Picking Up the Clues as a World Stands Stunned

Day 2 (September 12, 2001)

Tom Burnett’s last words to his wife were "I love you." Mr. Burnett is one of the heroes believed responsible for stopping the terrorists aboard Flight #93 from carrying out the object of their evil mission.

Filled with untold grief and anger, Americans join their hearts together to honor those who lost their precious lives and to pray for miracles as victims are still fighting for their lives. Hundreds of people continue to work around the clock to save lives from the rubble of the huge destroyed buildings.

Today it was discovered that the aircraft that hit the Pentagon was targeting the White House, but failed. It’s speculated that the White House was too difficult a target because of it’s small size from the air and it’s cover from nearby trees and buildings. Ari Fliesher released information later, that reveals the President’s plane was also in jeopardy, stating ‘there is credible evidence that one of the terrorist attacks was planned to strike Air Force One’ but refused to give details. In the meeting with the National Security Team today, President Bush gave warning to the terrorists and their supporters: "The freedom-loving nations of the world stand by our side. This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil. But good will prevail." In the afternoon, the president visited the site of the devastation and met with soldiers and rescue workers. A large American flag was draped over the wall of the Pentagon next to the point of impact. Words just as strong came from John McCain, which echoed throughout Capital Hill: "I say this to our enemies: ‘We are coming. God may show you mercy; we will not.’"

As clues are followed, officials are exposing the face of the evil that sought to destroy our people. Some of the most critical information is coming from the downed Newark flight, which became a scorched crater in Pennsylvania. The heroes aboard Flight # 93 have made it possible for investigators to find the most significant leads. Mrs. Tom Burnett who thought that her husband was on a normal trip home to California, cried as she told of her husband, who called her three times during the terrorists’ takeover of his flight. While in the air he called and found out that the World Trade Center had been attacked. During the second call he asked for more details, and in the final call he told his wife that he and the other men on the plane took a vote to take down the terrorists. They succeeded in taking them down..

To the passengers’ families of all four planes, United Airlines and American Airlines joined together to offer $25,000 to each. Many continue to fear about the financial impact, but today, Congress wrote a virtual blank check worth billions of dollars for the president to use for aid and rebuilding. It has been reported that foreign countries have pledged to assist American banks in some monetary fashion and Federal Action is being threatened against any U.S. gas stations that price gouge. Several stations that did gouge are offering refunds and apologies.

But more important than money are the lives of the dead, which is estimated to be in the thousands. Rescuers continue to work under dangerous conditions to save victims.

A group of firefighters walk amid rubble near the base of the destroyed South World Trade Center in New York.

Photo by Peter Morgan / REUTERS

Crews had to stop work around 5:00p.m. due to reports from firefighters who stated that rescuers were encountering fireballs from the shifting air, heat, and gas. Soon after, workers were running for their lives again as gas filled the air due to a leak, and one of the towers collapsed for a second time. While continuing their efforts, rescuers had a glimmer of hope when they heard gunshots. Thinking that there may be an officer alive somewhere trying to signal to crews, they found sadly that it was merely an officers’ belt that had melted, causing the ammunition attached to go off. Now reports are coming in saying that not only have countless Americans died, but several hundred British workers are presumed missing or dead according to the BBC. 9,000 calls have been received from Britain to New York, hoping for any good news. Rescuers were shaken by the events of yesterday and the overwhelming sadness and dangers of today, but they continue through the night determined to find another miracle.

Miracles is what helped many people today. One of the few surviving members of the Port Authority was on the 82nd Floor of one of the towers when it began to collapse. Officer John McLaughlin literally "rode" the building to the ground. He has broken legs, but he is alive. An even more astounding report states that a man in one of the towers jumped out of the building as he saw the second jet about to hit. He flew into the air probably thinking he was going to die, but the smoke and hot air blew him up instead of down. Somehow he flew slowly downward and made it to the ground, breaking his leg.

Authorities now know that some of the terrorists were Saudi and Egyptian Nationalists. In Boston and South Florida suspects have been detained. And in Rhode Island 3 Arab men were pulled off of an Amtrak train. We now know from law enforcement officials that some of the terrorists had been attending such prestigious flight schools as Embry-Riddle and Hoffman. The school takes in students from all over the world, including several Arab countries.

Frankfurt, Germany, firefighters pray for and honor the dead and missing American firefighters during a memorial service.

International condolences and reaction continue also. In Russia, flags fly at half mast and a Decree for a moment of silence was signed. A day of mourning took place today in Israel as Palestinian Men, women and children cheered in the streets waving their country’s flag in pride. In a media blitz, Arafat threatened reporters and told them to stop airing the pictures and he went to donate blood to be sent to America. A Catholic church in Paris France carried our American flag and sand "Our Country ‘Tis of Thee" as prayers were sent. A noticeable sign of unity was the sight of a man wearing a yarmulke in the church and reading from a bible. And for the first time in history the Queen of England has decided that the military band will play the American National Anthem at a planned Buckingham Palace event of the changing of the guard, followed by 2 minutes of silence in honor of Americans lost in the attack.