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America's New War: Families of the Dead

Aired September 17, 2001 - 04:54   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.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: Those, the victims in New York and in the Pentagon. Pentagon officials confirmed on Sunday that another victim has been identified there. Commander Dan Shanoner (ph) of Naperville, Illinois, is the second confirmed casualty of the Pentagon attack. This, out of 88 remains that have been recovered so far. Remains are being transported to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for DNA testing. The Pentagon death toll still stands at 188.

Well for the families of those believed buried in the rubble of the Pentagon attack, the identification process can't go fast enough.

Bob Franken talked to one family just waiting for a miracle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So many of the strategic decisions about how to wage war have been made within the walls of this massive, five-sided building. But now, a new kind of war has arrived at the Pentagon. A plane piloted by hijackers shattered the section of the nation's military nerve center and shattered hundreds of lives.

TERESA RUSSELL, VICTIM'S WIFE: The head of our family is gone, and our lives will never be the same.

FRANKEN: Every day since the crash, Teresa Russell and her large family meet at a hotel near the Pentagon, wait for word from the Defense Department. Robert Russell, a budget analyst and Teresa's husband of 30 years is buried somewhere near his office, right where the 757 crashed through the wall.

TERESA RUSSELL: Although we haven't given up hope, we have to face the reality that he may not come back.

FRANKEN (on camera): In fact, Robert Russell's section of the Pentagon had just been remodeled, reinforced. So reinforced that many people near the site of the crash escaped.

(voice-over): Navy Petty Officer Charles Lewis was rushed to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. He was able to get out.

CHARLES LEWIS, NAVY PETTY OFFICER: The wall was like Swiss cheese where we were at. And I mean, we could hear people yelling at us, we were yelling back, trying to bang and beat on stuff to let them know where we were at.

FRANKEN: But Teresa Russell, her children and grandchildren have heard nothing yet from Robert Russell. So, they gained strength from each other to deal with a variety of feelings.

TANYA RUSSELL, VICTIM'S GRANDDAUGHTER: Sad. Wish he could come back. It wasn't fair.

TERESA RUSSELL: Life isn't fair. But be strong. We will be here for you. We are all together. Grand daddy wouldn't want us to be sad, would he? Would he?

TANYA RUSSELL: No.

TERESA RUSSELL: No.

FRANKEN: The Pentagon believes the death toll will reach 188, but until they know for sure that Robert Russell is one of them, members of his family will return to the hotel every day.

Bob Franken, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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