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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: Dealing With Death

Aired September 17, 2001 - 06:27   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.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Certainly where he's helping us get the big picture in terms of what might happen next. We just had talked with Major Garrett who is reporting from the White House, and Bob Franken this morning is at the Pentagon.

Bob, when we talked with Major Garrett, he said that, frankly, it's very clear that the White House is on what he called war footing. What is the sense that you're getting from the Pentagon?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well the sense -- the sense here is is that when the White House -- the White House declares a war footing, the war planning is done here. And of course at the same time, we still can see, as we watch outside, that the building is still in just its initial stages of repair from this calamitous collision that occurred almost a week ago now. The American Airlines plan -- plane plowing into the Pentagon and it raises the point this is a place where for so many years the planning was done for battlefields around the world but now the building itself has become a battlefield.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FRANKEN: And thus far, officials say that they have found 86 people -- 86 remains, continue to look. It could take 10 days, a couple of weeks. And, of course, to rebuild the building, it's going to take at least a couple of years -- Carol.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thank you very much -- Bob Franken reporting live from the Pentagon this morning.

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