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The Aftermath of September 11: Gripping Tales of Heroism and Heartbreak

Aired September 30, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: gripping tales of heroism and heartbreak next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Good evening. Some remarkable stories have emerged from the rubble of the September 11 tragedies, and tonight we're going to share some of them with you.

We begin with remembrances of Todd Beamer. He was a passenger on United Airline flight 93. That flight was commandeered after takeoff from Newark, and crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In the midst of the hijacking, Todd had an incredible phone conversation. His wife Lisa joins us to talk about her husband's heroic final moments.


LISA BEAMER, HUSBAND TODD WAS FLIGHT 93 HERO: He called the GTE airphone operator around 9:45 in the morning and started reporting to her what was going on in the plane, including that there were hijackers, and they had taken over the cockpit and possibly killed the crew.

He was in the back of the plane with 27 others, and he was sitting next to a flight attendant, perhaps Mrs. Lyles, I'm not sure. But the plane began to fly erratically, and he was aware that this was a situation that was not a normal hijacking situation, and he informed the operator that he knew he was not going to make it out of this.

His next response was to ask her to say the Lord's Prayer with him, and then he asked Jesus to help him. And once he got that guidance, he asked her to contact me -- gave her my name and phone number and my children's names -- and to tell us how much he loved us.

And then once he had all that business squared away, he did what Todd would normally do, and he took some action, and what he did was he told the operator that he and some other people on the flight were deciding to jump on the hijacker with the bomb strapped around his waist. And the last thing the operator heard Todd say at 10:00 a.m., 15 minutes into the call, was, "Are you ready? Let's roll."

And after that, she heard some screams and some commotion. She stayed on the line for 10 more minutes until the flight went down, but she did not hear back from anyone in particular and did not know what happened after that. KING: The operator from GTE who called you and told you about this -- her name is also Lisa, Lisa Jefferson.


KING: You've never met her, have you?

BEAMER: No, I haven't. I did speak to her on the phone on Saturday morning. I got this information that the call had been made on Friday night, and I was able to speak to Lisa and get all the details on Saturday morning.

KING: Were you surprised at anything that Todd did?

BEAMER: No. I had had three days of not really knowing what Todd did for sure, and a lot of people asked me what I thought he did, and certainly I thought he definitely took action. He was a man of action and a man of thought, and he would think through decisions before he made them, and he would seek wise counsel.

I think he sought wise counsel, certainly in calling on Jesus and saying the Lord's Prayer and getting his heart right, and I think he also used Lisa in that decision making process. She was a rock when I talked to her, and I think she was a rock for Todd. And after he sought that wise counsel, he was ready to take action. And that was the way he lived his life, based on faith and action, and that's the way he ended his life as well.

KING: She had to be amazing, that woman, because they don't tape those calls, so there's no tape of this. She did write up a report, which I know you have. But what a story to hang on like that and then to be able to talk to you. How did you feel when she was talking to you?

BEAMER: I was obviously very emotional making the phone call, and I didn't know her, obviously, so I didn't know what sort of person she was. I thought we might not even be able to get through the conversation. But she had a very soft spoken voice, but a voice that was very firm and confident, and a voice that certainly helped me maintain my composure during that call, and I thanked her so much for the comfort that she must have given to Todd as the last person that he talked to.

It's certainly the comfort she gave to me as she conveyed his last message to me. It was a gift that I cannot -- I had no idea I'd be receiving, and it's the best one I've ever gotten.

KING: You have two sons. David is three, Drew is one, and you're expecting a third child in January.

BEAMER: That's correct. And people sometimes look at me, I think, and wonder, is she in shock, is she, you know, unrealistic about what the situation is, and they don't see me all the other times when I'm, you know, breaking down and losing my composure.

But, certainly, the faith that I have is like Todd's, and it's helping me understand the bigger picture here and that God's justice will ultimately prevail and that we have more to look forward to than just what we see here around us on earth.


KING: Charles Burlingame was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77. On September 11 it crashed into the Pentagon. The day after the tragedy, his brother and sister joined us, and I asked them to tell us a little bit about Charles.


BRADLEY BURLINGAME, BROTHER WAS FLIGHT 77 PILOT: We called him Chick, that was his nickname.

