Kevin Danni of South Pasadena
Tom Frost of Santa Margarita
Brad Burlingame of Los Angeles
These are just some of the names of Southern Californians bound together by one tragic day in American history. This day- 9-11.
September 11, 2001. A day seared in our memories. For many of us on the West Coast, we awakened to discover that hijackers had seized four commercial airplanes. They crashed and burned in New York, Washington, and in rural Pennsylvania. In a daring plan, terrorists had struck on American soil. The death toll was staggering. Nearly three thousand killed, more than 2300 injured. Collectively, it was a body blow to the psyche of the American people. But the individual stories of loss bring it home…even more.
Kevin Danni, a young Occidental grad, just his second day on the job in New York City. A young man full of promise. Danni came within minutes of losing his life. He survived the attack on the Twin Towers. And described to me in great detail the unflinching courage of firefighters, rushing up the stairs as he struggled down them, ultimately–to his safety. Now, a devoted husband and father, he calls his rescue a “second chance at life”.
Tom Frost of Santa Margarita, is a grieving father ten years later. His daughter Lisa was on the second plane that hit the Towers. A beautiful, brilliant student, she had everything to live for. One degree in communications; another in business hospitality. Tom has left the room of his 22 year-old daughter nearly the same, a memoriam. It seems almost frozen in time. But time has not stood still. Ten years later.. Osama Bin Laden is dead, hunted down and killed by American troops. Frost says it offers him some measure of closure…but does not return his adored daughter.
Brad Burlingame looked up to his brother his whole life. Big brother, Charles Frank Burlingame or ‘Chic,’ as he was known was a classic American Hero. Square-jawed, handsome a graduate of the U. S Naval Academy. Growing up in Orange County, he shared a love of baseball with his brother. Chic was the pilot of the ill-fated Flight 77 hijacked by terrorists and flown into the Pentagon. Brad tells us his brother, the former fighter pilot, fought to the finish. He will honor him today ..and all those who perished that day. He asks that Americans everywhere honor those who died in the crashes; and those who rushed to save them.
Please join us for a very special half hour tonight at 630pm on CBS 2. These personal stories are incredibly moving. I thank everyone affiliated with the project for their trust and honesty. Thank for your support. And may the victims of 9-11 rest in peace.