|SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE SECTION|
Lest we forget
September 11, 2002
Americans feel touch of evil; fury spurs unity
By Frank J. Murray
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Defense Department relied on its storied gift for naming challenges when it christened "Phoenix Project" to rebuild, by today, the sections of the Pentagon crushed by the deadly terrorist assault exactly one year ago.
The goal was to have workers watching from their new office windows in the Pentagon's outermost E Ring at 9:37 a.m. when that massive U.S. flag again is unfurled from the roof and President Bush formally dedicates the reconstructed building atop the former fire pit. It will be one year to the minute after hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon.
In retrospect, the symbolism of a magnificent bird that reproduces by rising anew from the ashes of its own fiery death seems apt. We were, after all, a nation in shock and trying to rally after the sneak attacks that killed a total of 3,062 persons — cremating most of them — on a crystal blue morning that seems so long ago.
The two imposing towers of the World Trade Center in New York, crumpled in unimaginable heaps. A huge hole blown in the military's suddenly vulnerable headquarters across the Potomac from Washington. The wreckage in a nameless cornfield in Shanksville, Pa., that followed the defiant marching order: "Let's roll."
The fire and death inflicted pain felt far beyond those immediate scenes. The Islamic terrorists commanded by Osama bin Laden used four hijacked airliners to spew wide-ranging terror.
As many as one in every five Americans knew someone missing, hurt or killed September 11, according to the Pew Research Center, which said that number soared to 59 percent among New Yorkers.
United, these and other Americans rose to speak for the dead.
Just as it did after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the nation responded as though the horror visited upon thousands of innocents had happened to us all. Ordinary folks stood resolute behind a sea of American flags, honoring the hundreds of firefighters and police officers who died saving thousands of others but also persevering in the face of uncertainty, risk and a financial crunch.
President Bush called it war in a stirring speech to Congress. He vowed immediate retaliation against the Taliban regime and bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network in Afghanistan, as well as the financial supporters of terrorists of global reach wherever they were found.
"It's hard to envision a plot so devious as the one they pulled off on 9/11," said Mr. Bush, who counted more than 2,400 arrested here and abroad by officers sent to fulfill his pledge "to know the plans of terrorists before they act, and find them before they strike."
The September 11 plot was so hard to envision, in fact, that federal aviation officials say they didn't know what to do that day. They simply couldn't grasp the idea that hijackers who commandeered four planes at once wouldn't hold hostages and make demands, as hijackers always did.
High on the list of mistakes and missed opportunities seen so clearly in the rear-view mirror was an electronic message, intercepted Sept. 10 by the National Security Agency but not translated until Sept. 12, that said the next day was "zero hour."
Specialists in mass psychology say anxiety levels soared, not just near the attack sites but across the country. They say the spontaneous displays of flags and "Wanted: Dead or Alive" posters of bin Laden — to say nothing of the re-embrace of God's comfort — revealed a yearning to unite behind someone in control.
"The things they used to take for granted aren't there anymore," psychologist John Clizbe says. "The lack of confidence was immobilizing."
Mr. Clizbe on September 11 headed disaster relief at the American Red Cross, which reasoned that an army of volunteers could help themselves even if there was nothing practical for them to do.
"It's healthy, focusing people on events that are manageable and within their spheres of influence," Mr. Clizbe says, noting that the outpouring of volunteerism was thwarted in grim ways. "Three or four thousand physicians showed up to take care of the injured in New York, and there was nothing for them to do. Thousands of people came in to give blood and it wasn't needed."
New York's rescue operations fell into that category, according to an official report on ground zero: Authorities knew almost immediately that a snaking "bucket brigade" to remove debris served little purpose except to allow hundreds of participants to feel like they were helping. For that reason, the effort was allowed to continue.
• • •
Early casualty estimates were much higher than the final official toll. Arlington County Fire Chief Ed Plaugher's first "rough estimate" was up to 800 dead at the Pentagon. The official count: 184, including 125 on the ground, plus four hijackers.
New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on Sept. 24 put the death toll at the World Trade Center at 6,453 and rising. For a reading of names scheduled today, the city's revised total was 2,819. That does not include 10 hijackers.
