Friday, December 5, 2008

The Waukegan IL News Sun Sept. 12, 2001

For fairness' sake I have to post this. It seems the Associated Press has a tidy verification here in a little known newspaper piece, where Dan Moran of The Waukegan Illinois News Sun cheats by copying out his September 11th, AP News Alert's as a literary structure for a opinion piece published the next day, the 12th.

Found only at HighBeam. I may demand a hard copy of newsprint for my own verification. The HighBeam page has no history at

Thank God I got here before The Complete 9/11 Timeline did. Time will tell!

Dan Moran. "We struggle to grasp historical firsts of Sept. 11, 2001." News Sun, The (Waukegan, IL). 2001. HighBeam Research. 4 Dec. 2008 <>

'We struggle to grasp historical firsts of Sept. 11, 2001'

Historic days don't come with red-lettered warnings on the refrigerator calendar. They start the way Tuesday did, with the late summer sun climbing through a pristine sky, promising a bland but nice-looking day of routine.

7:51 a.m. AP News Alert NEW YORK: Plane crashes into World Trade Center, according to television reports.

My old Portage Park paisan Tom Karas was literally just arriving for work, settling into his cubicle halfway up the Sears Tower.

He checked the voice mail and the e-mail and was just about to catch breakfast at the company cafe when time caught up to him.

"I heard some people outside my cube saying something about a plane crashing into one of the World Trade Center buildings," Tom said, "then as soon as they said that, one of our operators came over the intercom saying we had to evacuate."

At that moment, the last moment before America would lose yet another measure of innocence, Tom told me his basic thought: "Wait a minute ... a plane hits a tower in New York and we're being told to go home? I don't understand."

He soon would, as would we all.

8:07 a.m. AP News Alert NEW YORK: Plane crashes into second World Trade Center tower.

To paraphrase Ian Fleming, once is chance, twice is enemy action.

"Immediately, the light bulb went off," Tom said."By the time I got down to the lobby, the whole building was being evacuated."

Tom said when he tried to get out of Union Station around 8:30 a.m., "more people were coming into the city than going out." But tens of thousands would eventually begin an orderly retreat from the financial heart of Chicago and the Midwest.

Other friends I talked to who work in the downtown canyons spoke of feeling nervous but never panicked as they headed home to watch what was taking place half a country away yet right in our back yard.

8:41 a.m. AP News Alert WASHINGTON: An aircraft has crashed into the Pentagon, witnesses say.

By this time, all our TVs were on.

Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw were already on the air, taking the helm of live coverage.

Those with long memories flashed back to the night the Gulf War started, the morning when Challenger blew up, the afternoon Reagan was shot.

Longer memories flashed back to Nov. 22, 1963.

And the longest memories recalled Dec. 7, 1941. Veteran News Sun reader H.O. Peters of Wildwood was enjoying a relaxed morning when he got a call from his son to turn on the TV. When Peters saw the devastation, he said out loud, "this is Pearl Harbor revisited." His sentiment would be reflected all over the dial, all day.

Let the debates begin over which watershed moment held the most water.

9:05 a.m. APNewsAlert FLASH NEW YORK: One World Trade Center tower collapses.

Dan Rather had just taken to the air and, in his best attempt to be Uncle Walter Cronkite, urged us to be "steady ... steady." But there it was, a sight only seen before in Michael Bay movies: A fortress of American largess, sinking inward like a pile of cigar ash.

They say Hollywood banned cinematic views through telescopic sights after the Kennedy assassination.

We can assume it will be years before another Independence Day shows us an American symbol exploding in spectacular fashion.

9:27 a.m. AP News Alert FLASH NEW YORK: Second World Trade Center tower collapses.

What had been unthinkable only 20 minutes earlier had happened again with a sudden, numbing sameness ... on live television.

I remembered a visit to New York in 1983, a ride to the top of the Empire State Building.

The words of a heavily-accented Noo Yawk elevator operator rang in my mind: "I wouldn't go up the World Trade Center.

That place is a fire trap." Now it was gone, in a manner even that guy probably never imagined.

9:36 a.m. AP News Alert PITTSBURGH: Large plane crashes in western Pennsylvania, officials at Somerset County Airport confirm.

What would normally be the lead story on another news day was relegated to a sidebar.

In its wake would flow one unsubstantiated rumor after another: the Pittsburgh plane was headed to Camp David before it crashed; more commercial flights were unaccounted for; bombs were going off all over Washington; a plane was flying up the Potomac River, possibly targeting the White House.

Anything and everything suddenly seemed possible.

Then the fires started to go out, the recovery efforts began and the Talking Heads took over on TVs, calling for our pound of flesh or restraint or prayers or a combination of all three.

We struggled to grasp the historical firsts: an unprecedented number of American civilians had been victimized on our soil by enemy forces, our government had been sent into bunkers, our cross- country transportation network was crippled, our financial houses were in disarray, our sporting events were canceled and tens of millions were feeling a mix of fear and fury.

And so we digested a headline used by one and all: America Under Attack.

For one day only, Sept. 11, 2001, the media could not overstate the case.

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