To Honor them all:

Sep 3, 2020 by

Never-Before-Seen Images Of 9/11 Discovered, Photographer A Mystery – CBS  New York

8 EMT’s/Paramedics
60 Police Officers
343 Firefighters
2997 Civilians

( I am not sure if we can ever be 100 percent sure as to the accuracy of the above numbers but each person deserves recognition- and I sincerely apologize if anyone was left out.)

Discussing with Dr. Donald Elder: 9/11

Michael F. Shaughnessy

  1. Professor Elder- the numbers above- are staggering. 8 EMTS/Paramedics; 60 Police Officers (some from Port Authority, some from New York City, perhaps some from elsewhere) 343 Firefighters (I don’t have the breakdown of men and women) and 2997 civilians, probably working, having a cup of coffee, minding their own busines when the planes flew into the Twin Towers. What do we know about the start of that day?

As September 11, 2001 began, no one foresaw what would happen that morning in New York City. This makes 9/11 dissimilar to the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Then, clear warnings of an impending attack occurred that morning when a US Navy destroyer on patrol in the harbor sighted a submarine’s conning tower in a restricted area. One of the ship’s gun crews fired a shot that sank the submarine, and the destroyer relayed that information to US Naval headquarters. Believing that the inexperienced crew of the destroyer had made an erroneous report, the officer who had received the message decided not to put forces at Pearl Harbor on full alert.

After the Second World War, divers discovered the wreck of the Japanese submarine on the bottom of Pearl Harbor, precisely below the spot where the destroyer had reported sinking it. In a similar fashion, a US Army radar crew reported early on the morning of December 7 that it had detected a large flight of aircraft approaching Hawaii from the northwest. The officer who received the message from the radar crew decided that it had actually detected a small group of US Army Air Force bombers flying to Hawaii from the American mainland. Logic should have informed the officer that airplanes flying from the West Coast to Hawaii would approach the islands from the east, rather than the northwest. More broadly, messages sent by the Japanese through diplomatic channels and intercepted by US Intelligence operatives indicated that Japan would take some sort of action on December 7.

Unfortunately, American authorities overlooked these indications of an impending attack somewhere in the Pacific. Thus, warnings of an attack on Pearl Harbor went unheeded. On 9/11, by contrast, the attack on New York City came without credible warnings. When reviewing the events that led up to the attack, the 9/11 Commission noted that US Intelligence sources had suggested in the period leading up to the deadly day that terrorists had begun planning some sort of assault, but these indications had a much more amorphous quality than did the evidence available to the military authorities at Pearl Harbor. For that reason, when the first airplane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, it caught everyone, both inside and outside the government, by complete surprise.

  1. One thing at a time: what happened first?

Nineteen terrorists had made their way to three airports located in the eastern part of the United States, ready to board, and then hijack, airline flights scheduled to fly cross-country. They chose those flights because they would be carrying large loads of fuel. One group of terrorists at 7:59 am from Logan Airport in Boston. After a short period of time, the terrorists took over American Airlines Flight 11, and one of the terrorists took over the airplane’s controls. He then diverted the airplane on a path that took American Airlines Flight 11 to New York City. At 8:46 am. The terrorists crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. As no one but the terrorists knew that this would happen, the residents of New York had no inkling of the tragedy that would befall their city until the crash actually took place.

  1. Then obviously, there was panic, and did some at first think it was a small plane?

When the airplane hit the North Tower, it came as a total shock to the residents of New York City. While some immediately suspected that the incident had to have happened as the result of a terrorist attack, many felt that American Airlines Flight 11 had accidentally crashed into the North Tower. Indeed, some of the first television reports speculated that a small plane, rather than a large passenger plane, had inadvertently deviated from its flight plan and struck the North Tower by mistake.

From all accounts, New Yorkers reacted with alarm, but tried to keep their composure as they moved away from the North Tower. That measured response lasted only a few minutes, until a second airplane flew into the South Tower. In an instant, New Yorkers realized that the second crash indicated that someone had coordinated the two incidents. At that point, with flames bellowing from both towers, New York became a scene of chaos, as people scrambled to find a safe place to avoid the disaster brewing in their midst.

  1. President George Bush as I recall was reading to some children in school. Where exactly was he, and what do we know about what transpired?

George W. Bush had served only seven months as president when on the morning of September 11, 2001, he had himself driven to Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, to participate in a reading program event. While in route to the school, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. Since no one knew why the plane had done that, the incident did not cause undue alarm among the president’s entourage.

Once he reached the school, he went t a second grade classroom, and sat down to listen to the students as they read the children’s story “The Pet Goat.” A few minutes later, Andrew Card, President Bush’s Chief of Staff, hurried into the classroom. In a low voice, he informed the president that a second plane had crashed into the South Tower. “America is under attack,” he solemnly told President Bush. Film footage of that day shows that the information visibly stunned the president, who chose to sit and listen to the children for another eight minutes. After posing for photographs, he then went into an empty room to receive a briefing on what had happened. Realizing that he needed to return to Washington, the president ordered Air Force One prepared for immediate departure. He then gave an impromptu press conference in which he told the United States that suffered an “apparent terrorist attack.” He then headed to the Sarasota Airport. Along the way, his aides told him that a third plane had crashed into the Pentagon, dispelling any last doubts about whether terrorists had planned a coordinated attack on the United States or not.

