MetroFocus: August 26, 2021

Encore: September 08, 2021

National Geographic shares never before seen footage of the tragic 9/11 terror attacks as seen through the eyes of survivors and first responders. Tonight, director Daniel Bogado gives us a sneak peak at the upcoming six-part documentary series, three years in the making and in partnership with the 9/11 Memorial Museum, titled “9/11: One Day in America.”  Then we’ll talk with survivor Kathy Comerford, who recounts how the anti-terrorism training she had undergone in her office, did not prepare her for what she experienced that day- from the sounds to the smells and the sights.

TRANSCRIPT

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> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER.

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD.

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL P. ROMAN.

THIS SEPTEMBER 11th IS, OF COURSE, THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF THE HORRIFIC 9/11 TERRORIST ATTACKS THAT DEVASTATED NEW YORK CITY AND CHANGED THE COURSE OF HISTORY.

TO COMMEMORATE THAT DAY AND HONOR THE THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT LIVES LOST, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IS AIRING A NEW DOCUMENTARY SERIES TITLED '9/11: ONE DAY IN AMERICA.'

MADE IN COLLABORATION WITH THE 9/11 MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM FEATURES INTERVIEWS WITH FIRST RESPONDERS AND SURVIVORS AS WELL AS NEVER BEFORE SEEN FOOTAGE OF THE TRAGIC EVENTS OF THAT DAY.

HERE'S A PREVIEW.

I'M ON THE 81st FLOOR IN THE SOUTH TOWER.

WHAT I SAW WHAT A TINY LITTLE SPEC OF A PLANE.

IT'S GETTING A LARGER AND LARGER AND LARGER.

WORLD TRADE CENTER NOW!

OH, MY GOD!

AND THERE WAS 30 PEOPLE IN THE NORTHEAST CORNER.

WE GOT TO GET EVERYBODY OUT!

I RAN THROUGH THREE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS THAT WERE ON FIRE.

I HAD BURNS ON 60% OF MY BODY.

BUT I WAS ALIVE.

MANY PEOPLE ASK ME, WHAT WAS IT LIKE THAT DAY?

THERE WAS SIGNS OF DEVASTATION EVERYWHERE.

STILL AROUND, GUYS.

STILL AROUND.

BUT THERE WERE ALSO SIGNS OF HOPE.

THOSE LITTLE MOMENTS OF CARING FOR ANOTHER WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH.

HE WOULD END EVERY TRANSMISSION BY SAYING, I'M COMING FOR YOU, BROTHER.

WE'RE COMING FOR YOU.

THIS IS YOUR MOTHER.

THIS IS YOUR FATHER.

THIS IS A HUMAN BEING.

I FELT COMPELLED TO RESPOND.

HE SAID, MOM, I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU I LOVE YOU.

THAT'S HOW YOU WANT PEOPLE TO REMEMBER YOU.

IF WE DIE, WE DIE WITH THEM.

NOBODY IS LEAVING YOU.

> JOINING US NOW TO DISCUSS THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11th AND THIS NEW DOCUMENTARY SERIES ARE DANIEL, THE DIRECTOR OF '9/11: ONE DAY IN AMERICA.'

AND KATHY, A SURVIVOR OF 9/11 WHO WAS FEATURED IN THE SERIES.

WELCOME BOTH OF YOU.

IT IS A REAL PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

YOU KNOW, IF I'M COVERING A DOCUMENTARY, THAT MEANS AUTOMATICALLY THAT I LIKE IT BECAUSE I WOULDN'T OTHERWISE.

BUT I HAVE TO SAY DANIEL, THIS IS PARTICULARLY IMPACTFUL.

YOU KNOW, IT IS HEART-BREAKING AND INSPIRING AT THE SAME TIME.

IT IS JUST MASTERFULLY DONE.

AND I WANTED TO SAY THAT RIGHT OFF THE BAT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

AND BY THE WAY, THE SERIES, THE SIX PARTER WILL AIR IN FOUR CONSECUTIVE DAYS ON THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL.

GO TO METROFOCUS.ORG TO GET THE DATE AND TIMES.

DANIEL, FIRST QUESTION TO YOU.

TELL US ABOUT THIS SIX-PART HOUR LONG DOCUMENTARY SERIES.

HOW DID IT COME TO BE AND HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH IT?

