September 11th, 2001: 10 Years Later, Tucson Remembers
President George Bush (September 11th, 2001),
"Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward and freedom will be defended. Make no mistake the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts."
President Barack Obama (May 2, 2011), "The world is safer and in a better place because of the death of Osama Bin Laden."
Hello I'm Guy Atchley.
I'm Jennifer Waddell.
Jennifer Waddell, "Today Nine On Your Side presents "September 11th, 2001 (10 Years Later): Tucson Remembers."
Guy Atchley, "We're here at the September 11th Arizona Memorial five years after the worst terrorist attack in American History.
Jennifer Waddell, "In the next hour we'll bring you the events that unfolded on that day and people from Tucson who rushed to New York City to help. Most everyone can remember where they were on that day. For this generation it has become our Pearl Harbor: December 7th, 1941.
Or the Day John F. Kennedy was assassinated: November 22, 1963.
The Challenger crash: January 28th, 1986.
Guy Atchley, "We will never forget the images from that day, most people had been woken up by someone telling them to turn on the TV."
Jennifer Waddell, " Powerful images of planes into towers. The mighty twin towers crumbling in a a heap of twisted metal."
Guy Atchley, "Today Nine On Your Side Presents September 11th, 2001, 10 Years Later, Tucson Remembers. Where were you on that day?"
September 11, 2001
Terrorists attack America
8:45 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 (World Trade Center North Tower)
9:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 (World Trade Center South Tower)
9:37 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 (Pentagon)
9:59 a.m. World Trade Center South Tower Falls
10:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 (Shakesville, PA)
10:28 a.m. World Trade Center North Tower Falls
Flight 93's Final Destination: Capitol or White House
Flight 93's voice recorder: Crew and passengers seized control from hijackers.
The word's "let's roll" immortalized
Guy Atchley, " While researching information for this historical perspective we found out information about September 11th, 2001 that could not be discussed on that day. But it can now. You'll hear from a woman who's father worked at the Pentagon on that day."
Jennifer Waddell, "Tucson Firefighters who worked side by side with New York firefighters to find fallen heroes at ground zero. Also Arizona lawmakers on policy changes, strategies and America's resilient spirit to rise from the ashes on that day."
Senator John McCain, "I'm Senator John McCain and I was in my Capitol Hill office in Washington at the time of the attack on America."
Former Tucson Police Chief, Richard Miranda, "On September 11th I was Chief of Police for the City of Tucson."
Dugger Hughes, Wildland Firefighters, "My name is Dugger Hughes on the morning of September 11th of 2001, I Was on fire management officer for the Verde Valley Fire Department working for the Forest Service up in Sedona."
Mayor Bob Walkup, "I'm Mayor Bob Walkup for the wonderful City of Tucson, Arizona and on September 11th, 2001, I was just getting up as a matter of fact. I got a call from my daughter who said, Dad you better turn on the TV."
Allan Karnas, Retired Green Valley Fire Department, "Hi I'm Allan Karnas. I was with Green Valley Fire on duty on the day of September 11th."
Captain Melissa Smith, Green Valley Fire Department, "Hi I"m Melissa Smith and I was working at Green Valley Fire station 151 on the morning of September 11th, 2001."
Captain Tom Louis, Green Valley Fire Department, "I'm Tom Louis and I was getting ready to do shift change for station 151 in Green Valley on the morning of September 11th."
(Ret.) Lt. General Robert Johnston, USMC, "I'm Lt. Robert Johnston, US Marine Corps Retired and on September 11th that fateful day I remember exactly where I was, I was sitting at a coffee shop with some running buddies, It was a little bit after 6 o'clock and one of them drove in and said somebody hit a building in New York and it just unfolded from there."
Congressman Raul Grijalva, "September 11th we were in the throngs of my first election for Congress. I remember we were driving to Tolleson for a candidate's debate."
Clarence Dupnik, Pima County Sheriff, "I'm Sheriff Dupnik and on September 11th, 10 years ago I was reading the morning paper. I was eating some breakfast getting ready to play in the golf charity tournament."
Roberto Villasenor, Former Tucson Police Chief, "Hello, I'm Roberto Villasenor the Police Chief for the City of Tucson. 10 Years ago I was an Assistant Chief within the City of Tucson."
Jim Kolbe, Former Congressman, "I'm Congressman Jim Kolbe on September 11th, 2001, I was in my office at the Rayburn house building in Washington, D.C."
James Turgal, Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Bureau, FBI, "My name is James Turgal. I"m Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Bureau of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and on 911 I was at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C."
