Still so much information rolling in as to what went down, etc. You can catch up on all he latest developments, including learning more about the Navy SEAL team involved in taking out Public Enemy Number One, here.
Multiple news outlets are reporting the news. Not confirmed as to how or which country (Afghanistan or Pakistan). The President will be issuing a statement shortly on the matter.
Absolutely awesome news. It’s a symbolic victory as the war on terror will go on nevertheless, but that doesn’t diminish the historic significance of this kill.
Supposedly it happened days ago It happened earlier today but the US wanted DNA confirmation first before they made the official announcement. Morons on Twitter and ABC News are making a partisan issue out of it by giving President Obama all the credit but the real credit goes to the boots on the ground, including both our military and intelligence agents who NEVER stopped looking for OBL in the aftermath of 9-11, never stopped hunting for him nor digging for intelligence from informants that would lead us to him.
Now is a good time to remember in prayer the victims of OBL’s Islamofascistic reign of terror. Decades of murder finally, at long last, officially avenged. It’s a great night.
Update – 11:41PM: The President says that the kill happened today after days of intelligence reports indicating where OBL was. Pakistani intelligence helped lead us to him. He says he authorized an operation to take OBL out. There was a firefight and no American troops were harmed. OBL was killed via a bullet to the brain.
News reports: Navy Seals being given credit for the operation.
Bret Baier on Fox is saying the President said the intelligence reports have been coming in since last August and in the last week he (Obama) authorized the use of force to take him out. I’ll need to review the speech. That’s not what I heard. Either way, OBL is gone and that is great news for us all.
Here’s a link to President Bush’s statement:
Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.
Here’s the text of President Obama’s speech.
Update – 1:20 AM: How OBL was tracked.
**Posted by Phineas
Several items fall under this category, today, but let’s start with the best, first: a previously unknown al Qaeda cell in Los Angeles, just before 9-11.
The FBI has launched a manhunt for a previously unknown team of men suspected to be part of the 9/11 attacks, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Secret documents reveal that the three Qatari men conducted surveillance on the targets, provided “support” to the plotters and had tickets for a flight to Washington on the eve of the atrocities.
The suspected terrorists flew from London to New York on a British Airways flight three weeks before the attacks.
They allegedly carried out surveillance at the World Trade Centre, the White House and in Virginia, the US state where the Pentagon and CIA headquarters are located.
Ten days later they flew to Los Angeles, where they stationed themselves in a hotel near the airport which the FBI has now established was paid for by a “convicted terrorist”, who also paid for their airline tickets.
Hotel staff have told investigators they saw pilot uniforms in their room along with computer print outs detailing pilot names, flight numbers and times and packages addressed to Syria, Afghanistan, Jerusalem and Jordan.
On September 10 they were booked on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Washington, but failed to board. The following day the same Boeing 757 aircraft was hijacked by five terrorists and crashed into the Pentagon.
But, instead of boarding the American flight, the Qatari suspects – named as Meshal Alhajri, Fahad Abdulla and Ali Alfehaid – flew back to London on a British Airways flight before returning to Qatar. Their current location is unknown.
via The Jawa Report.
It’s not known whether these
medieval lunatics jihadis were a fifth hijacking crew (remember that my city was the target of a planned second wave — oh, which we learned about thanks only to waterboarding), a backup crew that was pulled out when the cell that attacked the Pentagon confirmed as “ready,” or “just” an operational support team. What is genuinely disturbing is the article’s implication that, if I understand it right, we didn’t know about these guys except in a very vague way until recently.
Which begs the question: Who else don’t we know about??
Then there’s another revelation from the gift that keeps on giving, Wikileaks. This time, it’s the news that al Qaeda is on the verge of having a dirty bomb, among other fun toys:
Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons after sourcing nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build “dirty” bombs, according to leaked diplomatic documents.
A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a “nuclear 9/11″.
Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing “workable and efficient” biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.
Thousands of classified American cables obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.
At a Nato meeting in January 2009, security chiefs briefed member states that al-Qaida was plotting a program of “dirty radioactive IEDs”, makeshift nuclear roadside bombs that could be used against British troops in Afghanistan.
As well as causing a large explosion, a “dirty bomb” attack would contaminate the area for many years.