KING: Chick.

BURLINGAME: He was Charles the third, and an Annapolis graduate. He started flying a couple years after he graduated from Annapolis. He's been flying for 30 years. He was a Navy fighter pilot. And even after he left the Navy, he served in the Naval reserve and, ironically, worked for many years in the Pentagon in the Naval reserve, with his Naval colleagues.

KING: How did you first learn of this, Debra?

DEBRA BURLINGAME, BROTHER WAS FLIGHT 77 PILOT: Well, it was surreal, actually, because I was asleep at 6:00 in the morning, and my...

KING: In California?

D. BURLINGAME: No, here in Los Angeles.

KING: Yes, in California. You were in California?

D. BURLINGAME: Yes, in California. And we have another brother in Pennsylvania, and his wife, who is a very, very dear friend of mine, Anin (ph), called me at 6:00 in the morning and she said, "I'm sorry to wake you up, but you've got to go turn on the television set right now. A plane just crashed in to the World Trade Center." And she said, "I was watching it, and another plane crashed in minutes ago."

And I quick, rushed, turn it on and...

KING: Not thinking of your brother at all, right?

D. BURLINGAME: Well, no, because...


D. BURLINGAME: No, because you're not thinking sensibly. And I was thinking well, this is New York, my brother flies out of Dulles and he's usually going to the West Coast. So he wouldn't ever be up in New York airspace. KING: So you were watching in horror.

D. BURLINGAME: And I'm watching in horror. And it also appeared, they were already replaying the second strike, and it didn't look like the kind of plane my brother flew. It looked too small. If you can imagine an airplane that big dwarfed by those towers.

KING: Then what?

D. BURLINGAME: So Anin said, "You don't think that could be Chick, do you?

And I said, "No, no. But this is horrible." And I was immediately thinking, those poor pilots, those poor pilots, because of course, pilots always say they are the first at the scene of any accident, being up there in the cockpit. They see horrific things, you know. And they don't live to tell the tale, so I was just devastated. She was crying, I was crying.

Brad called me. Oh, and then I saw the report on the Pentagon, because that happened maybe 20 minutes later. An NBC reporter saying there's been a bomb explosion of some kind on the west side of the Pentagon.

KING: And you called, you knew?

B. BURLINGAME: I knew. I had received a phone call within 60 minutes from a colleague of my brother's, who had already joined his wife at their house to inform her. American pilots and all airline pilots -- I'm sure the United pilots, this was the same scene at their households as well -- are close-knit families.

KING: He told you on the phone?

B. BURLINGAME: Chick's friend Tom called, and I, like Debra, had been watching the television. I had an eerie feeling. My wife asked what was going on, and Tom called me. As soon as I heard his voice, I knew. And of course, you know the...

KING: And you told Debra?

D. BURLINGAME: I didn't know what he was saying. He was screaming. And then I caught him -- I caught the word Chick. "It's Chick." And there's no words to describe, you know, you hear crime victims' families being told. This is a murder scene, this is a mass murder. And it's just, it's incomprehensible.

KING: Angry, Bradley?

B. BURLINGAME: My emotions are across the board. I'm sad, I'm in disbelief. Yes, I'm angry. I -- if I could find the people who did this, I would sacrifice my life to do something to them.

KING: Debra?

D. BURLINGAME: Someone asked me if I've been going to church. Well, there's been too much happening for me to have that quiet time to be able to do that. I feel a tremendous responsibility to my brother to take care of certain things. But the idea of going to church would seem so insincere to me right now, because our religion is about forgiveness. And it's not in me right now, no.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the normal course of events, presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people.

We have seen it in the courage of passengers who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground. Passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight.





KING: Howard Lutnick is the chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, one of Wall Street's top bond brokerage firms. The company employed about 1,000 workers in their World Trade Center office. Normally at 8:45 a.m. Howard would have been hard at work in his WTC office. On September 11, he wasn't.


HOWARD LUTNICK, CHAIRMAN & CEO, CANTOR FITZGERALD: My 5-year-old had his first day of kindergarten, so I had dropped him off at (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Kindergarten, and it was his first day of big-boy school. And then I went -- so I was a little late getting down to the office.

