A Globe and Mail team looks at 11 people's lives through the prism of Sept. 11 - one year before, and one year after the attacks. A special report from DOUG SAUNDERS in New York and Toronto, with CAROLINE ALPHONSO in New York and Alberta, COLIN FREEZE in Florida, LISA PRIEST in Boston and GEOFFREY YORK in Kabul
By DOUG SAUNDERS, CAROLINE ALPHONSO, COLIN FREEZE, LISA PRIEST and GEOFFREY YORK
The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 7, 2002
If you really want to know what happened to the world last September, it is best not to focus solely on that one extraordinary day. Like staring into the sun, it will blind you to the wider horizon: The violent morning has already been rewound, freeze-framed and analyzed to the point of numbness, a lone bright flash in a tale that takes in vast themes and entire lives.
To turn this singular event into history, a team of Globe and Mail reporters has turned the clock back further, reconstructing 11 lives on a day one year before that landmark date, and then revisited them for this week's grim anniversary.
We found some vivid contrasts: A year before the attacks, ours was a continent enjoying its longest period of prosperity, even as the seeds of catastrophe were being scattered just beyond our peripheral vision. We met prosperous husbands and wives enjoying lives of golf and fine dining, unaware that their future lay in the dust of New York City. We found a Canadian soldier enjoying a respite from his lengthy missions, in a world that seemed at peace for the first time in years. Now, two years later, he is returning home once again, but with a very different viewpoint.
We spent time with a poor immigrant cab driver who had found a happy rhythm in a difficult life, a threadbare tranquillity that would be turned overnight into a Kafkaesque nightmare under a judicial system that deprived him of his freedom for no substantial reason.
Sept. 11, 2000, was a cloudy, lifeless early-autumn day almost everywhere. In Boston and Toronto, there was light rain. Kabul was overcast too. In Florida, a young flight student named Mohammed Atta did not take to the air that Monday, as he usually did, perhaps because of the cloudy weather. His flight instructor, we discovered, had his suspicions about his odd Egyptian student, but not the right suspicions.
What conflicts were we caught up in that day? Tiger Woods had won the Canadian Open; the Mets wiped out the Phillies; the Olympics, with great Canadian hopes, were beginning in Australia. And the markets were in trouble, pulled down by declining technology stocks; the Dow Jones industrial average fell 25 points to 11,195.
If you were the president of Cantor Fitzgerald, you would have been struggling late into the night to acquire more and more companies, and to overcome a reputation for crass callousness in times of crisis. If you were Rev. Mychal Judge, you would be ministering to the worst-off citizens of New York City, building an unorthodox and colourful reputation that would have both bright and dark repercussions a year after your death.
If you listened closely on that cloudy Monday, you also could hear talk of terror. In Florida, a 38-year-old taxi driver named Ihab Mohamed Ali was given 16 months in prison for refusing to testify to a grand jury about his connections to Osama bin Laden, and about the airline-pilot training courses he had taken in Oklahoma six years earlier.
In Seattle, Ahmed Ressam, a Montreal-based member of an al-Qaeda terror cell, appeared before a judge for his attempt to bomb the United States on Jan. 1, 2000. (The judge ordered his trial moved to May of 2001 in Los Angeles.)
In New York City, we followed the path of John O'Neill, a renegade U.S. federal agent who believed the World Trade Center would soon be targeted again. Bizarrely, he was preparing for a gathering high up in one of those towers on Sept. 11, 2000, one that would foreshadow another rendezvous, one year later.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban had been presented with an ultimatum by the United States: Hand over Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole warship, or dire repercussions will follow. Louis Freeh, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was preparing to fly to Moscow to share notes on the situation with Russian officials.
In his dusty Afghan village, Burhanuddin Rabbani, the figurehead of Afghan democracy, was denouncing the Taliban regime to a reporter. Mr. Rabbani's fortunes took a dramatic turn from one Sept. 11 to the other. Despite the enormous transformation, his life is not much easier or happier.
But most North American eyes were on other dramas. In the United States, a heated presidential-election campaign was under way, in which both candidates announced that afternoon that they would do something about the greatest threat they knew to American society - violent Hollywood entertainment. John Ashcroft was about to suffer the greatest humiliation of his political career, losing to a dead man. In 2002, after his appointment as U.S. Attorney-General, we find him in the midst of another sort of humiliation.
In Canada, Jean Chrétien was preparing Canadians for an early election call, and Pierre Trudeau's sons had told Canadians that their father's condition was stable (he would die more than two weeks later, on Sept. 28).
In New York City, the clouds did little to dull the optimism. Even the two bland towers that anchored the skyline, often dismissed as "Wall Street's back office," seemed to take on a new lustre, as their new landlord, whom we portray here in those heady days, prepared to fill them with high-technology companies. Now, he is preparing to fill the holes they have left in his city.
Two years later, most people's lives will have changed little: a weaker economy in the United States, a stronger one in Canada, a new President and the same Prime Minister. Sept. 11, 2002, will probably be a day of early-autumn warmth, when newspapers and TV networks will be dominated by just one story.
If you reside in Afghanistan, or in some corners of New York City, you live in a different world than you did two years before. For the rest of us, these 11 stories might seem far away. But if there is one thing we have learned in the past year, it is how quickly reality can be telescoped, and distant events come horribly close to home.
September 11 2000
Morning dew had left the Mystic River bridge and everything else on Boston Harbor coated with a fine layer of moisture. Jennifer Gore looked out of her bedroom window at this grey expanse. The industrial city of Chelsea, Mass., usually so clear, was hard to make out on this bleak autumn day.
Jennifer brushed her curly, auburn hair, then dressed herself, careful not to wake her nine-year-old sister, Jillian, who slept in the next bed. She left her parents' East Boston apartment, a beige stucco building that faces the harbour.
As she made her way to the subway, the streets were noisy and dense with people heading to work. Many Logan Airport workers call East Boston home, and Ms. Gore had grown up with constant airport bustle and the screech of jet engines overhead. Baggage screeners, for example, were always being hired - it was a low-wage job that appealed to new immigrants, transient workers and people with little education.
For now, though, fresh out of high school, this tall, athletic 18-year-old had chosen a longer commute and a much quieter job. She stepped off the subway and entered downtown Boston's New England Medical Center, where she had recently taken a position as a medical assistant. It seemed as good a place as any to start, though she was really just killing time, she thought, until she could start college.
For the next eight hours, she sat in a cubicle, where she processed medical insurance claims. She wore a neat blouse and skirt, with her long hair tied back, though hardly anyone was around to see her and words were rarely exchanged in the bureaucratic medical centre. "You do your daily duties, then you go home," she recalled recently. "It was fine, but it's not a job that's exciting at all."
After work, she would linger at Good Times, a downtown bar where she sipped soft drinks and played pool with friends. She knew she'd have to find something else, where she'd be working with people. Her father, a U.S. Marine, was her inspiration - a uniformed job, with an important function.
When she landed the job as a passenger screener eight months later, everything seemed to fit. Her co-workers were fun; the pace of work was fast, promotions were in the future. While some considered it a dead-end job, and many of her fellow screeners stared blankly into their X-ray monitors all day, Ms. Gore thought that the airport had turned out to be a great place to work after all.
New York City
The black 1995 Lincoln Town Car, with its brightly polished chrome trim and glossy paint job, was a rare symbol of luxury, parked outside a plain brick apartment building in a crowded Hispanic neighbourhood in Queens. In one of the spartan one-bedroom apartments upstairs lived its driver, Shakir Baloch.
A gentle-looking man with a slight belly and a mustache, Mr. Baloch was one of many Pakistani limousine drivers in New York, though he had ambitions to be something more. On this particular Monday morning, he climbed down the stairs, stepped into the company car and steered across the Triborough bridge to Manhattan with a smile.
