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Irma Leaves 5.8 Million without Power; Trump Lays Wreath at Pentagon; Pentagon 9/11 Service. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired September 11, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:56] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, here we are in Naples, Florida, along the west coast. This is one of the cities that they were really worried about because it just is barely five, 10 feet above sea level. So oh what a difference a day makes. That's the expression, right? For better and for worse. A beautiful sky now. We thought we'd never see it again, though, during yesterday. They saw some of the biggest gusts of Hurricane Irma right here in Naples, almost right in this spot. Gusts up to 140 miles an hour. Chad Myers says it set some kind of record.

Ed Lavandera, one of our senior correspondents and I, were in it as the eye of Irma went over this city. That wasn't expected originally. And when that path changed, so did all of the concerns. Both of us have stood in a lot of storms. Both of us are built to stand in a storm. And neither of us have never seen anything like that. It was like a fire hose of wind and water. But, you know what, now it is gone and the rebuilding begins.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, you single handedly stared that storm down and pushed it up the coast. So just remarkable work yesterday in Naples.

Now what people all over Florida are dealing with is the lack of power. More than 5.8 million people have no power now in the state.

I'm joined by Rob Gould. He's the vice president of Florida Power and Light.

Rob, thanks so much for joining us right now.

Look, it's the easiest question in the world with the most complicated answer, I'm sure, but it's the only question some 5.8 million customers have, when are they going to get their power back?

ROB GOULD, VP AND CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, FLORIDA POWER AND LIGHT: Yes, John, that is an important question. And the reality is, it's going to take some time. Our territory -- we serve over half the state of Florida. Ninety percent of our customers are within 20 miles of the coastline. And we go from the Georgia line at Florida all the way down to The Keys and right back up to Tampa.

We've got about 3.6 million of our customers that are in the dark still. If there is any good news, we've been able to restore about 1.4 million customers over the past day, day and a half, largely through automation as a result of investing $3 billion in our network over the past ten years.

But Irma was a massive storm. The devastation that we're seeing is horrible. And so what we're seeing on the east coast and especially now where it's extended into Daytona in the northern part of our territory, St. Augustine, which was not expected, that will elongate repairs. But on the west coast, with all what we've seen, we're literally talking about a rebuild that could take weeks.

BERMAN: Could take weeks.

Tell me how the process will work. Who gets their power back first and what will the progression be?

GOULD: So the first step is today we're getting out in earnest to assess. We've got an army of 17,000 restoration workers, the largest we believe in U.S. history, that was pre-staged in the state of Florida ready to respond. They now can get out now that the wind has subsided below 35 miles an hour so they can fly their bucket trucks and do work. We will assess the damage.

We will then get our power plants back online, if there are any down. And then we will move to the main trunk lines, if you will, the main fears that feed critical infrastructure, water pumping stations, hospitals, gasoline stations, things of that nature.

And then we will move to the largest numbers of customers possible, as quickly as possible. All of this has to be done in a safe fashion. And then we will finally continue down to the neighborhood level. It's a very deliberate process, a very orchestrated process. A lot of military precision, if you will. But we need to make sure we do it safely. But we will be at it day and night until we get all of our customers restored.

BERMAN: One of the questions you may ask during or after a storm like this is, what have you learned? How might you do things differently in the future? As I was standing on the Miami coast looking out at Miami Beach yesterday morning, we saw transform blows one after the other up Miami Beach.

[09:35:06] You know what, Rob, hang on one second. The president is at the Pentagon right now laying a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial. Let's listen in.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, you just saw the president of the United States, who arrived at the Pentagon moments ago with the first lady, lay a beautiful wreath there to mark the 184 people that were murdered at the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into that building 16 years ago today, as Barbara Starr, our Pentagon correspondent, joins me.