KING: Where were you when all this hit?

LUTNICK: Just leaving the -- just leaving the school. And...

KING: How did you hear about it?

LUTNICK: Just my phone rang, and they said, you know, the building was hit by a plane, and I was thinking it was sort of like a -- a small, like a Piper Cub or something like that. So I got in the car and started driving down the left side trying to get there as fast as I could. And I could see the smoke from downtown, and I was -- I just had to get there.

KING: You had to know with the height of the building and everything that your firm was in a lot of trouble, right? LUTNICK: Yeah, I don't like smoke from the -- smoke from the World Trade Center, so I just had to -- I had to get down there as fast as I could to see if I could find out what was going on and to make sure my people were getting out. So I was scared to death on the way there, but I had to get there.

KING: Your brother was in the building?

LUTNICK: My brother was in the building.

KING: He works for Cantor Fitzgerald?

LUTNICK: He does, on the 104th floor.

KING: How are you dealing with this, Howard?

LUTNICK: Not too well. Not too well.

KING: Have you had -- have you had grief counseling for the employer? How have you set this up? What is this past week, what have you been doing?

LUTNICK: Well, you know, Tuesday, I just -- I don't know what happened Tuesday. I think the day just went by. I just was trying to find people who were alive.

Wed -- you know, we got some calls from people who said anything we can do to help you. And then one of my friends from high schools, Arthur Bacall (ph), who works with The Pierre, called and left a message. And at about 5:00 in the morning I was talking to my wife and she said: Why don't we, why don't we get a hotel somewhere so everyone who, everyone who has a victim can come, and we can, we can all sort of be together?

And so The Pierre was unbelievable. They gave us -- well, they gave us the hotel for -- for all of our family members to come. And it was -- well, I mean, it was nice to be together, but it was the saddest thing ever.

KING: When you got to the building, did you go in at all? Did you try to reach people?

LUTNICK: I stood at the -- I stood at the door and I was yelling at people to get out, sort of standing with the policemen and some firemen, just standing there yelling at people to get out. And I grabbed them as they walked by and said, "What floor are you on, what floor are you on?" And -- because I wanted to go up the building.

So when I first got there, I was yelling at people in the 50s, and the last person before -- before I heard that noise was -- was someone who said they came down from 91. And they -- so I almost got there, but then I heard that noise, and the noise was the No. 2 World Trade Center collapsing. It sounded like a -- it sounded like a jet engine right over my head. Then I just -- I went running and the smoke knocked me over.

KING: I understand that your brother phoned your sister?

LUTNICK: Yeah, he called my sister, and he said that -- he said he was stuck on -- he was trapped on 103 and he wasn't going to make it, and the smoke was coming in and things were bad. And he called her and said goodbye, that he loved her, and for her to tell me that he loved me. And...

KING: Oh my God. This was a very young staff, too, right? Cantor Fitzgerald was known as a lot of young people.

LUTNICK: A lot of young people, early 30s, and a lot of babies. More than -- I think more than 1,500 children on that staff. So a lot, a lot of kids. A lot, a lot of kids.

KING: Have you explained it to your son?

LUTNICK: I told him -- my wife has a brother named Gary, too. So he always had two Uncle Garys. I told him that he only had -- he only has one Uncle Gary. The other Uncle Gary got hurt at work and he -- he can't come -- he can't come over anymore.


KING: Howard, I know how difficult this is and I appreciate you giving of your time. Your image was one of a hard-bitten, as I understand it, tough financial guy. Wall Street respected you a great deal. Is that -- are you different? Are you changed?

LUTNICK: As much as it can be.

KING: You'll never be the same.

LUTNICK: I will never be the same. I mean, every -- every person who came to work for me in New York, every one of them was in the...


... every single one was there. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) anymore. You can't find them, all of them. Every one. Every one.

KING: Does your firm -- how is your firm going to deal with all of these families and the like? Can Americans help you in any way?

LUTNICK: Well, I'll tell you how we decided to deal with it. My partners and I, we talked about it and we decided that what we're going to do is we're going to give 25 percent of the profits of the company to the families of the victims to try to take care of them so they stay part of our family and that we can try to take care of them with our company, because you see they call me and they say: How come you can't pay my salary? Why can't you pay my husband's salary? Other companies pay their salary -- why can't you? But you see I lost...


