(WXYZ) - Action News Anchor Stephen Clark blogged live in New York for the ten year anniversary of 9/11.
Follow his live blog below:
12:29pm September 11
For nearly four hours loved ones have been reading the names of the 9/11 victims... They are up to the letter "S". I'm amazed to recognize so many of the names from the memorial services over the last ten years. I'm also finding myself feeling proud and protective of the children. I've watched many of them grow up, even though I see them only one day each year.
11:08am September 11
We haven't seen any sign of President Obama or former President George W Bush since early in the program. There was no announcement they were leaving but we assume the president is continuing on to a service in Pennsylvania, then Washington. The sky has become overcast, almost looks like smoke hanging over the city again. The crowd is beginning to thin as the reading of the names continues. Two and a half hours later we have reached the letter "L".
10:32am September 11
The two huge pools of the 9/11 Memorial occupy the original footprints of the north and south towers. The water cascades 30 feet into the pool then drains into a seemingly bottomless pit in the middle. The surrounding bronze edge is inscribed with the names of the 9/11 victims in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. The names of the people killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing are also engraved on the monument.
10:15am September 11
I was here at Ground Zero ten years ago when smoke was still rising from the twisted remains of the twin towers. I remember in those first days after the attack, family members were taping "missing" posters on the iron fence of neighboring St. Paul's Church. They were holding out hope that somehow their loved one was just wandering around in confusion, or maybe injured and unidentified in the hospital. I remember some of the names from that fence... I have heard the names read aloud now for ten years. We have reached the letter "G".
9:57am September 11
One of the readers added a personal message to her mother; one of the 9/11 victims, "mom, I hope you're proud of us." I can't imagine how she could NOT be proud of the strength it would take to survive ten anniversaries of September 11.
By the way, one hour and 15 minutes in and we've reached the "F"s
9:40am September 11
I do all right listening to this seemingly never ending list of names until the children start reading. It really gets me when the adult readers address their spouse directly and says things like, "you would be proud of your children." I try to imagine how my children would turn out if I weren't there to see it.
James Taylor has begun to sing. Is there anything more mournful than a James Taylor ballad?
9:18am September 11
Some of the family members have been let into the 9/11 memorial behind the stage. They have been given big sheets of paper and charcoal and are making etchings of the names engraved around the edge of the huge waterfalls. Some are leaving small flags behind, others hug and cry. All the while the reading of the names continues. We have reached the "C"s after more than half an hour.
9:03am September 11
The reading of names stops abruptly at 9:03. The projector TVs by the stage note the time Flight 175 hit the first tower. Former president George W Bush is applauded warmly as he steps to the podium. Cellist Yo Yo Ma begins to play. The sun breaks through increasingly overcast skies.
8:55 am September 11
Mayor Bloomberg begins the service with a few words and a moment of silence. A bell sounds in the distance. President Obama follows with quotations from scripture. Family members step to twin podiums at both ends of the stage and begin reading the names of the 2752 people who died here ten years ago. They have been reading for five minutes and are still on the "A"s.
8:35am September 11
President and First Lady Obama have arrived at ground zero. Former President Bush and his wife Laura stand shoulder to shoulder with the Obamas. A snare drum has begun softly playing a cadence as police bagpipers take the stage, entering from both ends. A youth choir, dressed in black and purple follows onto the stage. President Obama has also climbed the stairs and stands behind a protective glass wall.
8:15 September 11
The White House press Pool has arrived at ground zero. They usually precede the president's arrival by a couple minutes. The Secret Service's demeanor has become even more attentive if that's possible. The audio operator just got a standby cue in the booth next to me. The crowd senses we're about to get underway.
8:00am September 11
There are a lot of children among the thousands of family members here this morning. Some of them look to be around ten years old. I wonder if they ever knew the person they have come to honor. There are many firefighters in the crowd holding pictures high. Dozens more people have arrived wearing United Airlines uniforms. The service is scheduled to start
in a half hour, the crowd is waiting very patiently.
7:36 am September 11
The sun is rising across ground zero. The morning started with clouds that are giving way to clear blue skies, reminiscent of that spectacular September morning ten years ago today. Family members are packed into a large area in front of the stage. It is impossible to guess the number, there are so many. Among them I spotted four men in airline pilot’s uniforms. They were holding a photograph, presumably one of their colleagues in the cockpit of a plane on 9/11.