In his 37 years, Mr. Baloch had called many places home. He was born to a prominent government official in Pakistan, the youngest of six children. Some of his brothers had followed their father into politics, but Mr. Baloch felt his future lay in medicine. In the late 1980s, having studied to be an ultrasound technician, he had followed his wife to Toronto. He got his Canadian citizenship, and had a baby girl, but could land only menial, clerking jobs that had nothing to do with operating ultrasound machines.
In 1998, separated amicably from his wife, he decided to move permanently - though illegally - to New York City. His plan was to study medicine, and drive a limo on the side. But a couple of major accidents in the limo job injured him and postponed his dream of taking his medical exams. Like many before him, though, he had fallen for New York, and decided not to move back to Canada.
Not that he never visited. In fact, he had just returned from his wife's home in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, where he spent a couple of weeks visiting his daughter, Sonia, now 12. It had been hard to leave her, but he had made his way cautiously across the border, telling the officials, as always, that he was merely visiting New York, not living there.
He drove his shiny limousine deep into the downtown core. Here was a life that was far from his ideal, but offered him a freedom he enjoyed. Idling at the foot of a looming office tower, he waited for the men in suits to step through the doors.
World Trade Center
New York City
Real-estate mogul Larry Silverstein was in good spirits as he passed the Park Avenue office buildings and high-rent retail floor space that lined the 2½-mile drive from his Upper East Side home to his office in midtown Manhattan, on Fifth Avenue.
The trim 69-year-old, with a full head of reddish hair and a neatly tailored dark suit, stepped out of the car and rode up to his spacious 31st-floor corner office, filled with pictures of his three children, of his wife, Klara, and of himself with various dignitaries.
He faced another day of back-to-back meetings, but life was comfortable. More than comfortable. The real-estate market was booming. Vacancies in downtown Manhattan were at 4.5 per cent, one of the lowest rates on record. And Mr. Silverstein had his sights set even higher - specifically, on the two biggest buildings in New York.
On this grey day, he had some business to do farther downtown, at 7 World Trade Center, the 47-storey cube he had built in the 1980s. On his way, he couldn't help but glance at the much taller landmarks next door. The government was about to privatize these silver spires, and he was determined to be the beneficiary.
Mr. Silverstein was a powerful force in the New York property market, managing office, residential and retail spaces. Two of his three children, Roger and Lisa, worked for his company, Silverstein Properties Inc. He had built a considerable sphere of influence in New York, and he had an open door to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Charles Schumer, for whom he had hosted fundraisers on his yacht, the Silver Shalis.
Mr. Silverstein had been raised in humbler Washington Heights, and followed his father into real estate. He rose to prominence buying buildings with a former classmate, the late Bernard Mendik, but the two had a messy falling-out after Mr. Mendik divorced Mr. Silverstein's sister.
To celebrate his successful leasing of 7 World Trade, one of his employees had mounted two brass balls on a piece of the granite used in the building and gave it to him as a birthday present. It was fitting: Everyone agreed that he was a man who liked to take risks.
Four months later, fate would intervene. A car would run him over as he crossed East 57th Street near Madison Avenue, and he would be admitted to hospital with a broken pelvis. Mr. Silverstein would work from his hospital bed. Huge companies were in the running, but he was the dark horse, placing a bid from traction. Six months later, he would control the skyline.
When he celebrated the signing of the $3.2-billion (U.S.) lease on the World Trade Center, he would grin and hoist a two-foot-long ceremonial set of keys.
This was a deal, the lease assured him, that would last for 99 years.
As he stepped up to the window of his headquarters in the midday dust, Burhanuddin Rabbani bitterly realized that he was the king of all he surveyed. Most of what he surveyed, unfortunately, was a poverty-stricken town of mud-brick hovels, desperate refugees, opium farmers, petty traders and scrawny donkeys stumbling down rocky footpaths weighted with great loads of firewood.
Most of the world, including the United Nations, recognized the 60-year-old Islamic scholar as the official president of Afghanistan. But more than 80 per cent of his country was controlled by the fundamentalist zealots of the Taliban movement. The remainder was largely in the hands of ruthless war-lords who answered to nobody.
The white-bearded president was left with nothing but his birthplace, the isolated mountain town of Faizabad, in the poorest and most remote region of Afghanistan. Here, he established his provisional government, in a town with an average monthly income of just $30, filled with refugees from a war that had crept within 130 kilometres of his headquarters.
Mr. Rabbani spent much of his time in Dushanbe, capital of neighbouring Tajikistan, where he lobbied for weapons from Russia and sought support from a tiny band of Western diplomats. Back in Faizabad on this Monday, he travelled through the muddy streets in an entourage of Toyota Land Cruisers, visiting a small guesthouse on the edge of the fast-flowing Kokcha River, where he gave a hasty interview to a Pakistani journalist.
The Taliban, he said, have destroyed the rights of women, of ethnic minorities. They are sponsoring a vile terrorist gang that is creating trouble in Western countries. And yet, he said, the world doesn't seem to care. What will it take to make the Americans deal with this problem?
In many ways, his small corner of Afghanistan was little different from the Taliban-controlled majority of the country.
No woman dared to venture outside without a burqa, the shroud-like veil that covered everything except her feet. In theory, Faizabadi women were free to work or attend school, but very few did. In wedding parties, veiled women walked silently through the dirty streets while men rode noisily in trucks ahead of them.
Opium was the major source of income for the warlords who had joined forces with Mr. Rabbani in the so-called Northern Alliance, and the president could only turn a blind eye to the poppies his generals were growing nearby.
Only a few years earlier, in 1992, Mr. Rabbani had witnessed the demise of the Soviet-backed Communist regime, after 13 years of guerrilla warfare by his holy warriors, the mujahedeen. He was installed in Kabul, and briefly seemed to have emerged as Afghanistan's biggest winner.
But his government collapsed in feuding. Warlords fired thousands of missiles at each other, leaving Kabul in ruins. Then the Taliban arrived, deposing the government and forcing Mr. Rabbani into internal exile in the mud of Faizabad.
Huffman Aviation International
The low-rise buildings stacked along this stretch of the Gulf Coast looked particularly drab on this overcast day, as Rudi Dekkers pulled his Cessna down through the clouds and toward the collection of similar small aircraft at the end of the airstrip. This was Mr. Dekkers's little empire - Huffman Aviation International, the Florida flight school he had bought the year before.
A tanned, athletic man in his early 40s, he had grown up poor in the cities of postwar Holland, but lifted himself up by working in real estate and then computer imports. A decade earlier, he had come to America, building his first flight school from the ground up in nearby Naples, Fla. He had discovered that foreigners were eager to come to America for flight training, and he had recently started advertising heavily in France, Germany and the Arab nations.
Flying started for him as a hobby, but now he was spreading his money around: In addition to buying Huffman, he was considering starting a regional airline.
Two of his wannabe pilots had been driving his staff crazy. A taciturn Egyptian named Mohamed Atta was on the verge of being kicked out. One of the school's chief flight instructors was complaining that Mr. Atta and his constant companion, Marwan al-Shehhi, never listened. Once up in the air, they were intent on doing whatever the hell they wanted. But they had been warned, and for once, they had seemed to listen.
On Friday, Mr. Atta had taken off on one of the short flights he made almost daily, and was billed $184. The day before, Mr. al-Shehhi had spent $88.76 on aviation manuals. If he could keep them out of trouble, Mr. Dekkers realized, he would make almost $20,000 from the two of them by the end of the year.
The men had arrived in July, with addresses in Germany and statements showing they had $21,000 in the bank. After pulling into the gravel parking lot in a rental car, they explained in bad English that they had pilot jobs waiting for them in the Middle East. They just needed to be certified commercially.
