Video: George W. Bush reflects on 9/11, ‘fog of war’

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    >>> back here at ground zero . as america remembers 9/11, president george were bush was commander in chief on that faithful day ten years ago and the terror attacks shaped his presidency. when i sat down with him last november to talk about his time in office he shared his reflections on that day a-day he says redefined his job. talk about the problems becoming your responsibility. it was a tuesday, september 11th , 2001 .

    >> yeah. i have a lot of memories that day. it was andy card whispering in my ear.

    >> you were in a school in florida.

    >> he was. andy said, the second plane hit the world trade center . america is under attack. my first reaction is anger. how dare they do this to america. and then i looked at the kids and their innocence in contrast to the evil of the attackers became apparent to me and i just knew my job was to protect them.

    >> you had just been given that news and you sat there and it was seven minutes.

    >> that's right. i made the decision not to jump up and create a chaotic scene. then all of a sudden the cell phones are ringing. the noise and --

    >> press in the back of the room.

    >> right. it clarified to me that people were going to be watching my reaction. the reaction of the leader is essential in the first stage of any crisis.

    >> you gave an order at some point during that morning. there was still chaos.

    >> yeah.

    >> nobody knew if there were other planes. you had to give an order that the u.s. military had the authority to shoot downey plane, whether it was a cessna or a commercial airliner that did not respond to commands to land.

    >> right.

    >> talk to me about that order.

    >> it was very intense because to get at -- it's difficult to getting a rate information. and therefore, the only safe course of action was to say, no airplanes and any airplane that shows up that does not respond to flighter escort would get shot down.

    >> can you imagine the pilot in the cockpit of a fighter being told shoot down.

    >> that american airliner goes down if they do not do something. i would not imagine that. yet it needed to be done in order to protect the country because we were watching killers use our own assets to destroy american life . and it was a difficult order to give. it was the right order at the time but it was a difficult one to give.

    >> you went to new york city and you went to ground zero .

    >> i did.

    >> and you stood on that rubble and just describe the moment to me.

    >> there was not only soot but debris, water, like you were walking into hell. there was a palpable sense of revenge and anger. i'm trying to be the comforter and these guys are looking at me like, are you going to go get these guys or not?

    >> george .

    >> call meg georing me george . not mr. president, george . i was overwhelmed by the anger and emotion. i got on the rubble and standing next to bob beckwitt saying, listen, we appreciate your service and this, that, and the other -- i can hear you. and it wasn't kind of a soft "we can't hear you," i can hear you. i can hear you. the rest of the world hears you and the people -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. it was a spontaneous moment that

Image: Protest against construction of an Islamic center in New York
Seth Wenig  /  AP file
Demonstrators protest the construction of an Islamic community center on a site near ground zero in New York on Aug. 22.
By Kari Huus Reporter
updated 9/9/2011 6:22:13 AM ET 2011-09-09T10:22:13

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” It was not Muhammad but the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who said that, but for many Muslims living in the post-9/11 era, it may ring as true as one of the prophet’s teachings.

The decade since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has been tough for many Muslim Americans — from the anti-terror surveillance aimed at mosques, schools, organizations and individuals to the wave of hostility fanned by those who see their religion as fomenting hatred and violence.

But the scrutiny and suspicion have also galvanized a new generation of more assertive, confident and politically involved Muslim American leaders, and a more integrated Muslim immigrant population. After 10 years of struggle, the community is better positioned to defend its interests and more willing to reach out to the broader population.

“The national tragedy of Sept. 11 put us — by no choice of our own — on the hot seat,” said Imad Hamad, national adviser for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. “For a time people were intimidated and confused by this unprecedented shock. I think we managed to get our act together… define our role (as Americans) and keep moving forward.”

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Circling the wagons
Long before the dust settled at the fallen Twin Towers in New York, the damaged Pentagon and the vacant Pennsylvania field where United Flight 93 crashed, the backlash against Muslims — and people mistaken for Muslims — was well under way.

Americans were stunned that a group of seemingly ordinary foreign students could carry out the highly coordinated and devastating attacks. In an atmosphere charged with confusion and pain, people wondered what other seemingly benign individuals were secretly harboring extremist anti-U.S. views and plans to commit violence.