Note to the Vancouver Sun headline writer: there is a huge difference between a “nuclear bomb” and a “dirty bomb.” Scale, for one thing. A true H-bomb wreaks much of its destruction through blast and heat; the fallout is just apocalyptic gravy. The explosive force of a dirty bomb is much smaller — it’s meant to scatter radioactive material over an area, rendering it unusable. But that also makes it a perfect terror-weapon. (Wired has a good article on dirty bombs.) Accuracy, please.
Still, isn’t it comforting to know al Qaeda is close to having one?
via Allahpundit, who in his typical fashion reminds us there are plenty of Pakistani jihadist groups that would want a dirty bomb or two, as well as a Pakistani intelligence service that might be willing to supply them. Charming.
Other reassuring items:
Maybe border-security hawks have a point:
U.S. border authorities have arrested a controversial Muslim cleric who was deported from Canada to Tunisia three years ago and was caught earlier this month trying to sneak into California inside the trunk of a BMW, according to court documents.
Said Jaziri, the former Imam of a Muslim congregation in Montreal, was hidden inside a car driven by a San Diego-area man who was pulled over by U.S. Border Patrol agents near an Indian casino east of San Diego. Jaziri allegedly paid a Tijuana-based smuggling group $5,000 to get him across the border near Tecate, saying he wanted to be taken to a “safe place anywhere in the U.S.”
The arrest marks the unexpected resurfacing of the 43-year-old cleric, whose protracted legal battle to avoid deportation drew headlines in Canada. A Tunisian immigrant, Jaziri was deported for failing to disclose a criminal conviction in France while applying for refugee status in the mid-1990s.
But Jaziri’s supporters said he was targeted for his fundamentalist views: Jaziri backed Sharia law for Canadian Muslims and led protests over the publication of the prophet Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2006.
Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombers Found in Arizona Desert
EXCLUSIVE: A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.
The book, “In Memory of Our Martyrs,” was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.
Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.
According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, “The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments.” Each biographical page contains “the terrorist’s name, date of death, and how they died.”
Agents also say that the book appears to have been exposed to weather in the desert “for at least several days or weeks.”
Litterbug. He probably mislaid his dirty bomb, too.
So, you see? We can all relax, safe and content. President Barack “We don’t need no steenkin’ fence” Obama, Attorney General Eric “Civilian trials for terrorists” Holder and Homeland Security Director Janet “The system worked” Napolitano are surely on top of things.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
About the 9/11 health responders bill, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and MSDNC’s Joe Scarborough were quoted as saying:
With just hours left in the 111th Congress, Republican lawmakers find themselves the target of ire and scorn from the most unlikely of adversaries: the firefighters and police officers who rushed into the burning twin towers on Sept. 11 nearly a decade ago and worked at the site for months afterward.
That predicament crystallized Tuesday when Rudolph W. Giuliani, the mayor of New York during the attacks, condemned his fellow Republicans as being on the wrong side of “morality” and “obligation” for failing to support legislation to provide medical benefits for the first responders.
“This should not be seen as a Democratic or Republican issue,” Mr. Giuliani, a Republican who ran for president in 2008, said on a Fox News affiliate. “It shouldn’t even be seen as a fiscal issue. It’s a matter of morality, of obligation.”
On Wednesday morning, the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, called the G.O.P.’s opposition to the bill “a terrible mistake” for the party.
“It’s a terrible, terrible mistake to be seen as opposing relief for 9/11 heroes,” he said. “This is one of those times when you get so wrapped up in the game that you forget to look and see what’s happening. Here, the Republicans, whether they know it or not, look horrible.”
You can always count on the MSM’s favorite “Republicans” to throw those who are trying to be fiscally responsible under the bus when it’s politically convenient. Oddly enough, it’s Republicans like Scarborough who blasted the GOP all during the Bush administration for their lack of fiscal restraint. What’s changed? Oh yeah – Scarborough is now thoroughly relishing his role as the David Brooks of the 24-7 network news beat.
Most disgusting of all is this video, put out by Senate Democrats, painting the GOP as “abandoning” the 9-11 first responders after so readily embracing them in the immediate aftermath of 9-11:
Democrats – and some moderate Republicans – absolutely have no shame. None whatsoever.
