Remembering 9/11: What We Wrote When the Attacks Happened


Throughout this week, we'll be posting old and new Reason material related to the 9/11 attacks.

To see what the main page of Reason.com (then known as Reason Online) looked like on September 15, 2001, click here to see what the Internet archive site The Wayback Machine has captured.

Reason's Washington correspondent Sam MacDonald filed this report in the early afternoon of September 11:

I made my way to 17th Street and headed north towards Pennsylvania Avenue, but I didn't make it far. The street was closed. I headed west to 18th Street then up to Pennsylvania, but security forces had just secured that street as well. I could not raise any of my colleagues on my cell phone and I could not get to my office, so I set off to figure out what was going on. I noticed that I didn't have any cash, so I stopped at an ATM. The line was only two people deep. I asked if anyone had any information, and a young woman told me that someone had just bombed the Washington Monument. I told her I was just there, but she didn't seem to notice and walked off into the crowd.

After getting some cash, I headed north on Constitution Avenue in search of a television. On the way, I saw a group of teenage tourists who apparently didn't realize that anything unusual had happened: The kids were hamming it up for a camera at the intersection of Constitution and M Street. Apparently, people from outside the area thought the gridlock was standard for the city.

I finally found a television playing in the window of a photo shop. There was no sound, but a crowd had gathered to watch CNN through the window. Even then, there was disagreement. I asked if the towers at the World Trade Center had collapsed, and a woman confirmed that they had. A man beside her said that

 wasn't true. Footage on the screen soon confirmed who was right. The scene was quiet. Everyone was engrossed in the footage….

I left that scene and finally found a television bank at a bar off Dupont Circle. It was standing room only as people gaped at the dueling coverage on either end of the bar. People were drinking.

"What happens now?"

"I know a lot of people who work at the Pentagon."

"This is fucking war."

After I absorbed what little information the networks had to offer, I headed towards my apartment in Adams Morgan…. By this time, it was almost 1 p.m. From a vantage point on the hill, a small crowd of people watched in disbelief as the smoke from the Pentagon continued pouring upward into the sky.

Later that same day, before much of anything about the attacks in New York, Washington, and over the skies of Pennsylvania had become clear, Jesse Walker reacted to immediate calls to war by arguing instead that "This is a time for expert police work, not unfocused war."

[Writing in the Washington Post, Robert] Kagan [of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace], alas, has more to say:

"Congress, in fact, should immediately declare war. It does not have to name a country."

On any day before today, such a statement would be dismissed as drivel. But we've reached the stage where drivel can be dangerous, and where dangerous drivel will be plentiful. Professional hawk Kagan has offered as candid a summary of his political philosophy as you'll ever hear: that war itself, any war, is desirable. And in this environment, such lunacy will be taken seriously by otherwise sensible minds.

This is a time for expert police work. It is a time when the intelligence community can try to make up for its disastrous failure to foresee this assault, by finding the people who did it and bringing them to rapid justice. It is not a time for unfocused, Kaganesque hysteria. In 1986, after a relatively smaller terrorist attack, the U.S. blamed Qaddafy and bombed Libya. The accused mastermind survived, but more faultless civilians were killed than had been slaughtered by the original act of terror. This, writ much larger, is the kind of war Kagan is calling for–except he doesn't even know his target yet.

"A declaration of war would not be pure symbolism," he avers. "It would be a sign of will and determination to see this conflict through to a satisfactory conclusion no matter how long it takes or how difficult the challenge." So it won't merely be a symbol, but will be "a sign"? What ridiculous, muddled thinking is this?

It is the kind of thinking that takes one terrible event and multiplies it. There will be more bombings abroad, and there will be more bombings on American soil. Things are awful, terrible, awful now, and they're only going to get worse.

Read the whole piece here.

Then-Reason Senior Editor Charles Paul Freund wrote of the immediate effects of the attacks on the media:

In the midst of an early report from the burning Pentagon, a reporter for CBS' Washington, D.C. affiliate noted a military jet scrambling overhead. The camera tilted up to follow the aircraft's flight while the newsman worked to include the event in his extemporaneous narrative. Suddenly, the reporter realized that he couldn't assume anything about the plane. Not anything.