Jennifer Waddell, "Arizona Senator John McCain visited the Nine On Your Side studies to give us his perspective as a long time Arizona lawmaker."
Senator John McCain, " I think I had the reaction of most Americans. First disbelief, sorrow and then anger. I think that was pretty much the way that we all felt about the tragic loss of so many innocent lives. I think though if there is anything good that comes from a tragedy it's also a unifying moment. Not long after that President Bush addressed Congress within a few days and it was a unity amongst us I am very nostalgic for. Jennifer: Where do you think we are now looking back now 10 years. Politically, how have things changed since 911 or how haven't they? Sen. McCain: I'm not sure politics has changed so much, but I would point out that it's always a little bit of luck that the fact that we have not had another attack on the United States of America since 911 and we're about to commemorate the 10th anniversary is a remarkable achievement. America is a very vulnerable country. Millions of people go in and out all the time and I think it's a testimony to both administrations, but most of all to the men and women who serve this country and protect it, both and TSA. The killing of Osama Bin Laden was a message that was sent around the world. That this guy was a symbol of the attacks on the United States of America. And I'd like to again give the President of the United States, President Obama great credit for taking him out and so I think that his death was a significant blow from a symbolic standpoint to Al Qaida and extremists far more than Saddam Hussein. A group of us Senators went up to Ground Zero not too long after the attack and I still remember the brave firefighters and the people that were working the wreckage and the dedication and unity. I still think one of President Bush's finest moments is when he had the megaphone and said the whole world will hear us. It's a moment in history that united our country. A group of us Senators went up to Ground Zero not too long after the attack and I still remember the brave firefighters and the people that were working the wreckage and the dedication and unity. I still think one of President Bush's finest moments is when he had the megaphone and said the whole world will hear us. It's a moment in history that united our country. I hope that 10 years from now we will have succeeded in Afghanistan and preventing it from becoming a base for attacks on the United States of America. That we are not in conflicts around the world and yet the same time our economy is recovered and our military remains strong. And when we look back we will look at the service and sacrifice of these brave young Americans. Two wars for a long period of time is the reason why we are at peace in a nation that is still the greatest nation in the world."
Guy Atchley, "From Dugger Hughes we'll hear how American has a list of people to call in case of a major emergency. He's a wildland firefighter called to duty to help just hours after the American tragedy. Hughes was a team of 50 that was next on the lineup to respond, to a tragedy they couldn't begin to imagine. But their work has changed how America responds to all emergencies."
Dugger Hughes,"Unbelievable. The destruction that was there, I'd never been to NYC before, most of us had never seen the towers while they were up. But even several blocks away the ash and dust on the ground, coating everything, just dust everywhere. As you got you got closer to the site the cars that were rolled over or blown on top of each other. All the windows in the building being blown out. Once again, the fire escapes that come down the sides of the building, the pressure from those towers collapsing had driven the papers and the ash, dust into those things that you couldn't pull it out. It was like it had been put in there with a high pressed machine. Very interesting some of the dynamics from the power of those towers coming down.
FDNY was having a lot of trouble supporting their people so that afternoon we got a meeting, our team met with the FDNY incident command team at the join street station about 3 blocks north of the site. They wanted to know how we could help them. We explained what we do on large instance fire or hurricanes whatever as far as the planning process and they an implementation process and a briefing process. They said okay prove it, let's see it. The next day we produced a plan for them based on a 24 hour operational period. And it went from there and it built and built and normally we go from 14 days at the end of 14 days the chief of the Fire Department went through the Mayor of NY, had them call Washington and said no you can't let these guys leave yet and we actually did 35 days before we left. We made some real good relationships out there. Guy: But at first it was a tough intermingling? Yes at first it was, you can only imagine the emotion those guys were going through. They're warn out, most of them haven't slept for 3 or 4 days now. They've lost their loves one, they're angry, the hate the sorrow and then we showed up a bunch of fresh faces trying to help, they don't know us and NYC they would tell you they had never needed help from anyone.
We implemented the incident command system NIMS and it has changed the lives of emergency responders across the United States because, because of 911 the National Incident Management System NIMS has been directed by the Homeland Security that all emergency responders will follow NIMS.
We had to implement a staging area off site, where we would load the workers up every morning in a bus and they would give them armbands of a different color. Pink one day green the next and if you were on the site without that armband, they'd make you leave because that was the only way we could track the firefighter and keep them all from being on the site and doing their normal jobs because they all wanted to be there."
