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Special Edition: 10th Anniversary of 9/11; Interview With Former 9/11 Commission Chair Tom Kean; New Jersey Department of Education Creates Guidelines on Teaching Children About 9/11 and the War on Terror; Dealing With the Emotions of 9/11; 9/11 Changed My Life: How 9/11 Changed the Lives of Two Wall Street Traders

Aired September 10, 2011 - 09:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, HOST: It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since 9/11.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to a special edition of YOUR BOTTOM LINE. I'm Christine Romans.

September 11th, 2001, changed this country and its people forever. It's changed our security and our priorities. And most of all, it has changed the day-to-day of everyday life in the United States.


ROMANS (voice-over): What has changed since 9/11? Maybe the question is, what hasn't?

A 6-year-old girl searched before boarding a plane. A wheelchair becomes a red flag, on airplanes, trains and subways, intense scrutiny. Backpacks are searched and sniffed. Even a trip to the ballgame is an exercise in Homeland Security.

Homeland Security, an entire government bureaucracy that didn't exist a decade ago; an agency that gave us the terror alert level.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK CITY: The federal government was raising its threat level to orange.

ROMANS: Before then orange was just a color, or a fruit; hardly an assessment of potential threats. There are threats the 9/11 generation is used to. They've grown up during two wars and they're still just kids. There was 9/11, then London, the shoe bomber, Madrid and Mumbai. Rounding out a decade of anxiety that marks life before and after.


ROMANS: Tom Kean is the former governor of New Jersey, as well as chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

Governor Kean, 10 years later are we safer today?

TOM KEAN, FMR. CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: No question we're safer. People are doing a good job in a number of areas. But not safe enough, we still got some things to do.

ROMANS: We've got quite a few things to do. There were 40 some recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Nine have not been taken up, have not been implemented. Is that a problem?

KEAN: It's a very difficult problem because Al Qaeda's still out there. They still want to hurt us in any way they can. They've changed their strategy. They are not located in the same places, but they are still trying to hurt us in every way they can. Some of these recommendations are important to make the American people safer.

ROMANS: Like what?

KEAN: One we thought would be implemented right away. First responders should be able to talk to each other, police and fire and all of that.

ROMANS: We live in an era of smart phones, something we couldn't have imagined 10 years ago, and you look at how everyday people are communicating, yet first responders are not able to talk to each other still.

KEAN: That's right. They need to have something called spectrum; a piece of the spectrum. It is called the D Block. And the D Block should be made available to police, fire, emergency workers. Then they could talk to each other, even if some were in tunnels, and some were in the air, and whatever. Now they can't. They weren't able to on 9/11. If you remember the policemen couldn't get to the firemen and that cost lives. Same thing happened in Katrina. The people in helicopters couldn't talk to people in boats. The result was, again, people died. This is a no-brainer. Congress should do it. Should have done it a long time ago. The bills are pending. The president will sign it. We ought to do it.

ROMANS: Have you been watching Congress lately, Governor? I mean -


It's a no-brainer, except we live in an environment right now that is incredibly polarized and sometimes you think the simplest things just can't get done.

KEAN: One of the things we learned in 9/11, is how to work together. For a period after 9/11, Republicans forget they were Republicans, Democrats forget they were Democrats, who worked together. That extended to our working on the 9/11 Commission. We had five partisan Democrats, five partisan Republicans; worked together and had a unanimous report for the American people. Wouldn't have been the same if it hadn't been unanimous. So, on these public safety things, people ought to forget what party they're in and figure who are constituents, the American people.

ROMANS: We've really lost that. I mean, it is interesting, you talk about the unanimity and together, the patriotism after 9/11, 10 years later, I really couldn't see that when I look at Washington. KEAN: I don't see it either. And I think the American people are sick of it. When I was governor I had a Democratic legislature in both houses. If we hadn't worked together we wouldn't get anything done. We worked together, we took equal credit for it. At our best, in time of emergency, this country has always worked together, not Republican, not Democrat, but worked together. We've got to get that back. People have the courage to cross the aisles when they think it's right.

ROMANS: We've seen at the airports and you saw in this piece so many examples of how the air travel experience has changed. Is it safe enough? Are there still things we should be doing to make air travel safer?

KEAN: Unfortunately, there are still a few. One of the things we mentioned is somehow, the makers of bombs have gotten ahead of the detection people. So even though we go through all these elaborate procedures. You and I have been both through it. Still there are bombs that cannot be detected. And we just got to get technologically on top of that. There's no reason to have all these screening devices and still have us not totally safe. That's just bringing those technologies -- technology up to date.

ROMANS: All right. Stick with us. We have a lot more to talk about this morning.

9/11 will forever be a part of our nation's history, but how should it be taught in the nation's classrooms. We're going to head to the classroom next.