Why was there resistance from a few Republicans in the Senate to the First Responders health bill? Memo to pandering morons on the left: It had nothing to do with wanting to “abandon” those who rushed to the towers on 9-11 and in the days after to help with the rescue/recovery/cleanup. The National Review editors wrote earlier this month:
The Senate will soon vote on legislation that would establish a new government-run health-care program with insufficient oversight controls, create a bonanza for trial lawyers, cost a minimum of $11.6 billion, and be funded primarily through a significant tax hike on U.S.-based companies.
Of course, that’s not how the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is being sold.
On a surface level, the bill — which passed the House in September, over the resistance of most Republicans — may appear relatively uncontroversial: How could anyone oppose giving medical and financial benefits to the heroic first responders who suffered injury or illness while saving lives or cleaning up debris at Ground Zero? Unfortunately, the issues at stake aren’t nearly that simple.
After 9/11, Congress rolled out a bevy of initiatives designed to address the health maladies of emergency workers affected by the World Trade Center attacks. The largest such initiative, run by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has allocated $475 million to the relevant medical-care providers. There’s just one problem: Nobody — not even NIOSH director John Howard — can account for how all the grant money has been spent. The program is bedeviled by hopelessly inadequate supervision, which has led to rampant waste and, quite possibly, serious fraud.
Rather than tackle these deficiencies and implement robust safeguards against the misuse of federal funds, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would effectively put the program on steroids — without clarifying its previous expenditures or correcting its severe administrative flaws. The opportunities for abuse would mushroom. We’re not opposed to a reasonable funding increase for the NIOSH scheme, provided its structural defects are fixed. But we are opposed to a new health-care entitlement that would lack proper accountability mechanisms and unleash a torrent of wasteful spending.
Read the whole thing to get the full picture of the bill of goods Democrats have successfully sold to the American people via using emotional arguments to tug on people’s heartstrings rather than engage their minds on the costs associated, lack of oversight, and how Washington, DC (including Republicans) NEVER “abandoned” the 9-11 first responders. Never.
What else makes my blood boil about this? We all remember how the Democrats went ballistic during the Bush administration at even the slightest mention of the idea of Republicans – especially President Bush – considering putting even just a few seconds of 9-11 footage in any campaign ads. Such footage, they (and their helpers in the MSM) argued at the time, would be exploiting the memory of all who perished on 9-11.
Calling these guys “hypocrites” just doesn’t seem to quite cover the depth of their duplicity, does it?
We can all thank Senator Coburn (R-OK) for working out a compromise with pandering Democrats like Reid and others, a compromise which made the bill substantially less expensive (to the tune of $2 billion) – with some accountability measures put in place – than it had been before.
Democrats have paid lip service for the last 4 years about “bipartisanship” in Washington, DC, and how we need more of it. Coburn was “blocking” the bill because he wanted changes in the bill that would have made it more fiscally responsible, wouldn’t benefit people it didn’t need to, and would provide for some accountability on down the line. He negotiated a deal with his colleagues in the Senate in a bipartisan fashion, and the rest is history. For Senate Democrats, lead by Majority “Leader” Harry Reid, to suggest that Coburn, who has made it his life’s work to help others in his role as a physician, is “abandoning” the 9-11 first responders and their health concerns is both despicable and repugnant. Not only that, but the lies being put out there by the left about how the government has supposedly “ignored and forgotten” the firefighters and police officers who worked at the WTC after 9-11 deserve swift rebuttals by the so-called “fact checkers” in the MSM.
Yeah, I know. When hell freezes over, and all that.
In the last surprise attack on American soil before 9/11, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor:
(Credit: Aviation History)
My grandfather was a Petty Officer aboard the USS Nevada during the battle. Below are a couple of pictures of his ship under attack, the only battleship to get underway that day:
(Both photos credit: Naval Historical Center)
As you can see, they had been hit pretty hard. Thankfully, Grandpa survived.
Nine years ago, we were hit by another fascist enemy, with casualties 25% higher than Pearl Harbor:
(credit: September 11th News)
(Scene at the Pentagon. Credit: US Navy via Wikimedia)
Our grandfathers finished their job. Let’s not do any less, shall we?
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Well, isn’t that interesting? The Imam who wants to build a mosque community center rabat at Ground Zero in order to build bridges of understanding and religious tolerance is closely associated with an Islamic 9-11 Truther:
In his interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on Wednesday, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf defended his plans to build a mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero, saying “You cannot heal a trauma by walking away from it. We have to sit down. We have to talk about it. We have to dialogue about it and find a way to move through it and beyond it.”