Mr. Dekkers saw many such students, rich kids from oil nations. But these two didn't even have a place to live. One of Mr. Dekkers's employees had agreed to billet them, but then Mr. Atta had insulted the employee's wife. After weeks of silence, he had snapped at her one morning: "It must be nice to stay around all day as you do and do nothing." The two young men had had to find other accommodations.
That was two weeks ago. Now, on this humid Monday afternoon, Mr. Dekkers found himself in his air-conditioned office, staring at immigration documents. The two men's visas were still up in the air, and if he didn't help them get their student status quickly, they would be thrown out of the country.
As he worked, the tall, chubby Mr. al-Shehhi and the shorter Mr. Atta were in the computer room, doing something or other on the Internet. Later, he would run across them in the cafeteria, the Cockpit Cafe, where the menu offered a Boeing 767 Lunch (chef's salad) or a Steep Turn (grilled chicken breast) for $5 each. The cafeteria door led straight out to the landing strip, and as they passed through, the two men would have spotted the small sign posted beside it: "Time spent flying is never deducted from one's lifespan," it read.
SERGEANT CRAIG REID
It had been only a day since Sgt. Craig Reid landed back on Canadian soil, as a chartered aircraft carried him and the 300 or so other soldiers on the long flight back to Edmonton from a difficult mission.
He was taking his time getting reacquainted with his Alberta home. A polite, handsome 32-year-old with a healthy sense of humour, he preferred blending into a crowd to being the star attraction. He moved quietly, as if he were still peacekeeping in Bosnia, where he patrolled to keep the Serbs and Croats apart.
But now, like most soldiers in North America, he saw no great conflicts on the horizon to send him abroad again, and had turned his mind to the matter of his impending marriage. On this cloudy day, he stayed at home, in a modest two-storey structure with plain grey wood siding, in a quiet Edmonton neighbourhood a 10-minute drive from the base. His fiancée, a pretty, shy 27-year-old named Colleen, was showing him the final wedding plans - the guest list of about 200 people, the seating chart and the menu.
About a month before he had left for Bosnia the previous year, he had proposed to Colleen at the grocery store in Victoria where they had first met. His parents had been waiting anxiously by the phone. He didn't have the nerve to propose inside the store, so as they left, he got down on one knee. Everyone in the parking lot stopped to look.
Colleen had promised her friends that she would never date a soldier, let alone marry one. She couldn't resist, though, after Sgt. Reid asked her for a date one day by scribbling a note - which she now carries, laminated, in her purse.
The wedding at the end of the month would be his second, and he wanted this one to last. His six-year-old son, Brendan, was going to be the ring bearer.
Sgt. Reid had wanted to be in the army since childhood, mostly because the military life had been so good to his father and his grandfather, who had fought in Italy and Germany in the Second World War. The peacekeeping missions gave his life purpose. He had been to Cyprus and Croatia as well as Bosnia, a conflict most North Americans did not understand.
He knew he would be sent on an-other mission in a few years, most likely a third trip to the Balkans. But as he enveloped himself in the tricky matter of getting married, the images of violence and suffering slipped out of his mind. The world was at peace again, and he was in love.
REV. MYCHAL JUDGE
Fire department chaplain
New York City
Here in the shadow of Madison Square Garden, surrounded by bums and hookers and Times Square stragglers and stirring drunks, was a sight from the middle ages: A tall, silver-haired man wearing the long brown robes of a Franciscan monk, tied with a simple rope, with hand-hewn leather sandals on his feet, strolling down the sidewalk and greeting the destitute with an easy smile.
Rev. Mychal Judge, the city's most famous friar, was capable of turning heads even among jaded Manhattanites.
Inside the St. Francis of Assisi friary, a yellow brick edifice tucked away on a grubby stretch of 33rd Street, he had other ways of turning heads. For example, his answering machine. From his small room came an endless sequence of beeps and clicks, as Father Judge retrieved some of his 30-odd daily calls. "There goes Mychal again," said Rev. Michael Duffy, a shy and intellectual man who had known the much more outgoing priest since the day of Father Duffy's ordination - Sept. 11, 1971.
The friars had all become very familiar with the Irish priest's gregarious ways: the pubs, the TV appearances, the local celebrities. He was the only friar in their order who regularly used hair spray, they would joke.
Filling almost the entire rear wall of his room was a giant poster of sated hippies standing in the mud, from the movie Woodstock. Father Judge stood with his back to it, scribbling numbers and notes in a small pad he kept on the window ledge, and stared across the street to the red garage doors of the firehall. For 10 years, he had been the New York's "fire friar," a tough and often grisly job.
The day had begun, like every weekday, with community prayers at 8:10 a.m. Father Judge had offered special prayers for New Yorkers who had died in fires over the weekend. He often was on the scene of the worst disasters, giving last rites to the dying and counselling survivors. After the morning service was over, he headed to the front and kneeled. His prayers were spoken in New York street slang, without fancy language or abstract conceits. Some of the other friars had written them down.
In some ways, it was a trying time. Overwhelmed with the onerous duties of chaplain for America's largest fire department, he had recently and reluctantly announced that he would no longer be administering to his old parish of Rutherford, N.J. On the other hand, he had been free of the bottle for years, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous, and drinking nothing more than water on his frequent visits to the neighbourhood's Irish pubs. He was fit for a man of 67, well exercised and widely loved.
As he walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to visit friends, his thoughts were drawn back five decades, to those childhood days when he would walk in the other direction, from his Brooklyn home to Penn Station, where he would shine shoes and hustle for nickels. Now he had found great spiritual fortune, helping the poor, the AIDS patients, the fire victims. "I don't know what's next for me," he told an acquaintance that week. "I've had the best life of any friar in this house or of any priest I know."
Though he wasn't saying it to anyone, Senator John Ashcroft's luck was taking a turn for the worse. As he awoke shortly after dawn at his plain red-brick house in the north end of Springfield, Mo., his normally dour expression took on an even darker cast. He prayed for help. And he prayed again - with his wife at bedside, as they did every morning, and then, at 8 a.m. sharp, in an equally regular worship session with his entire campaign staff.
Mr. Ashcroft had built his life around prayer, just as his father did; this town, in rural Missouri, was the headquarters of the Assemblies of God, the huge Pentecostal church that had counted his father as a travelling evangelist. As a senator, his strict faith governed his every move.
And now it was being tested. Just yesterday, he had returned from an exhausting month-long campaign trip through all 114 Missouri counties. It hadn't worked. With seven weeks to go in his re-election campaign, he was beginning to lose his once-sizable lead over his Democratic opponent, Mel Carnahan. As he strolled through his modest campaign office, an assistant handed him a new poll that showed them only one point apart - in spite of the long road trip.
Over the weekend, the American Civil Liberties Union began broadcasting a TV ad that criticized him for his support of racial profiling by police forces. Over breakfast, he read an editorial in the state newspaper pointing out that, as governor, he had appointed only whites to the state courts. And that very morning, the state Democrats filed an ethics complaint about his support for a bill that helped out two telecommunications companies in which he owned shares. The headlines weren't going to look good.
He hated Mr. Carnahan, the current governor, and made no secret of his feelings. The odium seemed to be mutual, as Mr. Carnahan's campaign had begun calling him "the white supremacist's presidential choice." Alone in his office that afternoon, he fielded some reassuring phone calls from supporters. Among ultrareligious conservatives, he was still considered a hero, even though his presidential bid had fizzled in 1998. Now, even some people on his side were beginning to take shots at him.
On the table by his desk was a National Review, the rigidly conservative Washington magazine, with an article deriding his wooden personality. "Some politicians dominate a room; he fades into the wallpaper," they wrote. The reference made him wince: Because of his faith, he had refused to dance at his own governor's balls. Instead, he sat stiffly on the side and played songs on the piano.