Barbara, you will remember that morning, eerily like this morning, a clear, beautiful, crisp early fall day. Tell us more about who was with the president.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: About 900 people are there, Poppy. And, you're right, already when I arrived early at the Pentagon this morning, you were hearing the phrase, it's 9/11 weather. It is a beautiful morning in Washington. In a few minutes, we will hear the national anthem. There will be a moment of silence as the Pentagon, once again, as it does every year, pauses to remember the 184 souls lost here, murdered here that day when Americans Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked by terrorists and crashed into the building.

And it may be a good moment to pause to remember the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, still 16 years later serving overseas from Afghanistan, to Iraq, Syria, throughout the Middle East, indeed around the world, tens and tens of thousands of troops, tens of thousands of military families making that sacrifice so their loved ones can serve.

It is always a solemn momentary here at the Pentagon. You know, it's a busy place. Life goes on. People move briskly up and down the hallways. Meetings happen. But make no mistake, on this morning every year, people do pause and remember. So many people who work here were here that morning. And we hear constantly from people who may have moved on to other jobs, other places, they e-mail, they phone. It is -- it's a community of people, I suspect, like New York, like Shanksville, who were here.

I think in a minute we're going to have the invocation. We will have the national anthem. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs will speak briefly. The secretary of defense, James Mattis. And then President Trump will deliver remarks, remembering, acknowledging this very solemn moment 16 years ago today, Poppy.

HARLOW: Let's listen in. I -- we see the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dunford, approaching. And I think we have the moment of silence. Let's just listen in.

Did we miss that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States and the first lady.

HARLOW: And, Barbara, we see the president and the first lady as they're approaching the podium here. What else can we expect to see today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please face the flag for our national anthem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): O say can you see, by the dawn's early light. What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming. Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight. O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there; O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave o're the land of the free and the home of the brave?

[09:40:58] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the United States Air Force chief of chaplains, Major General Dondi Costin. DONDI COSTIN, CHIEF OF CHAPLAINS, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE: Let us pray


Heavenly father, we bow our heads this morning with our feet fixed on sacred soil, consecrated on September 11, 2001, by 184 innocence who perished in an instant, but whose legacies will never die. Whereas Moses was commanded from a burning bush on holy ground to rescue his countrymen from their oppressors, our generation was commissioned from a burning building on this site to do the same. For the nearly 3,000 who lost their lives that day, we remember. For family members who deal with their lose to this day, we pray. For first responders who helped others live to see another day, we rejoice. For those who witnessed this shot heard round the world and suited up for combat to seize the day, we thank you on this patriot day.

Thank you for giving our freedom fighters enough grace to stand firm, enough grit to stand tall and enough guts to stand up anyone gullible enough to assume America would ever stand down. Standing here in the shadow of their sacrifices, please transform the raw emotion of this ceremony into righteous action worthy of their service.

The scriptures tell us that one day we'll turn our swords into plow shares and delete combat from our dictionaries once and for all. But until that prophesied peace persists, Lord, help us demonstrate due diligence, not only in the quality of our vigils, but in the quality of our vigilance in keeping bad guys on the run. When complacency creeps in, give us the skill to succeed. When fear calls, give us the will to win. When differences divide, unit us in a common cause. And when doubt appears, fill us with the faith to know that this cause, liberty is clearly worth the cause.

In closing, Lord, we pause now for a moment of silent reflection.

In your holy name we pray, amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.

GEN. JOSEPH F. DUNFORD JR., CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Mr. President, Mrs. Trump, Secretary Mattis, members of the cabinet, distinguished guests, and most importantly to the family and friends of the fallen and to those gathered here who survived the attack on the Pentagon, good morning. It's an honor to join you as we pause to reflect all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. At this ceremony we're particularly mindful of the 184 who died here in the halls of the Pentagon and aboard Flight 77.