Guy Atchley, 10 years ago Congressman Jim Kolbe was in office serving District Eight, the one now run by Congressman Raul Grijalva. Up next, his views on the horrific events, the political atmosphere at the time of the attacks and his view since he left office."
Former Police Chief Richard Miranda, "The terrorists are going to use any means possible so the border issues are one that law enforcement is responsible for and has to be keeping it in the back of the mind that there's a possibility terrorist could come across our border any way shape or form to perform a terrorist activity."
Jennifer Waddell, "A candid interview with Police Chief in charge of the Tucson Police Department and public safety on September 11th. What he is now able to talk about 10 years later when we come back.
Guy Atchley, "As the hours ticked by on September 11th we learned about the terrorists who pulled off the worst attack on America. There are reports of more than72 members of Al Qaida in on the planning process, but 19 were directly involved. Some of those lived, worked and trained in Arizona, including Tucson. Our connection when we come back.
Jennifer Waddell, Tucson leaders have changed over 10 years since the attacks, including, Tucson Police Chiefs. But there goal is the same: To protect and serve. From the perspective of Former Tucson Police Chief Richard Miranda to current Police Chief Roberto Willasenor.
Guy Atchley, "And on that morning where were you?
Former Police Chief Richard Miranda, Well that morning was quit unique like all Americans we were getting up and getting read for the day and my daughter had come into the room and said Dad, you gotta turn the TV on, a plane just crashed into the twin towers. So I turned the TV on and I said New York City somebody took a wrong turn or something and then as I continued to watch, the second plane crashed into the Pentagon. From my background experience and briefing with the federal agencies I said to myself I think we're at war and my police chief instincts kicked in, in terms of providing public safety for the citizens of Tucson and I called the Fire chief and I said I think we need to open up the Emergency Command Center and prepare ourselves for something. I didn't know what it was, but I knew we had to prepare ourselves in case it happened here in Tucson. I notified the Mayor, we went down to the Police Station and we opened up the command center. I don't know if people here in Tucson realize the connection the kind of activity that went on with 911 in Tucson because immediately after that we started getting phone calls from the FBI and other federal agencies asking for our assistance for the next few hours, the next few days, the next few weeks. We were assisting the a lot of the federal agencies in terms of following up on leads that were connected to that day. Guy: and the first calls, what exactly, we're talking about at least one of the guys who was flying the plane used to live in Tucson. Chief: Right, when we opened up that command center we gave the orders for all available officers that were on vacation or on some kind of leave to come back to work, we had everybody that was available put on their uniforms, get into squad cars and went to 12 hour shifts, we canceled all leave, all time off, again because we didn't know what we were facing. And because of the information and intelligence that was provided to us we thought that were was a possibility here in Tucson and we wanted to make sure that we were prepared for it. And again as the intelligence came in there was a lot of communication between us, Washington, dc in terms of following up on what was happening, respective to those plane crashes
Guy: And what did you personally do over those next few weeks. Chief: Well as it turned out I was flown back to Washington by the federal government. I was given some briefings by the FBI. They were asking for some help in terms of connecting their databases. We had been acknowledged for having one of the few computer systems that connected criminals within our organizations but statewide, support to the federal government, advising them on how they could do that.
When I walked onto ground zero I walked up the ramp I could people doing their work, construction workers, there was a feeling of determination, there was a feeling of commitment and it really gave me a send of pride to be a citizen of the United State of America because I could feel we were gonna come out of this. We were gonna come out of this as a county, we were gonna come out of this as a community and that sense of pride of being an American will never leave me, from walking up that ramp
Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor, "What was really important and really obvious is that it changed from could this really happen to Oh My God it's happened and our perspective changed immediately. We were all called in and we were in the conference room at the Chief's office and we started trying to dissect it, what is our responsibility here.
We have to seriously consider Tucson is a potential target with the Air Force Base being here, with the infrastructure that's here, we know that we could be a target so we started planning and saying what do we need to do, what do we need to protect?
We really didn't know what to expect at that point it wasn't as extensive as it is now where all the work has been done to identify what your potential targets are what your weak spots are. It was more like we were doing it on the fly. Okay, so let's start with the obvious the air base, the airport, the water supply what are the other things that you have to make sure that we have protection for?
Across the country we've developed this new level of a common sense of protectiveness for law enforcement that we need to be part of the solution to stop terrorism. Before it was a national thing. It's been made real clear stops are gonna come from local law enforcement. We're gonna be the ones to identify the individuals, we're gonna be the ones to get called to a suspicious circumstance and based how well we do our jobs we could very well prevent the next great attack. And I think that's already across this country where local law enforcement have been involved in identifying and stopping potential terrorist attacks."
