AMERICA IN CRISIS
The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 12, 2001- 9
Americans watch in horror as
NEW YORK (AP) - Television became
a national gathering place on a terror-filled
day, replaying unimaginable scenes of a
plane crashing into the World Trade Center
and its skyscrapers collapsing. Newspapers
rushed out special editions. Many headlines
said simply: "TERROR."
When the first of two planes hit the Man-
hattan landmark shortly before 9 a.m., it set
in motion an extraordinary effort by the
media to tell the story.
Catastrophes unfolded as fast as televi-
sion could detail them: a plane plunging
into the Pentagon, a crash in Pennsylvania,
buildings evacuated across the country.
Commentators tried to keep calm. "This;
is the most serious attack on the United
States since Pearl Harbor," said NBC's Tom
Newspapers across the country put out
extras. For The Morning Star of Wilming-
ton, N.C., it was the first special edition
since the 1963 assassination of President
John F. Kennedy. The Wall Street Journal
evacuated its headquarters four blocks from
the World Trade Center, but planned
today's edition, with staffers, working from
home or a technical center in New Jersey.
Internet traffic slowed under the demand
of people seeking information online. The
Internet search engine Google directed
news seekers to get off the computer and
turn on radio or television.
With television cameras trained on a
smoking tower of the World Trade Center
Sept. 11, 2
after the first attack, viewers were able to
see the chilling sight of the second, plane
crashing into the other tower and exploding
in a fireball. Television also carried, live,
the collapse of both towers into a pile of
As the morning progressed, networks
showed footage of New Yorkers running
from the scene, some bloodied or covered
with ash. Streets looked white with ash and
soot, a scene Brokaw likened to "a nuclear
A victim was seen hurtling through the
air from the World Trade Center in footage
shown on CBS. The landing was obscured.
CNN showed a flight-path simulator that
detailed how a plane headed west from
Boston took a sudden, sharp turn south
near Albany and headed down the Hudson
Valley toward New York City.
Don Dahler, an ABC News correspon-
dent, was in his apartment four blocks from
the World Trade Center when he heard the
first plane hit. He called "Good Morning
America" and was immediately put on the
, "It sounded a lot like a military missile,"
Dahler said. "There was a high, shrieking
sound followed by a roar then a huge
explosion. I knew immediately something
terrible had happened."
The major television networks suspended
competition, agreeing to share all footage
gathered during the terrorist attacks and
their aftermath, on suggestion of "60 Min-
001: A tim
utes" creator Don Hewitt.
A shaken Ashleigh Banfield on MSNBC
described debris showering around her.
CNBC correspondent Ron Insana, his suit
smeared with gray ash, told how he ran for
cover and hid in a parked car when a tower
"I've never seen anythinglike this," a
breathless and sobbing Banfield said. "This
whole place looks like a war zone. When
the cloud came out I could feel the force of
CBS News correspondent Carol Marin
was a block away from the World Trade
Center when the second tower collapsed. A
nearby firefighter grabbed her and they ran
away, Marin kicking off her heels. She was
thrown against a wall, the firefighter pro-
tecting her with his body as smoke and
debris blinded them.
"I am grateful to be alive and am
awestruck at the people who are down
there," Marin said.
A Fox News Channel producer who is
trained as an emergency technician, Dan
Cohen, said he rushed to the scene and
twice had to run for his life as the towers
collapsed. He was later stationed at a
makeshift hospital at Chelsea Piers, on the
television set where the NBC drama "Law
& Order" is produced.
. "It now looks like the show 'M.A.S.-I.,"'
One expert on terrorism suggested that
the second plane to hit the World Trade
Center was timed deliberately to be cap-
tured by television cameras already focused
on the buildings after the initial attack.
"It was meant to be right before our
eyes," said Joan Deppa, a Syracuse Univer-
sity professor and author of "The Media
and Disasters: Pan Am 103." "This was
staged like it was a TV show."
Most local New York TV stations, except
for WCBS, were knocked off the air when
their transmitters atop the World Trade
Center were destroyed. All the stations'
signals, however, could be seen over cable
systems in the New York area.
It was not immediately clear how many
New Yorkers were blocked from television
coverage of the events. Roughly two-thirds
of the nation's television homes get cable
CNN aired videophone pictures yester-
day evening of explosions in Kabul,
Afghanistan. A U.S. official, speaking on
condition of anonymity, said the U.S. was
not attacking and that the fighting appeared
to be rocket attacks by Afghan rebels
opposing the ruling Taliban.
With so many events happening at once,
Fox News Channel ran a continous crawl of
news bulletins summarizingthe series of
C-SPAN took phone calls from shaken
citizens. One caller from California said:
"This is a sign to America: We think we are
the strongest country and they hit us; they
knew where to hit us."
"It was meant to be
right before our eyes.
