“I ask myself what W.H. Auden once asked: ‘How do I know what I think until I write it?’ So I write it and I find out what I think. And I hear from readers who thank me for helping them to figure out what they think.”
—The Tribune‘s Clarence Page talking to the Reader about his 9/11 column.
Police chatter, 1:20 PM September 11
1882-E: Are the highways closed, or access in and out of the city closed, or anything like that? People are asking.
Dispatcher: As far as I know everything is open, unless I’m wrong. Anybody got any information on that?
1830: 1830, sir, I just passed by Ontario and all those things are fine.
1807-A: 1807-Adam. Since you’re giving out information, I got a concerned citizen asking me, is the Cub game on this evening?
Unidentified Caller: Who cares?
Unidentified Caller #2: Negative. All sporting events are canceled.
1807-A: Thank you. I’ll tell him.
Unidentified Caller #2: Blew it anyway.
Police scanner monitored by Jeffrey Felshman
Nobody worried about this yesterday
About an hour after two jets crashed into the World Trade Center towers, a sickening thought struck James Howard. What if terrorists flew a hijacked airliner into the Zion nuclear power plant, located a mile from Howard’s house and 40 miles from Chicago? The Zion plant is no longer operating, but it’s home to 1,100 tons of nuclear waste. What kind of security was there? Howard, a former Zion employee, decided to take a drive.
“I drove right through the front gate, right up past the two silos—maybe 100 feet from them—turned around, and came back out,” he says. “Nobody stopped me.”
Later in the day, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommended that all the nation’s nuclear power plants—including the six in Illinois—go to the highest level of alert.
From “A Terrorist’s Dream” by Shelley Smithson
Devon Avenue after 9/11
Nearly every business on the strip is decorated by the Stars and Stripes, especially the Pakistani places: a wide variety of American flags—from postcard size to beach blanket—appear to have been hurriedly taped to windows. Some hang backward; others are accompanied by legends like “God Bless America,” or by the green-and-white flag of Pakistan with its Muslim crescent. A few U.S. flags look like computer printouts, and a large, translucent decal bears the tiny inscription “Made in China.” Dozens of storefronts display the same banners—the paper Old Glory from last week’s Sun-Times, or a curious cloth flag that’s not rectangular but perfectly square. One beauty parlor oozes the Stars and Stripes from every pore: the square flags are stuck all over the windows and hang from the awning. Taller patrons must duck to enter.
From “Islam and Old Glory” by Renaldo Migaldi