Sixteen years ago, when terrorists attacked the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and as they attempted other attacks in Washington, D.C., they did so with a sense of purpose. They were attacking symbols that reflect our way of life and our values. The terrorists believed that these attacks will shake our commitment to those values. And as President Bush said hours after the attack, the terrorists thought they could frighten us into chaos and retreat, but they were wrong. Instead of retreat, the tragedy of 9/11 produced in us an unyielding resolve. Instead of hopelessness, our mourning turned into action. And we have strengthened our commitment to the idea that the freedom of many should never be endangered by the hatred of a few.

[09:45:05] So this morning, as we recall the events of 9/11, it's appropriate for those of us still serving to remember and honor those who died, those who continue suffering from injuries and those left behind. But if we truly want to honor those remembered today, each of us will walk away from this ceremony with a renewed sense of commitment to our values and the cause of freedom. Each of us will walk away from this simple ceremony reminded that the war is not over and that further sacrifice will be required. And each of us will walk away with resolve to strengthen our personal commitment to protect our family, friends and fellow citizens from another 9/11.

It's now my privilege to introduce someone whose has spent his life demonstrating personal commitment to protecting our values and our way of life, our secretary of defense, the Honorable James Mattis.

JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, thank you, General Dunford.

Mr. President, Mrs. Trump, our first lady, fellow secretaries of the president's cabinet, distinguished guests, first responders, ladies and gentlemen and a special heartfelt welcome to the 306 family members gathered to remember their loved ones lost 16 years ago today.

We are here to honor those 2,977 lives claimed by the brutal attacks of September 11th, 2001. Men and women who woke that day never anticipating an attack on their place of work or against this country. Innocence who hailed from 90 nations and all walks of life. Attackers perpetrating murder that fateful day.

But heroism and compassion were boundless on 9/11. Patriots from all backgrounds and all walks of life responded with speed, with courage and with compassion. In the aftermath of the attack, our service members, our nation rallied together as one. For while we had never asked for this fight, we are steadfastly committed to seeing it through, as President Trump has made abundantly clear. And with no more temperizing (ph), as our example of leadership galvanizes other nations to stand united against this threat to all human kind.

Maniacs disguised in false religious garb thought by hurting us they could scare us that day. But, we, Americans, are not made of cotton candy. We are not seaweed drifting in the current. We are not intimidated by our enemies. And, Mr. President, your military does not scare.

Our nation's troops today are worthy successors of our revolutionary army at Valley Forge, worthy successors of our valiant sailors at Midway and our Marines at bloody Iwo Jima and of our Air Force pilots patrolling MiG Alley (ph).

Men and women of your armed forces, America, having signed a blank check to the protection of the American people and to the defense of our Constitution, a check payable with their very lives, your military stands ready and confident to defend this country, this experiment in democracy. And we will continue to do so using all means necessary and as long as necessary. So today we remember the loss of so many. In New York City, in a somber field in Pennsylvania, and here in this very building behind me, and in many battles sense and some of those battles are still raging.

As former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld observed on 9/11 every year we again are mindful and resolute that their deaths, like their lives, should have meaning. And that is in how we carry forward our responsibility to protect America.

To the families of those who perished, the loss you have endured drives us in our mission today and every day.

And it's in that spirit, ladies and gentlemen, that it's my honor to introduce our commander in chief, the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.

I want to thank you, Secretary Mattis, General Dunford, members of the cabinet, members of the armed forces, first responders and most importantly to the families and to the survivors. It's an honor to join you on this very, very solemn location. This is an occasion that is extraordinary. And it will always be extraordinary.

[09:50:22] Before we begin, I'd like to send our nation's prayers to everyone in the path of Hurricanes Irma and to everyone suffering through the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. These are storms of catastrophic severity and we're marshaling the full sources of the federal government to help our fellow Americans in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and all of those wonderful places and states in harm's way. When Americans are in need, Americans pull together. And we are one country. And when we face hardship, we emerge closer, stronger and more determined than ever.