... I lost everybody in the company, so I can't pay their salary.


They -- they think we're doing something wrong. I can't pay their salaries.


I don't have any money to pay their salaries.

KING: Can America help at all? Can people help, Howard?

LUTNICK: Well, I guess, you know, we're -- the victims, all the families, they're going to stay in the Cantor family and they're going to stay our partners. And so everything that we do, they're going to get 25 percent of whatever we do. So we do business with banks, we do business with broker dealers, and we...

KING: So every dollar you make they get a quarter.

LUTNICK: They get a quarter. So I mean, you know, if every money manager and pension fund just gives us a little bit of business then maybe we'll survive.

KING: Howard, I know how difficult this has been. I thank you. You have the condolences of all of the CNN family and everybody in the world.

LUTNICK: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Hang tough, Howard.

LUTNICK: Thanks.


KING: Cantor Fitzgerald still has more than 700 workers unaccounted for, and they've set up a relief fund for families affected by the tragedy. If you want more information, call 1-800- 446-0500.

When we return: the pregnant widow of an Army major who lost his life at the Pentagon.

And later: the courageous mayor of New York City.


KING: Army Major Kip Taylor was killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. And last week his wife Nancy joined us. She's 8 1/2 months pregnant with their second child.

I asked Nancy where she was that terrible morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, SEPTEMBER 21, 2001) NANCY TAYLOR, ARMY HUSBAND KILLED AT PENTAGON: A week ago Tuesday I was at home, and the phone rang, and it was my sister-in-law Donna who called and asked me if I and Kip were OK, and if everybody was OK. And I said to her, "Donna, why are you asking this? What's going on?" And she said that the Pentagon had been hit by an airplane, and that she didn't want to hold up the phone, but to get off and turn on the television and she would call me back later.

In watching the television and what was going on at the Pentagon, I was immediately alarmed and really frantic. But it took a while for things to evolve. I was very hopeful throughout Tuesday that he was still alive. I heard some reports that were unfavorable. Like I knew that his office was near the helipad. He had told me that he had seen helicopters land and take off from there. And so, that really alarmed me. And then later on, within an hour, I heard it was in the renovated section of the Pentagon, and he had just moved there two months before. I had never been to his office to see him there. But I was very concerned at that time.

KING: How old is your boy?

TAYLOR: We have a son Dean, and he is 21 months.

KING: You ran into President Bush, is that right, last Monday?

TAYLOR: That's correct.

KING: When he went to the Pentagon?

TAYLOR: That's right. I attended a briefing before going to the Pentagon, and I needed to get my husband's car from the parking lot. And the police officer who was escorting my husband's brother Dean and his wife Donna and I through the Pentagon had told us there was going to be a memorial service. And although we didn't attend the memorial service on our way there, it just happened that we -- our paths crossed President Bush's and we were pulled aside, ushered aside.

And as he came down, I decided that this was my opportunity to put a face to this terrible tragedy in the Pentagon. I wanted him to see the face of my husband and to -- to tell him a little bit about him. So I showed him this picture of Kip, I pulled it out of my purse. I took a few steps toward him, I said, "President Bush, this is my husband, Kip Taylor, who was at the Pentagon last Tuesday and has not been found." And he spent two minutes with me, consoling me. He immediately became engaged in consoling me. He embraced me. Kissed me several times on the head, and he comforted me.

We talked about Kip, who he was, what I was going through, and he said the most important thing for me to do was to bring a healthy baby into the world, and he turned toward my husband's brother and his wife and told them that they needed to help me, and he said that they were going to take care of this.


KING: When we return: the heroes of New York City. And later: Ted Olson's final conversation with his wife Barbara.


KING: One can only image the scene in the World Trade Center following the plane crashes. As thousands were trying to get out of the buildings, a courageous group was going in. New York firefighters James Grillo and Kenneth Erb joined us the day after the disaster, and I asked James to describe the scene.


JAMES GRILLO, NEW YORK FIRE DEPARTMENT: It was terror, shear terror. Bodies were falling out of the sky. They were jumping off the 105th floor and they were landing all over the street and the sidewalk. There was fear in everybody's eyes.