Find out where 9/11's Bob Beckwith is now

U.S. authorities rounded up thousands of young men for questioning, often with little or no grounds. And just weeks after the attacks, Congress adopted the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and other measures that gave law enforcers unprecedented leeway to tap private information and additional discretion to deport non-citizens.

First order of business: legal assistance
For the Muslim American community, that created an immediate need for legal help for scores of people caught in raids and roundups — a need that was met by both new and existing Muslim organizations.

For example, the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group that had been mainly handling workplace discrimination cases, abruptly changed gears.

“The existing law is supportive of (equal rights for workers), so we would just go to the workplace and talk to the employer. We didn’t need to sue anybody,” said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper. “But in the (post-9/11) atmosphere, the public relations initiatives don’t do what you need, so you need to sue.”

Almost overnight, CAIR expanded from eight to 30 chapters and began adding lawyers in every branch. Now, in addition to helping on legal and discrimination cases, CAIR offers “Know Your Rights” classes, which brief Muslim Americans on their rights and obligations when approached by the FBI.

Video: Inside the ‘bigger, better' World Trade Center  (on this page)

Other organizations — like the Muslim Legal Fund of America, Muslim Advocates and the Asian Law Caucus — likewise ramped up their efforts to defend Muslims caught up in what they considered anti-Islamic hysteria, often in partnerships with non-Muslim faith groups and traditional civil rights organizations.

“There were (law enforcement) raids before 9/11 … as well as demonization, vilification in the media and issues with unwarranted witch hunts,” said John Janney, a spokesman for the Muslim Legal Fund of America. “Then 9/11 happens and the need escalated exponentially, because raids and detentions just went off the charts.”

Legal battles abound
A decade after the attacks, there’s no sign that the pressure is lifting.

These groups are now providing a broad range of legal and advocacy functions — representing individual discrimination cases, appealing terrorism-related convictions and challenging broad security policies that they say come down especially hard on Muslim Americans as unconstitutional and dangerous.

Among them:

  • Possibly the best-known case is that of Yasir Afifi, 21, a college student who found a tracking device on his car in October when he took it for an oil change. A California native whose father was from Egypt, Afifi has traveled to the Middle East for work, and to visit two younger brothers who are being raised there by an aunt. His late father had been a prominent member of the Santa Clara Muslim community, which braced him for his encounter with the FBI.

“I had been preparing myself mentally and finding out what my rights are,” said Afifi. “It’s become a common practice for federal agents to harass … the Muslim community.”

Though many people were unwilling to publicly discuss their FBI encounters for this story — afraid that doing so might cause them more grief — Afifi took the opposite approach. When he found the device on his car, he photographed it and posted the pictures on the Internet.

Two days later, he says, a contingent of FBI agents showed up at his house, demanding he return the tracker. He did so but declined to answer questions or allow them in the house without a warrant.

Image: Yasir Afifi
Paul Sakuma  /  AP file
California native Yasir Afifi, 21, is suing the FBI for secretly putting a tracking device on his car. The San Jose resident says he's never done anything that should raise the attention of federal law enforcement.

Now Afifi is suing and seeking damages, alleging that the FBI surveillance left him with a stigma that has affected his personal and professional life.

More broadly, according to Gadeir Abbas, the CAIR attorney who is representing Afifi, the case is a test of whether tracking devices amount to an unreasonable search and seizure if the authorities lack probable cause.

“The issue is the biggest and most important Fourth Amendment issue in the last decade, whether law enforcement can use tracking devices without a warrant,” said Abbas.

  • With funding from the Muslim Legal Fund of America, five men convicted of funding terrorist operations through the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development continue to fight for their freedom. At the time the largest Muslim charity in the United States, it was shut down in 2001 and five of its personnel charged with funding the Palestinian militant group Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

In the trial, key testimony was provided by anonymous experts from the Israeli Security Agency and the Israeli Defense Forces. Justice Department attorney Joseph Palmer argued that “there was a real threat to the safety of those witnesses,” if their identities were to be disclosed.

In an appeal heard Sept. 1, attorneys for the men asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to overturn the men’s’ convictions and vacate sentences ranging from 15 to 65 years, arguing that the trial was unfair and “riddled with errors.”