James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, summed up the fears early on when he asked: "How can you stop something like this without anti-aircraft guns sitting on top of buildings?"
In the absence of armed sky marshals — fewer than 1,500 patrol the more than 32,000 daily passenger flights, says Sen. Conrad Burns, Montana Republican — many believe guns in the hands of pilots would be the next best thing.
"I've never met a door that couldn't be opened or a pilot who has ever seen an air marshal," says Mr. Burns, who favors allowing firearms-trained pilots who want guns to have them.
Reassurance became Job One. It was vital that Americans believed air travel was safe, the economy would recover despite a cascade of business failures and that terrorists and their cohorts would be hunted down.
A furious debate arose over arrest and detention procedures as authorities rounded up suspects and "enemy combatants" here and abroad.
The FBI and other agencies made arrests and searches without disclosing names. Officials jailed material witnesses pending testimony to a grand jury. Authorities held court hearings that were closed to suspects' families, the public and the press.
Some prisoners were held without being allowed to consult a lawyer, including hundreds detained in a new prison camp at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. The unrealized specter of trial before military tribunals added to an outcry that was not confined to the American Civil Liberties Union.
A few trial judges issued orders that the government admit the press to some immigration hearings, release the names of those detained for immigration reasons and justify holding a civilian at a military base without a lawyer. But those decisions were put on hold as lengthy legal appeals began.
In a "new normal" frame of mind, Americans tolerated searches and ID checks under the guns of police and National Guard troops. They watched as officials drafted plans to evacuate New York, Washington and other large cities in case of new attacks. But many wondered if ever again they could feel safe.
The government's "Homeland Security Advisory System," set up March 12 amid great fanfare, includes color codes for five "threat conditions": green for "low" threat, blue for "guarded," yellow for "elevated," orange for "high" and red for "severe." In the system's first five months, the threat level yellow never was changed, even as the Web page on which it appeared (www.whitehouse.gov/homeland) was accessed 9.7 million times.
Many were annoyed that the government offered no details to explain the oft-cited "credible nonspecific threats." One reality: None of those threats is known to have panned out. Even so, Las Vegas nearly was shut down on the Fourth of July, and the fireworks over the Mall in Washington cast their sparkling light over the tightest security in peacetime memory.
Gordon Johnroe, spokesman for the White House's Homeland Security Office, attributes the recent drop in flight reservations in general, and cancellations of airline service for today, to "market forces" with no known security basis.
"I don't know if they're afraid to fly or simply staying home to attend memorial services," he says.
Many Americans took to the road. Colonial Williamsburg matched its crowds from last year, Gettysburg tourism was up almost 5.9 percent. Fort McHenry, where a star-spangled banner inspired the national anthem, logged 6.3 percent more visitors.
Much of the government's less-visible effort to secure the nation aims at detecting weapons of mass destruction. Fewer ships are searched offshore by the Coast Guard, as Customs Service agents move surveillance of cargo container ships to ports as far away as the Netherlands and Singapore and scan for radiation or chemical and biological contamination.
Kevin P. Mitchell, who operates the Business Travel Coalition, blames al Qaeda for the devastating impact on air travel but says the wave of economic harm thrives on a lack of solid information.
"I think it's going to be a couple years before airlines get over the impact of the anniversary. The most specific warning since 9/11 is that there is a 35 percent to 65 percent chance a cargo bomb would be planted on a U.S. aircraft," Mr. Mitchell says derisively.
Even so, the flagging national spirit quickly ascended again from the hellish hole in the New York skyline where jet-fueled flames would burn for months, at times above 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The rebound seemed to begin just three days after the attack, when the president visited ground zero workers who had not lost hope of finding survivors.
As hard hats chanted "U.S.A., U.S.A." and shouted that they could not hear him, Mr. Bush grabbed a megaphone to bellow: "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."
• • •
When hostilities slowed in Afghanistan in late summer, U.S. Central Command counted 46 U.S. dead and 210 wounded in "Operation Enduring Freedom." Troop strength in Afghanistan was falling by then from a peak of 9,000 in July.