Who was piloting the plane? What would it do next? Was it protecting the nation's capital or attacking it? After all, commercial American aircraft were the weapons used to assault the nation's military nerve center, and to destroy New York's World Trade Center. Now, anything might be happening. "I'm praying," the reporter suddenly confessed, "that this plane is one of ours." He fell silent, and he and his viewers watched the plane as it shrank into the distance. Then everyone turned back to the apocalypse at hand….

 if terror requires media exposure to fulfill itself, then revolutionary changes in the nature of media will impel dramatic increases in the intensity of terrorist acts. Even now, with an ever-accelerating news cycle and a multiplying number of specialized news sources, terrorist acts have been able to command ever-decreasing periods of attention. Suicide bombings, for example, used to command front-page focus for a week or more. Now, along with other once-long-lived stories, they are quickly overwhelmed by other events.

The destruction of the World Trade Center and the assault on the Pentagon may well represent an effort to overcome Western media speed and diffusion, and to do so by staging a startling cataclysm involving potent national symbols. But more than that: It would represent an adjustment of the scale of potential terror to the scope of available media. That is, it would not merely have overcome a diffused and quickly distracted media, it would have used the real-time abilities of the new media to stage an epic of murder and destruction, immersing a worldwide audience in horror and confusion as the events occurred. In the end, it would not merely have used media as a tool to disseminate an idea and demoralize an enemy, it would have used the media as one of its primary weapons, and made the audience participants in the apocalypse itself.

Read more here.

For more coverage of the 9/11 attacks, go here and read our December 2001, October 2002, and August-September 2011 issues.

NEXT: Reason Morning Links: Mexico Records One Murder Every 35 Minutes, Ron Paul Digs Deep to Whack Perry, Obama Gets Soaked in New Polls

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  1. Deregulate Privation Property Land Title, the biggest of big government entitlements!

    Officer, am I free to gambol across plain and forest now?

    1. Just like the gerbils are free to gambol in your ass.

    2. If you want to gambol, you might as well stay on the reservation.

  2. “This is a time for expert police work.”

    What have the badge wearing tax feeders come up with in 10 years?


  3. Inescapable evidence that three of the nation’s top leaders ? President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice ? fell short in their job of protecting the country from attack by al Qaeda was chillingly presented in the 9/11 Commission Report, issued in July 2004.

    The report showed that top officials had paid scant attention to the terrorist threat from the time they took office until close to the day of the attack, even though they had been presented with numerous warnings of an imminent deadly attack within the country, and then went to some lengths to deceive the public about what had happened.

    1. Other information showed that the president and Rice ignored clear and urgent warnings from the CIA of imminent attacks.

      1. At least they eventually sprung into action!

    2. odd that only leftist knob-gobblers see any of this definitive info in the 2004 report herpity derp

      1. so “leftist knob-gobblers” include the bi-paritisan 9/11 commission, the FBI, the CIA, the IAEA, mossad, MI6, jordan, turkey…all conspired against boosch…all cooperated to write the 9/11 report? all of them?

        1. none of them say its BOOsh you idiot thats just your idiot interpretation herp the report doesnt actually say it was BOOsh fault

          1. so how would u describe team boosch ignored repeated, credible warnings from multiple trusted sources?

            1. try to quote what report actually sez not summary from biased source oops i shit myseld again derp

              1. so the bi-paritisan commission was “biased” ? how?

                1. fucking reading comprejhension how duz it werk?

                  1. so “mr reading comprehension” how was the [BI-PARTISAN] 9/11 commission “biased”?

                    1. idiot pleez provide link to the actual commission report saying BOOsh was at fault and was provided with specific intel muslims were going to attack buildings with airplanez herp

                    2. so why did boosch tell (cia director) tenent that he (tenent) “covered his ass” by warning boosch before the hyjackings?

                    3. great non sequitur idiot

                    4. “Other information showed that the president and Rice ignored clear and urgent warnings from the CIA of imminent attacks.”
                      BI-PARTISAN report


                    5. try a valid link moron that doesnt go anywere

                    6. thats a link to an opinion piece not the commssions report you stupid bag of fuck

            2. Just like the “repeated, credible warnings from multiple trusted sources” that told us there were WMDs in Iraq?

              Ok, just checking.

  4. One thing I remember from that morning was how choked the interwebs had become. News sites were all that those of us with no reception in our basement offices had to follow the events. Stupid primitive internet.