6:35am September 11
Family members of the 9/11 victims have begun arriving. Most will stand in front of the stage. Those with special needs have seats to the left corner of the stage. Many of the family have come wearing t-shirts or buttons bearing images of their fallen loved one.
5:45am September 11
The media has been escorted to risers facing the main stage at ground zero. We are about 50 feet from American flags where presumably the president will stand as he addresses the nation in a few hours. The podium is surrounded by a wall of thick plexiglass.
6:10pm September 8
.A choir is rehearsing for Sunday's 9/11 memorial service. They are singing a spectacular rendition of the national anthem. The music echoing through the canyons of lower Manhattan rises above the massive waterfalls behind them... even above the ever present noise of the traffic. A moving moment.
3:56pm September 8
I've been back to New York on 9/11 virtually every year since and including 2001. I've always been disheartened by the lack of progress on turning ground zero into something that might help erase the scar.
Every year, it seemed, little was getting done. There was so much arguing over what should be built by whom. What is appropriate, what is not. Even a year ago it looked like the 9/11 site was going to get bogged down by bickering.
Today I am amazed and pleased to see the sudden and impressive progress being made at Ground Zero, the massive waterfall, the trees, the huge 9/11 museum which will open to the public Monday.
Detroit take note: Look what can be accomplished when you put the pettiness aside and get to work!
9:24 a.m., September 8
My flight into New York this morning brought to mind a flight I took into the city almost ten years ago. The flight today was similar in that it involved an airplane, but that's where all similarity ends.
Early in the morning of September 13th, 2001 I was aboard one of the first flights allowed to take off after an unprecedented 48 hour shutdown of America's air space.
I was in Denver, where I had moved after leaving New York a few months earlier. Minutes after the 9/11 attacks my bosses at CBS called and asked me to get on the first flight to New York.
I was actually booked on seven flights. And to illustrate the state of airport security at that point in history the flight I actually boarded wasn't even one I had a ticket for.
Denver International Airport as you can imagine was in disarray after two days without a plane taking off or landing. Passengers stranded in mid trip had formed makeshift "suitcase cities" in the concourse, sleeping on beds of folded clothing, staring blankly at departure screens that had stopped blinking "flight cancelled" and had simply been shut off.
It was eerily quiet in the cavernous concourse. America was still in shock, the anger hadn't percolated to the top yet. And frankly, after what had happened less than 48 hours earlier people didn't seem all that gung ho to jump on an airplane.
I had arrived at the airport early prepared to wait all day, or longer, for one of the flights on which I was booked, even though at that point there was still no guarantee any flight would actually take off. But as I settled in to wait I noticed a plane actually boarding, and it was heading to Newark. Close enough to New York for my purposes. I asked if one of my eight tickets would work for that unscheduled flight and was surprised when the gate agent shrugged and said "why not?". Here I was a lone passenger, without luggage on a one-way trip aboard a flight I wasn't even ticketed for. And they didn't even make me take off my shoes!
The flight itself may have been the most civilized affair I've ever witnessed. No pushing or shoving; no complaints, excess courtesy. I suspect every passenger and crew member was involved in the same mental wrestling match as I was: trying to imagine what was happening on those four flights while at the same time trying not to think about it.
The approach into Newark was like cold water in the face. The scene we had all been watching nonstop for 48 hours on TV was suddenly slipping by our starboard side. The churning black cloud below us looked like a horrible bruise on the face of lower Manhattan...the Twin Towers were gone, like a pair of missing front teeth. New York City looked like a heavyweight who had lost the fight.
I had noticed a fellow passenger in my row eying me suspiciously during the flight. I wondered
if perhaps she was one of those "sky Marshalls" we had been hearing so much about for the last two days. The government, trying to convince us flying is safe, promised there would be one on almost every flight. She wasn't very big but I figured she could be packing heat. Perhaps she knew I was flying without luggage on a one way ticket that didn't belong on this plane. I felt oddly comforted until she cleared her throat and asked if she could ask me a question.
"Sure," I said, preparing to defend my character and patriotism.
"Are you the sky Marshall?"she asked.
At that moment it hit me. The world had changed.
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