Hostile fire accounted for 24 dead and 114 wounded, with the other 22 dead and 96 injured from "nonhostile" causes. Some 130,000 reservists and National Guard troops were called to active duty after September 11, with peak strength reaching 93,200 on duty in March.
• • •
As battered as the economy was by terrorism, business boomed for defense contractors and companies that make security equipment or American flags.
Wal-Mart stores alone sold 115,000 American flags on September 11 and 200,500 more the next day, spokeswoman Karen Burk says. The total rose to 4.96 million flags sold by May 23, compared with 1.18 million during the similar period a year earlier.
"We got overwhelmed, overwhelmed beyond belief," recalls Chris Baugh, whose "mom and pop" Web site www.americanflagstore.com offers flags with sewn stripes and embroidered stars rather than the cheap printed versions. "Other flag companies were put out of business because the crush of business made them too big too fast."
A Gallup Poll after September 11 found that 82 percent of respondents said they displayed the flag. Six months later, that number was 68 percent.
Still, a decision by ABC News rankled when Canadian-born anchor Peter Jennings withdrew an invitation for country singer Toby Keith to open an Independence Day special with his hit single, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)." Mr. Keith said he was told his patriotic blast at al Qaeda was too angry and too vulgar.
Entertainment stars of all stripes — from Julia Roberts and Robert De Niro to Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Alan Jackson — joined ranks soon after the attacks to offer their talents as fund-raising instruments or simply to lift the national mood.
• • •
Nobility was not universal. About 60 people filed fraudulent claims for relatives who never existed or were not casualties. New York City workers passed the word that Municipal Credit Union ATMs were supplying money without posting withdrawals to accounts.
Credit union officials were not amused when 4,000 of 300,000 members overdrew their accounts by more than $1,000, or that many later scorned offers to let them repay the money as loans. Arrest warrants were issued for 101 persons who overdrafted at least $7,500.
• • •
The U.S. military practiced for events similar to those of September 11 four months earlier in a classified exercise, Unified Vision 2001, designed to plan for what the Pentagon now calls "the first war of the 21st century."
"Nostradamus couldn't have nailed the first battle of the next war any closer than we did," says Dave Ozolek, assistant director of the exercise, which linked Central Command, Special Operations Command and Joint Forces Command. "This time we got it right."
But Mr. Ozolek admits the May 2001 exercise badly underestimated the severity of the attacks, miscalculated that the enemy would attack military installations and not civilians, and didn't expect such a confrontation until about 2007.
A spokesman for Joint Forces Command refuses to specify whether the Pentagon was among military sites where such an attack was anticipated.
Unified Vision tested the ability of the military's provisional Homeland Security Joint Force to respond in the aftermath "of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia." The exercise determined that U.S. military forces could not win on their own and must collaborate with agencies that specialize in intelligence, diplomacy, finances and trade.
• • •
The sudden eruption of anthrax attacks via postal mail in October led to debate over whether there was a link to foreign terrorists other than opportunism by the unknown criminal who mailed the deadly envelopes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said five persons died and 18 were sickened, seven with skin anthrax and 11 with inhalation anthrax.
• • •
The audacious terrorist assaults September 11 shattered American complacency about aviation safety. Doubts festered over whether new systems would recognize another attack, much less repel it.
The core of the new effort appears to be an open telephone line — an unbroken conference call that was placed September 11 and continues to this day — linking air traffic controllers and military officers who hope their response never again will falter.
"These were not the hijack systems we trained for and planned for over the years," explains Bill Peacock, the Federal Aviation Administration's director of air traffic. "Will we react better from now on? Absolutely. We can analyze what we know now, that an airplane can be turned into a weapon."
The FAA made changes aimed at more quickly recognizing when an airliner's electronic identifier vanishes from radar screens. The agency is working to make it more difficult for hijackers to turn off the transponder, the cockpit device that updates ground radar on the plane's status. Other new procedures will alert all air traffic controllers to incidents outside their sectors.
The FAA cannot explain why none of the four hijacked pilots was able to transmit the transponder code "7500," which alerts controllers to an emergency and allows them to track the plane more easily.
