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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  September 11, 2011 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT

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on the broadcast tonight from ground zero here in lower manhatt manhattan, america remembers 9/11. it's now been ten years since the darkest day in modern history. thousands of americans devoted today to paying tribute to thousands we lost. >> diane hale mckenzie. >> here in new york. at the pentagon. and in western pennsylvania. tonight, honoring those who were taken from us on this day that will always be with us. >> america remembers.
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this is nbc nightly news with brian williams. this is nbc nightly news with brian williams. reporting from ground zero. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. just a few hours from now it will be september 12th and we'll be beyond this awful day on the calendar for another year. it's a gray evening here in new york city. of course, this september 11th was different. it's now been a full decade since the morning when hell rained down on earth from the sky and changed all of our lives forever. so today in the places where it happened back then, here in new york and in washington and pennsylvania, tens of thousands of people gathered to mark the darkest day in modern american history. that field in pennsylvania has regrown. the pentagon was fixed a year later. here in new york, however, it still looks like a bit of a crater even though now this space at least contains a proper memorial that the families got to visit just today. and that's where we begin our
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coverage of this day's events with lester holt. what a day it was here. >> what a day, brian. 2,983 names are read aloud here at ground zero today. that was the combined total of those who died on 9/11 and in the '93 world trade center bombing. the reading of names interrupted six times by moments of silence to mark the key moments of destruction on 9/11. for the first time since the attack, the september 11th sun rose in new york city over a permanent memorial to the victims of 9/11. where waterfalls now spill into the footprints of the twin towers, mirroring the tears that flowed on this anniversary. >> jill ann metzle rerks. >> my dad, michael batch. >> former first lady laura bush wept as wives, husbands, parents and children, some too young to remember their moms or dads, told us who they lost. >> and my father, sebastien.
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>> i wish my dad had been there to teach me how to drive, ask a girl on a date and see me graduate from high school. >> reporter: the president and mrs. obama began their visit to all three attack sites greeting the family of victims in new york. >> god is our refuge and strength. >> reporter: later, the president read a pibiblical passage. former president bush quoted another wartime president, abraham lincoln, in offering his own consolation. >> i pray that our heavenly father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost. >> singer james taylor performed. ♪ but the moon is slowly rising ♪ >> reporter: as did paul simon. to the strains of "sound of
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silence" families filed into the memorial and saw for the first time the names of their loved ones permanently etched in bronze ♪ and the vision that was planted in my brain still remains, within the sound of silence ♪ >> reporter: these grounds are the final resting place for many of those who died on 9/11. >> michael patrick eiken. >> i never got remains of my michael. >> john a. >> i am really sad by the fact that he's among one of the deceased, obviously. but at the same time i'm so grateful that his name will be forever preserved, you know, in bronze. >> reporter: as they have every year, bells tolled as the
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moments of impact. 9:37 was the moment american flight 77 struck the pentagon killing 184 people. ♪ amazing grace >> good morning. >> reporter: vice president biden paid tribute to the pentagon victims. >> many of them were just kids on that bright september morning. but like their grandparents, on december 7th, 1941, they courageously bore the burden. >> reporter: the bells tolled against at 10:03, the moment flight 93 crashed in the pennsylvania countryside. >> my lovely mother. >> my beautiful sister. >> c.c. cross. >> they were 40 names to read in
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shanksville. 40 names now etched into a wall. ♪ oh beautiful for spacious skies ♪ >> when we are weary, in need of strength, we remember them. >> reporter: the president laid a wreath here before ending his day back in washington where he laid another wreath at the pentagon and spent time with family members. back noo new york, the one world trade center tower quickly rises above the ground, a symbol of recovery. time has healed this landscape. but it does not heal all the wounds of 9/11. the 9/11 memorial opens to the public by reservations tomorrow. brian, i talked to a couple of family members who plan to be here tomorrow to greet visitors and share their stories. >> as we said, what a day here today. lester, thanks. you saw the president walking around the grounds here after he toured it, he said this memorial was fitting. and he said it, quote, meets the
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moment. just yesterday at the white house, i talked with the president about his personal recollections of that day, 9/11, ten years ago. >> we were driving down lakeshore drive. i was driving down to go to a meeting in the state building. and heard the first report about a plane going into the towers. and assumed it was a cessna or somebody who'd had an accident. by the time i parked my car, got into the meeting that i was attending, the reports were starting to come in that this had been a jetliner and that many people had been killed. at that point, we started evacuating the building. then going to my law office and watching, you know, the towers come down. you know, the images of people falling from the skies and the
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clouds of smoke and dust settling on everyone. and then going home and -- and holding sasha, you know, rocking her to bed as i was watching the reports of what had happened. you know, i think that for me, like for most of us, our first reaction was and continues to be just heartbreak for the families involved. the other thing that we all remember is how america came together. and so ten years later, i'd say america came through this thing in a way that was consistent with our character. we've made mistakes. some things haven't happened as quickly as they needed to. but overall, we took the fight to al qaeda. we preserved our values. we preserved our character. >> yet you hear that, you think about it differently now? it's just a jet going in a national airport. here we are surrounded by the machinery of office. this is your home base.