But a trove of videos and writings available on the Internet shows that a longtime partner of Rauf believes the 9/11 terror attacks were “an inside job” by U.S. government and corporate interests, the Investigative Project on Terrorism found.
Faiz Khan, a physician who claims to have been a first responder after the September 11 attacks, is a founding member of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth and is on the advisory board of the Muslims for 9/11 Truth. In an essay on the Alliance’s website, he argued that “the prime factor for the success of the criminal mission known as 9/11 did not come from the quarter known as ‘militant Islam’ although the phenomenon known as ‘militant Islamic networks’ may have played a partial role, or even a less than partial role – perhaps the role of patsy and scapegoat.”
Be sure to read the rest. The more that comes out about the background of those behind the project, the more I think it just isn’t going to happen.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
I missed this quote from President Obama yesterday regarding the Islamofascist thugs who murdered 3,000 innocents on 9-11:
President Obama stressed that America was not at war with Islam as he decried the “sorry band of men” who attacked the nation nine years ago in memorial ceremonies at the Pentagon on Saturday.
“The perpetrators of this evil act didn’t simply attack America; they attacked the very idea of America itself — all that we stand for and represent in the world,” Obama said. “And so the highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most — to stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are.”
“Sorry band of men”? As Doug Powers rightly points out, 19 radical Islamic plane hijackers on a jihad mission to kill thousands warrant a little bit more of a strong description than that:
Only Barack Obama could make a murderous global Islamic terrorist organization sound like the Bay City Rollers.
That’s just one step away from “wascally wabbits” isn’t it?
I remember some people (mostly on the left) slamming Bush over his intial comments when news of the terror attacks first broke across the country. He called the terrorists “folks.” But Bush was and is a plain spoken man. His remarks were not exactly “prepared.” He knew after that what to call the 9-11 hijackers and the thugs who share their sick ideology, and it wasn’t “folks” and it wasn’t a “sorry band of men.”
President Obama, on the other hand, is supposedly “very well-spoken” and, as our liberal friends like to remind us so often, he was educated at Harvard, which means he’s supposed to be smarter than everyone else (I guess?). Not only that, but President Obama’s remarks WERE prepared. I would say his speechwriter deserves a reprimand but I’m sure the President doesn’t read anything off the teleprompter he hasn’t approved first.
But what struck me more than the “Sorry band of men” nonsense was how he described the hijackers’ motivations:
“They may wish to drive us apart, but we will not give in to their hatred and prejudice,” he said. “For Scripture teaches us to ‘get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.’
“They may seek to spark conflict between different faiths, but as Americans we are not — and never will be — at war with Islam. It was not a religion that attacked us that September day — it was al-Qaeda, a sorry band of men which perverts religion. And just as we condemn intolerance and extremism abroad, so will we stay true to our traditions here at home as a diverse and tolerant nation.”
Spoken like a bonafide ignorant liberal who clearly has no idea what the Koran actually calls for. Here are a more than a few hints, President Obama. Don’t wanna read it? Ok. Here are a couple of clues: It calls for the subjugation of women. It preaches violence against any woman who “disobeys” her husband and/or male relatives. It is intolerant of of non-believers to the point it advocates an “any means necessary” approach to make them submit – or die. Don’t believe me? Ask the few surviving victims and the thousands of families of victims alive or dead courtesy of the “religion of peace” about how “peaceful” a religion Islam is.
Manda Zand Ervin
And there are others here.
For a brief time long ago, I used to subscribe to the belief that there was a “moderate” element to Islam. I don’t anymore. Yes, there are Muslim Islamists out there who are not hateful, who are respectful of the religous beliefs and faiths of others, etc, but my opinion is that these Muslims are not full-fledged Islamists – and that’s a good thing. There is hope for that minority of Islamists that they can turn away from the evil “religion” we know as Islam.
That is, if they’re not murdered first.
No, Mr. President – I will not be “tolerant” of this religion, not in any way, shape, form, or fashion. Doesn’t mean I’ll get violent, but it DOES mean that I will speak out strongly against it, loudly and often. Islam, which is the law of the land in many Muslim countries via the use of the Koran as their “standard,” stands for everything we’re supposed to be against. Secularists and non-secularists alike can see this. It’s a crying, outrageous shame that you and so many of your fellow “enlightened” liberals do not.