The last word from American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston came at 8:13 a.m., but it was almost a half hour before the awful truth became evident.
FAA officials blame confusion for the delay in recognizing the emergency until 15 minutes after controllers first heard a hijacker inadvertently announce by radio: "We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you'll be OK." That statement, the first of three, was recorded at 8:24:38 a.m.
North American Air Defense Command was not notified until 8:40 a.m, six minutes after the final such broadcast. Flight 11 hit the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. carrying 76 passengers, a crew of 11 and five hijackers.
A controller at Boston Center replied several times, asking whether the missing Flight 11 was calling. There was no answer.
At 9:02 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175, also out of Boston and carrying 51 passengers, a crew of nine and five hijackers, hit the south tower in a calamity captured by live television.
"We didn't know where the transmission came from, what was said and who said it," Mr. Peacock, the FAA's air traffic director, says in reply to questions from The Washington Times.
"The broadcast wasn't attributed to a flight. Nobody gave a flight number," adds Dave Canoles, director of the FAA emergency operations and communications center created after the attacks.
For whatever reasons, the disappearance of four airliners from their electronic highways didn't trigger major alarms until two of them ripped fiery gashes in the World Trade Center towers.
"The point at which I knew that things had gone beyond expectations came when American Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center," recalls Mike McCormick, who was in charge of New York's air traffic control that day.
"We've heard nothing but praise about the controllers, but surely after that first crash they had to know these other planes were hijacked," says one skeptical official, who holds a key position in the federal aviation sector but refused to be identified.
Transcripts of tapes related to three of the flights contain no sign that controllers realized hijackings were under way, even after one terrorist used the radio rather than the public address system to warn passengers to stay quiet. "Don't try to make any stupid moves," he said.
The last of three messages from the two Boston-based planes was broadcast at 8:34 a.m., about when Flight 175 turned over southern New Jersey back toward New York City and about 29 minutes before it hit the south tower.
Controllers at Indianapolis Center appeared unaware of the hijackings until told of them at 9:09 a.m. by an American Airlines dispatcher to whom they turned for help in contacting Flight 77, missing after takeoff from Washington Dulles International Airport.
After routine radio messages and a controller's "Good luck" wish, Flight 77's transponder signal was lost about 8:50 a.m.
"We were talking to him. All of a sudden it just, uh," the Indianapolis controller explained to American's dispatcher at 8:58:36. "Now he's not talking to me, so we don't know exactly what happened to him."
While hijacked Flight 77 was turning back east toward Washington, confused Indianapolis controllers were clearing traffic to the west on the assumption the airliner would continue on its flight plan despite the loss of radio and radar contact. Although a military observer was at the emergency operations center in Herndon that day, North American Air Defense Command was not notified formally of Flight 77's wanderings until 9:24 a.m.
One minute later, the hijacked airliner was spotted again by controllers at Dulles Airport, from which it had departed more than an hour earlier. Flight 77 appeared to follow the route of Interstate 66 to the Alexandria area, turn sharply right and circle several miles south of the Beltway before lining up over Springfield Mall for the direct hit on the Pentagon.
The Secret Service was notified at 9:33 a.m., triggering an emergency evacuation from the White House. The crew of a C130 taking off from Andrews Air Force Base was asked to look for the intruder, and the pilot saw a Boeing airliner moving low and fast. Two minutes later, at 9:37 a.m., Flight 77 — carrying 53 passengers, a crew of six and five hijackers — rammed into Wedge One of the Pentagon.
The FAA "questioned" who controlled eight other planes believed to have been hijacked, including a Korean airliner over Canada that transmitted the "7500" hijack code. The FAA says the pilot panicked; he says he thought a controller asked him to send the signal.
At 9:45 a.m., the FAA ordered all 5,104 civilian planes under instrument control to land immediately. They had all landed by 12:15 p.m.
The confirmed count of four simultaneous hijackings was unprecedented in aviation history.
"There had to be other planes involved. That's something that nobody really looked at," one aviation agency official says of published reports that would-be hijackers on other "questionable flights" decided not to act or had their flights detoured as the alarm spread.