“It’s a right to face your accuser,” said Janney, the Muslim Legal Fund of America spokesman, referring to the unnamed witnesses. “If this is allowed to happen now to us, who knows when somebody with politically unpopular views might face it? … This is a significant issue.”

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  • Muslim Advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union are challenging the constitutionality of the “no-fly” list, a secret roster of about 16,000 people — including 500 U.S. citizens — who are barred from flying in or out of the United States. Of the 20 people listed in the suit — nearly all of whom are Muslim Americans — some have been marooned overseas, unable to return to their homes in the United States without legal intervention.
  • Muslim advocacy groups have called attention to experts and materials used for anti-terrorism training of law enforcement officers that they contend are consider bigoted against Muslims. Under pressure from many groups to review the contractors and materials, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently said it would investigate the matter.
  • At the end of August, The Associated Press reported that the New York City Police Department, under supervision of a CIA officer, was sending secret police into Muslim neighborhoods to monitor daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclub, as well as mosques, sometimes with the help of secret informers — all absent any evidence of wrongdoing.

On the day the report was printed — after a months-long investigation by AP reporters — a coalition of civil rights and advocacy organizations called on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Justice to investigate what it described as a massive covert operation that “blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying."

"The responsibility of the NYPD is to protect all New Yorkers equally and to investigate crimes, not communities," said Cyrus McGoldrick, an official with CAIR's New York office. "Programs like this are a violation not only of the civil rights of American Muslims, but are a violation of the trust we place in our law enforcement."

Video: Day of Destruction, Decade of War - A military deployed

There are multiple legal battles over FBI surveillance of Muslim communities already under way. Among them is the case of Craig Monteilh, who was turned in by congregation members at a Los Angeles mosque when the new convert started implying that he was planning a violent plot. Later Montheil, who had been going by the name Farouk al-Aziz, admitted that he was an FBI informant. The ACLU and the southern California chapter of CAIR are suing the FBI on the strength of the Monteilh case and other information they say show a pattern of widespread surveillance based on religion, not based on evidence of wrongdoing.

In August, the Justice Department invoked the state secrets privilege to get the suit dismissed.

Growing into U.S. society
In addition to aggressively asserting their rights, Muslim Americans also have gained influence in the broader American society.

The population continues to grow. A recent Pew Research Center survey of more than 1,000 Muslim Americans indicated 25 percent had arrived since 2001 and about 45 percent since 1990. (Religion is not tabulated in the Census, but estimates range from 3 million to 6 million Muslim Americans — comparable to estimates of the Jewish population in the United States.)

Video: 'I'm just as American as you are' (on this page)

Rabbi Michael Lerner, a liberal Jewish leader and editor of the magazine Tikkun, compares the relatively recently arrived immigrant Muslim population to the Jews who arrived in the U.S. in the late 1800s. Many of the latter were cautious about asserting their identity, he says, remaining insular, keeping their heads down, to avoid stirring up trouble.

“It was really only in the 1910s when Jews started to … show ourselves as we are, warts and all, and demanding respect became legitimate,” Lerner said. “For Muslims, there was a similar dynamic (of insularity)... That was where they were at right through the 1990s. But 9/11 made that (old) stance impossible.”

Older, wiser, better represented
It helps that with the passage of a decade the Muslim American population now includes a larger cadre of adults raised and educated in the United States, confident as their status as Americans, well versed in the issues of their community and capable of articulating them in native English.

“Nine-eleven greatly accelerated a process that was already under way,” said John Esposito, a professor of international affairs and Islamic studies at Georgetown University. “One thing that really has to be highlighted is the role of the younger generations. These are Muslims born here, gone to our best schools, grad schools, and working as professionals in the most prestigious companies and institutions.”

Image: Rep. Keith Ellison, tears up during contressional hearing
Jim Lo Scalzo  /  EPA file
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress, tears up during his opening statements at controversial hearings on Islamic radicalization in Washington on March 10.

Muslim Americans have more political representation than they had in 2001. In addition to a smattering of state representatives and local leaders, they are now represented in Congress by Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who converted to Islam before his election in 2006, and Andre Carson, D-Ind., who was elected in 2007 in a special election, and then re-elected in 2008.