  5. Having quit my job, I was at home with my 5mo old son. I was channel surfing and saw a smoking WTC tower. “Huh,” I thought, “it looks like a bad plane accident.”

    I go grocery shopping. Come back and switched the TV on. And by then both of the buildings were on fire… plus reports of the Pentagon being attacked. I still remember the CNN reporter looking rather nonplussed as the towers collapsed. I called my wife at her job where apparently the entire company was watching events unfold.

    Then I packed my son up again and went to buy gasoline for my truck, fully expecting prices to skyrocket soon. There was an odd calm to the traffic – no horns and less aggression than normal. I filled up and saw a young woman crying on (I presume) father’s shoulder as he tanked up.

    1. I had just come back from taking my dog to the vet that day, and turned on the TV to see the first tower burning, with a reporter speculating about a plane accident. Suddenly a huge ball of flame erupts from the second tower, and my reaction was “holy shit, what the fuck was that?” Then I went outside onto my deck and saw the smoke from the WTC to the east (I live fairly close by in NJ), and notice that not a single aircraft was in the sky. Most freaky feeling I’ve ever had.

      1. I lived on the Upper East Side at the time. I woke up, brewed some coffee, and turned on NY1, which greeted me with a WTC building with a big smoking hole in it. I thought a Cessna had crashed into it, not realizing the scale of the hole.

        Then the cameras caught the second impact; huge, and this time, they tracked a jumbo jet coming in as the cause. Then I knew something was really wrong.

        I emailed work (down near Union Square). Their response was terse: “stay where you are”. Those already there went out to 5th Ave and looked down to see the towers burning.

        It was a very, very disturbing and strange day as we watched the smoke pour out of the bottom of the island, fighter jets screaming overhead.

        1. The fighter jets were disturbingly late. The first attack was a surprise, but there was no excuse for not preventing the second one. I guess it would have turned out the same for the people on the plane though.

        2. I lived in Morningside Heights at the time, and worked in Soho. I got out of the subway near work, and got in line at a donut cart to get some breakfast. It was a beautiful fall day. About the time I paid for my breakfast, I noticed all these people on the street staring at something. Like a typical New Yorker, I thought, “What are all these idiots gawping at?”

          I walked over a little bit and saw the smoke, and thought, just from the size of it, that it must be a nearby building on fire. Then I walked a little further and saw that it was the north tower.

          After walking around a little more to try and get a better angle, and having seen the size of the hole, I’d returned to the corner I was first on when I saw the fireball burst from the south tower.

          Spent most of the rest of the morning up in the office, which happened to have a clear view to the south, so we all saw the collapses as they happened.

    2. I was in seventh grade. The administration made the brilliant decision to tell us nothing and let the trustworthy rumors of seventh graders inform us.

      Naturally we progressed gradually from shock to faux-manly discussions of how “we” were going to “fuck people up for this” to baseless crude jokes.

      At 6:30 pm one plane flew from DFW to New York, apparently to deliver American Airlines officials. I lived north of downtown Dallas and planes flew overhead all the time, but that was terrifying.

      1. To me 911 still seems like a fairly recent event. It always is a little surprising to me when I am reminded that a lot of more or less adult people pretty much grew up with this as normal reality.

      2. That’s funny, I was in eighth grade. Teachers wheeled the TV cart in and let us watch CNN.

    3. did someone say “job”?

    4. did someone say “job”?

      1. no, it’s just an echo.

    5. A lot of international broadcasters were still broadcasting on shortwave at the time, and I was listening to a program from Radio Finland from 8:30-9:00 ET that morning. At the end of the program I switched to Deutsche Welle in German, which was live and had as the top story in the news something about a plane crashing into New York’s World Trade Center. I figured it was just a small plane since the weather was so fine, and the pilot must have had a heart attack or something. But I turned on the TV and watched that with the sound down while listening to the BBC.

      The most interesting thing I remember that day was Radio Vilnius (Lithuania) coming on at 7:30 PM with an apology saying that, since their English-language staff had been pressed into duty doing translation work, they were extremely sorry that they would have to air several repeat feature articles.

      Sadly, none of those broadcasters above are on shortwave any more, and some of them no longer have English services. And while the BBC has podcasting, there’s nothing live. And Deutsche Welle’s broadcasts are out-of-date and almost entirely streaming, which is beyond useless.

