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tv   U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House Members Remember Their 911...  CSPAN  September 11, 2021 4:46am-5:01am EDT

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>> 20 years ago, on september 11, i was on the way to work in lower manhattan. i was on the subway as i did every morning and the subway came to a halt. this was right before 9:00.
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i walked out of the subway two blocks from the world trade center and i saw the one building was on fire. that was obviously a horrible feeling in and of itself. i walked to where my office was and i looked up and i saw the two buildings were on fire. in that moment, i knew that this was a life-changing moment. i was an emergency medical technician many years ago, and i spent that day with doctors, nurses, and others in the staten island ferry terminal where we expected hundreds of casualties because of the enormity of the event. obviously, as we know now, you were either inside the buildings you did not survive or you were far away from the buildings. there were very few people coming in aside from firefighters and police officers. toward the end of the day, i
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began my walk up to midtown and through the devastation. what i remember most now is the remarkable outpouring of tens of thousands of new yorkers. these are not naturally exuberant people looking to do anything they could. usual lines to give blood. people bringing food to fire stations. it was the feeling that we had been attacked and we were going to come together. new york city is a tough town, but everybody unanimously their question was what can i do to help? i will never forget the days afterwards, because that was how americans felt. what can we do to help? president, i was not a huge fan, but he got the tone just right by promising retribution but not
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allowing americans to go down the road of bigotry and hatred ourselves. for a brief time, it seemed like americans were remarkably united by this horrible event around important things. all of the silliness of our culture, the reality shows, it was set aside for a couple of weeks as we reflected on what had just happened and what our responsibility was to try to address the attack. some young people joined the service. young people what to work for the government to prevent this from happening. in these polarized, angry times, i think back on that 20 years ago and as awful as that day was, i was there.
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there was an attribute to it that i miss, the sins of coming together to help each other. >> i was in miami, florida. i had taken my young daughter down to disney world and we were at my brother-in-law's house in miami beach. i was lathering her up with sunscreen getting her ready to go get breakfast and take her to the beach. i remember my brother-in-law coming out to this little guest cottage that they had were we were staying saying you have to turn the tv to the news. women did that, we saw the first building on fire. then, we sought the second plane hit. i knew that something was up. remember, i was a staffer at the time. i picked up the phone to call our chief of staff and he assured me that john was ok because he was at a meeting at the pentagon. a few minutes later, that's we
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saw the pentagon hit. then i couldn't get a hold of anyone. i was scared for my friends, my boss, and my colleagues in washington, d.c. that i knew but at the same time worrying what would happen in new york. we got in the rental car that day and i ended up driving from miami beach over the next day and a half to st. louis where are cowards at -- our car was at because i knew we were getting on an airplane. >> i was 20 years old, i had just graduated college and i was working one of my first jobs as a full-time employee downtown manhattan. i was on 14th street, union square area. 20 years old, just graduated college, working full-time for a public relations company in union square, which is on 14th street.
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i was commuting into manhattan at that time. i was passing around where the world trade center was on my express bus, which was a regular commute to work. suddenly, we were at a red light and we felt the ground shaking. we thought it was an earthquake. looking out the window, i see them in on the sidewalk pointing up. everyone starts looking up and we see a whole -- a hole in the side of one of the towers and there was fire coming out and smoke. it was very scary. the bus kept going and i got off my regular stop at 14th street. i tried to call my parents that day to tell them i was ok. all of the phones had been down.
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he couldn't make any phone calls at that time. -- you couldn't make any phone calls at that time. i went to work, i went to my office. they eventually sent everyone home. the city was on lockdown, you couldn't get out of the island of manhattan so i walked uptown to a friend of mine apartment and i stayed there until i was able to leave manhattan. your first thought was we are having an earthquake. which it was always suspected that we would have some type of earthquake. that was my first initial thought. then, looking up and seeing the side of the first tower. it was scary, sad, all sorts of different emotions. i remember it 20 years later as
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if i am on the bus at this very moment. i remember it as clear as day what happened. the woman pointing up, all of that as if it was yesterday. i remember it being extraordinarily quiet, walking down the street and people were talking to each other the way new york city is. also, how it brought our community together. particularly my district. my district of staten island southern brooklyn was extremely affected. we lost 70 people. -- so many people. firefighters, police officers, people and emergency services responding but also people who worked in the trade center and nearby. to this day, we are still losing people. we still lose first responders, firefighters, police officers who were at the site doing
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recovery for weeks and months who are now dying from cancer. we are still suffering 20 years later from that tragedy and that horrific terrorist attack. >> 911, it was the first day of classes at harvard. the night before, i went out with my girlfriend and we fell asleep. i got woken up by her pointing at the laptop saying i think we're going to war. she said that because i was marine corps infantry enlisted in the reserves at that point. i think i was the only reservist on campus at that time. i was also part of the unit based out of new hampshire were retrained to fight in cold weather. -- we were trained to fight in cold weather.
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i woke up after the first plane hit. i thought it was an accident. the second plane hit and i knew two things. number one, it was deliberate. number two, it was probably al qaeda. the reason is because two nights before september 11, the leader of the northern alliance was assassinated by al qaeda and put two and two together. my first reaction was i wanted revenge. i was so angry that they attack and not only that they attacked civilians, at that point i thought that we may have lost close to 20,000 people in both towers. we lost a lot of people, but it wasn't that number. the rumors were going around that we are losing 20,000 people , a bunch of planes up in the
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air and untold whether they're going to be suicide runs. my initial reaction was anger. i called my unit, i don't know why it's not like they were going to call me up. -- it's not like i was going to get dropped in afghanistan. i called my unit to see if they could tell me anything. they said standby. i joined with the rest of my classmates in the common area where there was a big tv. you couldn't have tb's in your room -- televisions in your room, because the place wasn't wired. you had to watch on your laptop or go to the common area. a lot of students were crying, a lot of them were from new york, they were scared, calling their families. i was calling my friends to see
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what it happened. some of them missed going and being at the center by random walk. then, the day proceeded. harvard decided to continue having classes. i got into, i knew at some point they were going to call up more conventional giller forces like me and i had to start contemplating the idea that i would eventually go to afghanistan. i wasn't scared. i wanted to go to afghanistan because i was so mad. i was dealing with a side issue, one of my good friends is a tall indian man. at that time, there was a lot of racism going around. i was hanging out with him a lot to make sure he wasn't getting picked on.
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this was a very extreme time. i felt useless at that point because i knew that i was trained to defend the country and i was not doing it at that point.sponse -- cities
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emergency response to the terrorist attacks. this is two hours.


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