KING: You also saw people jumping out of buildings, right?

GRILLO: Yes. They were jumping out from everywhere from the 70th floor above. It was horrible. I saw...

KING: And what were you doing?

GRILLO: I was trying to avoid looking up and watching it, Mr. King. It was horrible. I saw dozens of people jumping.

KING: Now, how did you get hurt, James?

GRILLO: I was -- my assignment with Ladder 24, the company I'm assigned to, we were supposed to go into building No. 2, the south tower and make our way into tower No. 1, the north tower. And we were caught in the collapse in the lobby of tower No. 2, the south tower.

KING: Boy.

Captain Erb, now, you didn't go to the scene, Captain? Is that true?

CAPTAIN KENNETH ERB, NEW YORK FIRE DEPARTMENT: No, I wasn't working that day. I came on in a recall.

KING: You were off and they brought you in?

ERB: They had a recall for all police officers and fire officers as soon as the news struck. The media gave that announcement. And we all, one way or the other, got in, through hitchhiking, get in your car or whatever.

KING: You lost, what, three firefighters from the station on West 31st Street?

ERB: We did. We lost a firefighter, a lieutenant and a captain.

KING: And are you the one that has to inform the nearest relative? ERB: I went out with another former captain last night. Normally, in this circumstance, Father Mychael Judge would be helping us out with this. But, of course, he passed away and he couldn't do it.

KING: Did you lose any friends, Jimmy Grillo?

GRILLO: I lost very many friends, quite a few friends, personal friends. And the fire department is made up, everybody is a friend in the fire department, thousands of men. We're all friends.

But, personally, I've lost quite a few, maybe a dozen personal friends. And it breaks my heart. They were great men. They very great men.


GRILLO: Men with families, men that have babies on the way, men that are husbands, new homeowners. It's tragic.

KING: And after something like this, James, do you ever think of maybe not being a fireman anymore?

GRILLO: I'll be a firemen at least for another 20 years.

KING: So no thought of leaving that...


GRILLO: No, Mr. King, I will always be a fireman here in New York City, protecting the people of New York and my friends.



KING: Barbara Olson made many appearances on this program. Her strong opinions and vibrant personality made her a great guest and a terrific friend. Barbara was a passenger on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. Her husband Ted Olson joined us a few days after the tragedy. He set the scene for a pair of incredible phone calls.


TED OLSON, SOLICITOR GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: The moment that I heard there was hijacked planes, I was both terrified and fearful for everything that was going on. But I made a mental calculation, because the first thing that comes in to your mind is that Barbara's plane, could that be one of those planes? And I thought oh, thank goodness, it can't be her plane. I'm sounding rather selfish here. That just went through my mind because there wasn't enough time for that airplane to have gotten to New York.

Then one of the secretaries rushed in and said, "Barbara is on the phone." And I jumped for the phone, so glad to hear Barbara's voice. And then she told me, "Our plane has been hijacked." This was some time -- must have been 9:15 or 9:30. Someone would have to reconstruct the time for me.

KING: So the television is on. You've see the buildings, both in disaster mode, and you are talking to your wife who has just been hijacked.


KING: And she says?

OLSON: She says we have just been hijacked. I had two conversations, Larry, and my memory is -- tends to mix the two of them up because of the emotion of the events. We spoke for a minute or two, then the phone was cut off. Then we she got through again, and we spoke for another two or three or four minutes. She told me that the plane had been hijacked, that she had been -- she told me that they did not know she was making this phone call.

She told me that she had been herded to the back of the plane. She mentioned that they had used knives and box cutters to hijack the plane. She mentioned that the pilot had announced that the plane had been hijacked. I believe she said that. And she -- I had to tell her about the two airplanes that had hit the World Trade Center.

KING: Why?

OLSON: I just felt that I had to. I had to tell her. I will look back at that and wonder about that same question myself, but I had to tell her.

KING: You're the kind of couple, knowing you guys, you tell each other everything.

OLSON: We are extraordinary close.

KING: This was a mad love affair?

OLSON: Yes, it was. I could not have kept that from her.

KING: What did she say when you told her?