Although Ellison played down his religion while running for office, he has stepped up at key moments to defend members of his faith, including at this year’s controversial hearings before the Homeland Security Committee chaired by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., which focused on Muslim Americans as the primary source of potential terrorism.

"Targeting of the Muslim-American community for the actions of a few is unjust," he said, testifying as a witness for the minority Democrats. "Stoking fears about an entire group for a political agenda is not new in American history."

Public relations tug-of-war
Many Muslim Americans see the King hearings as part of a dramatic pushback from virulent critics of Islam, who believe that some Muslim leaders are pressing an agenda that is un-American, un-democratic and envision turning the United States into an Islamic state.

At the core of this movement are key players who are focused on a radical segment of Muslims whom they call Islamists. Among them are Daniel Pipes, who runs a think tank called the Middle East Forum; Pam Geller, a blogger who was instrumental in generating protest against Park 51, a Muslim community center dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque”; and Robert Spencer, the author of a site calledJihad Watch and co-founder the organization “Stop Islamization of America.”

Video: What the world looked like on Sept. 10, 2001 (on this page)

Others in this camp have helped write legislation and resolutions in at least 20 states that are designed to combat “creeping shariah,” which they warn threatens to undermine U.S. law. Shariah is the Islamic code of conduct.

Now, in addition to those worried about Islamists are public figures who speak of the whole of Islam as evil — including talk show hosts Glen Beck and Michael Graham, some ex-Muslims and some Christian evangelists.

'No, my religion is not evil'
“There is now an active anti-Islamic argument that barely existed, or had no public presence 10 years ago,” said Pipes. “That’s a view that has gained real traction and therefore has put Muslims on the defensive and (forced them to) say, 'No, my religion is not evil.'”

He said that compared to a decade ago, a much more diverse group of Muslims has stepped up to speak about their religion, including anti-Islamist Muslims like Zudhi Jasser, a physician in Arizona who has become a frequent talk show guest.

The critics of Islam may have contributed to a declining number of Americans with a favorable view of the religion since 2007, as shown in the recent Pew survey.

Video: New 9/11 tapes show confusion and disbelief

But some experts suggest they may also have kick-started Muslim organizations to take more control of their public image.

“In the last five, six years, (there have been) much more aggressive attempts to challenge the distortions about who Muslims are … that it is not a religion fairly represented by al-Qaida or sections of the Islamic world that call for destruction of the West,” said Rabbi Lerner.

Controversies over the construction of mosques and schools at sites across the country have also prompted some community leaders to explore ways to better approach neighborhoods and city planners to avoid conflict.

Video: NY firefighter's 9/11 memorial to fallen brother (on this page)

Increasingly, mosques have opened their doors to non-Muslims with the idea of creating more transparency.

“Many Muslim Americans came to realize... though some remained in some kind of denial… that it was important for them to engage in more outreach, to be better known in the community,” said Esposito, the Georgetown University professor. “Muslims began a real effort … opening up the mosque, going out of the way to create programs with neighbors, inviting school kids to visit, and see what it is like to pray. I’ve seen this all over the country — from Michigan to New York to California.”

In July, a rising star in Chicago’s Islamic community, Eboo Patel, organized and moderated a panel discussion featuring the Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, alongside a rabbi, a pastor and a Muslim scholar.

“Now instead of being reluctant to be in the public sphere, many are trying very hard to be in the public sphere,” said Lerner, the rabbi who participated in the forum. “They are representing not just Muslim causes but causes that are not in the Muslim sphere — poverty, global peace and the environment.”

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Optimism endures through hard times
Despite such progress, more than half of Muslim Americans — 55 percent — say that it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the United States since the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the Pew Research Center survey. Just over half say that anti-terrorism policies single out Muslims.

Negative views about Muslims, discrimination and ignorance about Islam top the list of the problems Muslim Americans say they face, according to the Pew report. The most frequently mentioned problem is people’s negative views about Muslims (29 percent), including stereotyping, being viewed as terrorists and distrust.

Video: Giuliani: ‘I wish I had anticipated’ 9/11 (on this page)

And yet, U.S. Muslims, especially immigrants, remain surprisingly optimistic. Some 65 percent to 75 percent believe that the quality of life is better in the United States than in most Muslim countries. About three-quarters believe in “ the American Dream,” making them more optimistic on average than the general public.

