hear the thunder outside.

And you're going to get some pictures, I think, showing some of the lightening, which has been striking around Manhattan. Obviously, if it's a severe thunderstorm or downpour that may stop things or slow work down for a little bit, but if it's -- and that thunderstorm may well move on. But if there is a steady rain, which sometimes descends and stays over Manhattan, well, what the heck, people have slickers, ponchos.

The work goes on, as one person was saying. If we really get into rain we have to remember one thing, we're supposed to be in the war against terrorism right now, the president says, and war has never called time out on account of rain. And I think that's the attitude you'll find in lower Manhattan as this bad weather moves in and continues.

CLANCY: All right. Garrick Utley there reporting once again. We're going to come back and visit with Garrick again.



Back to the top