Congressman Raul Grijalva, "Disbelief, you know this is some kind of Orson Wells trick, but when you saw it on television, still disbelief was part of it and then. For me it was a sense of part anger, part helplessness this happened to us. And then the big question what are we gonna do about it. Kind of all of those emotions happened all at the same time. Jen: Now that we're ten years out have your emotions about that day changed. Grijalva: Not the emotions about the date, now the big issue is sadness on that date, that's the emotion. I think for the United States this has been a pivotal changing.
Congressman Jim Kolbe, "It's a great sense of helplessness in not knowing what to do. For one thing at that time we were really limited in communications. The members of Congress did not have the same system of blackberry's that we all now have where there can be instant communication. So were all scrambling to try and find out what was going on, what Congress was going to do? When were were going to convene? What they wanted us to do.
My first instinct during that day get home to my district people were going to be needing to be reassured that the government was in tact. That was functioning. And I remember two days later coming home and that very first day that flights resumed and arriving here and being here Friday night and Saturday night being here three days later and there was this sense of people just wanting to touch you and put their arm around you and have you put their arm on them to know that things were going to be okay.
There were so many red flags that should have flown for people about the training they were getting. The fact that they really weren't that interested in flying. Somebody ought of thought, what is this for? It was so out of kinder... It didn't register with anybody." Guy: It changed everything didn't it? Kolbe: It absolutely changed everything. The security for us in Congress after that totally different. We were never really quite the same after that. Guy: And now here we are 10 years later: Kolbe: Yes and no. I don't think we're that much safer from an attack. I do think we have better intelligence. We've obviously nipped a lot in the bud. Possible attacks have been nipped in the bud. But if someone is absolutely determined they're going to make an attack against the United States. I think it's going to happen. President Bush used to say, President Obama has said it as well it's not a question of if but when. There will be some other attack. The question is for us to try to avoid as many of those and to try to have the best intelligence as possible so we can be ready for those things when they happen. But you can do so much, you can't do everything to prevent it.
Jen: How do you think America gets back to a good place with regards to how we move forward as Nation. Grijalva: That's a great question. I think of the things that happened as a consequence of 911 was that we lost our innocence as a nation. We were no longer invincible.
Let's take a step back and realize why we were attacked. For what we stood for. The values, the rule of law, the tolerance, this whole integrative society of ours. That's why we were attacked. Our democracy and take a pause from what we're arguing about and realize that, that's been the unifying bond for this great nation of ours and I think we don't stop and think of what we mean as a country to the rest of the world.
When I said we've lost our innocence, with it came a sense of vulnerability and with it came the war on terror, the Patriot Act, with it came increased, the Department of Homeland Security and intense effort to secure the homeland.
Guy Atchley, "Nine On Your side spoke to a Tucson woman who's father worked at the Pentagon during the attacks. 10 Years later we found her living in Florida. Angela Schukei spoke to us about her father. He did survive."
Angela Schukei, "She asked me if my Dad worked at the Pentagon and I said yeah. And she said they just go hit and so I jumped out of bed and turned on the TV and found about out about all the planes that had crashed and to the various locations. And then I panicked so I was trying to figure out what was going on with my Dad. Where he was, if anything happened to him. Then I thought well maybe I can call you guys because maybe you would have an emergency number that would be listed somewhere that they would have everybody, that they would know if they were okay or not.
That was eight o'clock in the morning I think and I didn't find anything out until about four o'clock in the afternoon.
I don't really remember everything, I just remember he just said he was alright. I think it was just the biggest relief to know that he was okay and uh he was pretty quiet. He, I think he was kind of in shock about what happened.
"I found out that they were doing construction on the Army side of the Pentagon so all the offices cuz where the plane had hit would have been where he would have been working and for some reason they had been doing reconstruction on their side, so they moved their offices to the downtown area. And so he was probably a half mile away and they were on a shuttle bus to go over there for something when the plane hit.
I think after the events on 911 he felt he had to be more dedicated in some respects to his country and to his service and so when the opportunity came he volunteered to go to Iraq.
I've said for as long as I could remember that my Dad was my hero and that kind of sums it up.
Capt. Tom Louis, "We were bringing goodwill from Southern Arizona, that's all we were doing. Our thoughts, our prayers and just goodwill of the community, essentially ambassadors from Southern Arizona, fire service ambassadors to just show them that we're thinking about about them. That even a remote part of the country still cares about them."
"I don't think any of those firefighters or police officers who ran up those towers was thinking of firefighters first they were thinking of the people first."