I GOT INVOLVED WITH IT THROUGH DAVID GLOVER.

IN RECENT YEARS, THEY SPECIALIZED IN MAKING THIS NEW ARCHIVE ABOUT IMPORTANT HISTORICAL MOMENTS, MAKING THEM IN A WAY THAT'S POWERFUL, CINEMATIC AND ORIGINAL.

I HAD MADE A DOCUMENTARY A FEW YEARS AGO.

WE HAD A MEETING.

WE WERE INTERESTING IN WORKING TOGETHER AGAIN BECAUSE WE THOUGHT WE WORKED WELL.

AND I ASKED HIM WHAT IDEAS HE HAD ON HIS PLATE, AND HE SAID, WELL, HE WAS ABOUT TO GET A COMMISSION FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AND IT IS THE FIRST TIME WE'RE MAKING A BIG SERIES, ALL OF IT ARCHIVE-LED, BRINGING TOGETHER THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY, ICONIC, COMPELLING AND UNKNOWN STORIES.

HE SAID IT WOULD BE LIKE A TOASTER.

WHICH STORIES WOULD YOU FOCUS ON?

I THINK IMMEDIATELY AS A STORY MAKER, I KNEW THAT'S A REALLY GOOD IDEA.

THAT WOULD BE VERY, VERY POWERFUL.

AND I IMMEDIATELY WANTED TO BECOME TO BE INVOLVED.

I WAS VERY FORTUNATE TO BE TRUSTED WITH THE ROLE OF DIRECTOR OF THE WHOLE PROJECT.

ONCE WE GOT INVOLVED AND GOT STARTED IN RESEARCH, I REALIZED VERY QUICKLY THAT THERE ARE THESE TWO POWERFUL ELEMENTS, THE ORAL TESTIMONY AND THE CONTRIBUTION, INCREDIBLY POWERFUL AND ELEGANT LIKE PEOPLE LIKE KATHY AND PEOPLE WHO LIVED THROUGH IT AND THEN THE ARCHIVE.

THEY WERE SO POWERFUL THAT I LET OURSELVES GET OUT OF THE WAY SO TO GIVE THE PUBLIC ACCESS TO THAT IN A WAY THAT FELT DIRECT.

THAT'S HOW IT WORKS.

YOU KNOW, I WAS TELLING KATHY BEFORE WE GOT ON THE AIR THAT FOR SEVEN YEARS I WAS THE HOST OF A SHOW 'NEW YORK VOICES' WHICH GOT ITS START, BEGAN THE DAY AFTER 9/11, IN FACT, AND ULTIMATELY BECAME A REGULAR SERIES.

FOR THE FIRST FEW YEARS WE COVERED EVERYTHING ABOUT 9/11 AND ITS IMPACT AND THE EFFECT ON THE COUNTRY.

I THOUGHT I HAD SEEN ALL OF THE FOOTAGE THAT WAS THERE TO SHOOT, I KNEW ALL THE STORIES, BUT MY GOODNESS I DID NOT.

ALMOST ALL OF THE FOOTAGE IN THIS DOCUMENTARY SERIES I HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE.

ALTHOUGH I KNEW SOME OF THE CHARACTERS AND I HEARD SOME OF THE STORIES, MOST OF THEM I HAD NOT.

TALK ABOUT THE ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE.

WAS THAT PART OF THE REWARD IN BEING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE MUSEUM AND MEMORIAL?

DEFINITELY.

THAT WAS ONE ELEMENT OF IT.

WE HAD OUR OWN ARCHIVE TEAM AND ACTUALLY THEY HAD ALREADY STARTED WORK BEFORE I HAD JOINED.

I HAD ALREADY BEEN WORKING FOR SEVERAL MONTHS.

AND THEIR MISSION WAS TO BRING TOGETHER ALL THE ARCHIVES THAT WE COULD FIND FROM ALL THE SOURCES.

BUT SOMETIMES THAT ARCHIVE ONLY ONE MINUTE HAS BEEN USED, AND YOU GET THE ORIGINAL TAPE.

YOU FIND A LOT OF MATERIAL THAT HAS NEVER BEEN SHOWN BEFORE.

THEN THEY ALSO WORKED TOGETHER VERY CLOSELY WITH MEMORIAL MUSEUM AND THEY HAVE ACCESS TO A LOT OF THINGS, PARTICULARLY IN TERMS OF RECORDINGS, FDNY TRANSMISSIONS AND THINGS LIKE THAT THAT HELPED US TO PUT TOGETHER.