OLSON: I think she must have been partially in shock from the fact that she was on a hijacked plane. She absorbed the information. We then both reassured one another this plane was still up in the air. This plane was still flying, and this was going to come out OK. I told her, "It's going to come out OK." She told me it was going to come out OK. She said, I love you.

KING: Didn't she ask about the pilot? Was the pilot in the back with her then?

OLSON: I don't know. But she told me at one point in this conversation: "What shall I tell the pilot? What can I tell the pilot to do?"

KING: Implying he must have been back there with her. OLSON: Either the pilot or possibly the copilot or part of the crew. That was the implication, but I didn't really think to ask that specific question.

KING: Did she sound terrified, anxious, nervous, scared?

OLSON: No, she didn't. She sounded very, very calm.

KING: Typical Barbara.

OLSON: In retrospect, enormously, remarkably, incredibly calm. But she was calculating -- I mean, she was wondering "What can I do to help solve this problem?" Barbara was like that. Barbara could not have not done something.

KING: What's going through you?

OLSON: My -- I am in -- I guess I'm in shock. And I'm horrified because I really -- while I had reassured her that I thought everything was going to be OK, I was pretty sure everything was not going to be OK. I by this time, had made the calculation that these were suicide persons, bent on destroying as much of America as they could.

KING: How does the second conversation end?

OLSON: We are -- we segued back and forth between expressions of feeling for one another and this effort to exchange information. And then the phone went dead. I don't know whether it just got cut off again, because the signals from cell phones coming from airplanes don't work that well, or whether that was the impact with the Pentagon.

It was not -- I stayed glued to my television. I did call the command center again. Someone came down so I can impart this information and also to be there in case she called again. But it was very shortly thereafter that news reports on the television indicated that there had been an explosion of some sort at the Pentagon.

KING: Did you immediately know then that's what it was?

OLSON: I did. I mean I didn't want to. I did and I didn't want to, but I knew. But it was a long time before what had happened at the Pentagon -- or it seemed like a long time -- before it was identified as an airplane. Then the first report that I heard was that it was a commuter plane, and then I heard it was an American Airlines plane.

I called some people, I guess maybe just because I had to share the dread that was living with me. I called my mother and I called my son. I said I didn't think -- I thought that -- I was hoping that it wasn't true, but I was very worried. I did not want them to see something on television and hear her name.

KING: You told me about one thing last night, which just tore Shawn and my heart out. When you finally went to bed on Tuesday night, the end of this harrowing day, you find a note.


KING: What was it?

OLSON: Barb -- I left the home a little before 6:00, as I said. And Barbara left not long thereafter to catch the plane. And it was my birthday. And when I finally went to bed, it was after 1:00 on -- now it was September 12. There was a note that Barbara had written to me on the pillow, saying, "I love you. When you read this, I will be thinking of you and I will be back on -- I will be back Friday."

There were a few more words than that, but I just, that was a -- extraordinarily special and very much like Barbara. And I'm grateful that she did that.



KING: Michael Hingson has been blind since birth. He was on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center on September 11, in the No. 1 building. He managed to escape with the help of a colleague and his guide dog Roselle.


MICHAEL HINGSON, EYEWITNESS: I thought it was some sort of an explosion at first. My colleague David Frank looked out the window as soon as the building stopped shaking and said there's fire above us. I could hear debris falling. And he said, "There's just debris falling everywhere."

KING: So your first thought now is to get out. You're also blind. So you're working on senses as well?

HINGSON: Absolutely. But I knew where the stairwells were. David could see. He and I were the last out of the office. There were guests in the office as well. They went out first. We got them out. And then we went out.

KING: And down 78 floors?

HINGSON: Down 78 floors.

KING: What role did the dog play?

HINGSON: She guided. She did a tremendous job.

KING: The dog is with you, we understand, Michael?

HINGSON: Roselle, sit. I don't know whether you can see her.

KING: We see her. Beautiful dog.

HINGSON: She is a good girl. KING: And a brave dog.

HINGSON: She is.

KING: You are walking down 78 floors. You have a friend with you and you've got your dog. Are you scared?

HINGSON: No question. I was very concerned. I didn't hear the second plane hit, but we knew that at that time something had happened. We figured that a plane had hit the building because I could smell -- we all could smell jet fuel fumes. So we knew there was something going on.