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yet they consider you at your most exposed. it was a game changer and it remains that we will always listen to that sound differently now. >> well, you know, i -- there's no doubt that airports are a lot more inconvenient. pennsylvania avenue's shut down. but what i'm struck by is how much continuity there is. there have been some changes since -- since 9/11. some innocence, perhaps, has been lost. >> earlier, we sat down in the cabinet room where i asked the president about the atmosphere of high alert surrounding this 9/11 anniversary. i came from new york this morning. this is the -- this is the front page of "the post." there's the unveiling of the memorial, the names. yet in front of it is a police officer with an automatic weapon. automatic weapons all over the city this weekend. >> right. >> does that kind of sum up where we are here ten years later? >> well, there's no doubt that we are safer now than we were
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ten years ago. we are in a much stronger position now than we were then. al qaeda's on the path to defeat. we've taken out huge chunks of their senior leadership. most prominently, obviously, osama bin laden. but, you know, there's still people out there who would try to hurt americans. who would try to strike at us. and we have to be constantly vigilant. >> we've been told this threat we're under now is specific, credible and unconfirmed. >> right. >> what must you choose not to act on of all the traffic you see, and what do these three words mean when taken together? what are we supposed to do? >> i think the most important thing the american people should know is, is that for months we've been preparing for this 9/11 anniversary. obviously, each 9/11 we start seeing threat streams coming up. the fact this is the tenth anniversary means that we're seeing more of these threat streams coming up. one particular threat was specific enough and credible enough that we felt it necessary to inform state and local
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partners so that they could also be prepared. what we want all americans to know is although your government has prepared for it, it's important for everybody to keep their eyes open. we have to honor those who have been fallen. but people should be on the lookout and make sure that if something suspicious is taking place, that you're informing your local law enforcement. >> part of a conversation with the president. we'll be continuing on "nbc nightly news" tomorrow night. by the way, there was vivid proof today of this zero tolerance security policy on this 9/11. f-16 fighter jets shadowed an american airlines flight from los angeles late today as it came in on final approach for a landing at jfk here in new york. apparently, there were concerns onboard that some passengers spent too long in the restroom. so they exercised undue caution, though there was never any real emergency. once on the ground, federal officials interviewed the
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passengers involved. there were several assorted other scares at several other airports around the country today. but no verified security threats. of course, anniversaries like this force us all to relive that morning ten years ago. listen to how we first learned something had happened at the pentagon which we later learned was the impact of american airlines flight 77. >> it -- it felt just a few moments ago like there was an explosion of some kind here at the pentagon. and i saw just a moment ago as i looked outside a number of construction workers who have been working here have taken flight. they're running as far away from the building as they can right now. >> from that morning, that was our pentagon correspondent, jim miklaszewski. we didn't know then two wars would be launched in the name of 9/11. jim is with us tonight. again, from the pentagon. jim, of course, there's news from one of those fronts again
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today. >> reporter: that's right. a grim reminder that the war in afghanistan still goes on. a massive truck bomb exploded at a coalition base just outside of kab kabul, wounding 77 nato forces, most of them american. fortunately, the injuries were only minor. but it's a grim reminder, too, and the u.s. military and pentagon officials are well aware that this war has dragged on for ten years. america's patience, money, and, in fact, is running out. and so the u.s. military has -- has buckled down to meet president obama's 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of all american troops. which means, according to military officials, they only have three more years, brian, to get it right. >> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon ten years later. thanks. "nightly news" will continue from ground zero here in new york in just a moment.