ROMANS: 9/11 is part of this country's history, but how should teachers address it in school? The New Jersey Department of Education took a closer look at just that and has released a new set of guidelines adding the 9/11 terror attacks to the state's K through 12 curriculum.

CNN's Deb Feyerick takes us to school.


You can see where the memory garden is going up.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ask about the day the Towers fell and Isabel Fernandez, who was seven years old at the time, will tell you about the dust. The airplane parts in the family's living room and most especially, the holes. ISABEL FERNANDEZ, I had a friend who lived in Tribeca. And she said, oh, a plane went through and there's holes on both sides of Twin Towers. So I went through the day with this image of the two towers with holes on both sides.

FEYERICK: Now 17 and a senior at a New Jersey all-girls prep school Fernandez is experiencing 9/11 in a new way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does a terrorist look like?

FEYERICK: As part of history, she's studying it in class in the context of global security and terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's important not only to look at the event but to understand the history and the consequences.

FEYERICK: Though 9/11 is increasingly taught in schools, New Jersey's 9/11 curriculum is the first known to be sanctioned but a state education department for grades kindergarten through grade 12. With more than 100 possible lesson plans on the subject, younger kids may learn about bullying and power, while older ones study topics like the allure of terrorism, its history, grieving, and also remembering.

FERNANDEZ: How a stereotype, in general, is a negative thing.

FEYERICK: It was developed by educators like Reba Petratus (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can we make this world a better place that future generations can live in peace? That was major request coming out of the families of 9/11 when they asked us to write this curriculum.

FEYERICK: 9/11 widow Mary Ellen Salamone knew, one of the leaders behind it, knew the time was right.

MARY ELLEN SALAMONE, 9/11 WIDOW: These pictures mark a moment in time. They are exactly the age my children were when on 2001 when their dad was killed.

FEYERICK: For Salamone, life after has been a process, figuring out ways to explain to her three growing children a little more each year.

SALAMONE: In the beginning, was as simple as something really bad happened in New York City and your dad died, and is not coming home.

FEYERICK: Two years ago, with her eldest son heading to high school she showed her kids video of the attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on just a moment. We have an explosion inside.

SALAMONE: It was horrifying for them to actually see it for the first time.

AIDEN SALAMONE, FATHER KILLED ON 9/11: You don't think of it as history. You don't think of it as something that happened in the world. You think of it as more something that happened directly to you.

FEYERICK: And that's exactly the mindset Salamone is trying to change.

SALAMONE: It's this much bigger global issue that has been in history and affected lots and lots of families, not just us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Timothy McVeigh. Patty Hearst. Anders Breivik

FERNANDEZ: Terrorism isn't 9/11. That's what we know of it because that is what we've grown up as far as terrorism is concerned, but that's not what it is.

FEYERICK: Learning about terrorism in the hopes of trying to prevent it. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Summit, New Jersey.


ROMANS: Former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean is back with us.

Governor, how do you make children more comfortable with this topic?

KEAN: With great sensitivity. This is probably the most important event that's happened in modern history. Children are surrounded by it and the world has been changed by it. So children have to be taught. They have to be taught gently. They have to understand the tragedy. They have to understand the heroes and the heroines. They have to understand the sacrifice of the families. They've got to understand how the world has changed because of that. It's a very important part of the school curriculum. I think New Jersey has done a good job. It is one of the first in the nation to do it.

ROMANS: Its goes beyond teaching just the day, but also about diversity, how words can have an impact, how the things you say can hurt people. It's a broader kind of discussion.

KEAN: It's a huge discussion. And it brings up the most important things in public life and you can teach through this terrible event. You can teach some very valuable lessons to children. And what can happen when the world goes out of control. It's similar to teaching the Holocaust actually. And the people who have worked on this were the same people who worked on Holocaust curriculum. You can get lessons out of those two events that carry forward in life and are important for the history of the country.

ROMANS: Even the word "terrorism", 10 years ago was not something you would think you would discuss with a child. And now, it is a word that a child can just absorb in so many different ways from newspapers, television, conversations around them. It's almost a whole new language.

KEAN: It's a whole new language and we've got to be very, very sensitive because in a state like New Jersey and New York, as well, and other states, we've got children in those classrooms who lost parents.

ROMANS: Right.

KEAN: We have children who lost relatives. Sometimes they were very young, sometimes a little older. How you teach sensitively enough so you bring those families along? Because the families of 9/11 have been one of the heroic stories of this whole thing. I can tell you, I don't think we would have gotten a report written with the same honesty and integrity and gotten it through Congress if it hadn't been for the families and the work of the families. I used to call them the wind in our sails.

ROMANS: All right. Governor Tom Kean, thank you for coming this morning.

KEAN: Thank you.

ROMANS: Thank you very much.