  6. i will always remember where i was at that moment. what is unbeleivable is that the 19 terrorists where all illegaly in this country going about their business and 10 yrs later it will be even easier for them to do so

    1. But diversity!!!!

    2. They weren’t here illegally, dipshit.

      1. also ignoring the fact that American citizens can commit terrorist acts, no immigration needed.

      2. I think some of them had overstayed their visas, but really, does it matter? Any person with a decent desktop and a good flight sim program could have pulled it off.

        What allowed them to be successful in their attacks were the pussies on the planes and the lazy security on the cockpit doors.

        1. And airlines selling one-way tickets for cash without thinking it suspicious. And FBI administrators telling field agents in Arizona and Minnesota and Oklahoma to ignore the leads they had uncovered that summer. And Air Force jets standing down, with no air cover capable of reaching New York City in less than an hour.

  7. Then the cameras caught the second impact; huge, and this time, they tracked a jumbo jet coming in as the cause. Then I knew something was really wrong.

    Kudos, dude.

    1. Are you being as stupid as you seem to be being?

  8. I was at work. I had trouble believing it at first (I still have trouble believing at times). My bosses son gets out at the subway station beneath the World Trade Center. He went home early. I’m single so I waited around and let everybody else go home first. I started surfing the internet and found Instapundit first and then Reason.

  9. Rioght before the second plane hit I was standing at the television with the other person in the office who was from New York. I was saying ‘That’s gonna take years to fix’. Both of us had already called around a bit to see if anyone we knew was in the building. She said ‘Do you think they’ll be able to fix it?’

    And then the second plane hit.

    And I said ‘We’re at war.’

  10. I was home getting ready for work, and my wife called and very calmly said, “Turn on the TV.” I thought she was joking, then she repeated it and hung up. I tuned in just in time to see the replay of the 2nd plane hitting. I just remember all the bits and pieces of information coming in, and a very helpless feeling. I kept thinking to myself, “What’s next?” over and over.

    I live outside Chicago where there is a lot of plane traffic. It was the strangest thing to see the sky empty that day.

  11. 9/11 was an inside jerb

  12. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.


    1. With great power comes great responsibility.

      Albus Dumbledore

      1. I’m pretty sure that was Uncle Ben.

        1. You mean that rice bowl guy?

  13. I was temping at a place in Bethesda. It was bagel day. I was availing myself of the free baked goods, and on the way back to my cubicle, stopped to wonder why everyone was watching TV. I ate my bagel in silence, pondering reality.

    1. “I ate my bagel in silence, pondering reality.”

      That part makes me think of a haiku.

  14. I know that before 9/11 if I were to see a film that had the plot of terrorists killing thousand by flying commercial jets into skyscrapers I would have been like “pfft, that’s so unrealistic.”

    1. Well, if you were to have seen a film with a few saudis armed with boxcutters, I could understand you saying to yourself, “pfft, that’s so unrealistic.”

    2. You and Dr. Rice both, despite a best-selling Clancy novel that had recently come out, about a Japanese suicide jumbo jet attack on the US Capitol.

      1. You seem to be implying that Tom Clancy should be taken seriously.

    3. unrealistic? sez who?

    4. Actually The X-Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen sees to have anticipated that very thing, plus just about all the troofer paranoia.

      The plot of the first episode, which aired March 4, 2001, involves a US government conspiracy to hijack an airliner, fly it into the World Trade Center and blame it on terrorists, thereby gaining support for a new profit-making war.

      If I remember correctly though, one of the conspirator henchmen was an evil scientist who had sabotaged to plane so that he could take over a fly the plane by remote control. The pilots on the plane barely managed to override his evil controls at the last minute.

    5. Yeah, that’s why they canceled us.

  15. I woke up after all the planes had hit. I thought, “that sucks”, and went to my intro to computer architecture class. After class, some swarthy foreign kid was all excited and happy, saying things like, “Did you hear about the bombings? That’s why you don’t fuck with Arabs!”

    I thought about beating him up and/or throwing him down the stairs, but decided against it. He never came back. I still wish I had.

    1. I slept right through it to. Got up in the afternoon for my architecture studio and trekked all the way across campus, never wondering why it was so quiet, got there and found classes canceled.