THERE WOULD BE LOCATIONS WHERE WE WOULD BE LIKE, WE'RE STRUGGLING HERE WITH ARCHIVES.

WE GOT DESTINATION.

BECAUSE OFTEN PEOPLE GO TO THE MUSEUM WITH DONATION.

SO IT WAS BROUGHT TOGETHER THROUGH A NUMBER OF SOURCES.

BUT I REALLY TAKE OFF MY HAT TO THE ARCHIVE TEAM BECAUSE THEY WORKED SO HARD.

THEY WOULD SEE, FOR INSTANCE, AN ARTICLE A FEW DAYS LATER FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES SAYING, I GOT MY CAMERA OUT AND I STARTED FILMING.

WE WENT, WE DON'T KNOW THAT PERSON.

WE NEED TO TRACK THEM DOWN BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE IT.

MAYBE THEY HAVE KEPT IT IN A DRAWER SOMEWHERE.

IT WAS RARE, BUT IT DID HAPPEN.

PEOPLE WILL SOMETIMES FILM AND NEVER GAVE IT TO ANYBODY BEFORE.

WHEN WE EXPLAINED THE NATURE OF THE PROJECT, THEY TRUSTED US WITH IT.

AND HOW MANY INTERVIEW SUBJECTS DID YOU HAVE ALTOGETHER IN THE FILM?

I THINK IT WAS AROUND 55 PEOPLE THAT WE INTERVIEWED.

WE SPOKE TO MANY MORE JUST IN TERMS OF RESEARCH.

MORE THAN 100.

IT WAS EXCELLENT.

AND, KATHY, OF COURSE YOU WERE ONE OF THE SUBJECTS THAT WERE INTERVIEWED IN THIS POWERFUL FILM.

TELL US YOUR STORY.

WHERE EXACTLY WERE YOU ON 9/11 AND HOW DID YOU SURVIVE?

YEAH.

I WAS AT WORLD TRADE 70th FLOOR.

WE HAD A MEETING.

WE WERE IN A CORNER CONFERENCE ROOM WITH ALL GLASS WINDOWS.

AND WE WERE HAVING OUR MEETING WHEN THE NORTH TOWER WAS HIT.

AND WE KNEW IMMEDIATELY THAT WE NEEDED TO GO INTO OUR PROTOCOLS THAT OUR HEAD OF SECURITY HAD DRILLED INTO US.

SO WE ALL JUMPED UP, RAN BACK TO OUR OFFICES AND STARTED DOWN THE STAIRS BECAUSE WE KNEW -- WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS.

AT FIRST WE THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE A COMED TRANSFORMER THAT BLEW.

WE DIDN'T KNOW IF A PLANE, BY ACCIDENT, HIT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER, BUT WE SAW DEBRIS AND THINGS AND WE KNEW WE HAD TO GET OUT OF THERE.

SO WE STARTED DOWNSTAIRS.

I GOT TO ABOUT THE 44th FLOOR SKY LOBBY AND WAS ON THE SKY LOBBY WHEN THE SECOND PLANE HIT OUR BUILDING, THE SOUTH TOWER.

AT THIS POINT, THE BUILDING BASICALLY FOLDED IN HALF AND EVERYTHING WAS EXPLODING.

YOU KNOW, THE FIRE -- THE ELEVATOR BANKS IMPLODED.

EVERYTHING WAS EXPLODING, THE PLANTARS AND I WAS BLOWN OUT OF MY SHOES AND I HIT THE MARBLE WALL AT THE ELEVATOR BANK.

AND THEN MIRACULOUSLY, THE BUILDING STOOD BACK UP AND STRAIGHTENED UP AND I WAS ABLE TO FIND MY SHOES AND WE ALL SORT OF WERE SENT TO DIFFERENT STAIRWELLS AND DIFFERENT ACCESS POINTS TO START OUR DECENT DOWN.

I GOT OUT EIGHT MINUTES BEFORE THE BUILDING CAME DOWN, SO I WAS ACTUALLY ON THE STREET WHEN THE SOUTH TOWER FELL BECAUSE IT WAS THE SECOND BUILDING TO BE HIT, BUT THE FIRST TO FALL.