This weekend may stir up a lot of emotions, so how do you deal with all the sounds, sights and sorrow of the 9/11 anniversary?

Plus, 9/11 changed his life forever. Meet one man who has made it his business to make sure others change theirs, too.

That's all coming up next on this special edition of YOUR BOTTOM LINE.


ROMANS: Ten years after the attacks on 9/11, we remember those lives lost as we move forward but for many, dealing with the emotions of the anniversary can be complicated. Joining us now is psychotherapist Doctor Robi Ludwig.

Welcome to the program.


ROMANS: We are still-I guess, 10 years later we haven't really put this whole thing behind us, have we?


ROMANS: We're still going through the shock, the grief, we're still dealing with it?

LUDWIG: Absolutely. And we're still studying the impact that it's really had on us as a nation, but it certainly has affected the psyche of the American public. I mean we went from feeling really invulnerable to vulnerable. We were a country that never had any attack on our land, and not only that, to have attacks by people who are living in our own culture, and secretly out to get us, raised a lot of paranoia. So I think we're still trying to make sense out of what this really means for us.

ROMANS: For the weekend, for the anniversary, what about people who are feeling-and I've heard from people who say they're feeling just a level of anxiety, about-how am I going to mark this weekend? What am I supposed to do? Am I going to watch the images on television again? Am I going to stop at that moment, you know, in the morning and I'm going -- am I going to think about it again? What should people do if they're feeling anxious?

LUDWIG: They should allow themselves to have their anxiety and allow whatever feelings come up, to come up, and not judge it.

ROMANS: It's healthy?

LUDWIG: And realize that it's normal. A lot of people are really having conversations about what happened for them on that day. And sharing memories and their fears and their sense of denial, and that's really what people should be doing. Sharing their thoughts with the community and trying to put it in perspective. It's really through talking that we make sense out of our experiences.

ROMANS: Do you agree with me, there's really no one, right way to spend Sunday morning?

LUDWIG: Oh, absolutely. You know, we were talking that some people will be spending it in church, which I think is a great idea. Others with families, for people who were personally affected by this loss, probably sharing it, remembering those who were no longer with us. So I think as long as we are somewhat remembering what happened and yet hopeful about our future, we're really in the right place.

ROMANS: If you lost someone on September 11th, is it OK to consciously not mark this anniversary? I mean I know a couple of people who have said, I want to keep the kids away from this?

LUDWIG: I guess people have to use their own judgment and work with counselors and make sure that's in sync with what's healthy. You can't deny something this catastrophic happened. But everybody has a way of finding their own new normal. And that's what we've all had to do as a nation. I mean, we've had to find a new normal. We don't experience ourselves in the same way and in some cases our families are not the same, but I don't know if, say, it just didn't happen and not recognizing it is the way I would recommend. You have to recognize what happened, where you are today, and what you want for tomorrow.

ROMANS: Always nice to see you.

LUDWIG: Thank you. Likewise.

ROMANS: Thank you.

Do you need a wake-up call in your life? My next guest says 9/11 changed his life forever. And you shouldn't wait to change your life, too.


ROMANS: We all remember where we were and what we did on 9/11. I was on my way to work as a reporter at the New York Stock Exchange. I saw Wall Street change that day and saw the lives of the people that worked there changed.

David Sandelovsky was one of them. But 9/11 didn't just change him personally, it changed him professionally as well. Take a look.


ROMANS (voice-over): This is the ticket that changed David Sandelovsky's life and career forever.

DAVID SANDELOVSKY, OWNER, SPORTSCLIPS: It's a round trip, only one way was taken.

ROMANS (on camera): September 11th.

SANDELOVSKY: I was actually on my way in to work on 9/11, and I never made it in.

ROMANS: In fact, it took him three years to return to his job as a currency trader on Wall Street. When he did, after a leave of absence, Wall Street had changed. He had, too.

SANDELOVSKY: The culture wasn't what I wanted anymore. I didn't like the way they treated people.

ROMANS: That's when Sandelovsky pulled a professional 180, leaving his lucrative career and salary to open his own business, sports-themed barber shops.

(On camera): So you went literally from pressing a button and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of money moving around in Forex trades to a selling $23 haircuts?

SANDELOVSKY: Yes, and its $18 with a discount.


SANDELOVSKY: That is, yes-and there is-and you know, this isn't about money. I mean, hopefully it will make good money over time. This isn't ever going to make a ton of money. But that doesn't seem to be as important anymore.

ROMANS (voice-over): What is important to Sandelovsky now is making a difference.

SANDELOVSKY: This is me building a business. This is having employees. This is trying to have a value system that's mine. That I get to enforce with my people. This is mentoring people. This is client contact.

ROMANS (on camera): Any regrets?