Writing in the New York Post, Amir Taheri has an interesting theory of what the proposed mosque/community center/whatever at Ground Zero really represents. He mentions the various types of Islamic buildings, all of which have very specific roles in Islam: for example, the takiyah is a Shiite building dedicated to passion plays about the death of Imam Husayn, while a zawiyyah is a type monastic complex.
But then, if the proposed building at Ground Zero is not a mosque, and if it isn’t a cultural center, then what is it?
Taheri’s answer? It is a rabat, a building meant to facilitate conquest:
The first rabat appeared at the time of the Prophet.
The Prophet imposed his rule on parts of Arabia through a series of ghazvas, or razzias (the origin of the English word “raid”). The ghazva was designed to terrorize the infidels, convince them that their civilization was doomed and force them to submit to Islamic rule. Those who participated in the ghazva were known as the ghazis, or raiders.
After each ghazva, the Prophet ordered the creation of a rabat — or a point of contact at the heart of the infidel territory raided. The rabat consisted of an area for prayer, a section for the raiders to eat and rest and facilities to train and prepare for future razzias. Later Muslim rulers used the tactic of ghazva to conquer territory in the Persian and Byzantine empires. After each raid, they built a rabat to prepare for the next razzia.
It is no coincidence that Islamists routinely use the term ghazva to describe the 9/11 attacks against New York and Washington. The terrorists who carried out the attack are referred to as ghazis or shahids (martyrs).
Thus, building a rabat close to Ground Zero would be in accordance with a tradition started by the Prophet. To all those who believe and hope that the 9/11 ghazva would lead to the destruction of the American “Great Satan,” this would be of great symbolic value.
A rabat in the heart of Manhattan would be of great symbolic value to those who want a high-profile, “in your face” projection of Islam in the infidel West.
New York currently boasts at least 30 mosques so it’s not as if there is pressing need to find space for worshippers. The fact we Muslims know the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel. The proposal has been made in bad faith and in Islamic parlance, such an act is referred to as “Fitna,” meaning “mischief-making” that is clearly forbidden in the Koran.
Imam Rauf and other backers of the “Cordoba House” (since renamed Park51) have been adamant that the purpose of the new building is to promote interfaith understanding. Perhaps we should be listening to what other Muslims have to say, too.
RELATED: You know it’s a bad idea when…
(Crossposted to Public Secrets)
Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:
That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Longtime readers of this blog will recognize this post, as I have published it here every 9-11 since 2006 in honor of Mr. Mardikian, and all victims of the 9-11 terror attacks, as part of DC Roe’s 9-11 remembrance project. I thought this year about doing another post for another victim, but decided it would be too painful, as the memories of what happened that day are still so fresh and raw for many, myself included. I didn’t know anyone in the WTC towers, the Pentagon, or on any of the planes, but I was in NYC on that day – scheduled to fly back home that evening. I remember just like it was yesterday what I was doing and where I was when I found out what was going on, and the shock and numbness that washed over me as it slowly started to sink in that we were under attack. When my friend Sharon and I checked back into the Times Square hotel we had only checked out of about 2 hours earlier, the first thing we did was turn on the TV to get updates. At that time, news channels were showing unedited coverage, & raw eyewitness footage as all news at that point was “breaking,” so we saw what the rest of America was seeing – like people screaming for help from the top floors of the towers, some of them jumping. Also, like many other Americans, we watched on TV as the towers collapsed. And, again, like the rest of America, she and I couldn’t stop crying at the senseless losses of so many innocent lives, as the victim count piled up from NYC, to the Pentagon, to a field in Shanksville, PA.
It’s still hard to believe even today that something as horrifying as 9-11 happened on our soil. But it did, and we must never, ever forget it. Time passes on and life goes on, but for the victims, their families, and for the future of America, we must always remember – and always remain vigilant against the Islamofascists who would like nothing more than to commit many more 9-11s.
For an extensive archive of TV coverage of 9-11 as it happened, click here. I’ll have 9-11 timeline tweets up throughout the day. Fox will be re-airing its 9-11 “Timeline of Terror” special at 3 & 9 PM ET.
Here, once again, is Peter Edward Mardikian’s story. Note: Some links may no longer work, but they were valid at the time of the original writing.
