CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
9/11: America Remembers One Year Later
Aired September 11, 2002 - 06:48 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: As you remember, it began innocently enough, a beautiful sunny day over most of the East Coast, including both New York and the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.
And that's exactly where we find Judy Woodruff this morning with this personal look of how her day unfolded.
Good morning again -- Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning again, Paula.
That's right. We all have a very personal memory of where we were when we first heard about the events of 9/11. For me, it was a Tuesday that started out like any other. I was scheduled to interview two members of Congress on Capitol Hill later that morning.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): But no sooner did I turn on the car radio then I realized that interview would never take place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is the World Trade Center, and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers.
WOODRUFF: The reporter's adrenaline in me started rushing. My cell phone rang at the very moment I started to dial. As we spoke, my researcher, Diedra Walsh (ph), blurted, the second tower's been hit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well we've got an explosion inside.
WOODRUFF: Racing now through cross-town traffic to reach CNN's bureau just a few blocks from the Capitol, I listened intently to one report after another, trying to absorb the magnitude of what had happened in New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN has learned that at least one of the planes involved in this hit on the World Trade Center was an American Airlines 767, a Boeing aircraft.
WOODRUFF: By 9:30, my heart pounding, I ran down the hall of our 11th floor offices, glancing at the faces of colleagues, all determined, as I was, to focus on the job at hand and not give in to the temptation to ask what the hell is going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the speed on Bush (UNINTELLIGIBLE) one. They got more tape coming. More tape coming. WOODRUFF: At 9:40 came the report from CNN Pentagon producer Chris Plant.
CHRIS PLANT, CNN PENTAGON PRODUCER: There was a huge plume of smoke which continues to rise from the west side of the Pentagon.
WOODRUFF: It was at that moment I began to wonder just what else they had in store for us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing imminent, but this is just not the place to be.
WOODRUFF: My thoughts were reinforced by reports that the White House and the Pentagon were being evacuated and of a fire on Washington's historic mall. The last turned out to be wrong; but like so much else we heard that day, we couldn't be sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This city is crippled with no phones.
WOODRUFF: In our Washington news room, the daily routine had long since been shattered. Everyone's most basic news instincts kicked in as they tried to figure out just what was going on and to sort fact from speculation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is from WJAC in Johnstown, they're saying (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
WOODRUFF: As one reporter after another called in with word of missing passenger planes, of all aviation being shut down, of jet fighters patrolling above the Capitol, I felt personally vulnerable for the first time. What if terrorists struck the Capitol building itself just six blocks or so from where we were, what would we do?
In the control room, the first pictures of the Pentagon were coming in and technicians scrambled to get correspondent Jamie McIntyre on the air.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jamie McIntyre, are you available?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: I am. I'm here.
WOODRUFF: Through it all, reporters kept reporting, audio technicians kept checking audio and producers kept monitoring the information coming in. There was no time to react other than a few expletives as we watched live pictures from Manhattan of the first tower collapsing behind my colleague Aaron Brown.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: There has just been a huge explosion. We can see a billowing smoke rising.
WOODRUFF: I think it was then that I sucked in a big gulp of air.
Sitting on the Washington set a short time later, I recall saying shortly after the second tower disappeared in a cloud, may God rest their souls.
WOODRUFF: In all of my 30 years of reporting, nothing had ever come close to this sense of uncertainty about the fate of our country and about our capital city. But here we are one year later, that's a live picture of the white House this morning as this city is under a heightened state of alert because of new information about security threats around the world and perhaps in the United States. President Bush preparing to make his appearances at the Pentagon, flying then to Pennsylvania and on to New York City. The vice president at an undisclosed location. We've come a long way in this year, but in may ways we are still gripped with the kind of anxiety that began to fall over us one year ago -- Paula, Aaron.
ZAHN: I guess, Judy, I'm reminded by what Jeff Greenfield said about this time last year we -- the day our luck ran out. This is the new reality that we have to confront.
BROWN: Judy, are you -- if you're still with us, I think you probably are, as you -- as you sat down to write the piece, this reflections piece, could you again, because I went through this the other day, could you again feel the same thing sort of rising up in you, the same shortness of breath, the same anxiety,...
WOODRUFF: Yes, absolutely.
BROWN: ... the same I've got to get to work? All of those feelings are so close to the surface still.
WOODRUFF: Well it was a blur, Aaron. I'm -- you know I -- as I mentioned, I first heard it on the radio, and you just -- I mean we're all -- as journalists we're trained to be ready whenever something happens. But none of us had ever -- I mean I guess short of covering Vietnam, which I didn't do, or -- you know we can't even think of anything to compare this with. World War II, we certainly weren't around for that. There was really nothing to prepare us for this.
I mean I happened to be there the day of the assassination attempt on President Reagan, and as horrific an event as that was, this was something that touched us as a nation. And I -- you know as I said, I remember racing through cross-town traffic, getting up to the 11th floor, finding everybody running around. You know we all -- we're all forever changed by it.
BROWN: Judy, thank you.
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