As bad as things looked on this particular dreary afternoon, they were about to get a lot worse. Mr. Carnahan would pull ahead in the polls and then, four weeks later, do something that would demolish Mr. Ashcroft's chances: He would fly his small airplane into the ground.
Mr. Carnahan's death would be the most brilliant campaign move of the 2000 election. His wife would take his place, the voters would be swept her way on waves of pity and publicity - and Mr. Ashcroft, imprisoned by decorum, would be unable to utter a word of complaint. How do you campaign against a corpse? As one columnist wrote, "Ashcroft would appear rather unseemly if he attempted to suggest he's more pro-life than Carnahan."
In November, he would be roundly defeated from the grave - one more embarrassment for a man whose career seemed to oscillate every couple of years between victory and humiliation.
She always felt safer in big jets than she did on the road. So when Maureen Basnicki's husband, Ken, revived his love for motorcycles in September of 2000, the thought of riding on the back of his Harley-Davidson summoned up a certain terror.
Still, determined to share everything with him, the flight attendant would often be seen holding onto her software-executive husband as they drove through the Collingwood countryside.
Over the weekend, a coat of mist and light rain had left the streets wet and slick. It would have been better to stay in and check details on the new family home being built in Ontario's Blue Mountain. They spent most weekdays in their sizable house in Etobicoke, a Toronto suburb, but the plan was eventually to move everything up north and enjoy life a little more.
She had seen her neighbours, Cindy Barkway and Tanja Tomasevic, who both lived a few blocks away in Etobicoke, only a few times at social events, but they were united by a sense of prosperous optimism. Their husbands had scaled the heights of the business world, and they enjoyed golf-club memberships, vacation homes - and frequent trips to New York City.
Chairman and CEO,
New York City
The lights of Manhattan twinkled outside Howard Lutnick's 105th-floor office as he worked late into the night on the big deal.
He was a few weeks away from announcing an agreement with seven of America's biggest energy companies to launch an on-line bond-trading business. Mr. Lutnick was busy crossing the t's and dotting the i's. A notoriously wired and demanding man with slicked-back hair and an intense gaze, he seemed at ease now, sitting at his desk alone with the desktop photos of his two sons, Kyle and Brandon, and the much larger painting of B. Gerald Cantor, the founder of Cantor Fitzgerald, hanging on the wall behind him.
At 39, he had come a long way fast, earning half a billion dollars - and more than a few enemies.
Seventeen years before, he had walked into the reception area at Cantor Fitzgerald, which was filled with Rodin sculptures, and sought a job as a trainee.
Mr. Lutnick, who had attended Haverford College, was orphaned as a teenager. His mother, an artist and teacher of fine art, had died of cancer when he was 16. His father, a history professor, died after an accidental chemotherapy overdose. At 22, Cantor Fitzgerald seemed like a new family.
Mr. Cantor took him under his wing. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming president of the firm. He became known on Wall Street for being outspoken and unafraid to play rough. When Mr. Cantor lay dying, Mr. Lutnick sought to have him declared mentally incapacitated in order to gain control of the firm. A bitter fight ensued with his mentor's wife, Iris Cantor, which he won by threatening to show a sickbed tape of Mr. Cantor in open court.
Later, after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, he clashed with senior executives over how and when to reopen. Some called him heartless for his desire to reopen immediately. But he won again.
On this Monday evening, things were going well. At home, his wife was pregnant with a daughter they would name Casey. Even now, though, he usually worked late, after most of the staff had gone. When he was ready to stop for the night, he put his jacket on and pressed the elevator button. It was a long ride down.
FBI antiterrorism specialist
New York City
In his headier moments, John O'Neill would brag to intimates, "I am the FBI." Today, as he read the front-page story in Monday's New York Times, he felt less superior: In New Mexico, a U.S. nuclear scientist was about to plead guilty to a charge of improperly handling classified materials. It sounded all too much like his own current embarrassment.
The 48-year-old career agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation had left his briefcase unattended during a Florida meeting a few weeks before, and it had been stolen - along with files outlining every major national-security operation in New York. After the briefcase surfaced in another hotel hours later, bureau agents breathed a collective sigh of relief. Everything seemed to be intact - except Mr. O'Neill's reputation.
He wanted to escape the fiasco, and his chance was coming. In a few days, he would be attending a major gathering of fellow law-enforcement officers, a social gathering that could help him rebuild his image. It would bring together more than 250 police, prosecutors and agents, members of New York's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
They would be gathering a week from Saturday at Windows on the World, on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center.
He knew the building well. In 1993, it had been bombed by Islamic terrorists, and the last few years of Mr. O'Neill's career had been spent on their tail. He was one of a handful of specialists on a shadowy group known as al-Qaeda, and he was convinced that it would strike again, with greater violence. He had begun the year in Times Square, exuberantly kissing an FBI colleague on the cheek after the New Year's Eve ball dropped without incident.
Mr. O'Neill was part of a small community, derided as "screamers," who believed Islamic terrorism was an immediate threat to America. In some circles, this view was considered just as embarrassing as the lost briefcase. But at the party, there would be people who appreciated his ideas. Some FBI agents blend into the background, but not John O'Neill. His hair would be slicked back from his wido's peak. He would be decked out in a tux, maybe with a glass of Chivas in one hand and a cigar in the other. And he would be right in his element.
Mr. O'Neill loved socializing almost as much as he loved talking terrorism. Together, these traits had garnered him a network of international contacts, whose ranks included foreign spies and foreign police, and, most importantly, prominent journalists.
To Mr. O'Neill, the World Trade Center represented a constant target and unfinished business. He would say to friends, "They're going to try to finish the job." The Sept. 23 party would prove prophetic in other ways too. For one thing, he was less than a year away from leaving the FBI to take a private-sector job as security director for the towers.
On the night of the party, the view from the 106th floor was less than magnificent. The towers were surrounded in fog, making it impossible for the counterterrorism experts gathered within to see what was going on outside.
September 11 2002
TWO YEARS LATER
Baggage screener, Logan Airport
On Wednesday, Jennifer Gore will awake to a day she has dreaded. She booked off work months ago - the last thing she wanted was to be around if something happened, and in any case she didn't want to subject herself to the whispers of her co-workers - those people who refer to her as "the girl" who let five terrorists breeze through security at Logan Airport with weapons in their bags.
Some were so bold as to tell her it was all her fault. Investigations proved it wasn't, but she feels guilty just the same. It is a huge emotional burden for a woman barely out of her teens.
Ms. Gore has modest goals for the day. She doesn't want to drown in grief, which means no newspapers and television. How she will achieve that in her parents' East Boston apartment, where she lives with two siblings and a niece, she doesn't know. But she'll try. And she will make her way to Boston's City Hall Plaza, a desert of red brick and cast concrete that resembles a parking garage, to attend a memorial service.
When she couldn't stop crying at work in the days after Sept. 11, a co-worker told her to buy a rosary. She did, but still suffered from bad dreams, the ones about terrorists coming through the security gate, their faces bland and unrecognizable. Then there was the psychiatrist the airport made her go see after she was noticed weeping on the job, who told her to accept what had happened, that she couldn't change things. Fine advice, but she didn't know how to get there.
Finally, she made a change for herself: She moved, physically, to the ground floor of Logan International's Terminal C. That means no more passengers, just a few co-workers in a large, empty room filled with baggage, nicknamed "the dungeon." She earns $16.75 an hour, more than double her starting pay.
Even though the technology upstairs is far more advanced and the security much tighter than it was a year ago, she can't stand the thought of working with the public again. "Passengers look at you differently since Sept. 11," she says.
On that day, Ms. Gore had showed up a half-hour early for her 5 a.m. shift. She was in charge of 20 passenger screeners, and she was considered strict. Her own standards exceeded the Federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations, so she could be a bit of a pain to passengers.