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his father, don, had been killed when united airlines flight 93 crashed in shanksville, pennsylvania. so we asked charlie if he wouldn't mind talking about how that staggering loss had changed the way he looks at life. >> my father, don green, was on united flight 93. flying was totally his thing. that's what he did for a living. he was multiaviation industry. his father was a pilot. he learned to fly at 14 before he had his driver's license. it was his passion. he was the one who could have landed that plane. i know in the bottom of my heart if he could have been in that cockpit he would have been and would have landed that plane safely. we've always said the sum of each individual passenger's legacy is nowhere near as great as the influence they had on this country as they boarded that flight and became one and took a tremendous -- premtremen risk. they acted when it's hard to tell if any of us would have done the same thing.
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when we go to shanksville, we have to deal with those 40 people who came together and did something so great. and then people wanting to memorialize that action. but we also have to deal with our individual loss. i lost my dad. throughout the past ten years, i've tried to think more of these anniversaries as less of remembering a loss and more of remembering a life. when he was my age, he lost his mother. shortly thereafter, lost his father. so i've always seen his life as a source of courage for me. if he could do it, if he got to where he was, a man that i looked so much up to, then i could get that, too. i've always said that i'd rather have him for the first ten years of my life setting up the foundation for the rest of my life than anything else. and i consider myself so lucky to have had that for the amount of time that i did. one of the things that i like to do is as these anniversaries come and go is to think if he was still here, what would he think of where i am right now.
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that's been something that's kept me strong. hopefully he'd be proud of where i am, where my family is, and i think he would. >> our friend charlie green in his own words about his own family's loss. we also got to see charlie today taking part in the ceremony from shanksville, reading some of the names. just one of three somber and simultaneous events on this september 11th day. we're back with more tonight right after this. [ male announcer ] every day, thousands of peopl are switching fromylenol to advil. here's one story. i'm sean. i switched to advil 10 months ago. cyclists are a crazy bunch. when you're out there trying to push to your limits, you have some pain and it can be really vicious. i really like advil because it takes care of it all. neck, shoulder pain and definitely with cycling, lower back pain. i switched to advil and i've stuck with it. it works when i need it to. [ male announcer ] make the switch. take action. take advil. [ doorbell rings ] hello there. i'm here to pick up helen. ah.
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of refuge and comradedy for first responders in new york and around the world. today here for one reason. o'hara's pub stands directly across from ground zero. on that awful day it suffered damage and lost beloved patrons. today is a day to tell stories and remember. >> you'll never forget. >> reporter: from chicago, from california, from london, england. firefighters and police officers stand together as one. >> we put fires out. we save lives. >> reporter: so it is family. >> it's a family job. >> i'm standing here so that their families know that we care about them and we cared about those guys. >> reporter: on the street outside a chance meeting, the family of fallen sergeant timothy roy with police officers from wakeland, texas, who donated $10,000 in his honor. >> why are you here today? >> i wanted to see the healing. i saw this place at its worst. i wanted to see it at its best.
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>> reporter: 13-year-old timothy jr. today wore his father's cap and badge. >> in our time of need, when we're all in sorrow, people gathered together from everywhere and anywhere and came to help us, like, pretty much repair what was broken. >> reporter: to honor the fallen, a tribute filled with tradition, heart and pride. on this day as it is every day, it is brotherhood, sisterhood, family. >> amen. >> reporter: kevin tibbles, nbc news, new york. we're back with more right after this. [ carrie ] i remember my very first year as a teacher, setting that goal to become a principal. but, i have to support my family, so how do i go back to school? university of phoenix made it doable. i wouldn't be where i am without that degree. my name is dr. carrie buck. i helped turn an at risk school into an award winning school, and i am a phoenix.
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as we said at the top of the broadcast tonight, soon it will be september 12th and another anniversary will be history. so that is our broadcast for this sunday night, september 11th, 2011. i'm brian williams. thank you for being here with us and we hope to see you tomorrow evening. we will leave you tonight with a look back at what this day looked like, this important tenth anniversary for our country. ♪
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