      I think I probably would have punched the little fucker.

  16. dipshit… look it up. most of them where here on expired visas. all of them had falsified info their visa apps look it up. two of the terrorists where pulled over in 2 different states just before 9-11 they both could of been arrested right then.

    1. We like our trolls to use correct grammar and spelling on H&R. Please clean up your act so we can ridicule your bogus claim as opposed to your third-grade writing skills.

      1. We like our trolls to use correct grammar and spelling on H&R.

        Speak for yourself, chief.

    2. So what? The only point you might have here is that if the government never made any mistakes and the INS kept track of where every visa holder was at all times and shared all information with all police agencies in the country and required them to make arrests for every small immigration violation then they might have been able to stop some of the terrorists. Woo Hoo. For those of us living in the real world (and who would rather not have an all-knowing unitary police state, thank-you), this is all pretty irrelevant. Everything seems obvious when you already know what happened.

  17. Have you ever noticed that the media mentions the WTC collapse endlessly, but that great big hole in the Pentagon – which is, you know, the HQ for America’s defense – has sunk deep down the Memory Hole?

    1. this is the focus of a story that ran in this weekend’s Post


      1. …the lack of video footage of the plane hitting the Pentagon, the building’s separation from neighboring communities, the military’s tradition of smoothing over harsh edges, stereotypes about Washington and the armed forces.

        No one hates the news media more than I do, but I never considered anything sinister or ideological in the coverage. NYC was the focus because we accept military casualties more easily than civilian. And we can see the ongoing drama of WTC played out over and over in the endless video record. Not so much with that building with five sides. Reporting today tends toward the better visual narrative.

        1. Also, it may have something to do with the fact that the Pentagon was repaired pretty quickly, and the WTC is still a hole in the ground.

          1. Then there is the issue of 168 total deaths at the Pentagon and ~3000 in NYC. The coverage makes sense, as much as anything can makes sense in team-blue journo-world.

    2. Yes, but I am not surprised or bothered by it. Fewer people dies in the Pentagon and I am sure that the military folk deliberately tried to keep coverage to a minimum. The WTC was nearly all civilians and took place in the middle of a huge, important, city full of video cameras.

  18. My office was in the Watergate at the time. We were watching TV when we heard the boom at the Pentagon. and then the rumor mill got going — bombing at the state department, gun shots on the Mall, etc.

    I lived in Maryland at the time and my girlfriend (now wife) lived in Arlington. I would drive to her place past the crash site. it was amazing how quickly they had it cleaned up and rebuilt.

    1. No shit? I was in Watergate at the time too.

      I first heard about it at about 8:45, when a shock jock I listened to at the time came back from commercial to dead air and the crew talking in the background about a plane hitting the first tower.

      I had stopped to rum into a remote facility for my company and no one there knew anything about it yet. As I drove in, I heard more and more news reports and much of it was bullshit (Capital being hit, etc.). As I rounded Washington Circle in Foggy Bottom, I saw the smoke plume from the Pentagon and started freaking out inside, just a bit.

      Got into work and everyone was huddled around a shitty TV with rabbit ears. After about 30 minutes, we decided to get the hell out before they shut down DC, which seemed more than likely.

      The quiet in the air later that day was bizarre, which was only occasionally broken by a fighter jet flying overhead.

  19. America is a country of God damn pussies. Japan has a population of 127 million+. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, this spring, killed at least 20 thousand.
    That is equivalent to 16 9/11 attacks. Plus Japan has been hit by 12 typhoons this year! All the whining and crying is this country is enough to make you puke

    1. All the whining/crying in this comment is making me puke.

    2. Yeah but it’s God that’s trying to kill the Japanese. He works in mysterious ways and stuff and is probably punishing them for being non-believers.

      I guess that’s kind of like a bunch of armed religious fanatics trying to kill people. I guess if they had the power to make earthquakes and tsunamis they would have.

    3. Weird… it’s almost as if 9/11 had some impact beyond the actual death toll.

      1. “Weird… it’s almost as if 9/11 had some impact beyond the actual death toll.”
        It sure as hell did, thanks to Bush and his useless wars, which killed more Americans than the terrorist attack and cost trillions of dollars!