... This was staged like,
it was a TV show."
- Prof. Joan Deppa
Syracuse University, author of "The Media
and Disasters: Pan Am 103"
Other networks suspended normal pro-
gramming. The ESPN sports networks
showed ABC News reports, VH I showed
CBS News programming, TNT and TBS
showed CNN coverage.-News networks dis-
pensed with commercials for continuous
The shopping networks QVC and
ShopNBC network went dark. "We share
with our customers and employees, our
sadness as well as our thoughts and
prayers," ShopNBC said in a rnessage on
CNN lost its main transmitters. Aaron
Brown anchored the network coverage from
Penn Station, his back to where the World
Trade Center had been.
MSNBC's Brian Williams took note of
the city's tragically altered skyline: "As it
was more than 30 years ago, the Empire
State Building is.once again the city's
terrorism that shocked the nation
NEW YORK (AP) - This is how yesterday's
At about 8:45 a.m., a hijacked airliner crashed into
the north tower of the trade center, the 25-year-old,
glass-and-steel complex that was once the world's
Clyde Ebanks, an insurance company vice presi-
dent, was at a meeting on the 103rd floor of the
south tower when his boss said, "Look at that!" He
turned to see a plane slam into the other tower.
"I just heard the building rock," said Peter Dicer-
bo, a bank employee on the 47th floor. "It knocked
me on the floor. It sounded like a big roar, then the
building started swaying. That's what really scared
The enormity of the disaster was just sinking in
when 18 minutes later, the south tower also was hit
by a plane.
"All this stuff started falling and all this smoke
was coming through. People were screaming, falling,
and jumping out of the windows," said Jennifer
Brickhouse, 34, from Union, N.J.
The chaos was just beginning. Workers stumbled
down scores of flights, their clothing torn and their
lungs filled with smoke and dust.
John Axisa said he ran outside and watched peo-
ple jump opt of the first building; then there was a
second explosion, and he felt the heat on the back of
Donald Burns, 34, was being evacuated from the
82nd floor when he saw four people in the stairwell.
"I tried to help them but they didn't want anyone to
touch them. The fire had melted their skin. Their
clothes were tattered," he said.
Worse was to come. At 9:50, one tower collapsed,
sending debris and dust cascading to the ground.
At 10:30, the other tower crumbled.
Glass doors shattered, police and firefighters ush-
ered people into subway stations and buildings. The
air was black, from the pavement to the sky. The dust
and ash were inches deep along the streets.
Giuliani said it was believed the aftereffects of the
plane crashes eventually brought the buildings down,
not planted explosive devices.
Hyman Brown, a University of Colorado civil
engineering professor and the construction manager
for the World Trade Center, speculated that flames
fueled by thousands of gallons of aviation fuel melt-
ed steel supports.
"This building would have stood had a plane or a
force caused by a plane smashed into it," he said.
"But steel melts, and 24,000 gallons of aviation
fluid melted the steel. Nothing is designed or will be
designed to withstand that fire."
At mid-afternoon, Giuliani said 1,500 "walking
wounded" had been shipped to Liberty State Park in
New Jersey by ferry and tugboat, and 750 others
were taken to New York City hospitals, among them
150 in critical condition.
Well into the night, a steady stream of boats con-
tinued to arrive in the park. "Every 10 minutes
another boat with 100 to 150 people on it pulls up,"
said Mayor Glenn Cunningham. "I have a feeling
this is going to go on for several days."
Bridges and tunnels were closed to all but pedes-
trians. Subways were shut down for much of the day;
commuter trains were not running.
Meanwhile, at about 9:30 a.m., an airliner hit the
Pentagon - the five-sided headquarters of the
American military. "There was screaming and pan-
demonium," said Terry Yonkers, an Air Force civil-
ian employee at work inside the building.
The military boosted security across the country
to the highest levels, sending Navy ships to New
York and Washington to assist with air defense and
A half-hour after the Ventagon attack, a United
Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 jetliner en route
from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco, crashed about
80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
Airline officials said the other three planes that
crashed were American Airlines Flight 11, a Boe-
ing 767 from Boston to Los Angeles, apparently
the first to hit the trade center; United Airlines
Flight 175, also a Boeing 767 from Boston to Los
Angeles, which an eyewitness said was the second
to hit the skyscrapers; and American Airlines
Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washing-
ton-Dulles to Los Angeles that a source said hit
Felix Novelli, who lives in Southampton, N.Y.,
was in Nashville with his wife for a World War II
reunion. He was trying to fly home to New York
when the attacks occurred.
"I feel like going to war again. No mercy," he said.
"This is December 7th happening all over again. We_
have to come together like '41, go after them."
The attack on Pearl Harbor claimed the lives of
2,390 Americans, most of them servicemen.
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and kicks. Students may test for
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