BY THE WAY, YOU KNOW, YOU MENTION IN THE -- IN THE DOCUMENTARY THAT YOU WERE DOWN -- SITTING DOWN AND RESTING AND THEN YOU THOUGHT, I BETTER GET OUT OF HERE BECAUSE THIS IS DANGEROUS.

AND I SPOKE TO MY PRODUCER AND I WONDERED, DID ANYBODY WHO GOT OUT AND WAS WAITING DOWN THERE, DO YOU KNOW, DID ANYBODY DIE AFTER GETTING OUT BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T MOVE OUT OF THE WAY?

OH, I'M SURE.

WHAT WE DID IS WE CAME OUT AND WE SAT RIGHT ON THE CURB AT THE MILLENNIAL HOTEL AND THEN WE LOOKED UP AND I SAW THE WAY THE BUILDINGS WERE ON FIRE.

I ACTUALLY DID NOT KNOW THEY WERE BUILT TO IMPLODE ON THEMSELVES.

I JUST KEPT IMAGING HOW FAR I HAD TO BE IF IT CAME THIS WAY.

SO WE DIDN'T WASTE ANY TIME.

WE WERE LIKE, WE HAVE TO BE OUT OF HERE.

SO, YOU KNOW, THE GROUP I WAS WITH AND PEOPLE AROUND ME, WE JUMPED UP AND STARTED DOWN THE STREET.

BUT MANY PEOPLE -- IT WAS HYPNOTIZING I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S THE RIGHT WORD.

BUT YOU JUST STARED AT IT.

YOU COULDN'T BELIEVE WHAT YOU WERE SEEING AND PEOPLE WERE FROZEN IN SPACE WHERE THEY WERE STANDING.

I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE STOOD THERE.

WE DIDN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT.

THANK GOD WE DIDN'T BECAUSE I WAS STILL ON THE STREET WHEN THE BUILDING CAME DOWN AND THE CLOUD, YOU KNOW, OF THE DEBRIS CAME DOWN.

NOW, YOU MENTION, RICK A COUPLE OF TIMES.

RIGHT NOW HE PLAYS A BIG PART IN YOUR PRESENTATION IN THE FILM.

WHO WAS HE?

AND WHY WAS HE PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT IN THE STORY OF 9/11?

RICK WAS AN INCREDIT MAN.

WE CALL HIM THE RENAISSANCE MAN, BUT HE WAS THE HEAD OF SECURITY FOR MORGAN STANLEY.

AFTER THE '93 BOMBING, HE DID A LOT OF RESEARCH, CALLED HIS FRIENDS IN ANTITERRORISM TO REALLY STUDY WHAT WAS GOING ON AND HE CHANGED A LOT OF THE POLICIES THAT WERE IN PLACE AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AT '93.

NO MORE FOOD BEING DELIVERED TO THE FLOOR.

NO MORE PEOPLE HAVING ACCESS TO THE BUILDING.

HE REALLY KNOCKED IT DOWN.

BUT HE FELT THAT THE BUILDING WOULD BE ATTACKED AGAIN AND THEY WOULD COME FROM THE AIR.

AND THAT'S WHAT REALLY DROVE HIM NUTS BECAUSE HOW DO YOU PROTECT A BUILDING COMING FROM THE AIR?

FROM WHAT WE SURPRISE, HE DIDN'T EXPECT IT TO BE AN AIRLINE WITH PEOPLE ON IT.

HE THOUGHT MAYBE CARGO PLANES, SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

SO HE TRAINED US.

I MEAN, HE TRAINED US.

WE WOULD GO AND HAVE FIRE DRILLS EVERY MONTH THAT WHERE WE JUST STOOD IN THE HALLWAY AND THEY, AGAIN, POINTED OUT ALL THE ACCESS POINTS TO GET OFF THE FLOOR.

BUT WE ALSO WALKED DOWN THE 70 FLIGHTS OF STAIRS SO YOU WERE FAMILIAR WITH WHERE YOU WERE GOING, WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE, WHERE YOU WOULD COME OUT.

HE WOULD HAVE TO GO TO A CERTAIN CHECK POINT, SWIPE OUR IDs TO MAKE SURE THEY WOULD KNOW WE WERE ALIVE AND SAFE AND OUT OF THE BUILDING SO HE COULD KEEP COUNT.