Jennifer Waddell, "Firefighters from Green Valley rushed to help their brothers and sisters in New York too. Tucsonans helped them raise money to go. Something those firefighters say they will never forget. Their story coming up.
Jennifer Waddell, "What were the first thoughts that went through your mind when that happened." Firefighters: First thing that went through my mind was wow! Are they gonna be able to put the first fire out? Cuz all we saw was just the plane go in, that being 80 stories up, are they gonna be able to fight that, to put it out? Jennifer: As a firefighters you guys risk your lives everyday, knowing that you are running into a burning building to save someone. The thought of trying to put out that kind of a fire must seem daunting. Firefighter: Yeah, but that's what my thought is. I risk my life to save others. Jennifer: Melissa you look like you were thinking about something. Melissa: I just remember how surreal the picture looked on the screen and watching the first one enter the towers and then the second one and thinking there's no way it could have happened twice. And then I remember, one of the most compelling visions that I have from that morning, when it collapsed and it was there one minute and gone the next in seconds. You know and how impossible it seemed that a building that size could just disappear into the dust, so I think as the time went on that morning, it made me more and more just want to be with my family and think about all those firefighters and all those police officers and all those civilians and what they were going through.
Allan: We just sat down and said we need to do something. Jennifer: Was this within a couple of days? Tom: Knowing Allan it was probably within hours, we don't do well sitting still firefighters.
So you set off for New York to help firefighters, the need there was really just indescribable, give them the help they needed. So you went there and you were there for 4 days? What did you see, what did you do? I'm sure part of it was a blue, but things that stick out in your min 10 years later. Allan: Walking Zombies. The firehouse that we stayed at, I know that all of the house came back and never went home for two weeks. They didn't go back to their primary families they were there with their fire service family the entire time.
Melissa: "Once we got there we didn't know what we could do to make things better. It was a helpless feeling. They had just started bringing in the heavy equipment and really it became body recovery pretty much about the time we went there. There wasn't a lot of hope left to find survivors and the people were amazing, not just the firefighters that were coming from all over the world, but the firefighters that were there. There was certainly defeat and despair, a lot of different emotions, but they still were so and just amazing people.
It was that sense of observing and taking in another department's culture too, seeing how arguable the premiere East Coast Fire Department was managing the grief.
We went to Yankee Stadium for the memorial service and we sat amongst firefighters, victims' families and when Lee Greenwood sang God Bless the USA, I guarantee there wasn't one dry eye in the entire stadium, even at that time there was this energy, this powerful energy there when he sang that song, just with the pride of the United States.
Allan I got lost and we popped near 911 or Ground Zero and the enormity of the debris and the disaster, television does not give you that same perspective
"I guess if there's anything we end with is hope. And what do you guys hope for as we look into the future, are you feeling pretty good about where we are now? 10 years out? Are prepared for anything that might come our way? What do you think? I think progress has been made, I think a lot of progress has been made. I think like anything major that happens, as time passes, wounds heal and memories fade as well, and I think retrospectives like this and the opportunity to keep it alive, but keep it alive in the right way in people's hearts and minds, look back, grieving is good, grieving is necessary but there is a time to move forward and a time to take those lessons and truly apply them.
I keep thinking of the coward's faces that did this, can't show their faces. They're chicken. Jen: It seems to still be pretty emotional for you. I have a tattoo on my shoulder. It says never forget 343.
Guy Atchley, On September 11th, 2001, Tucsonans watched as the tower fell on the other side of the country at the only police knew the Tucson connection.
A number of terrorists involved in the attacks lived and trained in Tucson, including Hani Hanjour. He flew the plane into the Pentagon.
An Arizona State University professor says Arizona had two major attractions for these suspected terrorists: The availability of flight schools and student visas. We begin with the most notorious Hani Hanjour. Nine on your side learned that Hanjour attended the University of Arizona, rented a room along fourth avenue and then learned to fly at a flight school in Phoenix. Hanjour piloted American Airlines 77 into the Pentagon. The third location struck.
Another major figure in Al Qaida with ties to Tucson, Wadi Al Hage. A personal assistant to Osama Bin Laden. He raised money in Tucson for the Afghan effort. He's now serving time in a federal prison in the states for conspiring to bomb two U.S. Embassies. The number three man, Wa-El Hamza Jelaidan, the President of the Tucson Islamic Center from 1984 to 1985. He is one of the founders of Al Qaida. He was also a student at the University of Arizona. Following the attacks, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Tucson told Nine On Your Side Jelaidan went to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan to do some humanitarian work. And Muhammad Loay Ba'Ya Zid lived in Tucson. According to the New York Times hew as also a co-founder of the Al Qaida network. The say he helped start the very first branch at the Islamic Center in Tucson in 1986. Bayazid also went on to secure weapons for Osama and even become a trainer for Al Qaida.
