Remembering The Second Plane's Strike

Audie Cornish talks to NPR's Don Gonyea in the moments leading up to 9:30 a.m., when United Airlines flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

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AUDIE CORNISH, Host:

I want to turn back to New York. It's a tradition that family members read the names of victims of 9/11 in pairs. People are coming to the podium now, and let's hear some of that.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Mark Bingham.

CHILD: Carl Vincent Bini.

CHILD: Gary Eugene Bird.

CHILD: Joshua David Birnbaum.

CHILD: George John Bishop.

CHILD: Kris Romeo Bishundat.

CHILD: Jeffrey Donald.

MOMENT OF SILENCE

CORNISH: This is a moment of silence at 9:03. A moment of silence...

(SOUNDBITE OF A BELL)

CORNISH: ...for United Airlines Flight 175. At this moment 10 years ago, it struck the South Tower.

MOMENT OF SILENCE

CORNISH: Listening to a moment of silence at the World Trade Center site, where - the ceremonies of the 10th anniversary for the 9/11 attacks.

P: President Lincoln not only understood the heartbreak of his country, he also understood the cost to sacrifice...

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BUSH: ...and reached out to console those in sorrow.

CORNISH: Applause here for former President George W. Bush.

BUSH: In the fall of 1864, he learned that a widow had lost five sons in the Civil War, and he wrote her this letter.

(Reading) Dear Madam, I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, that you're the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours, very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

CORNISH: Former President George Bush; the reading, from Abraham Lincoln.

PETER NEGRON: My name is Peter Negron. My father worked on the 88th floor of the World Trade Center. I was 13 when I stood here in 2003, and read a poem about how much I wanted to break down and cry. Since then, I've stopped crying, but I haven't stop missing my dad. He was awesome.

M: how to catch a baseball, how to ride a bike, and to work hard in school - my dad always said how important it was.

Since 9/11, my mother, brother and I moved to Florida. I got a job and enrolled into college. I wish my dad had been there to teach me how to drive, ask a girl out on a date, and see me graduate from high school - and a hundred other things I can't even begin to name.

He worked in the environmental department, and cared about the Earth and our future. I know he wanted to make a difference. I admire him for that, and I would have liked to talk to him about such things. I've decided to become a forensic scientist. I hope that I can make my father proud of the young men that my brother and I have become. I miss you so much, Dad.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE AND CELLO MUSIC)

CORNISH: That was Peter Negron. He was 11 when his father, also named Peter, died in the collapse of the World Trade Center. His father worked for the Port Authority as an environmental engineer. He died at the age of 34.

At this point in the program, here at ground zero, we're hearing a performance by Yo-Yo Ma, who also performed on the one-year anniversary of 9/11.

You're listening to live, special coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

(SOUNDBITE OF CELLO MUSIC)

CHILD: Jeffrey Donald Bittner.

CHILD: Albert Balewa Blackman Jr.

CHILD: Christopher Joseph Blackwell.

CHILD: Carrie Rosetta Blackburn.

CHILD: Susan Leigh Blair.

CHILD: Harry Blanding Jr.

CHILD: Janice Lee Blaney.

CORNISH: As is the annual tradition, members - family members of 9/11 victims come forth on the stage and read names of all the victims, throughout the day.

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