HE WAS AN INCREDIBLE MAN.

AND WE WERE THE LARGEST TENANT, THE COMPANY I WORKED FOR WAS THE LARGEST TENANT IN 2 WORLD TRADE CENTER AT THE TIME, AND I SAW FORTUNATELY, BUT ANY LOSS OF LIFE IS UNFORTUNATE.

BUT WE LOST 13 PEOPLE WHERE WE COULD HAVE LOST THOUSANDS.

BECAUSE OF HIS PREPARATION.

ABOUT 2,000 PEOPLE I HEAR THAT HE SAVED.

HE IS AN EMOTIONAL LEADER, TOO.

HE STARTED SINGING.

HE DID.

I WAS RIGHT NEXT TO HIM.

HE SURVIVED.

HE HIMSELF DID NOT SURVIVE?

HE DID NOT.

HE WAS ALL THE WAY DOWN AND PEOPLE WE WORKED WITH ENCOUNTERED HIM IN THE STAIRWELL ON THE 10th FLOOR GOING BACK UP BECAUSE IN RICK'S MIND HE WAS NOT LEAVING THAT BUILDING UNTIL HE DID HIS FINAL SWEEP TO MAKE SURE EVERY PERSON, AND NOT JUST OUR COMPANY, EVERY PERSON WAS OUT OF THAT BUILDING.

AND WHEN THE BUILDING CAME DOWN BECAUSE UNFORTUNATELY OUR BUILDING GOT HIT SECOND BUT REALLY CAME DOWN QUICKLY.

IF I COULD JUST BRING YOU IN, DANIEL, I MEAN, RICK WAS A COUNTRYMAN OF YOURS, AND HE WAS A HERO BEFORE 9/11.

YES.

HE WAS FEATURED IN THE FAMOUS VIETNAM WAR BOOK 'WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE AND YOUNG.'

HE WAS A LIEUTENANT IN A FAMOUS BATTLE, AND HE WAS A HERO IN THAT BATTLE.

THERE IS A BIOGRAPHY ABOUT HIM CALLED 'HEART OF A SOLDIER.'

DANIEL, DID YOU KNOW ABOUT RICK BEFORE THIS AND DID YOU KNOW THAT KATHY WOULD BE TELLING THIS POWERFUL STORY ABOUT THIS MAN?

WE LOST YOUR -- WE LOST YOUR SOUND.

OKAY.

WE STILL DON'T HAVE IT.

NOW?

YEAH, NOW WE HAVE IT.

SO I FOUND OUT THROUGH ABOUT RICK'S STORIES JUST THROUGH THE RESEARCH.

WE WERE ALWAYS INTERESTED IN SEEING WHO WERE THE HEROIC FIGURES AS WELL, WHO WERE THE INTERESTING PERSONS BECAUSE WE ULTIMATELY WANTED IT TO BE AN EXPLORATION OF HUMANITY AND WHAT ARE PEOPLE LIKE, HOW DO PEOPLE ACT IN THESE EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES.

AND IMMEDIATELY, THE WHOLE TEAM, WE WERE JUST SO DRAWN TO RICK'S STORY BECAUSE HE WAS SUCH A REMARKABLE FIGURE.

AND ACTUALLY ONE OF THE CHALLENGES SOMETIMES WITH DOING A STORY LIKE THIS, IT IS VERY PRESENT TENSE AND IT IS VERY MUCH DRIVEN BY WITNESSES.

AND ALSO THE NARRATIVE TRIES TO PLACE YOU MINUTE BY MINUTE THROUGHOUT IT.

SOMETIMES TELLING STORIES LIKE RICK'S WHERE HE HAS A FASCINATING LONG BACK STORY WHICH IN A NORMAL TRADITIONAL DOCUMENTARY PERHAPS IN A VOICEOVER AND JUST SOME OLD FOOTAGE, WE ALWAYS FOUND, OKAY, WE WANT TO TELL A BIT ABOUT HIS STORY SO WE ALL UNDERSTOOD WHO THIS MAN WAS.

BUT IT WAS ALWAYS A TRICKY BALANCE TO GET RIGHT BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T WANT THE FILM TO JUST STOP FOR THAT.

AND, YOU KNOW, KATHY WHO JUST HAS THIS EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF SURVIVAL, THEN SHE WITNESSED RICK AT THAT MOMENT.