The fifth connection Mubarak AL Duri. The man said to obtain weapons of mass destruction for Osama Bin Laden. He attended the U of a. And finally, Essam Al Ridi bought Osam Bin Laden a jet at the Bone Yard. In 1993, he paid $200,000 for aT-39 Twin Engine once used as an Air Force training jet. The jet was supposedly used to shuttle missiles from Pakistan to Sudan.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, "Like most people I was in utter shock, utter disbelief, but basically saying I'm responsible for the safety of this community. What the hell is going on? Is there something that we need to do? And of course at that point nobody really knew what was going on, but we decided to put all of our people on alert our specialized people and we did that."
Back 10 years ago it was very easy for anybody to get a visa, come to school and then disappear and that's what was going on. We learned two weeks later, we got a call from an apartment complex up at La Paloma that said you guys might be interested in a couple of Saudis that we had a up here that left a few weeks ago. Looking into it, in 2 or 3 hours it wasn't difficult to tell that they matched all of the mo, if you will, of the terrorists that we now knew about.
About two months after we got the information about the terrorist in Tucson we decided that maybe there's other cells out there that we don't know about. And we decided to start a hotline on terrorism. And we did and we got a number of interesting calls that were all forwarded to the FBI.
And I've been trying desperately to get someone nationally, because I don't think it would be that difficult to get a national hotline on terrorism. Where people can call anonymously and report suspicious activity. Because most of the instances where there's been an ounce of prevention is because of sharp eyes and ears in the public.
The FBI has a task force in Tucson and some state and local agencies participate in it with the FBI. It's a highly classified super, secret group and we have somebody assigned to that task force. And I can tell you that there have been some instances were being watched very carefully the good news is that none of them panned out."
Guy Atchley, "Many Tucsonans helped local firefighters raise money to travel to New York City. Up next, one firefighters who stood shoulder to shoulder for New York Firefighters in Ground Zero. The moments that impacted him most when we come back."
Jennifer Waddell, "Plus KGUN 9 News has always been your station to turn to when news matters. We are on your side. Up next a look back at the efforts by our own Newsroom staff to bring you coverage of the worst terrorist attack in hour history."
Guy Atchley "KGUN 9 News has brought you coverage of the September 11th attacks since the moment it happened. The ABC News Network took control of the airwaves for most of the day and in that time we gathered up information on the Tucson Impact.
Jennifer Waddell, "So what's changed in 10 years? Well we know that airport travel will never be the same. In fact the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says aviation is still the top terror target 10 years after the attacks. Here's what Arizona lawmakers, law enforcement and firefighters have to say about life after September 11th."
Jennifer Waddell, "An entire decade since the September 11th attacks. President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security as a direct response to the attacks. It was formed on November 25, 2002. The primary goal of this department is to protect the U.S. from terrorist attacks, man made accidents and natural disasters.
The plane attacks forced the U.S. to tighten security at airports. From this day forward."
Guy Atchley, "On May 1st, Navy Seals killed the most wanted man in the world, Osama Bin Laden. The mastermind behind the worst terrorist attack on America. "
Jennifer Waddell, "On that night Jennifer and I were getting read to anchor the 10 when the news broke. A day millions of American had waited for."
Jennifer Waddell, "The weekend of May first the most elite group of Navy Seals, Seam Team Six, pulled off one of the most incredible missions of their lives and ours. They hunted down captured and killed the mastermind of the September 11th attacks Osama Bin Laden. President Obama and a select group of Cabinet Members watched every second. Then the word the Commander in Chief had waited to hear, Geronimo. That meant the most wanted man in the world was dead."
Guy Atchley, "A few days after the attacks, firefighters from all across the country were called to help at Ground Zero. May volunteered . Randy Swigert, was a firefighter with the Helmet Peak Fire Department as well as Sahuarita. He answered that call. Swigert works in Colorado now and spoke to us phone.
Randy Swigert, "Flew in a small plane from gentleman in Green Valley and flew into a small airport in New Jersey and took a cab they drove to New York City. And we got to Grounz Zero and showed them our certifications and they let us down to Ground Zero and once we got to Ground Zero they gave us an assignment.