KING: How about other people on the stairway?

HINGSON: Yes, and I'm referring to them as well. There were a lot of people going down the stairs, especially when we got down into the levels around floor 40 and so on.

KING: When you're blind, do you fear they will push right by you? Knock you over?

HINGSON: No, I wasn't so concerned about that. I stayed on the right-hand side. There was plenty of room for people to pass if they wanted to do that. And some did.

KING: Was it true some people were cheering you?

HINGSON: There were people that were doing that. I was cheering other people. We all cheered the firemen and the police and those who went upstairs. We were very concerned for them. We slapped them on the backs, they were being very supportive. "Do you need help? Are you OK?" they would ask us. And we asked them, "Are you all OK? Go get them, do everything you can. Our faith is in you."

KING: Did the firemen talk to you?


KING: Saying?

HINGSON: Are you OK? Is somebody with you? Don't worry. You'll be out OK. Just don't be scared. Just keep going, you're going to do fine.


KING: Danny Lee was a set carpenter for the Backstreet Boys. On September 11 he was headed back to Los Angeles for the birth of his second child. Two days after Danny's plane crashed into the World Trade Center, his wife had the baby.

Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, SEPTEMBER 17, 2001) KELLY LEE, VICTIM'S WIFE: I still haven't even comprehended it yet. It was really hard going in to give birth to her, because he should have been there. And it was supposed to be a joyous occasion, and it was awfully sad.

KING: Because she was born without a father.

LEE: She'll never know him.

KING: How old is your other daughter?

LEE: Two-and-a-half.

KING: Does she comprehend this at all?

LEE: She thinks daddy will be home in five minutes.

KING: That's her...

LEE: Because he was gone a lot, so she thinks he's still at work.

KING: Because he traveled.

LEE: Right.

KING: Do the Backstreet Boys know about this and everything?

TOM WHITFORD, VICTIM'S FATHER-IN-LAW: Yes, they -- they did a tribute in Toronto, Canada...


WHITFORD: ... for Dan.

KING: To raise some money?

WHITFORD: I don't know if that was to raise money or not...

KING: Was he insured?

LEE: No.

KING: Not insured?

LEE: The application for insurance came the day after, actually. We were looking into it, because he traveled so much.

KING: Maybe that would -- God, that would be terrible -- were you close to him, Tom?

WHITFORD: We were getting to know each other, because we live in Erie, Pennsylvania, and we didn't know him that well, but anything that Kelly -- if she loved him, we did too. And he spent 10 days with us looking for a home, because we were moving them back or moving them to Erie. So, I did get to know him, yes. KING: What kind of guy was he, Kelly?

LEE: He was wonderful. He was very, he was just very family oriented, very loving, and very funny, humorous.

KING: Did you fear danger with the pregnancy at all with this kind of emotional trauma?

LEE: Everyone was afraid I was going to give birth on Tuesday, and I didn't want her to have the same birth day as her dad's...

KING: Oh, the same -- you didn't want it to be...

LEE: The same day.

KING: ... September 11th.

LEE: Right. So, luckily she waited.

KING: Can I see the baby?

LEE: Oh, sure. You want to...

KING: Now, I've held some cute babies...

LEE: She's really good.

KING: Boy, is she good. Hey, look. This is Allison. Allison Lee. A beautiful girl.

LEE: Thank you.



KING: New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has earned international acclaim for his actions throughout this crisis. After watching the next couple of segments, we think you'll understand why.


MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI, NEW YORK: When I first found out about it, I was just finishing a breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. I was notified that there was a -- that something had struck the World Trade Center. And the first notification was that it was a twin engine plane. So we rushed down -- we rushed down to the trade center, and on the way down we found out that it was large plane. And while we were going down, the second plane hit. And maybe about three minutes before we got there, and I realized at that point that it was a terrorist attack when the second plane hit.

KING: In all off all wildest imaginations, your dreams of protection, the areas you take in place to prevent something, this -- you could never have fathomed this. GIULIANI: No. You really can't. I mean -- we -- we would go through, you know, I go back to the era like you do of nuclear disaster and preparations for it. And I was in the Ford administration and in the Reagan administration, so I know a lot of the federal preparedness for that kind of thing. So sure, you know, you thought about it like in an intellectual way.