  20. As I remember 9/11, I will only hope that Big Ben continues his domination of the Baltimore Ravens and that the Pittsburgh defense makes it through week 1 without suffering any of the injuries that plagued them last year.

    1. Big Ben

      Baltimore Ravens

      This is the one time it’s OK to wish for a terrorist nuclear bombing.

      1. By “nuclear”, I hope you mean a dirty bomb. A thermonuclear explosion would be too quick and painless for the shitbirds and that fat sasquatch rapist.

    2. Ben Roethlisberger = Steve Smith

      1. RAPE!

  21. aside from being the coolest thing that ever happened on live TV, I’m so fucking done with 9/11.
    I worked all night, got really high and drunk and was about to go to sleep when it happened. Major fucking buzzkill.
    I’m so done with this 9/11 bullshit. If you weren’t in lower Manhattan, at the Pentagon, or knew someone who died, STFU about it, please.

    1. I was done with it about September 14, 2001. The NFL had to postpone its games for that weekend since the old Meadowlands was being used as a staging area, but the NCAA allowed the individual conferences to decide for themselves whether to go ahead with games that Saturday or not. At the time, all of them postponed their games except the SEC. I couldn’t believe how much vitriol they took for the decision. I wanted to get back to some semblance of normal, and the idea that I could only mourn in the way the NYC people thought was acceptable filled me with a white hot rage. Unfortunately, the SEC caved.

      And then came the return of baseball, and the Mets wore those FDNYPD hats that nearly made me puke. That, and the (it’s still going on 10 years later) singing some “patriotic” song during the seventh inning stretch.

      And on the first Monday Night Football game, the NFL made the point of having the biggest flag they could find, along with some crappy singer butcher the national anthem with as much melisma as she could muster. Frankly, I would have gone for a lone trumpeter and the local American Legion honor guard if we even have to have the damn national anthem before a sporting event.

      Love of country is about what you do when nobody’s watching; it’s not the vexillary equivalent of a dick-waving contest. And I hate hate hate that the people who engage in that contest are ones who try to bully everybody else into thinking that’s the only way you can show you’re proud of your country.

  22. That is the least funny alt-text we’ve had in about 10 years.

  23. Here’s what I recall from September 11th:

    I was driving to work (in Texas) and heard that a “small plane” had flown into one of the twin towers. They weren’t sure if it had been an accident or a terrorist attack with a bomb on the plane. While they were discussing it another plane flew into the other tower.

    When I got to work, I read that another small plane had “landed” at the Pentagon. Shortly after that someone figured out that 4 planes had been hijacked, and were involved in the 3 attacks.

    A 4th plane was reported as hijacked and flying over Pennsylvania, and initial reports were that an Air Force jet had shot it down.

    All air traffic was halted by then, with reports that other teams of hijackers had been planning air and train attacks in Chicago, Dallas, and LA. Relatives who worked in downtown Dallas were sent home early. One team of terrorists was supposedly tracked on a train heading out of San Antonio.

  24. I was 9 years old and was sitting on the couch waiting for my mom to drive me to school. The local news was on and it was around 7:30 when I saw the second tower collapse live on television. The other thing that I remembered was not seeing any planes in the sky the rest of the day flying in and out of Long Beach airport near where we lived.

    When I got to school they herded us into the cafeteria and made us make paper flags with red, white, and blue construction paper before returning us to our class to have the situation explained by our teacher. After school they just told us to go home and watch the news with our parents. My dad told me not to overreact and that it was probably over now that the government was on alert. Certainly one of my most vivid childhood memories.

  25. At the time I worked nights (4pm-1am), and was rarely awake before noon. I happened to be working a rare day shift that day, so I was getting ready for work. I had the TV tuned to Bay News 9, and heard them say that they were switching to a live feed from their New York sister station because “a small plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.” I walked back into living room to see the report as I was brushing my teeth, and after watching the live shot for a few seconds the second plane hit. I dropped my toothbrush on the floor. I immediately called my National Guard unit to see if I needed to report in, but they said just to keep my phone on me, and they would call. I still had to go to work, which was on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico a little north of Tampa. As we were heading out on the boat I saw Air Force One fly overhead with fighter jet escorts.