(Originally posted 9/10/06 7:55 pm)
Imagine you are 29 years old. You’ve been married for six weeks to your college sweetheart, someone whom friends would later say that you wouldn’t have been “complete” without. You’re beginning to realize your personal and professional dreams. The world looks to be your oyster, and you believe that you and your spouse have the rest of your lives to explore it, all the while enjoying the comfort of knowing that you have not only each other, but the enduring love of family and friends surrounding you.
And then imagine those hopes being snatched away from you in the blink of an eye, without warning, without provocation. Imagine the chilling, horrifying realization that you will never see your spouse again, your family, your friends. That you will be leaving this earth much sooner than you ever thought you would be.
Such was the case for Peter Edward Mardikian, one of 2,996 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our nation.
As it was for most of us, September 11, 2001 started off as an average day for Mr. Mardikian. Peter worked for a company called “Imagine Software” in Manhattan. That morning Peter was on business, preparing a software exhibit for a trade show in the World Trade Center at Windows on The World, which was a popular restaurant on the top floor of the North Tower. As you can see from the picture, it had a spectacular view of the city. It was a city Peter Mardikian, who grew up in Princeton, NJ, had dreamed of living and working in. Here is what the morning started out like at Windows on the World:
“Good morning, Ms. Thompson.”
Doris Eng’s greeting was particularly sunny, like the day, as Liz Thompson arrived for breakfast atop the tallest building in the city, Ms. Thompson remembers thinking. Perhaps Ms. Eng had matched her mood to the glorious weather, the rich blue September sky that filled every window. Or perhaps it was the company.
Familiar faces occupied many of the tables in Wild Blue, the intimate aerie to Windows that Ms. Eng helped manage, according to two people who ate there that morning. As much as any one place, that single room captured the sweep of humanity who worked and played at the trade center.
Ms. Thompson, executive director of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, was eating with Geoffrey Wharton, an executive with Silverstein Properties, which had just leased the towers. At the next table sat Michael Nestor, the deputy inspector general of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and one of his investigators, Richard Tierney.
At a third table were six stockbrokers, several of whom came every Tuesday. Ms. Eng had a treat for one of them, Emeric Harvey. The night before, one of the restaurant’s managers, Jules Roinnel, gave Ms. Eng two impossibly-hard-to-get tickets to “The Producers.” Mr. Roinnel says he asked Ms. Eng to give them to Mr. Harvey.
Sitting by himself at a window table overlooking the Statue of Liberty was a relative newcomer, Neil D. Levin, the executive director of the Port Authority. He had never joined them for breakfast before. But his secretary requested a table days earlier and now he sat waiting for a banker friend, said Mr. Levin’s wife, Christy Ferer.
Every other minute or so, a waiter, Jan Maciejewski, swept through the room, refilling coffee cups and taking orders, Mr. Nestor recalls. Mr. Maciejewski was one of several restaurant workers on the 107th floor. Most of the 72 Windows employees were on the 106th floor, where Risk Waters Group was holding a conference on information technology.
Already 87 people had arrived, including top executives from Merrill Lynch and UBS Warburg, according to the conference sponsors. Many were enjoying coffee and sliced smoked salmon in the restaurant’s ballroom. Some exhibitors were already tending to their booths, set up in the Horizon Suite just across the hallway.
A picture taken that morning showed two exhibitors, Peter Alderman and William Kelly, salesmen for Bloomberg L.P., chatting with a colleague beside a table filled with a multi-screened computer display. Stuart Lee and Garth Feeney, two vice presidents of Data Synapse, ran displays of their company’s software.
Down in the lobby, 107 floors below, an assistant to Mr. Levin waited for his breakfast guest. But when the guest arrived, he and Mr. Levin’s aide luckily boarded the wrong elevator, Ms. Ferer would learn, and so they had to return to the lobby to wait for another one.
Upstairs, Mr. Levin read his newspaper, Mr. Nestor recalled. He and Mr. Tierney were a little curious to see whom Mr. Levin, their boss, was meeting for breakfast. But Mr. Nestor had a meeting downstairs, so they headed for the elevators, stopping at Mr. Levin’s table to say goodbye. Behind them came Ms. Thompson and Mr. Wharton. Mr. Nestor held the elevator, so they hopped in quickly, Ms. Thompson recalled.
Then the doors closed and the last people ever to leave Windows on the World began their descent. It was 8:44 a.m.
