It is quite easy to forget that on the morning of September 11th, very few people thought that the twin towers would actually fall, that the audacious spires of steel and glass and concrete would betray the rescuers climbing heavenward inside their cramped stairwells, and give out, and vanish in enormous clouds of dust. Instead, we imagined the fires would be extinguished, that the buildings would be fixed, and our lives as we had known them until that point would simply continue.
We were wrong.
“Oh my God.”
You can go back and find full broadcast episodes of the major network morning shows from the morning of September 11th and see for yourself how naïve we all were. Five minutes after the first plane struck the north tower, Good Morning America‘s Diane Sawyer returned from an otherwise mundane commercial break to carefully attempt to describe what becomes the first of many horrific and unprecedented television images from that Tuesday.
The slow, deliberate pace with which Sawyer describes the scene–the tower, captured from a news chopper, a black scar high across its upper reaches, fatally engulfed–exemplifies the relative innocence we all woke up with that morning.
“We want to tell you what we know as we know it,” Sawyer says, a look of concern on her face. “One report said–and we can’t confirm any of this–is that a plane may have hit one of the two towers.”