The FAA's weapon guidelines did not mention razor-sharp box cutters. Some security screeners prohibited them; others permitted them as being within the four-inch knife standard. Ms. Gore didn't see why they needed to be in the airplane's cabin, but they were hard to detect and her bans were sometimes overruled.
Two other supervisors got called away - something about wheelchairs being needed at another United Airlines gate - leaving Ms. Gore alone. She remembers seeing two UA ticket agents pass through the checkpoint on their way to Los Angeles on Flight 175. Meanwhile, five Middle Eastern men were making their way through the lobby of Terminal C. They passed through the concourse's artistic centrepiece, a Rube Goldberg-like contraption housed in a glass cube, and made their way through the security checkpoint, on their way to Gate 19 to board Flight 175.
This is the part Ms. Gore focuses on the most. She can't recall the men moving down the ramp and lining up at the magnetometers; she was trained to look for metal bits in bags and in clothes, not people. They all passed her station: Marwan al-Shehhi (believed to be a cousin or nephew of Mohamed Atta, the ringleader), Fayez Ahmed, Ahmed Alghamdi, Hamza Alghamdi and Mohand Alshehri.
Shortly before 9 a.m., she heard a ring from the telephone on top of the baggage X-ray machine. That was strange - the daily morning meeting of airport and airline officials hadn't happened yet. The male voice on the other end was the duty manager, telling her to let only ticketed passengers through. The telephone rang again, but she couldn't answer right away because a passenger came up to her - someone she had never seen in her life.
"It's all your fault," the woman screamed. Ms. Gore didn't know what the woman was talking about.
Then the telephone rang again. It was the same duty manager.
"A plane was hijacked, and they don't know if it's ours," he said.
She was dumbfounded, asking: "Is it my fault?"
"I don't know."
When the duty manager rang a third time, he told her to close down the checkpoint. She would spend the rest of the day being interrogated.
"It's changed me a lot," she said. "I didn't worry before Sept. 11." On Thursday, as she avoids the airport, she will be thinking of another career change, perhaps to nursing - or to the U.S. Marines.
Former limo driver
Shakir Baloch will wake up in the two-bedroom apartment in east Toronto that he shares with a couple from his native Pakistan. Most days, he no longer knows what to do with himself.
Nearby will be the sleeping pills and Paxil that he takes at night to ward off depression. He'll make some tea. He might try to read. But these days he can only flip through a few pages before putting a book down. His concentration is shot.
He will studiously avoid turning on the television on Wednesday, knowing very well that it will show nothing but reminders of his miserable fate.
For reasons Mr. Baloch still doesn't understand, a few days after Sept. 11, he became one of more than 1,200 Americans of Middle Eastern or Arabic origin who were picked up by law-enforcement authorities and jailed for months.
Before his arrest, Mr. Baloch had felt miserable enough, as his beloved skyscrapers disappeared into the dust. His omnipresent smile disappeared. Then, when he went to renew his taxi licence, he was arrested. True, as a Canadian citizen, he didn't have proper working papers. But they treated him like a terrorist.
At one point last winter, a few weeks into his jail experience, a jail guard told him that he would never see his teenaged daughter in Canada again - because he would be sent back to to Pakistan. And, the guard added spitefully: "By the time you will get to Pakistan, your country will be a parking lot."
He was placed in solitary confinement. When he got to go out of his cell, he was shackled. He couldn't sleep properly because the lights were always kept on. A gentle, educated man, he was placed in a wing with murderers and drug dealers. He tried to invoke his consular rights as a Canadian citizen, but he was tricked, he claims, into signing those rights away.
He was kept in the cell for seven months.
For the first three months, he didn't even face any sort of charge. Eventually, the authorities settled on illegally working in the United States - a minor offence that should have led to a quick deportation. Even after that, though, he would be led into a room where four to five FBI agents would insist he knew something that he had better tell them. They wouldn't listen when he explained that he wasn't that kind of guy. The charges had only been laid, and the guilty plea offered, because the Canadian government and civil-rights lawyers had learned of his case and intervened.
Still, he was not released until April, four months after he pleaded guilty. Out of the blue, in the middle of the night, Mr. Baloch was woken up and told to get ready for his flight. He was put on a plane with no identification. His few personal effects were stuffed in a Manila envelope. He didn't have a cent on him - which was just as well, considering that his prison-issue clothes had no pockets.
Seven months after his arrest, Mr. Baloch came back to Canada a gaunt spectre of his former self. The first thing he did upon returning was talk to reporters - and then had to hitch a ride from one of them, so that he could see his daughter in north Toronto.
Today, Mr. Baloch's appearance has improved. His cheeks are no longer as hollow. He has regrown his mustache. He continues to keep in touch with his wife and daughter, though he does not live with them.
But his plans to revive his medical career are on hold - one can't study if one can't concentrate enough to read. For the moment, he knows the medical system only as a patient. He has been diagnosed with post-tramatic stress disorder and depression, and visits a psychiatrist once every two weeks.
Mr. Baloch hopes to get a disability pension, and then to be able to find work in about a year. But memories of his time in prison always come back to haunt him, sometimes making simple tasks difficult. He has also lent his name to a class-action suit against the U.S. government for wrongful incarceration. He is banned from crossing the border to the United States, but he doesn't want to return there anyway. New York once spoke of freedom and opportunity to him; now it represents only pain and prejudice.
Leaseholder, World Trade Center
New York City
Unless he stays away from his Fifth Avenue office on Wednesday - and it wouldn't be like Larry Silverstein to stay away from the office - most of his day will be filled with his crusade to resurrect his beloved towers, even as everyone in New York mourns them.
A parade of lawyers will visit his desk on the 31st floor and help him fight his battles. Though his office looks out over the downtown skyline - and the huge void where his most impressive property once stood - Mr. Silverstein will have only a few spare moments to pause and reflect.
Among all the paper and models on his desk sits a grim reminder of what once was the crowning achievement of his long real-estate career - a miniature copy of the towers. Barely six weeks after he won their 99-year lease in a complex and highly leveraged deal, his investment turned to dust.
In the immediate aftermath, he vowed to begin rebuilding within a year. At first, it sounded patriotic. But when he announced plans to break ground at the site of the ruined 7 World Trade Center in June, everyone asked him to stop. New Yorkers wanted a memorial there, and it wasn't at all clear that more office space was the best way to use the site.
The slim 71-year-old man is not a natural in this world of torts and contracts - he comes from a time when a simple handshake sealed a deal. Today, Mr. Silverstein is trying to recover $7-billion (U.S.) in insurance, arguing that two planes hit the towers in separate occurrences. Insurer Swiss Re, the leader of a coalition of more than 20 insurance companies, is calling it a single attack, making them liable for $3.55-billion at most.
The other part of Mr. Silverstein's day will be consumed by an intense public debate about what should be built where the twin towers once stood. Since their destruction, he has been steadily meeting with architects, lawyers, financiers, business partners and elected officials. He wants to build a complex of buildings to replace the lost space, along with cultural facilities and a memorial monument. While Mr. Silverstein has the development rights, the Port Authority would likely hold veto power.
In public, he is stoic. Inside his office, as he takes a break between meetings on Wednesday, Mr. Silverstein will take a moment to mourn. On Sept. 11, 2001, Silverstein Properties Inc. was in the midst of relocating to the 91st floor of the north tower. Fifty-four of his company's 160 employees were inside, working out of temporary offices on the 88th floor. Four died.
Mr. Silverstein watched the tragedy unfold on television from his office. He was stunned when one of his employees staggered into his office in a daze, covered in ash.
At a real-estate award dinner last winter, Mr. Silverstein proudly tied his business to the nation's patriotic duty, a connection that would not have seemed so evident before Sept. 11. On Wednesday, his vow will carry him through the day: "We are going to rebuild. We will not let the terrorists deter us."