Mr. Peacock explains that the order to land planes was based in part on the possibility that other hijackings might be set to occur at a destination or time that hadn't yet arrived.
"If you land early, the timing is shot," Mr. Peacock says, without giving any sign of whether the FAA believes the maneuver thwarted other hijackings.
Cell-phone calls from the ground alerted passengers on United Flight 93 out of Newark, N.J. to the fate of the other three hijacked planes. Controllers linked by radio heard a Flight 93 hijacker say, "Take your seats, we have a bomb on board."
In her new book "Let's Roll," September 11 widow Lisa Beamer writes that the cockpit recorder and phone conversations show her husband Todd and other passengers attacked the cockpit and its hijackers, using boiling water and a serving cart "to ram the enemy."
Mrs. Beamer's book says the hijackers fought back and tried to cut off oxygen to quell the passenger rebellion. As yet there is no official version of what took place.
Flight 93 (also operating as Air Canada Flight AC4085) was last seen flying low over Stony Creek Township in western Pennsylvania, wings waggling side to side at an estimated 575 mph. The astonishing velocity would put the airliner near the speed of sound when it hit the ground at 10:07 a.m. at Shanksville.
• • •
By November, JetBlue Airlines led the industry in lining cockpit doors with bulletproof Kevlar and adding titanium deadbolt locks, two on the hinge side and two on the latch side. JetBlue says doors on its 26 Airbus A320s are engineered to withstand ramming by a 300-pound load on a beverage cart, the likeliest such weapon on an airliner. Pilots monitor the passenger compartment via four mini TV cameras, two hidden.
• • •
New airport security checkpoints became the bane of travelers, who questioned why fear of being accused of racial profiling would lead guards to focus on old women and children as often as young Arabic men.
Muslim-Americans complained of an uptick in hate crimes and racial profiling in their communities. Famed evangelist Billy Graham's son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, stood by his remarks that the Islamic hijackers claimed to act for Allah and responsible Muslim clergymen had done little to set the record straight.
"The silence is frightening," Mr. Graham said. "How come they haven't reassured the American people that this is not true Islam and that these people are not acting in the name of Allah?"
A Muslim cleric responded during a memorial service in Shanksville.
"The first thing hijacked was our name and our religion," said Imam Fouad El Bayly of the Islamic Center of Johnstown, Pa. "We cannot condemn a nation or a religion for a single act, a criminal act against humanity."
Much was made of the fact that the 19 successful Saudi and Egyptian hijackers cleared security under identities that authorities knew them by, even though nine were taken aside for extra attention.
CIA and FBI information on Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi prompted their names to be added to immigration and State Department watch lists on Aug. 23. But the men already were in the United States, and intelligence agencies didn't begin sharing such information with airlines until after the attacks.
Alhazmi bought a ticket Aug. 27 on American Airlines Flight 77, using a credit card in his own name. He is listed in the San Diego telephone directory. He owned a Toyota Corolla in which he got a ticket for driving 85 mph in a 70 mph zone.
Many of the other hijackers had similar police contacts or visa problems, but were not hampered in preparations that included flight school instruction on how to handle airliners.
Although the FAA says little on the topic, watch lists now are linked to the Computer-Aided Passenger Pre-Screening system that helps select persons for extra security checks or luggage searches.
"What passes for security at most airports in this country is a result of what we, the flying public, have been willing to put up with," says Robert Monetti, president of the Victims of Pan Am 103.
"Ninety percent of the value added to airline security since September 11 was to secure the cockpits," the Business Travel Coalition's Mr. Mitchell says.
More is in the works, including use of computerized "data mining" technology to comb databases for personal information and narrow the focus on suspicious travelers. Federal researchers warn that the technique is better for eliminating those who are not threats than for pinpointing those who are.
High-tech methods actively discussed with airlines by the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., include biometric sensing devices that match a person's face or fingerprint with data in his file, either at the ticket counter or during boarding.
The most exotic proposal to surface is "noninvasive neuroelectric sensing," a sort of remote personality detective that reads minds by analyzing brainwaves and heartbeat.
