6:33 AM: Daylight.
In 2001, the country was in a state of chaos. Planes were being forced to land as others were being held from takeoff.
The Secret Service was physically carrying Dick Cheney off for safekeeping in a White House bunker. Colin Powell, overseas at a breakfast in Lima with the President of Peru, abruptly asked his staff to “Go tell them we’re leaving.”
6:37 AM (9:37 AM Eastern): American Airlines Flight 77 hits the Pentagon.
In the present day, I am eating washed green seedless grapes from a colander. They serve as my breakfast. I want to finish eating a few of these, along with some bread, before heading out into the world.
I can hear the first birdsong of the morning at last. A long, sweet, full trill, almost like a musical gatling gun, followed by a rapid chirrup-chirrup-chirrup. Morning traffic is moving. A bus went by down California Street.
6:44 AM (9:44 AM Eastern): United Flight 93 is the last hijacked plane in the air. Crew are already dying. The plan to attack the hijackers is formed. Todd Beamer asks by 9:48 AM Eastern, “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.”