I awoke the morning of September 11th in the usual manner. Around 9 a.m. I turned on the television, which happened to be on a news channel. There was something unusual taking place, and this time it was not the usual LA car chase. This particular morning the news anchors were not talking about the usual trivialities; instead there was live coverage of something big taking place in downtown Manhattan. Though I still felt half asleep, I was trying to focus on the television, whereas I saw smoke billowing from the World Trade Center Towers. Although I couldn’t see the second tower I was sure that it must be hidden behind the plumes of smoke. The news anchor spoke about how the missing tower had just collapsed. That woke me up. The news was big and my phone started ringing. All my friends and family members were calling to see if I knew about this historic tragedy.
I was not leaving my television. Every channel I turned to dealt with the events unfolding in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. All the top network news anchors were on the job, which spoke to the seriousness of the situation. I flipped channels and there I saw Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, and Peter Jennings were in prime form.
Still, no matter what channel my television was tuned to the images were the same, different angles of the planes slamming into the Towers, people jumping from top floors, mass chaos, and utter disbelief. It was surreal, the scenes unfolding on my television screen didn’t appear real, they looked too Hollywoodish, except there were no super-heroes to save the day.
Then there was the reasoning and commentaries. Anchors talked about how the inconceivable had happened, how terrorism had come into America, and about how this might be the start of a middle-east war. The biggest worry, of course, was what was going to happen next? However, it would be a few hours before the public would hear from President George W. Bush, who was skirted away by the Secret Service into Air Force One, and then taken to one military base after another. Finally, that evening the President spoke. He stirred already raw emotions by remarking, “a faceless coward had attacked freedom itself.” He also said, “Make no mistake the United States will hunt down those responsible for these cowardly acts.”(President George W. Bush). Later that evening from the White House, the President addressed the nation saying, “Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.” (President George W. Bush)
Network news anchors used the resources of experts, retired military personnel and scholars alike speculated about motives and presumed suspects of the day’s events. Despite the Oklahoma...