At 8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower, slicing through floors 94 through 98. Those in the direct path of the Boeing 767 aircraft that had been used as a weapon were likely killed instantly. No one in the floors above floor 91 would survive, because they had no way out, and firefighters could not reach them.
According to Peter Mardikian’s wife Corine, he called her at 9:05 a.m. using a landline phone, one that was miraculously still working, on the 106th floor. Here is her recollection of the conversation:
“He said it was very, very smoky,” Ms. Mardikian said, “and he was worried about his breathing. He was talking about going up to the roof. I think he was trying to shelter me. He said he couldn’t talk longer because there were a lot of people standing in line to use the phone.”
His in-laws quoted him as saying this as well to his wife:
“We think a bomb hit here. I’m having a hard time breathing. I probably won’t make it out of here. I just want you to know I love you.”
Here’s what was happening on the top floors of the North Tower at 9:35 that morning:
So urgent was the need for air that people piled four and five high in window after window, their upper bodies hanging out, 1,300 feet above the ground.
They were in an unforgiving place.
Elsewhere, two men, one of them shirtless, stood on the windowsills, leaning their bodies so far outside that they could peer around a big intervening column and see each other, an analysis of photographs and videos reveals.
On the 103rd floor, a man stared straight out a broken window toward the northwest, bracing himself against a window frame with one hand. He wrapped his other arm around a woman, seemingly to keep her from tumbling to the ground.
Behind the unbroken windows, the desperate had assembled. “About five floors from the top you have about 50 people with their faces pressed against the window trying to breathe,” a police officer in a helicopter reported.
Now it was unmistakable. The office of Cantor Fitzgerald, and just above it, Windows on the World, would become the landmark for this doomed moment. Nearly 900 would die on floors 101 through 107.
In the restaurant, at least 70 people crowded near office windows at the northwest corner of the 106th floor, according to accounts they gave relatives and co-workers. “Everywhere else is smoked out,” Stuart Lee, a Data Synapse vice president, e-mailed his office in Greenwich Village. “Currently an argument going on as whether we should break a window,” Mr. Lee continued a few moments later. “Consensus is no for the time being.”
Soon, though, a dozen people appeared through broken windows along the west face of the restaurant. Mr. Vogt, the general manager of Windows, said he could see them from the ground, silhouetted against the gray smoke that billowed out from his own office and others.
By now, the videotapes show, fires were rampaging through the impact floors, darting across the north face of the tower. Coils of smoke lashed the people braced around the broken windows.
In the northwest conference room on the 104th floor, Andrew Rosenblum and 50 other people temporarily managed to ward off the smoke and heat by plugging vents with jackets. “We smashed the computers into the windows to get some air,” Mr. Rosenblum reported by cellphone to his golf partner, Barry Kornblum.
But there was no hiding.
As people began falling from above the conference room, Mr. Rosenblum broke his preternatural calm, his wife, Jill, recalled. In the midst of speaking to her, he suddenly interjected, without elaboration, “Oh my God.”
Imagine what it would feel like to be Peter Mardikian in that crowd, knowing that each moment may be your last. What would you think? How would you feel? How would you act?
The North Tower collapsed at 10:28 that morning. Collapsing along with it were the lives of everyone in floors 92 and above, including Peter Mardikian.
Destroyed with it were the hopes and dreams of everyone on those floors who were murdered that day in an act of extraordinary cruelty and viciousness perpetrated by Islamofascists in an act of war against America.
Mr. Mardikian’s life was snatched from him in a way that no one should ever have to experience. He will never get to feel sunlight on his face again, nor get a kiss from his wife after he’s come home from a hard day at the office. Any plans they’d made for the future? Gone.
A September 11 Memorial Endowment was established by Ohio State University in 2002 in honor of Peter Mardikian, who was an alumnus – graduating from OSU’s Fisher College of Business in 1995 with a B.A. in marketing and business. It’s also where he met the woman who would be his wife.
The online guestbook for Peter Mardikian has
five 16 pages of messages from family, friends, and strangers – their lives all touched by either knowing and loving Peter Mardikian or learning about him after Sept. 11.
At some point in your day, please say a prayer or a kind word for Mr. Mardikian’s family, as well as all other families who lost loved ones that day. They may be gone, but they are most definitely not forgotten.