So many years ago.. it seems like an entire age..
The children of 9/11, those who were either too young to remember or just too young to understand, have never known a world prior to the day of infamy. They were not aware of pop culture prior to terrorism.. not inclined to understand a world before World War ..
This generation has grown up online post dial up and post buildings coming down. They watched footage of the terror attacks fifteen years ago but did not watch it on live TV…
Others who did remember what it felt like.. all day.. all night.. all week.. and for the rest of 2001. The swift unkind gusty gale of change took an entire nation and forced it into places it never wanted to go or never thought it would ..
People falling from buildings live for the planet to watch.. the demise of buildings..
And a peaceful field in Pennsylvania scarred and charred by a passenger airplane..
We lived through this 15 years ago. Even though now it does not seem a bit like we did.. the freight train speed passage of time is as surreal as the moment we watched airplanes flying into buildings right after Al Roker talked about weather. From quaint to horror. From normal to a new normal.
And the rest is history.
And history that has changed a bit..
See, we know more this year than we have before. More about the crisis that was the entire day.. a series of crises that could have become a world war within moments..
SECRETS LIKE THIS:
There were live nukes on the tarmac at U.S. airbases
NBC news including these tidbits of information with its 15 year anniversary 911 coverage:
- Three dozen live nuclear weapons were aboard U.S. Air Force bombers at three airbases when al Qaeda struck New York and Washington.
- Because of inadequate communications equipment and procedures, top U.S. officials couldn’t talk to each other or to anyone else. Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to speak to Bush to know why the U.S. was preparing to go to DEFCON 3 — but the White House couldn’t put him through to Air Force One. Bush had no way to receive phone calls.
- After Bush left Florida, where he had been reading a book to schoolkids, his plane was low on fuel but for hours had nowhere to land.
- Most of the top 10 people in the president’s line of succession, including Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, either refused to follow the protocol and go to their designated secure sites, or were out of the country, or were never contacted.
- Now-disgraced Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, third in line, observed protocol and was taken to an underground bunker in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But that left him out of touch with all other top government leaders.
- Attorney General John Ashcroft was in a government plane and tried to return to Washington, but was turned away by the FAA.
- Education Secretary Rod Paige, 16th in line to the White House, was left on the tarmac in Sarasota, Florida. He rented a car and drove back to Washington.
We knew things were chaotic in the aftermath.. we did not know everything. And that is probably a good thing.. By the 20th and 25th and 50th anniversary of 9/11, we will know even more secrets that have yet to be revealed for security purposes.. We will paint a full picture of the day.
Some more reporting from NBC:
Perhaps the biggest newly uncovered secret is that on the morning of 9/11, when Al Qaeda struck New York and Washington, the Pentagon’s annual “Global Guardian” war game was in full swing. Three dozen real nuclear weapons had been loaded onboard intercontinental bombers in North Dakota, Missouri, and Louisiana.
When Bush left Florida on Air Force One amid fears that terrorists would try take down the presidential plane, he flew right into the middle of the war game.
Air Force One had climbed out of Sarasota airport 51 minutes after American Airlines Flight 11 plowed into the North tower of the World Trade Center and 12 minutes after the Pentagon was struck. The fourth and final hijacked passenger plane, United Flight 93, was still aloft over Pennsylvania.
We knew that war games were occurring the same day of 9/11.. but we only knew ofVigilant Guardian. I wonder what other war games we will find out about on the 20th…?
And it is these war games that have given fodder to those who suspect some sort of conspiracy..
What we did find out since 9/11: The Saudis were more heavily involved than anyone in 2001 admitted. People that day who would have blamed the Saudis would have been called kooks and conspiracy theorists..
Some conspiracies prove true over time.