Rudolph Giuliani was a hero before he was a joke. Lisa Beamer was a wife and mother before she became a symbol of 9/11 – and although her celebrity has faded, her widowhood cannot.
In the aftermath of the planes crashing, the United States and the world met a range of personalities. We had known some of them well, but we saw them in different ways. Others were thrown into the public consciousness due to tragic circumstances.
Some, like Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammad Omar, are dead. But others have moved on and lead lives that are epilogues to September 11, 2001. Here are some of the names that featured in that tumultuous time – what they were then and what has happened to them since:
THEN: Mayor of New York City, he was a hero of the moment: empathetic, determined, a focus of the nation’s pain, and a constant presence at ground zero. “The number of casualties will be more than any of us can ultimately bear,” he said on September 11. Oprah Winfrey named him “the mayor of the United States”; Time magazine declared him the “Person of the Year.”
SINCE THEN: After suggesting (and later ruled out) that his term, which was about to expire, be extended due to the 9/11 emergency, Giuliani entered private life, but not so private. He launched a profitable security company and unsuccessfully ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, which he aborted. His adventures as a supporter and agent of President Donald Trump are well documented and resulted in the suspension of his attorney license in his home state.
THEN: the New York Police Commissioner. Bald and stocky, he never left Giuliani in the days after 9/11 – and he followed the mayor after he left office and joined Giuliani’s security company.
SINCE: President George W. Bush appointed Kerik as Iraq’s Acting Interior Minister in 2003 during the Iraq War, and nominated him to head the US Department of Homeland Security in 2004. He was no longer considered for the latter position when it was revealed that he had employed an undocumented worker as a nanny and housekeeper; a series of legal problems followed, including convictions for ethics violations and tax fraud. He was pardoned by President Donald Trump in 2020.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THEN: The 43rd President of the United States, Bush, was informed of the September 11 attacks while reading “The Pet Goat” to second graders in Sarasota, Florida. He spoke to the nation that night and visited ground zero three days later, where he picked up a megaphone to declare, “I can hear you! The rest of the world listens to you! And the people – and the people who brought down these buildings – will soon hear from all of us. ” Their support in the polls reached 85 percent.
SINCE THEN: The war on terror begot the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Bush’s demand that the Taliban “hand over the terrorists, or … share their destiny.” He had long retired to oil painting in Texas when bin Laden was killed by US Army special operations forces (Navy SEAL), and when President Joe Biden withdrew US forces from Afghanistan. In August, he said he looked at events there “with deep sadness.”
THEN: While the Secret Service played “hide the president” with Bush on September 11 – he was transferred to military bases in Louisiana and Nebraska, fearing terrorist attacks – his vice president settled in a “safe, undisclosed location.” , a bunker inside the White House where he helped direct government actions. Cheney became a fierce advocate for an unbridled response to attacks using “any means at our disposal.” He lobbied for the 2003 war in Iraq. The interrogation technique known as ‘waterboarding’ (water torture that causes the sensation of drowning) was a correct way to obtain information from terrorists, he said – not torture, as his critics have long insisted.
SINCE THEN: After five heart attacks and a heart transplant in 2012, Cheney has lived to see his daughter Liz win her old congressional seat in Wyoming and become a Republican persona non grata because of her criticism of Donald Trump.
THEN: Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell was unanimously confirmed as Secretary of State in 2001. He then presented a persuasive case to the United Nations for military action against Iraq, claiming that Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction. The war was fought, Saddam was overthrown and killed, Iraq was destabilized; no such weapons were found.
SINCE THEN: Powell has consistently defended his support for the Iraq war. But the longtime Republican did not believe in Trump, endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and spoke in support of Biden at the 2020 Democratic convention. He left the Republican party after the Jan.6 assault on the Capitol.
THEN: Bush’s national security adviser. In the summer of 2001, he met with CIA Director George Tenet, at his request, to discuss the threat of Al Qaeda attacks against US targets. The CIA reported that “there will be major terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months.” Rice would later say that the information was old.
SINCE: Rice succeeded Powell as Secretary of State and then returned to Stanford University as Chancellor and then as a faculty member. In 2012, she also became one of the first two women allowed to join the Augusta National Golf Club.
THEN: Attorney General during Bush’s first term. In the aftermath of September 11, he was the main advocate for the administration of the Patriot Act, which gave the government broad powers to investigate and prosecute those suspected of terrorism. But in 2004, while in an intensive care unit with gallstone pancreatitis, he refused the administration’s pleas to overturn a Justice Department verdict that Bush’s national intelligence program was illegal.
SINCE THEN: After leaving office in 2005, Ashcroft became a lobbyist and consultant. His appearances as a gospel singer (and songwriter – his tune “Let the Eagle Soar,” “Let the Eagle Soar,” performed at Bush’s second inauguration -) have waned.
THEN: As an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, Yoo provided much of the legal underpinning for the war on terror. He argued that “enemy combatants” captured in Afghanistan did not need to receive POW status; that the president could authorize warrantless wiretapping of US citizens on US soil; that the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as water torture was within the wartime power of the president.
SINCE THEN: Yoo is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He is still a strong supporter of presidential prerogatives; In 2020, his book “Defender in Chief: Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power” argued that Trump’s vision of the presidency was in line with Washington’s. , Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton.
KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED
THEN: prominent Al Qaeda propagandist, described as the “main architect of the 9/11 attacks” by the 9/11 Commission. He was captured in 2003 by the CIA and the Pakistani secret police, and later taken to CIA prisons in Poland, Afghanistan and finally Guantanamo. Under duress – some called it torture – he confessed to being involved in nearly every major al Qaeda operation, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl, the 2001 attacks and others.
SINCE THEN: Your trial date has been postponed time and time again. He remains in Guantanamo, indefinitely.
THEN: Afghanistan’s interim leader and later president-elect after 9/11, managed to strike a delicate balancing act and remain on friendly terms with the United States and the West while unifying the many factions of his country – at least for a time. More than once he called the Taliban “brothers,” and the last years of his presidency were marked by friction with the United States.
SINCE THEN: Karzai has survived numerous assassination attempts, but when his second term expired in 2014, the passing of power to his successor, Ashraf Ghani, was peaceful. Ghani would lead the country for almost seven years, until he fled before the triumphant return of the Taliban.
THEN: Stock company president Cantor Fitzgerald would have been at the company offices atop One World Trade Center, but brought his son Kyle to the first day of kindergarten. A total of 658 of the company’s employees died – two-thirds of its New York City workforce, including Lutnick’s brother Gary. Within three days, Lutnick had established the Cantor-Fitzgerald Relief Fund for his company’s victims.
SINCE THEN: The fund has disbursed more than $ 250 million, including money for other victims of terrorism and disasters. Twenty years later, Lutnick remains as the president of the company.
THEN: After 9/11, Lisa Beamer became the face of the mourners of that day and a reminder of the day’s heroism. Her husband, Todd, a former college baseball and basketball player, is believed to have led other passengers in an attack on the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 that shot down the plane before it could crash in Washington. His exhortation “Let’s roll!” (“Come on!”) Became a battle cry. His widow made 200 public appearances in the six months after the attacks.
SINCE THEN: Lisa Beamer co-wrote the book “Let’s Roll! Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage ”, and established a foundation in memory of her husband. Donations dwindled and Beamer disappeared from public life. The couple had three children, all of whom attended Wheaton University, where their parents met. They are all athletes, like their father: Dave, who was three when his father died, was a quarterback for American football; Drew, who was one year old, played soccer, as has Morgan, born four months after the attacks. Morgan was her father’s middle name.