SANDELOVSKY: I generally don't regret things. I do miss parts of Wall Street. I miss the camaraderie and the stimulation. This is different. This is different challenges. I've learned as building places, GCs, realtors, landlords, the town regulations. I've learned about franchises. That's pretty cool. I could probably cut somebody's hair, not that you would want me to.

ROMANS (voice-over): He may not actually pick up a pair of scissors, but he's hands on in just about every other way.

SANDELOVSKY: I understood, this was crazy. A lot of people don't get it. It's a very different world, and people forget. People-my friends on Wall Street, they say they get it, but they don't get it. Not when you're making seven figures, you don't get it.

ROMANS: His Wall Street friends may not get it, but his family certainly does.

ROMANS (on camera): What did your family think about your career change?

SANDELOVSKY: I was surprised that they were actually incredibly proud of me. One son came and set up computers for me. The other one came out one day, we had just opened. And took coupons and he went door-to-door to businesses and started handing out coupons. My daughter came and brought her friends from high school. She was proud. She wanted to show her friends what her dad had done. I mean, I was beaming.

ROMANS (voice-over): Ten years ago on September 11, 2001, when Sandelovsky began his morning commute, the ticket he purchased bought him more than just a seat on the train.

(on camera): Why do you keep it?

SANDELOVSKY: A memory. And every time-I just got chills-every time I look at it, think of what happened.

ROMANS: It's a day he'll never forget.


ROMANS: My next guest decided to have breakfast with his family on 9/11, so he wasn't sitting at his desk when American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower and into the 96 floor. That is the floor where he worked. The desk he would have been sitting at. That decision to have breakfast with his family that morning didn't just save his life, it also changed his life forever. Now he's made it his business to help others change theirs, too. Mike Jaffe is the founder of The Human Wake-Up Call, a life coaching company.

Wow. To think your desk there, in that tower, just having breakfast with your family, just stopping to smell the roses for a minute saved your life.

MIKE JAFFE, FOUNDER, HUMAN WAKE UP CALL: It's so hard to believe. You make these small decisions. You're at a crossroads. You can go either way, but you never really understand the implications that some of your littlest decisions might have on your life.

ROMANS: You also say don't wait for the wake-up call.

JAFFE: That's right.

ROMANS: How do you every day decide to wake up and change your life for the better?

JAFFE: I think of them as muscles. When you have an experience like I had and like many people had, it fundamentally changes you. It shifts your perspective very powerfully. For me, I have that inside me all the time. So when I wake up every morning, I need to make that day count. I have rituals that I do that help me have success every morning. But also I know why I'm waking up. My core values got very clear after experiencing 9/11. That's really where most of my clients and I started, it's with getting fundamentally clear on what's important to you.

ROMANS: It's interesting because David Sandelovsky, in that piece, who I met in Summerset, New Jersey. I mean, he kept talked about how his value system.


ROMANS: How his value system had changed. He loved Wall Street. He loved making money. He loved the guys and the women he worked with. But his value system really changed after 9/11.

JAFFE: Yes, you know, when an experience like that happens, any kind of wake-up call, what happens is you immediately assess your life. And see where am I living aligned with what's important to me, and where am I out of alignment? A lot of times those intentions get created, but day after day, our life starts to show up. The e-mails start to pileup. The phone calls come in. And then we lose the power of that wake-up call.

ROMANS: What holds us back and what holds people back? If there isn't some big event, we tend to put one foot in front of the other, and we take things for granted again.

JAFFE: Yes, absolutely. Just how busy we are. But one of the key concepts is you're never going to find time. You need to create time. Creating time can be small slivers. It can be five minutes. It could be 10 minutes. For me it was 20 minutes. And that, again, saved my life. Now finding five or 10 minutes may not save your life, but it will certainly help get on a path to change it.

ROMANS: I can't imagine how your life would have been different if you had even been five minutes late or chosen another day. You might not be sitting here.

JAFFE: You can get so lost-or I can get so lost looking back and asking why. And why did I make those changes? And why did this happen to me? Because I knew all those people up there. They were my friends, they were my colleagues. They had the same dreams and the same families and the same beautiful life. I just did something different that day. People ask me, well, is it fate and destiny? I don't believe that. I believe some things I need to accept and that was the wrong question. I need to look forward. After that event I needed to decide what am I going to do with this gift that I've been given. Now I have this sense of urgency that every day counts, life is such a precious gift, I need to own it.

ROMANS: Very nice to meet you today.

JAFFE: You as well. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us for this special 9/11 Anniversary Edition of YOUR BOTTOM LINE. We are back next week, same time, 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

Until then, please continue the conversation with us online. Find us at Facebook or Twitter. Our handle is @CNNbottomline. You can also find me @Christineromans. I'd love to hear what you have to say, what you thought about this program this morning.

Back now to CNN SATURDAY for the latest news of the day. Have a great weekend.