Or -- but you once you see it actually happen, when I have time I reflect on it and I look at the devastation. And just a minute ago when I was walking in here, I said to someone, "I cannot believe that somebody actually did this to New York City, that they did this to our city. How could they attack two buildings, and -- we have five to six thousand people missing. That is one of the largest military attacks in history.

KING: You just spoke to the relatives of firefighters. What do you say? How do you handle that?

GIULIANI: I don't know how you handle it. We had -- we have 332 firefighters missing, and EMS workers. And we had them all together at the Hilton Hotel with the governor and the fire commissioner and the remaining high command of the fire department, because we lost our number two and number three ranking fire officers.

And you just -- you just try and offer them as much help as you can. As much practical help as you can. Trying to you know, locate their loved ones, trying to help them with benefits that they are going to need. Letting them know that their children are not going to be unprotected, that there is a whole fire department, city and country that is ready to at least lend the financial support that is necessary make sure that these kids have the future they would have had if their father had made it.

KING: The world loves New York tonight. What does New York need the most? What do you need from people?

GIULIANI: We are getting it. There is absolutely nothing that we need that we are not getting. I spoke to the president's chief of staff today. I told him that, and spoke to a whole delegation of senators and Congressmen. We are getting everything that we need. There isn't a thing that we ask for that we are not getting, and there are things that we are getting that we haven't asked for. We have search-and-rescue teams here from Los Angeles, from Chicago, from Indianapolis, from Tampa from -- from all over the country.

And they are good. They are enormously effective and they are relieving our firefighters, and this is -- and New Yorkers have the feeling, and not just the feeling, the reality -- that we are one nation, we are absolutely together, the entire country is helping us, the amount of money that we have been able to raise so far for the families of the firefighters, and the police officers, and ems workers that we have lost, I haven't even been able to count it. I mean, it is staggering.

I was able to go stand in front of all of these -- many of them -- many of them, you know women with children, who -- their first concern, obviously, is recovering their husband. But then somewhere in the back of their minds is the fear that -- of just practical things you are going to need in life. At least I can tell them that we can take care of. That is because of the generosity of Americans.



QUESTION: Mayor, what's the situation right now?

GIULIANI: The situation is that two airplanes attacked, apparently -- What? All right, then let's go north, then.

QUESTION: Do you know, basically, what happened to the airplanes.

GIULIANI: Come with us!





DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: In this one small measure, if you're like me, and you're watching and you're confused and depressed and irritated and angry and full of grief, and you don't know how to behave and you're not sure what to do, and you don't really -- because we've never been through this before. All you had to do at any moment was watch the mayor. Watch how this guy behaved. Watch how this guy conducted himself. Watch what this guy did. Listen to what this guy said.

Rudolph Giuliani is the personification of courage.


KING: You realize there, Mayor, that Letterman was expressing the thoughts of millions of people, not just New Yorkers last night. How do you feel when you hear something like that?

GIULIANI: I feel humbled by it, and the reality is I'm just reflecting the way most New Yorkers in my position would act. Larry, you are a New Yorker and you know what they are like, right?

KING: I do.

GIULIANI: I'm just reflecting -- I'm just reflecting the way they are. I can't tell you how proud I am of the way they handled themselves last Tuesday. I mean, when -- they were attacked unlike any other civilian population in America has ever been attacked, and they conducted themselves with great bravery and great dignity. We didn't have a situation in which people were trampling each other. They evacuated, they ran appropriately, when they had to, to get away from danger, so we could preserve as many people as possible. But weren't trampling each other, they weren't taking advantage of each other, they were helping each other.

These are extremely strong people. And I just reflect them. And it is not just New Yorkers. I think I just reflect what Americans are like. I think this would have been same case if it had happened in any other American city or suburban area or rural area.

KING: Churchill once said, our finest hour. You have shown that Churchillian effect here. I salute you and I thank you for...

GIULIANI: Larry, New Yorkers have. They have shown their finest hour.


KING: So many incredible people; so many powerful stories. We leave you with images set to the National Anthem, and the performer is my wife, Shawn King. Good night.







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