Petitioners and supplicants wait humbly at a laneway that leads to Burhanuddin Rabbani's luxurious home. They are the poorest of the poor, sitting patiently on the ground at the end of the lane, under the gaze of a machine-gun-toting guard, hoping that the for-mer Afghan president can somehow provide money or help.
Inside the house, the waiting rooms will be filled with more visitors on Wednesday, all waiting to pay their respects to the elder statesmen of Afghanistan's civil war - the Islamic scholar who returned in triumph to Kabul last fall.
Yet when Mr. Rabbani finally emerges and begins talking to a visitor, there is something odd in his words. He doesn't behave like someone on the winning side of history, but more like an opposition leader.
When the Taliban collapsed last fall, Mr. Rabbani had been the legally and internationally acknowledged president of Afghanistan since 1992. He had headed the main political party of the anti-Taliban forces for more than three decades. But when he returned in victory to Kabul last fall, Mr. Rabbani found he had become a marginal figure, in a position of prestige without influence. His country was monopolized by the warlords and military commanders who rushed to fill the vacuum after the collapse of the Taliban.
Most power is held by a small group of Tajik military men from the Panjshir Valley, the stronghold of the anti-Taliban guerrilla fighters. Its leaders hold the key portfolios of defence and foreign affairs. For years, they were allies of Mr. Rabbani. Now, they have squeezed him out.
In an interview the other day, Mr. Rabbani criticized the new government of President Hamid Karzai for failing to create a cabinet that would properly represent Afghanistan's complex patchwork of ethnic groups. He complained about the mistrust between Mr. Karzai and his military guards, who were eventually replaced by Americans. And he expressed dissatisfaction with the recently returned expatriates who assumed positions in the new cabinet.
"Those who fought the Taliban, inside the country, should have the right to be in the government, instead of those who did nothing outside the country," he said.
Later, one of Mr. Rabbani's political aides gives a more candid explanation: Mr. Rabbani now regrets that he deferred to the Panjshiri military men in his own Islamic party. A small group, led by Defence Minister Muhammad Fahim, seized control of the key structures of government. Even Mr. Karzai's own bodyguards are untrustworthy, supplied and controlled by the Ministry of Defence.
As he goes about his affairs on Wednesday, Mr. Rabbani will talk up his notion of a "government of national unity" that would represent all the major factions. "Otherwise, I am afraid that the Karzai government will not have support, and there is a risk that the country could be plunged into a crisis again." He will also insist, as he always does these days, that it was his own choice not to become president. "I really wanted to give Mr. Karzai a chance."
The irony of his position will be clear to many of his visitors. After toiling for 31 years to become the head of a peaceful Afghanistan, the opportunity finally arrived this year, and slipped through his hands. Despite its veneer of democracy, Afghanistan continues to be dominated by the men with guns. A white-bearded Islamic scholar never stood a chance.
Owner, Huffman Aviation International
At some point on Wednesday morning, Rudi Dekkers will step out of his office and, framed by the camera in front of his row of Cessnas, he will once again answer a series of questions about his two former students.
What kind of students were Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi? Neither good, nor bad, just average, Mr. Dekkers will say. The big guy, Mr. al-Shehhi, seemed pleasant enough but the little guy, Mr. Atta, was arrogant. And he may add there was something about Mr. Atta that resembled a dead man walking.
After doing close to 600 interviews with reporters in the past year, such questions have become routine for Mr. Dekkers. He doesn't feel guilty, and believes it's his responsibility to talk. Besides, he has been told that the camera loves him. Maybe it's his plain speech or maybe it's the endearingly strange syntax of a Dutch immigrant entrepreneur. Mr. Dekkers still appears youthful and animated, even after all he has been through.
Ten months after getting his commercial pilot's licence at Huffman Aviation, Mr. Atta executed an awkward but accurate sharp turn in a Boeing 767, sliding on a sharp angle into one of the World Trade Center towers. Minutes later, the affable Mr. al-Shehhi piloted another 767 on a straighter course into the tower next door.
In the weeks after the attacks, Mr. Dekkers received death threats on his voice mail. Some people around town were frosty. People criticized his school for helping Mr. Atta and Mr. al-Shehhi get visas.
But Mr. Dekkers always maintained he did everything by the book. He was finally vindicated on a Monday morning in March, by a long delayed package. Inside were student visas for Mr. Atta and Mr. al-Shehhi. Somehow, they had been approved posthumously and mailed out.
Suddenly, Mr. Dekkers was no longer regarded as a fall guy - it was a bungling, creeping U.S. immigration bureaucracy.
Aviation businesses remain in dire straits a year after the hijackings. A U.S. federal-aid package has been earmarked for businesses hurt by 9/11; Mr. Dekkers applied for aid, asking for $800,000 to $1,000,000 to keep things going. But the application was rejected a few weeks ago.
By his own reckoning, Mr. Dekkers is down a couple of million dollars since the attacks. During a recent interview, he was twice interrupted by his real-estate broker, who was negotiating the sale of two properties. His staff have taken pay cuts. Mr. Dekkers wants a partner with deeper pockets to come on board. He also needs foreign students to come back, but they're now avoiding the United States and going to Canada and elsewhere.
By now, he figures, Huffman Aviation would be finished - if Rudi Dekkers wasn't, in his own estimation, a "willpower kind of a guy." Despite his financial situation, Mr. Dekkers vows bitterly that no Muslims will ever fly his planes again.
Nevertheless, he is considering another career. An autobiography telling of his rise from humble beginnings in the Netherlands sits on his desk - his own prospective title is From the Ghetto to the Get-Go. And on Wednesday, Rudi Dekkers expects to become a grandfather for the first time. His broad smile will fill the TV screens for one more day, probably the last.
SERGEANT CRAIG REID
When he steps into the bathroom on Wednesday, Craig Reid will look into the mirror to see a stranger. The 34-year-old soldier, whose long hair from his younger years is replaced with a neat crew cut, now weighs 160 pounds. He lost 30 of them in the months he was in Afghanistan. The weight is slowly creeping back, as he adjusts to the comforts of life in Canada.
It's been only a few weeks since he returned home from Afghanistan, and this Wednesday, as he sips his coffee and flips through the newspaper filled with stories of last year's attacks, Sgt. Reid will remember the bloody deaths of his four friends, killed by American pilots. It was the last thing he could have expected.
For that matter, Afghanistan was the last place he dreamed of being sent. Last Sept. 11, Sgt. Reid had just returned to base in Alberta from his daily run, shortly after dawn, to watch the twin towers crumble to the ground. He watched as George W. Bush declared a war on terrorism. Although struck by what had just happened, he continued with his work. The military, after all, didn't have a budget to send Canadian soldiers overseas.
Two months later, he was in the desert. His days were long. As he woke each morning, he had to wipe the dust off his face. To shave, he shared a wash basin with 40 other soldiers. Then he would have to make the kilometre-long trek in temperatures that reached 50 degrees Celsius, just to wait 45 minutes in line for a cup of coffee and maybe some breakfast. He complained several times that the food was not fit for human consumption. They never listened.
He will be dressed casually on Wednesday, tossing aside his uniform for a pair of blue jeans and a white T-shirt. He will be on vacation, and finally has saved enough money for the honeymoon he had promised Colleen. They leave for Cancun at the end of this month, a welcome respite from the endless weeks in the desert.
He remembers that night in April, carrying out a nighttime live-fire exercise with other soldiers of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in the Afghan desert. He remembers the huge explosion. Little did they know that a U.S. pilot apparently mistook muzzle flashes and glowing tracer fire for an attack and responded by dropping a bomb.