• • •
Renee Koutsouradis, 36, was paged from her Delta Airlines flight during a Dallas stopover in February to explain why her baggage in the hold buzzed and shimmied. The Clearwater, Fla., woman said it contained a vibrating "adult sex toy" she and her husband bought on vacation.
Mrs. Koutsouradis demanded $15,000 in a lawsuit filed in July, claiming she was embarrassed by airline employees and passengers who "began laughing hysterically" and voicing innuendoes when she held the culprit toy up for inspection, as ordered by a security guard, before repacking it.
• • •
The exact financial and economic impact of the attacks may never be known. In New York alone, nearly 74,000 jobs disappeared and thousands of companies large and small relocated or folded.
Empire State Development, a government agency, said it received 8,774 aid applications from small businesses, of which more than half had four employees or fewer. The agency approved 8,002 requests for a total of $221 million, spokeswoman Lisa Saladino says.
Gov. George E. Pataki announced that 40 larger companies employing 40,000 dislocated workers had committed by August to restore 34,000 jobs to lower Manhattan. The commitments were tied to state grants totaling $131 million.
The most objective assessment may be that of CoStar Group Inc. of Bethesda, which tracks commercial real estate. CoStar accounted for relocation plans of 162 companies and agencies that occupied 7.8 million square feet in the towers and the adjacent complex, about two-thirds of the total.
Some of the best-known large tenants, including Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Bank of America, were among major companies that took all or part of their operations across the Hudson River to New Jersey.
CoStar said two simply backfilled into space elsewhere: Salomon Smith Barney, the largest tenant at 1.2 million square feet, and Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, the hardest hit. The latter set up a fund to aid survivors of the 658 dead on its payroll as well as 150 non-employees who died in the company's offices.
Insurer Marsh USA, U.S. Customs, Empire Health Choice and CIBC Oppenheimer moved to Midtown.
The best estimate of nationwide economic loss is $191 billion, according to the General Accounting Office, an agency of Congress. Direct economic loss for families of the dead was put at $6.4 billion.
GAO, finding many public estimates inflated, predicted it will take years to separate the fiscal impact of September 11 with any precision from the collapse of Enron and other unrelated economic events.
Although New York officials estimated the ground zero cleanup would cost $5 billion, the figure turned out to be closer to $825 million, in part because the work was done nine months sooner than forecast.
The Federal Reserve Bank said the state's estimate of $9 billion in total tax losses "did not clearly distinguish the effects of the economic downturn from the effects of the attack," a claim the state disputes. An authoritative study put the net loss of public funds in New York state at about $16 billion, GAO said.
Families of the victims were offered financial aid from private charities and from a federal Victim Compensation Fund unlike anything offered terrorism victims in the Oklahoma City or African embassy bombings.
Federal grants to families will average about $1.5 million, Justice Department Special Master Kenneth R. Feinberg estimates. Congress enacted the program to help quickly while shielding airlines, insurance companies and others from ruinous personal injury lawsuits. Every applicant must agree not to sue.
Lawsuits against foreigners were not banned, and hundreds of families joined to claim $1 trillion in damages in a federal suit against three members of Saudi Arabia's royal family and other Middle East interests.
While applications were pro-cessed, the Justice Department advanced interim aid of $3.6 million ($50,000 each to 69 of the dead's survivors, $25,000 to six of the injured). Claims did not pour in, however.
As of Aug. 29, 370 claims were filed on behalf of the dead and 306 for the injured. Twenty-five families were notified of proposed settlements of death claims, averaging $1.4 million after deductions for life insurance and pensions. Checks totaling $5.4 million were sent to the first four families to accept.
The Red Cross collected $988 million for a Liberty Disaster Fund, almost half of the total raised by all charities combined. As of mid-August, $590 million was spent or committed, spokeswoman Stacy Grissom says. Family gifts totaling $181.9 million went to 3,396 recipients.
• • •
Coffee cups on the counter,
jackets on the chair.
Papers on the doorstep,
but you're not there.
Everything is everything.
Everything is everything.
But you're missing.
— Bruce Springsteen,
• • •
Airports brimmed with travelers grumbling about long lines at ticket counters and security checkpoints. One poll said 47 percent of travelers deemed travel by air less convenient than a year ago.