Our assignment was basically search and recovery, search and rescue. We dug through the rubble with the bucket brigade. We found everything and anything to do with people's live that were in the tower. If we came across any bodies or body parts we would tag them and bring them to the appropriate places, put them. There was a guy at the top of the rubble if someone found body parts or any bodies we would all give them a hand to remove them. And then it would just go down the line. If somebody in the middle found something we would help them recover what they found."
I was not ready or prepared to handle what I saw or dealt with. Basically, the only thing I can kind of explain after talking to other people, it was like a war zone. How do you describe a war zone? Unless you've been there you really don't understand."
Once I got to Ground Zero it was eerie. The streets were completely closed. No cars no traffic no people. With two guys from NJ. Flattened, cars, fire trucks, broken windows broken glass. What stood out most to me the children and the adults were holding up pictures or signs asking us if we had seen their family... Mom and daughter... Family friend walking down to ground zero was an experience in itself. You could see the smoke above it, smoldering, ashes, the heat was still there, but never seen anything like it. The buildings smashed firetrucks flattened, cars, signs and flowers and everybody just so lost looking for their loved ones."
Bob Walkup, Tucson Mayor, "I had a tremendous responsibility that had just come into my life. And so I trained for, we train for these type of situations. So on my way to the emergency operations center. I called the the city manager who said we have deployed the police and the fire and the public works people. ..Second plane in the tower."
Nobody knew if we were next. I have a list. I have a bag I carry that allows me to take legal responsibility for the city among other things. Well I have a list of people to call. The top of my list for people to call was Davis Monthan. I called General Hobbins, he was a 3-start general of the 12th airborne. I said general how do we stand. He now knows exactly what's happened in air spaces. The one we worried about was there other airplanes flying? Are there other targets and could Tucson be part of that? He said I have 2 weeks flying and 15 armed f-16s nothing will happen to the city of Tucson.
We set up a place where we would communicate with the media, we set up a press conference where we would explain what's happening. But my staff said one of the things you need to do is you need to go to the mosque which is just off campus. Jen: yes. Mayor and talk to the imam. Because if there's one thing we don't need in our community is overreaction to the Arab nations."
Robert Johnston, Retired Lt. General, U.S.M.C., "America is really truly a unique country so it was really how could they do that to America. I mean they can verbalize they don't like us but if they saw how much good we have done in the world, they would have reason to pause I hope and wonder why they came after America?"
Jennifer Waddell, "A retired Lt. General with the United States Marine Corps familiar with the Taliban decades now discloses what he knows about the force that calculated and executed the attack on America. His thoughts on how they might be stopped in the future."
Guy Atchley, this is Special Agent in Charge Jim Turgal.
John Turgal, Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Bureau, FBI,
I was at FBI headquarters and I would say it was pretty chaotic in the aftermath in the next few hours and I was charged with working on figuring out whether or not there was another flight crew out there that we didn't know about.
we have gone through a tremendous transformation since 911 the FBI has and certainly there's things we could have done better I'm not sure I would call them red flags. There's all kinds of intelligence out there and getting that into the right people's hands to make all the difference.
Where we are now is that we have transformed into a threat based intelligence driven organization. As opposed to a reactive organization.
Prior to 911 there were probably 29 joint terrorism task forces which is that group that fights terrorism everyday. That's the agents, officers out on the streets everyday. Running down every lead, leaving no stone unturned. We had 35 agents prior to 911 we have 104 now. IN fact we have multiple agents in multiple cities, in fact we have one in Phoenix and one in Tucson.
We have doubled the number of intelligence analysts, we have tripled the number of linguists who assist us everyday in running down these cases. Just the number of partnerships that we have increased, CIA, NSA all other government agencies, including international contacts.
The big area that we have truly moved on is our partnerships."
Jennifer Waddell, "Since the start of the first Gulf War, KGUN has been fortunate to have local consultant on military operations and Taliban uprisings. He is a retired Lt. General with the United States Marine Corps. His perspective on the day that caught us off guard and the situation since.
Robert Johnston, Retired Lt. General Robert Johnston, "Clearly it was evident early in the game that it was a terrorist act no question about that and it really began to bring back the reality of dealing with terrorism even at that early stage. And I dealt with them as a marine in places like Beirut, Lebanon, Somalia and so I could almost anticipate it was the beginning of something pretty significant. And even at that first moment when we first heard of the twin towers being hit I don't think anyone realized what big an event it was and how many were gonna be killed. So I began to quickly think about how are we gonna respond? And I'm not sure when or wasn't at the time. It turned out to be Afghanistan for obvious reasons. That's where Bin Laden was and Zihawari essentially they had relocated the headquarters of Al Qaida and Afghanistan is logical that would be the target. I did not know that on day one or day two and I'm sure the President didn't for a while. I think what unfolded there was kind of a unique position that American has been put in, being a two in locations Afghanistan and switching to Iraq the second time and I was there on the first Gulf war and it just kind of brought back reflections of we've been there before.