  26. “Throughout this week, we’ll be posting old and new Reason material related to the 9/11 attacks”


  27. I was in Minneapolis working in the Hennepin Center for the Arts. Our receptionist (a pudgy, overly theatrical gay man) started freeking out how we were going to be next. And I thought, World Trade Center, Pentagon an arts building in Minneapolis. Yeah, that makes sense.

    1. Or what? You’ll leave and never come back?

      [crosses fingers]

  28. Just look at the photos and TELL me those weren’t controlled demolitions! The towers fell into their own footprints and there was absolutely no debris outside them!

    1. no, discovery, i think, aired a structural analysis of the collapses which show the break point was where the asbestos lawsuits stopped the construction companies fm using asbestos-coated steel beams around the ~97th floor.

    2. …and there was absolutely no debris outside them!

      Actually, no. Several wall sections over sixty storeys high (over six hundred feet) fell outwards and damaged properties for blocks around. One hit WTC 7, knocking out critical structural supports so that combined with the fire that started that building collapsed as well.

      Smaller pieces of debris went even further.

      The “demolitions” were far from controlled. If I had hire a contractor to do a controlled demolition of those buildings and that was what he produced, Iwould have sued his ass off, as would all of my neighbours.

      I seem to recall you as one of the more intelligent posters here so I’m not discounting the possibility that you’re kidding.

      1. bldg 7 is the source of alotta conspiracy theories

        1. …which like most conspiracy theories are based on either false or incomplete information or a combination of both.

          1. And the historically documented tendency of humans to conspire against one another for a variety of ends.

            1. Real conspiracies come to light pretty quickly, especially ones involving many conspirators.

              No credible evidence for a conspiracy, beside the one by AQ, in the WTC attack has come to light as yet.

  29. I was working in Arlington, in Rosslyn across the river from Georgetown. I ‘heard’ the explosion at the Pentagon. As I was in a SCIF, the result was a jolt with what sounded like a muffled thud. Left the SCIF, went to the break room. Watched the TV were they showed the second plane going into the tower.

    I wondered if we were going to wind up nuking some other country. Grew up in NYC. Big “WTF!!” Went outside on to the roof top parking and watched the smoke coming up over the horizon from the direction of the Pentagon.

    Security guards kicked everyone out of the building. Worried we might get hit. ‘Bullshit!’, we in some dumpy office building, if it was the WH or capital building OK. This was crap.

    Everyone was sent home, guv’ys and contractors. I found a bar and watch the 7 hour traffic jam. Got trashed. Wondered what was next. Made it home – all of 25 miles away – around 9PM.

    Fuck the Arabs.

  30. Was also in Rosslyn (seriously) and walked about Iwo Jima memorial area and watched the entire city of DC walk across the bridge by the Lincoln memorial. Thought about giving blood (but there was no special call — a bad sign in a way, mostly deaths few injuries) while watching the smoke from Pentagon and talking with folks near Fort whatever-it-is there.

    CHecked on relatives in NYC in the media. Both ok.

    Left message at local Muslim community center (not Muslim myself) offering to escort people especially elderly, women and children for fear of pogromistic hostility.

    Ten years later see a commenter on Reason.com hit and run, who was probably right down the street at the time, write today: “Fuck the Arabs.”

    Realizing still I wasn’t totally overreacting to make the escort offer.

    1. When the Arabs, as a group, snap out of their 7th century mind set — I will withdraw the sentiment. Right now from within the ranks of the muslim community we see:
      1. Honor killings of women (daughter typically, by their own dads)
      2. Rampent homophobia
      3. Hatred of joos on par with that of the National socialists
      4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqiyya — the preaching that it is okey dokey to lie to non muslims
      5. Apologists for terrorism

      When they abandon that crap to the degree that western civilization has (spare me the anecdote of the odd neo Nazi), I will change my outlook.

      Fuck mch

  31. I was in my office in Naperville on a telecon with colleagues in Norway, South Africa, Buffalo and Chicago. One guy said a small plane hit the WTC and we started looking for live feeds on the internet. After about half an hour of discussion of the events we decided to end our meeting early. (I later found out that two of us knew people who died in the WTC)

    Everyone was ‘encouraged’ to go home early. Several co-workers traveling in Houston rented a car and drove back to Chicago the next day. It took me all day to figure out that my kids and all my relatives around the planet were OK. The longest silence was from my brother in the USAF, stationed at the time in CA.

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