Since Transportation Security Administration screeners took over in April at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, it has rebounded from its "worst in the nation" ranking last fall in a poll of business travelers by Travelocity, the online travel service. BWI still didn't rival Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, where the latest survey showed 73 percent of travelers got to the gate in under 30 minutes.
Only 4.1 percent of the public remains "afraid to fly," according to another Travelocity poll of 1,000 persons 11 months after the attacks. Government warnings affected the travel plans of 39 percent, mostly on international routes.
That was enough to put a crimp in travel schedules on the first anniversary. British Airways canceled 24 of today's 78 scheduled trans-Atlantic flights for lack of interest. Competitor Virgin Atlantic planned to fly a full schedule.
The Business Travelers Coalition's survey of 62 major companies found that spending for corporate travel likely would drop 28 percent from last year, to $4.3 billion.
The number of domestic flights was down 7 percent through the peak summer season. Revenues fell even more because ticket prices were lower and some airlines used smaller planes.
US Airways was the first to file for bankruptcy protection after its traffic fell 17.6 percent from last year. A troubled United Airlines, with traffic down 12.3 percent, raised the bankruptcy option when it asked concessions from unions. American Airlines, off 9.7 percent, began a reorganization that includes 7,000 layoffs.
• • •
Signature Flight Support, which serviced private planes and sold fuel at Reagan Airport, is the only airport operator to remain shut down. The company transferred or laid off most of 65 workers.
Reagan Airport, just outside Washington, is the only airport in the country where all general aviation continued to be banned. "To my knowledge we don't have any answer to the problem," the FAA's Mr. Peacock says.
• • •
Never before was a coroner so challenged to identify thousands of bodies that were fragmented, burned beyond belief and buried under debris, which crews worked eight months to clear.
Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, New York City medical examiner, put 2,819 names of the dead on the official list to be read today at the World Trade Center site, although 11th-hour changes were expected.
The remains of 1,370 persons had been positively identified. Of 19,831 numbered and separately packaged, more than 15,000 are stored on 18 refrigerated trucks parked behind Bellevue Hospital, spokeswoman Ellen Borakove says.
Workers found 292 intact bodies in New York, most pulverized. Up to 200 fragments were identified for one person. The official search for remains at ground zero, and in debris hauled to "The Hill" at a Staten Island landfill, ended 10 months after the attacks.
Dr. Hirsch used a novel computer system to derive 1,900 unique profiles from the remains, each a biological match to one person whether or not the identity was known.
The official goal is to positively identify at least 2,000 sets of remains.
The medical examiner continues to meet small family groups for 15 minutes or so to describe the process of matching DNA extracted from remains with samples of hair, saliva or an old bloodstain. Other IDs were made from dental X-rays, fingerprints or personal items.
"Our goal is to ID everyone. We think it's going to take another eight to 10 months, but we're going to work until we finish," Miss Borakove says.
Remains not identified by then will be dried and stored in anticipation of technological advances, she says.
The remains of all 40 victims of the Flight 93 hijackers were identified with technical help from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. An institute anthropologist, Paul Sledzik, processed remains at Shanksville for lab work at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The institute also identified remains for all but four of the 125 persons killed on the ground at the Pentagon, many of them military personnel whose DNA samples were on file, and 58 of the 59 victims aboard Flight 77.
Prolonged exposure to fire was an obstacle to extracting usable DNA from many remains. "Tissue specimens reduced to ash could not produce an identifying biologic marker that we could get a DNA code from," institute spokesman Chris Kelly explains.
None of the 19 hijackers' remains has been identified by name, although a process of elimination isolated four sets of remains from Shanksville and five from the Pentagon.
• • •
The dead at the World Trade Center included 343 city firefighters, 37 Port Authority police officers, 23 city police officers, seven officers from other agencies and three emergency medical technicians from non-city departments.
• • •
Planning and negotiating a military construction contract exceeding $1 billion can take a year or more, but the Pentagon repairs began in record time after 20 percent of the building was lost. The first repair contract, for $145 million, was awarded Sept. 14. The next day, the total climbed to $1.3 billion.