  1. When the second and third planes struck, as we know, “all hell broke loose”. How can anyone really tell the story of what happened on that fateful day?

One thing that seems clear from a vantage point of 19 years is the randomness that decided whether people lived or died that day. Seth McFarlane, the creator of the widely acclaimed television show “Family Guy,” can serve as an illustration of that point. After giving the keynote address at The Rhode Island School of Design (his alma mater) on September 10, McFarlane planned to fly back to southern California early the next day from nearby Boston.

Accordingly, McFarlane’s agent got him a ticket for American Airlines Flight 11. But in a remarkably fortuitous turn of events, McFarlane’s agent told him the flight left at 8:15, and when McFarlane arrived at Logan Airport he found himself too late to board. But fate also worked in the opposite direction, as at least one person on that flight had a ticket for an earlier flight, but had been bumped to the ill-fated flight. Those two stories illustrate how luck determined why some lived but others did not on 9/11.

  1. I have heard some of the tape recordings of 911 operators on that day. Any way to summarize?

To this day, we still have not heard all of the recordings of the calls that 911 operators received on 9/11. To spare the families of those individuals who made the calls, all the portions of the conversations involving those who perished that day have been redacted, so we have only the words spoken by the operators themselves. These recordings reveal a group of people trying to do their best to respond to a situation that none could have ever anticipated. These individuals tried to give information, while at the same time expressing their sympathy for the situation that the victims found themselves in.

Unfortunately, these recordings also reflect the fact that the 911 operators often did not have the correct information to pass on to the people at the other end of the line. For example, minutes after the police had ordered people to evacuate the North Tower, many 911 operators were still advising people in the building to remain in place. Hopefully, if a similar situation ever occurs again, the police will better coordinate with 911 operators regarding what they should say.

  1. When did Mayor Rudy Giuliani arrive on the scene, and what did he do?

When American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had begun to eat breakfast at a hotel in the mid-town part of Manhattan. Immediately recognizing that he needed to go inspect the damage, Giuliani had himself driven to the World Trade Center. Soon after he arrived there, Giuliani witnessed an individual jump from the burning building in an attempt to escape the inferno. After briefly consulting with Police officials, Giuliani ordered the evacuation of the building, trying to organize a coordinated response, he then asked the city’s Police and Fire commissioners to join him in establishing a command post.

Finding an office that he could use on Barclay Street, two blocks from the World Trade Center, Giuliani then tried to engage Vice-President Dick Cheney in a phone conversation. As he did, the North Tower fell. As it did, many observers felt that the debris would trap Giuliani. Fortunately, an underground tunnel gave Giuliani an escape route, and he emerged safely on Church Street. There, he began a walk to a location two miles away where he could re-establish communications.

Once he did, Giuliani held a press conference in which he tried to provide comfort for the city’s residents. Giuliani also detailed efforts to help the injured survivors, and the efforts to see if rescue teams could find anyone trapped in the debris. On that day, Giuliani became a national hero through his calm and competent leadership.

  1. The President of the United States, simply said as I recall “We are under attack”. What happened in terms of military response?

President Bush ordered both an immediate and a long-term response to the attack on 9/11. Apprised of the fact that terrorists had hijacked airplanes, and unsure of the precise number of flights under their control, by 10:20 that morning President Bush had given permission for the US Air Force to shoot down aircraft that seemed bent on hitting other structures.

Interestingly, it seems that Vice-President Dick Cheney had already given permission for these interdiction missions, and that President Bush merely approved of that decision. Fortunately, the Air Force did not have to shoot down civilian aircraft. In the days after 9/11, President Bush received intelligence that directly linked the attacks to Al Qaeda. In addition, these briefings revealed that the terrorist group had training bases inside the nation of Afghanistan.

To insure that Al Qaeda could not continue to train future terrorists with impunity, President Bush decided to send American military forces into Afghanistan to destroy the bases. On September 20, 2001, President Bush declared a “War on Terror,” calling on other nations to aid the United States in its efforts to punish those responsible for the attack on 9/11. In a campaign named “Operation Enduring Freedom,” the United States and Great Britain began assaults on Al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan on October 7. US and British forces proved successful in driving Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, a group called the Taliban, which had offered Al Qaeda sanctuary, proved harder to uproot. In fact, almost 20 years later, the United States still has military forces in that nation attempting to neutralize the Taliban.

  1. One never forgets what one was doing on that day-It is forever etched in the hearts and minds of every brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, son, daughter, friend who lost someone that fateful day.

Even though the chances of 9/aa impacting an American’s life decreased the farther one was from New York City or Washington DC, the fact that nearly 3,000 Americans perished meant that hundreds of thousands could know one of the casualties. This author could well have fallen into that latter category, as the best man at his wedding worked for the Port Authority, originally in an office in the World Trade Center. Fortunately, he had received a promotion a few months before—a move that transferred him to a different facility. Had the Port Authority not given him the new position, he would have undoubtedly perished on 9/11. But in a larger sense, even if Americans did not lose friends or relatives, they still suffered nonetheless. As the English poet famously said, “do not ask for whom the bell tolls—it tolls for thee.”

  1. I am sure that you will join me in sending our prayers to all those impacted, all those who lost a husband, a wife, a son, daughter, colleague or friend or relative on that terrible day.

Whatever one’s faith is, every American should ask his or her superior power to watch over those Americans that suffered a loss on that day.

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