Remembering 9/11

An Audio Memorial
 10th Commemoration
2011

Radio George

 

Introduction

Omaha, NE, 9/11/2001

After the planes crashed into the Twin Towers that morning, I got a call from KKAR Program Director Neil Nelkin asking me to come in and do a special live talk show overnight, replacing the regular syndicated program that aired then, Coast to Coast A.M. with Art Bell. The thinking was that many people would be restless, sleepless, and generally uneasy about the events of the day and the uncertainty of things yet to come. I agreed and alternately devoured the latest details on TV and slept off and on to be sure my attention and awareness would be at their peak.

Rather than repeat much of what had been said again and again, I suggested to listeners that they should call and talk to me about where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news; the reaction of family and friends; and simply to say how they felt. "Thank God you're doing this" was the reaction of many callers. Talking was a great cathartic, a way to begin to purge the anxiety, the uncertainty, the sorrow that had overtaken America that day. Little did I know that in the years to come, I would have the opportunity to talk with a variety of very special people whose involvement with 9/11 was simply incredible. I'm sure you'll agree as you listen to their stories in this special memorial. 
 

Bird's Eye View
 

 

 

Captain Meryl Getline was a United Airlines captain who was one of the few women pilots flying intercontinental jets when I met her in 2004 . I met her in New York where she was promoting her just-published book The World At My Feet: The True And Sometimes Hilarious Adventures Of A Lady Airline Captain. I asked her if by any chance she happened to be flying on 9/11 and learned that she was at the controls of one of the last planes to land in New York that day, as well as one of the first to take off when flights resumed. This interview is from one of my shows on KCMO-AM in Kansas City.  Click the > button in the player to start. (5:44)

 

Special Note

 

On the fifth observance of 9/11, I was working at KTRS-AM in St. Louis, whose management decided to have me broadcast my morning show live from Ground Zero. I did the show from a high-floor room in the Embassy Suites, overlooking what was still a pit, a hole in the ground where the Twin Towers had stood, although the debris had been cleared by then. That's it behind me in the picture. It was an experience I'll never forget. The following interviews were conducted on that show.

Buried Alive

 

Captain Richard Picciotto, or "Pitch," as he prefers to be called, was the highest-ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center collapse and the last to escape the devastation.  On 9/11, Pitch was caught along with two dozen other people as he was helping to evacuate one of the towers and was literally buried alive! His is a compelling story of survival. Click the > button in the player to start. (5:43)

 

Watching the Skies

 

On 9/11, Tim Keating, Commander of the North American Aerospace Command, was at the Pentagon. In addition to remembering the day, Commander Keating had much to say about the job of watching America's air space on the fifth memorial of 9/11 that is still relevant today. Click the > button in the player to start. (7:32)

 

Searching, Searching

 

A fascinating talk with Lt. William Keegan of the Port Authority Police Department, a very small uniformed service, but one of the most important ones on 9/11. He was appointed Night Commander of the Rescue and Recovery Operation, whose task was to try to make families' lives as whole as they possibly could be in that time of trauma.  Click the > button in the player to start. (5:59)

 

Family Affair

 

Debra Burlingame, sister of "Chick" Burlingame, pilot of American Airlines flight # 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, talks about the impact of 9/11 on families from a point of view that few can lay claim to.  A gentle, yet forceful look at the most personal of all burdens forced upon the United States by 9/11. Click the > button in the player to start. (5:53)

 

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