Listen to these personal stories ...
Kevin Kuczewski
Cliff Woodard
Maria Butner
Phil Cronan
Barbara Abbott
Maura Heidcamp
Kevin Kuczewski
Cliff Woodard
Maria Butner
Phil Cronan
Barbara Abbott
Maura Heidcamp
Click to listen
Click to listen
Click to listen
Click to listen
Click to listen
Click to listen
We Remember
 
Honored Dead: Victims of 9/11
 
Moments of remembrance on the South Shore and beyond
 
Stories of survival, heroics
 
Taunton man remembers the last day with his wife
 
Have things changed?
 
How attacks affected kids, and how are they now
 
Nationally
 
Brockton native decided how much to give 9/11 families
 
Graphic: Sequence of 9/11 events
Audio interviews and editing for this series were conducted by Cory Hopkins, Diana Schoberg, Ryan Menard, John Kelly, Andrew Lightman and Ken Johnson from The Patriot Ledger, and by Jean Porrazzo, Elaine Allegrini and Craig Murray from The Enterprise.
Site Design: Stephen Ide

 

Seven awkward minutes on 9/11

Students recall
Bush’s visit
to classroom

Associated Press

SARASOTA, Fla. - Tyler Radkey and other second-graders at Emma E. Booker Elementary School didn’t know what to think when Chief of Staff Andy Card leaned in and whispered something to President Bush on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

“His face just started to turn red,” said Tyler, now 13 and in seventh grade. “I thought, personally, he had to go to the bathroom.”

For a puzzling seven minutes, the youngsters read aloud from the story “The Pet Goat” while the shaken president followed along in front of the class, trying to come to grips with what he had been told - that a second plane had just hit the World Trade Center and the nation was under terrorist attack.

“He looked like he was going to cry,” said Natalia Jones-Pinkney, now 12.

File photo
Chief of Staff Andrew Card interrupts class to tell President Bush about the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Bush chose the school in one of Sarasota’s poorest neighborhoods to launch a national reading campaign. He knew a plane had hit the north tower of the World Trade Center when he arrived, but the terror plot was still unfolding when he sat down in a classroom to listen to children read what they had been practicing for days.

The president’s decision to continue sitting there has been bitterly criticized. Filmmaker Michael Moore used the classroom video to embarrass Bush in the scathing documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

“You can’t judge a man on seven minutes,” said 15-year-old Stevenson Tose-Rigell, who was then a fifth-grader and was with Bush in the school library later that day. “What he did is what he could do.”

Bush soon left the classroom and, after a briefing from aides, strode into the library where other pupils were awaiting an appearance by Bush and Education Secretary Rod Paige. The children were unaware of what was unfolding.

After the VIPs left, the Pentagon burned and the twin towers fell. Flight 93 plunged into a Pennsylvania field.

Key Sept. 11 figures:
Where are they now?

File photo

RUDY GIULIANI

Raises cash for politicians, contemplates presidential bid

NEW YORK (AP) - Before Sept. 11, 2001, Rudy Giuliani was a lame-duck mayor riding out the last few months of his second term.

His take-charge response to the terrorist attacks on his city forever changed that image, transforming Giuliani into a national icon and possible presidential candidate.

Since leaving office Jan. 1, 2002, Giuliani has parlayed his Sept. 11 fame into several lucrative business ventures.

His consulting firm, the Giuliani Group, offers strategic and investment advice to corporate clients.

He joined a major Texas-based law firm, Bracewell & Patterson, as a named partner; the firm is now called Bracewell & Giuliani.

The former mayor regularly tours the country giving motivational speeches, charging as much as $100,000 per appearance.

Giuliani remains a GOP presidential prospect, although his moderate views on social issues - he supports abortion rights, gay rights and gun control - place him to the left of most Republican primary voters. He will wait until after the 2006 elections, he has said, to make a decision about whether to seek the nomination.

Meanwhile, he has campaigned extensively with Republican candidates across the country.

THE BULLHORN FIREFIGHTER

File photo

Iconic moment with
Bush gave him
‘15 minutes of fame’

BALDWIN, N.Y. (AP) - It will likely go down as one of the defining images of the Bush presidency: the president standing with his arm around a firefighter atop a smoky pile of rubble at ground zero three days after terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center.

In the nearly five years since, Bob Beckwith has sought to use the fame he gained from standing alongside President Bush to help others.