"Now they're finishing ahead of schedule and under budget," says George Jackson, spokesman for the Pentagon Renovation Program.
Workers hauled out 10,000 tons of debris by Oct. 18, then finished the demolition of what had been 400,000 square feet of office space. AMEC, the company that had just outfitted Wedge One with security improvements credited with saving many lives, began the job anew under a $520 million contract.
E Ring, complete with familiar limestone exterior, again will be unbroken for today's dedication ceremonies. Employees moved into completely reconstructed offices in the past few weeks.
Employees returned to undamaged sections of Wedge One as early as Oct. 2. Work went forward on Wedges Two through Five under a $758 million contract with Hensel Phelps Construction.
The General Services Administration leased 849,000 square feet as temporary offices for 4,600 displaced workers and resupplied them with everything from desks and computers to paper clips and fax machines.
Most of the Pentagon's surviving 24,000 workers were back on the job Sept. 12 in a building where hundreds of firefighters continued to battle stubborn blazes fueled by wood wedged between the slate and concrete layers of roofing. The fire was not declared under control until Sept. 21.
In New York, where the U.S. Customs House and critical Secret Service facilities were among facilities destroyed, GSA faced the test of relocating agencies that had occupied 900,000 square feet in the World Trade Center complex. GSA also had to find space for federal disaster teams, FBI investigators, the Army Corps of Engineers and 2,000 National Guard troops.
The shopping list included diesel fuel for generators and heavy equipment, 25,000 Tyvec protective suits, 24 six-wheeled, all-terrain John Deere "Gators," thousands of respirators, 600 cellular telephones and 400 old-style analog phones to route calls around high-tech digital switching equipment that no longer worked. In all, 11,690 federal phone lines were cut in the New York attacks.
Consensus is elusive on what to build at the World Trade Center site. The Lower Manhattan Development Commission announced six designs, but none appealed broadly to hundreds of New Yorkers invited as advisers.
Most called the proposed collection of 60-story towers "too dense" and uninspired. The commission decided to try again and started "a worldwide design competition."
One major hitch is that the 16-acre site is owned by the Port Authority, which controls whether towers will be built. The city offered to swap the land for airport property now leased to the authority.
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Businessman Larry Silverstein, who holds rights to rebuild the World Trade Center, pressed a federal court claim that an army of insurers owes him $7.1 billion for the loss. That battle could take years.
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Confidence in the economy and the future at first fell sharply, but climbed slowly back by March and April. But nearly every measure of public confidence then took another dive, which most analysts attribute to multiple revelations of corporate wrongdoing.
So many polls of the public's attitude or mood were taken that analysts, among them Karlyn H. Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute, struggled to make some sense of them.
Miss Bowman notes that immediately after the attacks, President Bush's approval rating soared to 86 percent while an equally robust 84 percent said Congress was doing its job.
By late July, the president's huge popularity had slipped only 17 points, to a still-impressive approval rating of 69 percent. But approval of Congress dropped to 53 percent.
"Less attention has been paid to the fall in Congress' numbers, although the story is at least as dramatic," Miss Bowman says of similar results in several polls.
Nine months after the attacks, pollster Frank Luntz found that 37 percent of American college students were ready to evade the draft if called to serve. Among men, 26 percent said they would "likely try to evade the draft." Among women, 48 percent said they would do so.
"Americans want to get tough on the bad guys, but they are skeptical of new activity from Washington," Miss Bowman says.
The conventional wisdom in Washington is that there is no certainty that future terrorists can be stopped.
"The question is not if, but when, and where and how," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told a Senate committee in an assessment echoed by other administration officials.
In his introduction to a Time-Life book commemorating September 11, President Bush not only warns of new attacks but again portrays the conflict with Islamic terrorists in religious terms.
"The terrorists despise other religions and have defiled their own," Mr. Bush writes. "... Against such an enemy, there is no immunity, and there can be no neutrality."
Indeed. What Americans used to view as safety and security no longer can be guaranteed, Rand Corporation terrorism specialist Brian Jenkins says.
"The one thing we lack is an X-ray for a man's soul," he says, "and absent that, we cannot assure security."