Sgt. Reid can't forget the chaos of that night as soldiers tried to figure out what was happening and help those who were wounded. He had wanted to call his wife, his parents and his son, Brendan, to tell them he was alive. But he had had to wait until the families of the four soldiers were notified of their deaths. It still makes him angry. Every time he speaks of that night, his voice cracks and he briefly lowers his head.
Sgt. Reid knows he will most likely be sent on assignment again in a couple of years. Next time, he hopes it won't be as unbearable as Afghanistan.
REV. MYCHAL JUDGE
New York City
Exactly one year after his sudden death, Rev. Mychal Judge's morgue-record number provides the few facts of his demise that aren't open to debate. It is DM-01-00001, with the DM standing for Disaster Manhattan, and the remaining digits indicating that his were the first remains to be tagged and identified on that day.
Many others would follow. Father Judge came first because he was known to every fireman, and was killed by falling debris, they believe, while administering to one of their colleagues, who had been hit by the body of a woman plummeting from the upper floors. The story of his death was an almost-instant legend, a moment of poignancy pulled from the awful smoke.
From there, things get much more complicated. On Thursday, Father Judge will be remembered by many people in many different ways, but his memory has become clouded and hotly contested, in a way that would likely have pleased his controversy-loving heart.
On one hand, he has become something of a saint. Catholics, for a brief moment last fall, could point to a man who embodied the very best of their values - unambiguously heroic, self-sacrificing, generous and faithful, using prayer to bring relief to the most tormented souls. A movement quickly emerged to have him canonized. The requisite miracles were found, and the necessary steps were taken to petition the Vatican on his behalf. It seemed a strong case, especially since the current Pope is famous for the zeal with which he declares new saints.
Then, at some point in the early months of 2002, Mychal Judge apparently became unmentionable among Catholic officials. "The church has really backed off from him completely," said Burt Kearns, a Los Angeles TV producer who has led the movement to have the priest canonized, including the Web site, www.saintmychal.com. "There was all the praise they had given him in the days and weeks after his death, and you would think he's the kind of man the church would want to put on their recruiting posters. But this year they just dropped him."
There is little doubt as to the reason: In a year when the American Catholic Church was rocked with scores of accusations of sexual crimes by priests, it was politically untenable even to discuss the prospect of canonizing a priest who was openly gay. Father Judge's homosexuality was not discussed much in the weeks after Sept. 11, but it was a theme that soon was picked up by the gay community and its media. He was a public and outspoken member of Dignity, an organization of gay Catholics that does not have the blessing of the church.
So Father Judge exists in a state of posthumous ambiguity, his humble prayer printed on a million souvenirs and a hundred Web sites, but his official memory in the church hardly extending beyond his morgue number. "To many of us, it doesn't matter," Mr. Kearns said. "He was a person who was larger than life, who lived and died as a saint. . . . Maybe the public will make him a de-facto saint anyway, without the church."
Over at St. Francis of Assisi on 33rd Street on Wednesday, the friars will scrub the feet of the homeless, cook meals in shelters and minister to the poor, as they always have. Another Franciscan friar has replaced Mychal Judge at the fire station across the road. And the swirl of publicity and controversy surrounding their late brother raises a familiar wry smile on the faces of the friars.
"Oh, I think Mychal is up there chuckling at all this," Father Duffy said. "If he'd have heard of all the publicity . . . and the talk of making him a saint, he would have just shaken his head and laughed."
The day will begin at a predawn hour, when the Capitol is endowed with a spiritual silence: Wake in the dark, pray, eat breakfast, then step outside the neat townhouse to the black sport-utility vehicle idling at the curb.
Though it's a short walk to the FBI building, the events of one year ago blew away many of John Ashcroft's traditions - the walk to work, the 8 a.m. prayer session with his staff. On Wednesday, he will sit in his Secret Service convoy as the sun rises over the Potomac.
At the meeting, there may be a moment of silent observance, but matters will turn quickly to investigations: the anthrax attacks, the suspected terrorists being held, tentatively, across the country. The President will be briefed at 8:30 a.m., as always.
If he has a moment to reflect, Mr. Ashcroft may well find himself pining for those biblical days after the attacks. After the humiliations and setbacks of his earlier career - the failed presidential bid, the defeat to a dead man - he suddenly found himself the most powerful man in Washington, one of the few people who had won the President's constant and unwavering attention.
Before Sept. 11, his victories had been bold but thoroughly domestic: He had won state-by-state victories in his opposition to abortion, contraception, legislated racial integration and assisted suicide. He had made it known that he believed, contrary to the U.S. Supreme Court, that an individual has a constitutional right to own guns.
Afterward, his religious zeal helped change America, with thousands of arrests, a vast increase in intelligence operations, and a newly aggressive approach to interrogation techniques. The FBI and the Justice Department were suddenly forces of global justice. Mr. Ashcroft was an internationally known figure, on cable news every day, with influence approaching that of the President himself.
It seemed to be a new life. In retrospect, perhaps it was just a moment. This week, Mr. Ashcroft's influence in Washington, and his public presence, are nowhere near where they were six months ago. The fall was sudden and dramatic and, in typical John Ashcroft fashion, it was humiliating.
On Monday, June 10, he was in Moscow, and he was about to launch a new, very public thrust in the war on terrorism. He booked a TV studio, appeared in front of a camera before a glowing red backdrop, and told the world that he had uncovered "an unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive `dirty bomb,' " and that a key al-Qaeda operative had been discovered and arrested on U.S. soil.
The story filled front pages for days. And then it fell apart. The FBI claimed that the operative, a Mexican-American ex-con named Jose Padilla, was nothing more than a petty criminal. And the White House was furious: The President learned of the announcement by watching it on TV, since Mr. Ashcroft had failed to have his dramatic plan vetted by Washington.
Other humiliations followed: John Walker Lindh, whom Mr. Ashcroft had aggressively pursued and promoted as a key al-Qaeda player, walked away with a plea, his terror role revealed to be negligible. Then the country's second highest court ruled that he - the Attorney-General! - had no constitutional right to detain hundreds of Muslim Americans on vague allegations of terrorism. This week, he will watch uneasily as courts wrangle over what his powers really are.
Mr. Ashcroft has disappeared from the TV screens. In the wake of his Padilla debacle, he was told in no uncertain terms to keep his head down. His influence in Washington has fallen far behind that of the military strongmen, and once again the Justice Department is just another federal bureaucracy. Always a stiff, dour, unsmiling man, Mr. Ashcroft will stroll through the day Wednesday with a look of stern resolve, betraying none of his deeper feelings.
Flight attendant, widow
For a flight attendant, so used to layovers, the bag for her trip to New York this week is the hardest Maureen Basnicki has ever had to pack. There are clothes for Pamela Wallin's dinner on Tuesday, the one her journalism-student daughter, Erica, is so looking forward to. And an outfit for the Sept. 11 memorial.
If everything had not gone wrong, Maureen and Ken would have been settled by now into their new five-bedroom home near Collingwood, Ont. Instead, she will silently catalogue what is left of her man: a 2.5-centimetre chunk of femur. A small piece of collarbone.
She can take small comfort that Tanja Tomasevic, who lives several blocks away in her Etobicoke neighbourhood, is going through the same thing: Thirty-six-year-old Vladimir was reduced to a right hip, knee, thigh bone and layers of tissue. Parts of his underwear and trousers were also found, tagged, DNA-tested and stored in a refrigerated trailer at New York's medical examiner's office.
Fellow neighbour Cindy Barkway isn't as lucky as Maureen and Tanja, if the location of small body parts can be considered luck. Nothing has been found of her David, who with his cherubic smile and love of golf, won friends over easily. It's possible the 34-year-old son of an Anglican minister, like hundreds of others, perished without a trace.
At precisely 10:29 a.m., houses of worship will ring their bells throughout New York, the exact minute the second World Trade Center tower collapsed.