He gives speeches from time to time, explaining his moment of fame and his years of service.

Beckwith directs honoraria to the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation.

Over the past five years, he estimates he has sent $50,000 to help burn victims.

CANTOR FITZGERALD CHIEF

File photo

An agonizing five years after losing
so many close to him

NEW YORK (AP) - Howard Lutnick encouraged nepotism at Cantor Fitzgerald Securities. Hiring friends and relatives was OK at the high-powered bond brokerage, as long as they were the best.

So when 658 of the company’s 960 New York employees were killed in the upper floors of the World Trade Center’s north tower, Cantor lost 50 sets of siblings, dozens of best friends. Lutnick, 44, lost his younger brother, Gary; his best friend, Doug Gardner.

The company this year ends a five-year promise to deliver 25 percent of its annual profits to the 658 Cantor families - a total of $180 million, plus $17 million from a relief fund run by Lutnick’s sister, Edie. Cantor moved most of its employees to midtown and now employs 1,200 in New York.

Rescue workers’ health
in spotlight

NEW YORK (AP) - City and federal officials came under withering criticism Friday from lawmakers who charged that ground zero workers were not protected as they clambered over a smoking pile of toxic debris - and have not been properly cared for since.

Former Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Todd Whitman was the most frequent target during a day-long House hearing about the health woes afflicting thousands of ground zero workers.

Whitman stressed in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that the air in lower Manhattan was safe, although she also said workers at the World Trade Center site needed to use protective breathing gear. In a “60 Minutes” segment to be aired Sunday, she said the responsibility for offering such gear to workers lay with the city.

City officials already under fire for their own role in the ongoing health problems disputed Whitman’s claims.

City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said the federal government was responsible for work safety at the site.

In a Sept. 13, 2001, press release, the EPA said the air around the disaster site was relatively safe. On Sept. 16, 2001, Whitman said that tests showed air pollution levels “that cause us no concern.”

Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., who chaired the hearing, said Whitman’s September 2001 statements “defied logic and everybody knows that.”

Public pressure has been growing for the government to deal with health problems blamed on toxic dust at the site.

9/11 Commission proposals: An unfinished agenda

Cox News Service

WASHINGTON - In the five years since 19 hijackers turned airliners into deadly missiles, the U.S. government has spent about $20 billion to harden aviation security, overhauled the intelligence community and added new procedures, including taking fingerprints, to check visitors from abroad. Yet much more hasn’t been done.

Major Sept. 11 recommendations by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States that have been achieved, at least partly:

1. Install an entry-exit system that incorporates “biometric” features.

Actions: A new program takes fingerprints and digital photos of foreign visitors as they arrive at 115 airports, 15 seaports and at 154 land ports of entry. Computers check for matches against terrorist and criminal watch lists.

Progress: Half finished. Only 12 airports and two seaports have facilities to register departures.

2. Set up a new director of national intelligence to oversee and coordinate all 15 federal intelligence-gathering agencies.

Actions: Congress passed a law in late 2005 establishing the office, and John D. Negroponte was sworn in as director in April.

Progress: Too early to assess.

3. Set up a National Counterterrorism Center to collect and analyze information, issue threat warnings and formulate strategies to combat terrorism.

Actions: Congress voted to establish the center, which reports to the director of national intelligence and to the White House.

Progress: Too early to assess results. Center faces major challenge in integrating data of government agencies, which have many incompatible computer databases and a long history of not sharing data.

4. Coordinate defense for U.S. airspace.

Actions: The Defense Department expanded the North American Aerospace Defense Command to include monitoring of domestic air traffic. A new multi-agency federal center oversees security of the U.S. capital region.

Progress: Vigilance has been stepped up, especially for the capital region. The Government Accountability Office’s recommendation that oversight be given to a single federal organization was rejected by the Department of Defense.

5. Track and combat terrorist financing.

Actions: A Treasury Department office set up two years ago tracks terrorist money and financial intelligence and has frozen assets of suspected terrorists and terrorist groups.

Progress: Significant. U.S. efforts to follow the money trail scored the only high mark (A-minus) on the 9/11 Public Discourse Project’s report card in December 2005. News reports last June disclosed that a classified U.S. program had access to information about accounts held by a large international consortium of banks. Tracking the informal network of terrorist money has presented a more difficult challenge.