As far as Afghanistan is concerned we went in there with 140,000 with coalition troops 100,00 Americans, when it first started after 911. I mean the reaction was immediate by the Defense Department and the President and by October we had troops in there on the ground not more than 5,000. We had the Taliban literally on its knees. We took back Kabul and pretty soon we pretty much controlled all of the major cities and towns in Afghanistan. It's not to say if we stayed we could have beaten them forever because they have proven to be very resilient the Taliban.
But it's clearly possible to continue to go after the Taliban leadership and continue to put them on their knees. It doesn't mean that they'll go away completely. But the other side of that is to fight terrorism is to have a legitimate government like the Afghan government be something other than just controlling Kabul. They need to control all of Afghanistan, it's a very complicated tribal, pyre centers are almost more challenging than Iraq was. It's a very daunting challenge. I'm not saying I have the solution, but if we don't have a viable government in place, we can do all that we're doing militarily, we can keep the Taliban on its knees, but in the long haul they'll just out wait us out.
There's a pretty inspiring time despite the tragedy of the event I think it made us better Americans, but we've got to stay that way."
Guy Atchley, "So what do we take away now? We know what's changed, but what have we learned? Some of the guests we featured in this special have their perspective.
Senator John McCain, "Americans are very war weary and certainly that's understandable. We just lost 30 brave Americans in Southern Afghan as you know and so we will have to use covert activities, drones, unmanned aerial vehicles to identify and take out our enemies."
Richard Miranda, Former Tucson Police Chief, "Our lives will never be the same. We now have a commitment to homeland security where we are watching every move that we make in terms of making sure that we're secure. The day to day responsibilities of a police officers will include watching out for the local bad guys but we have to be cognizant of another terrorist attack."
Dugger Hughes, "It's been interesting to me to see the little bit that we did back there on 911 what a huge impact it has had on their organization."
Bob Walkup, Tucson Mayor, "Technology has caught up now so we can better job of knowing what's happening without putting our people in harm's way."
Angela Schukei, ""I think it's important that we continue to appreciate the impact that it had on so many people. And also say thank you to those that are serving.
Robert Johnston, (Ret.) Lt. Gen. U.S.M.C., "But it's clearly possible to continue to go after the Taliban leadership and continue to put them on their knees. It doesn't mean that they'll go away completely. But the other side of that is to fight terrorism is to have a legitimate government like the Afghan government be something other than just controlling Kabul. They need to control all of Afghanistan, it's a very complicated tribal, pyre centers are almost more challenging than Iraq was. It's a very daunting challenge. I'm not saying I have the solution, but if we don't have a viable government in place, we can do all that we're doing militarily, we can keep the Taliban on its knees, but in the long haul they'll just out wait us."
Thank You to the following for providing us with photos:
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, "I don't know what it's gonna take to bring people together but this is the most divisive I've ever seen this country."
Thank you to the following for providing us photos: Capt. Tom Louis, Capt. Alan Karnas, Dugger Hughes, Angela Schukei and Randy Swigert.
Roberto Villasenor, Tucson Police Chief, "There was such a sense of unity for probably that first year 2 after 911 where everyone was committed to you now let's be honest we wanted to find the people responsible, bring them to justice we were ready to take on the world in defense of our country it was proud feeling. I wish we still had that."
"There does need to be sharing of intelligence and collecting of intelligence."
"A lot of things in place to assist us in making certain there are no terrorism threats that come across the border."
"I think if there was less me, me, me and less my interests I mean at the political level we would probably be in better shape and I think some of the legacy of 911 and what took place right after it has not carried through in this decade.
"I think that feeling of a nation united to try not only to defend itself, but support each other, if you could capture that in a bottle and bring it out every once in a while in tough times like the one we're in right now that would be a potion I'd like to see again."
Guy Atchley, "Nine On Your Side was proud to bring you September 11th: 10 Years Later, Tucson Remembers. We felt it was important to recognize the efforts by Tucsonans on that day to help those suffering thousands of miles away. I'm Guy Atchley."
Jennifer Waddell, "I'm Jennifer Waddell. From everyone at KGUN 9 News in Tucson, thank you for watching."