Ken Basnicki, the financial marketing director of California-based BEA Systems, a software company, was in the city a year ago to attend a financial-services conference at the Windows on the World restaurant on the 106th floor of the north tower.
Vladimir Tomasavic, his software-executive neighbour, was there too. David Barkway was one floor below, beginning his new job with an investment firm owned by the Bank of Montreal.
Moments after the first hijacked jet slammed into the centre, Ken Basnicki had called his mother. He said: "The building is full of smoke." He didn't know how he would get out.
In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, Ms. Basnicki and her fellow widows went rifling through their bathrooms and closets, grabbing used toothbrushes, clothing, hairbrushes and shavers, throwing them into bags, then sending them to the medical examiner.
The remains are housed in 16 refrigerated trailers under a white tent on 30th Street, where a team of pathologists, forensic dentists, fingerprint analysts and DNA specialists have worked to identify them. For some victims, 200 pieces have been found. For others, there is nothing. So far, 1,335 people have been identified. By April, 2003, the expectation is that roughly 2,000, or about 71 per cent, of the victims will be identified.
If you are Maureen Basnicki, you politely tell the New York city medical examiner's office that it need not provide updates every time a new piece, described in the most anatomical of terms, has been identified. Then you hang up the telephone and sob.
"I wish I hadn't been told of the body parts," she said grimly the other day. "I'd rather have not gotten anything and think of him as the whole person he was. These ashes would fit into a cigar tube, let alone a shoe box or coffin."
Chairman and CEO
New York City
On Wednesday afternoon, away from the sounds of honking cars and sirens, away from the prying eyes of journalists and cameras, Howard Lutnick will be driven in his black Chevy Suburban from his house on the Upper East Side to a quiet spot in New York's Central Park for a private memorial.
Surrounded by his family and friends, some holding pictures of loved ones and others pushing strollers, Mr. Lutnick will remember his brother, Gary, and 657 other Cantor Fitzgerald employees whose lives ended so abruptly last September.
He will almost certainly say a few words, his eyes quickly welling up with tears, as they so often do when he appears in public.
On Thursday morning, after he takes his son, Kyle, to school and four-year-old Brandon to nursery school - the morning journey that saved his life on Sept. 11 - he will sit at his desk and stare for a few moments at two damaged hunks of brass that seem to symbolize his position.
They are the sculpted hands of the late B. Gerald Cantor, the founder of the firm, cast in solid bronze, which somehow survived the fall and the burning heat in the firm's former office a year ago. Like them, Mr. Cantor's company is now fractured, tarnished and lacking much of its old lustre.
No firm was as ravaged by the attacks as Cantor Fitzgerald, which occupied Floors 101 to 105 of the north tower. Cantor lost 70 per cent of its World Trade Center employees, from senior executives to mailroom workers, including 20 sets of brothers.
In some circles, Mr. Lutnick is still a reviled man, thought to be exploiting the tragedy in a vulgar way to burnish the firm's public image. The investment community, and much of the public, was shocked by a series of TV commercials in which employees recounted their experiences.
And many can't forget that it was Mr. Lutnick who cut off the widow's mite - the paycheques of the dead - in the days after the terrorist attacks.
In his view, this move ended up saving the company. The firm is profitable now, and has promised to donate 25 per cent of its revenue over the next five years to those very families.
Still, his radical strategy, and his tear-stained public appearances, have given Cantor a distinctly ghoulish public reputation.
He spends a lot of his time visiting relatives of dead employees, often late into the night. He feels compelled to defend himself, and this often takes hours.
The third-floor office he sits in, overlooking stores and restaurants along Lexington Avenue and 57th Street, is a far cry from the lavish 105th-floor executive accommodations he had just over a year ago. It looks like the office of a startup company.
It is filled with pictures of his three children, Kyle, Brandon and his one-year-old daughter, Casey, as well as his godchildren and his best friend Doug Gardner's children - Michael, 5, and Julia, 3.
The night after the Central Park memorial, as he does every Thurs-day night these days, he will have his Men's Night Out. That's when he takes Kyle, Brandon and Michael to get ice cream or to the arcade.
It's a chance to talk to Michael about his dad, who had worked alongside Mr. Lutnick on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center, but didn't make it out of the building.
As weary as his days can be, Mr. Lutnick is not tired. He says he is on a constant adrenaline rush.
Since he is unable to sit completely still for long, he is staying up till 3:00 most mornings, working on his new book, On Top of the World.
He might as well spend his time writing. He hasn't been able to sleep much since Sept. 11.
New York City
"To John O'Neill, a true patriot," reads a poster showing the Statue of Liberty, hung in a midtown Manhattan condo. Valerie James will see that poster today before she walks out to remember her boyfriend of 11 years.
She plans to visit the huge hole in her city, with her firefighter brother and 30-year-old son, to contemplate the horror that claimed Mr. O'Neill one year ago, and left a gaping hole in their lives.
Mr. O'Neill had quit being an FBI counterterrorism agent only weeks before the attacks. It had started out as a good day. Around 8 a.m., Ms. James had laughed with him as he drove her to work in his aging Buick LeSabre. She had stopped to buy flowers. As he dropped her off, he said simply: "I'll call you."
An hour later, he called. Shocked but intact at the base of the north tower, where bodies were falling from above, he asked Ms. James what had hit the building. She told him it was a 767. He told her he had made it down from his office, 35 floors above. He said he was safe. He said he was out.
But John O'Neill couldn't stay out for very long. He rushed back into the towers in his last futile fight against terrorism.
Even in the last few minutes of his life, the dreadful irony of the situation must have been stark to Mr. O'Neill. The ostensible reason he had left the FBI was because he wanted to make more money in the private sector. But he also wanted to leave behind a lot of the frustration the FBI had caused him.
That summer, he had been cleared of criminal wrongdoing for the classified files he had lost track of in his briefcase in Tampa. His own bureau, however, continued to investigate. Worse, he suspected that one of his enemies leaked the story to The New York Times, where it had made front-page news on Aug. 19. Mr. O'Neill did not look like a hero in the story. But at least it mentioned high up that he had overseen investigations of the bombings of the USS Cole last fall and of the American embassies in Africa in 1998. Al-Qaeda was behind both of those attacks.
Mr. O'Neill had complained that his investigations had been hindered by the Saudis and Yemenis, and even his own U.S. colleagues. The probes were exercises in frustration for an agent less sensitive to diplomatic dictates than to finding mass killers. In July, in the Spanish resort of town of Salou, Mr. O'Neill made one of his final speeches as an FBI counterterrorism agent. He exhorted investigators around the world to band together against Osama bin Laden and his network.
After Mr. O'Neill came home from Spain, he went to a barbecue. ABC reporter John Miller, a close friend, bantered with him. "Bin Laden must be really frustrated," Mr. Miller recalls telling his friend. "He hasn't been able to get off an attack since the Cole bombing. That must be driving him nuts."
Mr. O'Neill wasn't so hopeful. "They'll get one off," he said. "There is always going to be that one cell that slips by us."
On Wednesday, Mr. Miller will spare a quiet moment for his late friend. His own best-selling book about al-Qaeda, titled The Cell, is dedicated to the former FBI agent, whose warnings turned out to be lethally true.
At FBI headquarters in Virginia on Wednesday, Mr. O'Neill will be the subject of hundreds of conversations, and a quiet memorial service. He has become something of a saint in this troubled organization - which is, in many respects, being reconstructed in Mr. O'Neill's own image.
On Sept. 11, 2001, the work was grim, but at times Mr. O'Neill was his ever-social self. "Give me a call when things calm down," he said to an FBI colleague he spotted, hoping to arrange a lunch. His body was pulled from the wreckage, largely intact, about 10 days later.