IT WAS THROUGH INTERVIEWS LIKE KATHY THAT WE WERE ABLE TO TELL RICK'S STORY AS WELL.

BY THE WAY, YOU ARE STILL A LITTLE LOW, SO IF YOU COULD BOOST UP THE SOUND OR TALK LOUDER.

OKAY.

NOW, KATHY, HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT FOR YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS DOCUMENTARY?

FOR ME TO WATCH YOU TELL YOUR STORY WAS ALREADY GUT WRENCHING.

SO I'M GUESSING THAT FOR YOU TO TELL IT, TO RETELL IT AND PERHAPS RE-LIVE IT, I'M GUESSING THAT THAT MUST HAVE BEEN EMOTIONALLY WRENCHING.

YEAH.

I MEAN, WHEN THEY ASKED ME TO DO THIS, I DIDN'T HESITATE AT ALL BECAUSE SINCE 9/11, FOR MY OWN SELF, I HAVE ALWAYS TOLD MY STORY TO MY CHILDREN'S FRIENDS, TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO KNOW, YOU KNOW, MY ACCOUNT OF THAT DAY.

WHEN WE WERE ACTUALLY DOING THE TAPING, IT WAS -- IT DID TRANSPORT ME BACK TO CERTAIN MOMENTS, CERTAIN THINGS THAT I REALLY HAD, I DON'T WANT TO SAY FORGOTTEN, BUT SORT OF PACKED AWAY.

SO WHEN WE WERE DOING THE TAPING AND WITHOUT HAVING A MODERATOR OR SOMEBODY CONSTANTLY INTERRUPTING, I WAS ABLE TO LIVE LIKE A STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS THAT JUST ALLOWED ME TO BE IN THE MOMENT ON THAT DAY AND HOPEFULLY THROUGH MY STORY AND ALL OF THE FOOTAGE SOMEONE COULD ACTUALLY STEP INTO WHAT WAS GOING ON THAT DAY.

THERE WAS NO BACKGROUND NOISE.

IT WAS JUST ME TELLING MY TRUTH.

AND THAT'S THE POWER OF THIS DOCUMENTARY, DANIEL.

AS I WAS SAYING EARLIER I THINK BEFORE WE STARTED ROLLING, EVEN THE PAUSES THAT YOU HAVE IN BETWEEN THE SPEAKERS, IT JUST ADDS TO THE DRAMA.

BUT I WONDER, KATHY, DO YOU STILL STAY IN TOUCH WITH THE PEOPLE WHO SURVIVED THAT DAY WITH YOU?

ABSOLUTELY.

IN FACT, IN A FEW WEEKS, RIGHT AFTER THE 20th ANNIVERSARY, THERE ARE ABOUT 85 TO 100 OF US GETTING TOGETHER THAT ALL WORKED TOGETHER.

WE STAY IN TOUCH ALL THE TIME.

YOU KNOW, NOT WITH EVERYBODY, BUT WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE.

WE WERE -- WE WERE FAMILY BEFORE BECAUSE WE WORKED SO HARD AND LONG HOURS, BUT WE'RE ALL CONNECTED.

AND EVEN IF YOU DON'T TALK TO SOMEONE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, THERE IS STILL A CORE GROUP THAT ON SEPTEMBER 11th, MY PHONE RINGS RIGHT AFTER I GET OUT OF MASS AND I KNOW EXACTLY WHO IS GOING TO BE ON THAT PHONE.

AND WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO, YOU KNOW, BRING EACH OTHER UP WHEN YOU ARE FEELING DOWN OR SHARE HAPPY THINGS OR THINGS THAT WE -- BEING SHARED AND BEING SURVIVORS WERE ABLE TO BE PART OF THROUGHOUT ALL OF THIS.

DANIEL, WHERE WERE YOU ON 9/11, 2001, AND WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER FROM THAT DAY?

I HAD JUST MOVED TO LONDON.

I JUST ARRIVED TO THE COUNTRY, LOOKING FORWARD TO FINDING A LIFE.

SOME MINIMUM WAGE JOBS.

I HAD JUST MOVED IN RECENTLY WITH FRIENDS I'M STILL FRIENDS WITH.

AND I REMEMBER ANOTHER FRIEND CALLS ME AND HE SAID, TURN ON THE TELEVISION.

IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD.