“Am I worried about the Islamophobic stuff? Yes I am… Highly rational people can look at things without being rational,” said Rizwan Kadir, a Pakistan-born American active in the Chicago Muslim community.

But, he added, “It’s going to turn out better than OK .… America always ends up on the right side of history. We have stumbled, we have messed up. But we end up on the right side of history, sometimes a bit later than we would like.”

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Photos: Remains of the day

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  1. Nancy Nee, George's sister

    A heavily dented and damaged mass hardly recognizable as the helmet it once was. Thinking about how powerful the destructive force must have been still makes her lose her breath. “George was such a tall, strong man’,’ says Nancy Nee. And yet looking at the black relic brings her a certain measure of peace. Her brother George Cain was a firefighter to the core and the helmet was an integral part of his life. On Sept. 11, George helped evacuate hundreds of guests from the Marriott Hotel, close to the World Trade Center. When the towers collapsed, he did not stand a chance. The hotel was destroyed, but most of the guests survived. To this day, her children miss their uncle very much, says Nancy. She still hasn’t shown her two youngest the helmet.

    Captions by Giuseppe di Grazia and Martin Knobbe / stern Magazine
    Translation by Anuschka Tomat (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Myrta Gschaar, Robert’s Wife

    Maybe he did manage to get out of the South Tower after all. Maybe he is wandering around not knowing who he is. For years, these thoughts haunted Myrta Gschaar. She did not abandon hope, until the day authorities informed her that her husband’s wallet had been recovered. When she went to the police station to pick it up, she saw the two-dollar bill. Myrta Gschaar felt dizzy and the policemen needed to keep her from falling. It was one of the two-dollar bills with which Robert had proposed to Myrta. They had promised each other to always carry theirs with them. When Myrta had recovered, she placed the slightly charred note next to her undamaged one. She moved them toward each other as if they were about to kiss for the last time. Or the first. (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Bradley Burlingame, Charles’ brother

    The poem’s words are still clearly legible: “Don’t stand at my grave crying. I am not here. I did not die.” This sentence was printed on the reverse side of the funeral card for Patricia Burlingame. Her son Charles always carried it with him, just as he did on the day that terrorists hijacked the plane he was flying. Flight AA 77 crashed into the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., at 9:37 am. Sixty-four people on the plane and 125 more inside the building died. Knowing that his brother had the funeral card on him is a comforting thought for Brad Burlingame. Just as comforting, that he likely died a hero. The flight data analysis showed that 30 minutes after takeoff, the air carrier suddenly started an erratic flight pattern. For Brad, it indicates a struggle in the cockpit. “Charles was a former Navy pilot. He defended his plane and his passengers until the very end.” (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Erich Bay, Lorraine’s husband

    Lorraine Bay was supposed to be back home from her United Airlines flight on Wednesday night. On the evening of Sept. 12th, the flight attendant planned to celebrate her husband's birthday. Half a year later in their house, Erich found the presents Lorraine had bought for him: two shirts and two belts. It took Erich a long time before he mustered the strength to enter Lorraine’s room. And it took him even longer before he was able to open the box that contained her belongings that had been recovered from the area where her plane crashed in Pennsylvania. In it, he found a pair of sandals Lorraine had packed for the late summer weather. Her wedding band was slightly melted and it was missing a stone. The ring remains Erich’s most important memento of his wife. He gave Lorraine’s earrings to one of his nieces, but he will keep the wedding band until he dies. (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Joseph and Samia Iskandar, Waleed’s parents

    Three frequent flyer cards and a debit card are all that remained of their son. Recovery workers at Ground Zero found neither his body nor any parts of it Thus, the parents placed the four cards along with a photo of their son in a niche in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles. The plastic is the only remembrance of the last day of Waleed Iskandar's life. The youngest of three children, he was born in Lebanon and raised in Kuwait. He graduated from Stanford and Harvard. In his job as a consultant and in his leisure time with his girlfriend, Nicolette, he flew more than 400,000 miles a year. He was sitting in the window seat in row 34 when the plane crashed into the North tower. His parents, Joseph and Samia Iskandar, hope that maybe “he did not exactly know what was going on in the cockpit.” (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Nelly Braginsky, Alexander’s mother