We're gathered here today to remember a morning that started very much like this one. Parents dropped off their children at school, travelers stood in line at airports and getting ready to board flights. Here at the Pentagon, and at offices all across the country, people began their early meetings.

Then, our whole world changed. America was under attack. First at the World Trade Center. Then here at the Pentagon. And then in Pennsylvania.

The horror and anguish of that dark day were seared into our national memory forever. It was the worst attack on our country since Pearl Harbor, and even worse because this was an attack on civilians, innocent men, women and children whose lives were taken so needlessly.

For the families with us on this anniversary, we know that not a single day goes by when you don't think about the loved ones stolen from your life. Today our entire nation grieves with you and with every family of those 2,977 innocent souls who were murdered by terrorists 16 years ago. Each family here today represents a son or daughter, a sister or brother, a mother or father who was taken from you on that terrible, terrible day.

But no force on earth can ever take away your memories, diminish your love, or break your will to endure and carry on and go forward. Though we can never erase your pain or bring back those you lost, we can honor their sacrifice by pledging our resolve to do whatever we must to keep our people safe.

On that day not only did the world change, but we all changed. Our eyes were opened to the depths of the evil we faced. But in that hour of darkness, we also came together with renewed purpose. Our differences never looked so small. Our common bonds never felt so strong.

The sacrifice grounds on which we stand today are a monument to our national unity and to our strength. For more than seven decades, the Pentagon has stood as a global symbol of American might, not only because of the great power contained within these halls, but because of the incredible character of the people who fill them. They secure our freedom, they defend our flag and they support our courageous troops all around the world.

Among the 184 brave Americans who perished on these grounds were young, enlisted service members, dedicated civil servants who had worked here for decades and veterans who served our nation in Korea, in Vietnam and in the Middle East. All of them loved this country and pledged their very lives to protect it. That September morning, each of those brave Americans died as they had lived, as heroes, doing their duty and protecting us and our country. We mourn them. We honor them. And we pledge to never ever forget them.

[09:55:42] We also remember and cherish the lives of the beloved Americans who boarded flight 77 at Dulles Airport that morning. Every one of them had a family, a story and beautiful dreams. Each of them had people they loved and who loved them back. And they all left behind a deep emptiness that their warmth and grace once filled so fully and so beautifully.

The living, breathing soul of America wept with grief for every life taken on that day. We shed our tears in their memory, pledged our devotion in their honor and turned our sorrow into an unstoppable resolve to achieve justice in their name.

The terrorists who attacked us thought they could incite fear and weaken our spirit. But America cannot be intimidated. And those who tried will soon join the long list of vanquished enemies who dared to test our mettle.

In the years after September 11th, more than 5 million young men and women have joined the ranks of our great military to defend our country against barbaric forces of evil and destruction. American forces are relentlessly pursuing and destroying the enemies of all civilized people, ensuring -- and these are horrible, horrible enemies. Enemies like we've never seen before. But we're ensuring that they never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against our country. We are making plain to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp, and nowhere to hide anywhere on this very large earth.

Since 9/11, nearly 7,000 service members have given their lives fighting terrorists around the globe. Some of them rest just beyond this fence in the shrine to our nation's heroes on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. They came from all backgrounds, all races, all faiths, but they were all there to dedicate their lives and they defend our one, great American flag.

They and every person who puts on the uniform has the love and gratitude of our entire nation. Today as we stand on this hallowed ground, we are reminded of the timeless truth that when America is united, no force on earth can break us apart. No force.

On the morning of 9/11, Pentagon Police Officer Isaac Ho'opil and a special person was one of the many heroes whose love for his fellow Americans new no bounds. He was a mile away when he got the call over his radio that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon.

He sped to the scene and raced into smoke and fire. Few people would have done it. He ducked under live electrical wires and trudged through puddles of jet fuel, only steps away from sparks and from vicious flame.

[10:00:00] In the pitch black, he began calling out people in need of help. Isaac heard faint voices and he wanted to answer those