I THOUGHT HE WAS JOKING.

BUT I DID TURN IT ON AND IT WAS THE TOWERS BURNING.

THEN WE JUST SPEND THE REST OF THE DAY GLUED TO OUR TV.

I REMEMBER MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS THAT MY MOTHER WOULD ASSUME I WAS IN NEW YORK BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, MOTHERS WORRY.

AND THE MAIN THING WAS JUST TO GET HER A MESSAGE SAYING, NO, I DIDN'T HAPPEN TO TAKE A FLIGHT TO NEW YORK FOR ANY REASON.

AND YOU JUST IMAGINE HOW MANY MOTHERS, YOU KNOW, IN NEW YORK, IN AMERICA MUST HAVE THOUGHT THE EXACT SAME THOUGHT, THE EXACT SAME WORRY.

IT WAS A LONG TIME BEFORE PEOPLE COULD COMMUNICATE AGAIN.

SO YOU COVERED A LOT OF STORIES, A LOT OF MOVING AND, AS I SAID, HEART-BREAKING, PLUS INSPIRATIONAL STORIES.

I WONDER IF YOU COULD SHARE A COUPLE OF THOSE STORIES WITH US THAT PARTICULARLY STAYED WITH YOU.

FROM THE SERIES?

YES.

YEAH.

I THINK ONE OF -- I MEAN, THEY'RE ALL SO INCREDIBLY POWERFUL, BUT I THINK ONE OF THE STORIES THAT I JUST FIND THAT -- BECAUSE WHEN YOU WORK ON A SERIES, YOU WATCH IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.

YOU JUST WANT TO GET IT 100% ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, EVEN IF JUST A TWEAK OF A SECOND WILL HELP, YOU WATCH IT AGAIN TO GET A GROUP OF VERY TALENTED PEOPLE.

AND THE ONE STORY THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I WATCH, IT JUST SUCKS ME IN AND TAKES ME THROUGH THAT JOURNEY IS THE STORY ON THE FINAL EPISODE WHICH IS OF THE PORT AUTHORITY OFFICERS WHO ARE TRAPPED IN THE HALL AND THROUGH THIS EXTRAORDINARY SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES, TWO FORMER MARINES AND A FORMER PARAMEDIC ARE DRIVEN TO GO THERE AND THEY FIND THEM.

THEY GO SEARCHING.

ON THEIR OWN THEY GO SEARCHING FOR SOMEONE TO HELP.

AND THEN WHEN THEY GO INSIDE THE HALL AND THEY FIND THEM THERE, THE WHOLE THING STARTS BECOMING VERY UNSTABLE.

THEY HAD NO HELP.

NOBODY KNOWS THEY'RE THERE.

AND THEY SWEAR TO EACH OTHER THEY'RE NOT GOING TO LEAVE THEM THERE, THAT IF THEY DIE, THEY'LL DIE TOGETHER.

IT WAS SUCH AN AMAZING THOUGHT THAT THIS MARINE, THIS PARAMEDIC THAT THAT MORNING THEY JUST WOKE UP AND IT WAS JUST A NORMAL DAY IN AMERICA.

YOU COULDN'T IMAGINE TWO PEOPLE WITH MORE DISTINCT AND DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS.

AND, YET, BY THAT AFTERNOON, THEY WERE PROMISING COMPLETE STRANGERS THAT THEY WERE WILLING TO DIE FOR THEM.

I JUST FIND THAT SO INCREDIBLY INSPIRING AND MOVING.

OFTEN YOU LOSE FAITH IN HUMANITY.

AND I THINK SO MUCH REALLY GETS RESTORED TO YOU.

PEOPLE REALLY DO RISE UP TO THE OCCASION.

PEOPLE CAN BE AMAZING.

YEAH.

AND THAT'S WHAT YOU SEE AGAIN AND AGAIN IN THIS DOCUMENTARY.

AMAZINGLY, WE ONLY HAVE THREE MINUTES LEFT, AND I HAVE TO ASK THIS.

YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVE BEST ABOUT THIS DOCUMENTARY IS THAT IT DOESN'T FOCUS ON THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF 9/11, BUT RATHER ON THE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE.