    Alexander Braginsky had immediately accepted an invitation by his employer, the news agency Reuters, to an 8:30 am business breakfast at Windows on the World on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center. Fifteen minutes later, a Boeing 767 crashed into the North Tower. “If he had only stayed in his office, if he had only been less keen on learning new things,” says his mother. Braginsky, however, wanted to know everything and he happily shared his knowledge. On the evening of the day he died, he was scheduled to hold a lecture in front of immigrants. He himself was an immigrant, who came to the U.S. from Odessa, Ukraine, when he was 15 years old. Ever since, he had helped others navigate the exciting metropolis of New York. For a long time, the wallet had been the only memory of her son that Nelly Braginsky could hold in her hands. Just this past April, she learned that a bone fragment had been found. Finally, she was able to bury Alexander. (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Betzy Parks, Robert's sister

    To his sister, he was the man who wrote letters. He sent her a greeting card when she graduated from High School. He sent her encouraging words when she left for England to pursue her studies and later when she traveled Europe. Writing letters was his way of showing his affection. Thus, Betzy Parks knew immediately that she had found the perfect gift for her brother Robert when she spotted a silvery letter opener in a bazaar in Mexico in 1991. He had kept it on his desk ever since and he took it with him when he started working as a bond broker for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center. There, the father of two teenagers was known as a wizard with numbers. He knew almost every movement of the stock market since 1929 by heart, as well as every home run the New York Yankees ever made. On Sept. 11th, 2001, Cantor Fitzgerald lost 658 of the 1,000 employees in its York headquarters. (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Sonia Tita Puopolo, Sonia Morales Puopolo's daughter

    When Sonia Tita Puopolo received a call almost one year after the attacks on 9/11, informing her that rescue workers had recovered her mother’s left hand with the wedding ring still on it, she did not know whether to laugh or cry. The ring, of all things! It was the symbol of the great love between Sonia Morales Puopolo and her husband, Dominic. It remained almost intact. Every diamond was in its right place. “For me it is a symbol of hope despite all the sadness,” says her daughter. Today, Sonia Tita Puopolo wears the ring just as her father wished. She even wrote a book about the ring. The Puopolos were a generous couple. They made donations to a number of causes: the Democratic Party, gay rights groups, AIDS and cancer programs. On Sept. 11, the mother of three children was on her way to visit her son Mark Anthony. She was on the first plane that slammed into the towers. (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Barbara Spence, Maynard’s wife

    In April 2002, recovery workers found the first body parts belonging to Maynard Spence, pieces of organs and fragments of his bones. His wife, Barbara, didn't want to see them. Together with Maynard’s daughters from his first marriage, Barbara decided to cremate everything. She spread Maynard's ashes over his favorite mountain in North Carolina. Barbara wanted to remember Maynard as this tall man with a vibrant laugh, as the man who penned her short love letters. Yet, today the most important love note is the one she herself wrote, scribbled on one of those notepads lying around in hotels. Maynard, from Atlanta, had this note on him when he visited the New York branch of the insurance company he worked for. “Hey Lover Boy – hope you have a wonderful day! I’ll be thinking of you! Love Babs.” Four years ago, she got a tattoo above her heart. It features a yellow rose, a hummingbird and the date 9/11, and will forever connect her to Maynard. (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Alison Crowther, Welles’ mother

    He was the man with the red bandanna, an accessory he had adopted from his grandfather. He wore the bandanna on this morning at the Trade Center, high above the southern tip of Manhattan. Welles Crowther survived the initial impact of the plane. Shortly thereafter, he called his father. It was the last that was heard from him. Months later, his mother, Alison, read an article in which witnesses recounted how they were rescued from a smoky stairwell by a man whose nose and mouth were covered by a red bandanna. Six months after the attack, rescue workers found Welles’ body under a shattered staircase. The time on his wristwatch, a Citizen Chronograph WR 200, had stopped at 2:25. The red bandanna was not recovered.

    Captions by Giuseppe di Grazia and Martin Knobbe / stern Magazine
    Translation by Anuschka Tomat (Henry Leutwyler / Contour by Getty Images for stern Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
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