NEVERTHELESS, BECAUSE OF CURRENT EVENTS, I HAVE TO ASK BOTH OF YOU: WITH THE TALIBAN NOW IN CONTROL OF AFGHANISTAN AGAIN AS THEY WERE ON 9/11, 2001, ARE YOU AFRAID -- I'LL START WITH YOU, KATHY.

ARE YOU AFRAID THEY WILL BE A SAFE HAVEN FOR ORGANIZATIONS LIKE AL-QAEDA TO PLOT AND LAUNCH ANOTHER 9/11 ATTACK OR WORSE?

KATHY?

YEAH.

IT GIVES ME PAUSE.

IT DOES -- IT DOES FRIGHTEN ME.

I HOPE THAT WE HAVE LEARNED A LOT OF LESSONS FROM 9/11, THAT OUR GOVERNMENT AND ALL THE AGENCIES THAT ARE IN PLACE TO PROTECT US HAVE ADVANCED SINCE THAT DAY.

BUT I'M A STUBBORN PERSON, SO IN MY MIND, IF I CHANGE MY BEHAVIOR NOW, I WILL BE -- THEY WILL HAVE WON AGAIN.

SO I -- I AM CAUTIOUS.

I'M CAUTIOUS NO MATTER WHAT.

IF I'M IN AN AIRPORT.

IF I'M IN A TRAIN, WHERE THE POINT IS TO GET OUT.

I MAKE THOSE CONSCIOUS OBSERVATIONS.

BUT I -- IT IS VERY DISHEARTENING TO SEE WHAT'S GOING ON AND THAT WE ARE ALMOST -- WE'RE BACK TO WHERE WE WERE IN 2001 ON 9/11.

AND I JUST PRAY TO GOD THAT EVERYBODY IS SAFE.

DANIEL, WHAT IS YOUR POSITION?

YOU HAVE DONE DOCUMENTARIES ON TERRORIST GROUPS BEFORE, SO YOU HAVE AN EXPERT'S POINT OF VIEW.

WELL, I WOULDN'T GO AS FAR AS THAT.

USUALLY I JUST FIND THAT EVERY SITUATION TENDS TO BE A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT HORAM AND THE DYNAMICS THAT ARE GOING THERE, JUST VERY COMPLEX.

I IMAGINE IT'S THE SAME IN AFGHANISTAN.

IN WATCHING THOSE IMAGES IN AFGHANISTAN OF THOSE PEOPLE, IT WAS JUST ABSOLUTELY HARROWING AND HEART-BREAKING.

AND I THINK IT JUST POINTS THAT SO MANY OF US WERE GLUED ON OUR TVS AND JUST FEELING SO BAD FOR THOSE PEOPLE IN THE AIRPORT.

IT REMINDS ME OF SEPTEMBER 11th WHERE SO MANY PEOPLE WERE GLUED TO THEIR TVs.

I DON'T HAVE ANY SOLUTIONS.

I JUST -- MY HEART GOES OUT TO THOSE PEOPLE.

THAT'S ALL I CAN SAY REALLY.

ALL RIGHT.

SO WE HAVE A MINUTE LEFT.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE THE VIEWERS TAKE FROM THIS DOCUMENTARY, DANNY?

I THINK WHAT I WOULD LIKE FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND IS TO GRASP THE SCALE OF THE TRAGEDY AND THE SCALE OF THE HORROR THAT HAPPENED ON 9/11, BUT ALSO THE HUMANITY THAT SHOWN THROUGH.

IT'S ACTUALLY FAR MORE EXTRAORDINARY THAN YOU IMAGINE.

AND KATHY, IN ABOUT 30 SECONDS?

SAME THING.

I HOPE THAT PEOPLE REALIZE THAT EVERYBODY HAD THEIR OWN STORY THAT DAY, WHETHER YOU WERE THERE OR YOU WERE WATCHING IT AND THE HUMANITY AND THE HUMAN KIND THAT WAS SHOWN THAT DAY IS BIGGER AND TALLER THAN THE TOWERS THAT THEY TOOK DOWN.

AND I HOPE PEOPLE TAKE THAT WITH THEM.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU BOTH VERY MUCH.

THE DOCUMENTARY IS 9/11 ONE DAY IN AMERICA AND WILL AIR FOUR DAYS STRAIGHT ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.

GO TO METROFOCUS.ORG FOR DAYS AND TIMES.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

IT IS AN HONOR TO TALK TO BOTH OF YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

OKAY.

BYE-BYE.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

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