September 6th, 2011
07:58 AM ET

Planes on round-the-clock guard for Washington and other U.S. cities

By CNN Senior National Security Producer Charley Keyes

Every minute of every day pilots and support crews at this Air Force Base just outside Washington, D.C. remember the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Unlike 10 years ago, they now – always - are on guard to stop future attacks.

“We shall never forget,” says a plaque attached to a piece of the Pentagon wreckage from the 9/11 devastation. “This fragment of the Pentagon is placed here in honor of the 3,087 innocent men, women and children from across America and around the world killed by terrorists on 11 September 2001 and the capital guardians who bravely answered our nation's call to duty,” the inscription says. “Again, the sleeping giant awakes…”

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence visited Andrews in the days leading up to the 9/11 anniversary and heard the story of how pilots rushed to respond in the first chaotic moments ten years ago.

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Louie Knobel

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    March 6, 2021 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  2. Tiger Briggade

    It's true that we were given orders to stand down from Cheney. That's why Ben is calling him the commander in chief. No orders were received from Top Hat. Cheney ran the show from the big seat.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:20 am | Reply
    • Matt K

      oh, ok, "We" were? really? here's your coolaid...

      September 9, 2011 at 8:32 am | Reply
  3. portcitymatt

    with the way our country is going, our country will collapse itself before the terrorists get another shot

    September 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  4. rajeev

    An ACLU report release to coincide with the 10th anniversary of 9/11 warns that a decade after the attacks, the United States is at risk of enshrining a permanent state of emergency in which core values must be subordinated to ever-expanding claims of national security. (More on Civil Liberties After 9/11 »)

    The report, entitled, "A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years after 9/11," explores how sacrificing America's values – including justice, individual liberty, and the rule of law – ultimately undermines safety. (Read the full report »)

    Everywhere And Forever War

    The report begins with an examination of the contention that the U.S. is engaged in a "war on terror" that takes place everywhere and will last forever, and that therefore counterterrorism measures cannot be balanced against any other considerations such as maintaining civil liberties. The report states that the United States has become an international legal outlier in invoking the right to use lethal force and indefinite military detention outside battle zones, and that these policies have hampered the international fight against terrorism by straining relations with allies and handing a propaganda tool to enemies.

    A Cancer On Our Legal System

    Taking on the legacy of the Bush administration's torture policy, the report warns that the lack of accountability leaves the door open to future abuses. "Our nation's official record of this era will show numerous honors to those who authorized torture – including a Presidential Medal of Freedom – and no recognition for those, like the Abu Ghraib whistleblower, who rejected and exposed it," it notes.

    Fracturing Our “More Perfect Union”

    The report details how profiling based on race and religion has become commonplace nationwide, with the results of such approaches showing just how wrong and ineffective those practices are. "Targeting the American Muslim community for counterterrorism investigation is counterproductive because it diverts attention and resources that ought to be spent on individuals and violent groups that actually pose a threat," the report says. "By allowing – and in some cases actively encouraging – the fear of terrorism to divide Americans by religion, race, and belief, our political leaders are fracturing this nation’s greatest strength: its ability to integrate diverse strands into a unified whole on the basis of shared, pluralistic, democratic values."

    A Massive and Unchecked Surveillance Society

    Concluding with the massive expansion of surveillance since 9/11, the report delves into the many ways the government now spies on Americans without any suspicion of wrongdoing, from warrantless wiretapping to cell phone location tracking – but with little to show for it. "The reality is that as governmental surveillance has become easier and less constrained, security agencies are flooded with junk data, generating thousands of false leads that distract from real threats," the report says.

    “A Call to Courage” points out that many controversial policies have been shrouded in secrecy under the rubric of national security, preventing oversight and examination by the public. "We look to our leaders and our institutions, our courts and our Congress, to guide us towards a better way, and it is now up to the American people to demand that our leaders respond to national security challenges with our values, our unity – and yes, our courage – intact."

    September 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  5. ladydi


    September 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Cody Pankey


      September 8, 2011 at 9:29 am | Reply
  6. Jay Cool (

    wide open for the 90%'ers to go ballistic with their conspiracy theories on this one.

    mark my words... someone will argue about the fall-rates of the towers and how it was not a simple collapse because of huge planes hitting them.

    September 7, 2011 at 11:04 am | Reply
  7. David Parker

    In agreement with Ben James.....Robert, u are an idiot comparing the two....pearl harbor was a mistake on our was a postal error. But 9-11 is a totally different story, you the nut and you do need to educate urself a little better fool.

    September 7, 2011 at 9:51 am | Reply
  8. Ben James

    All air defense military aircraft were held on the ground by direct order of then commander and chief DICK Cheney during the 911 coup. 911 was clearly and inside job, the demolition collapse of Tower 7 on 911 is the SMOKING GUN!!!

    September 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Reply
    • Robert Sherman

      OMG another NUT out there...i guess you believe Pearl Harbour was an inside job as well..look go get back on the pecan log you fell off of....!!!

      September 7, 2011 at 2:34 am | Reply
      • Reality

        I agree Robert. Might as well say that the U.S. government conjured up Hitler and the holocaust as well. Lets see here, the moon landing was made in a Hollywood studio as well as the film footage of the Nazi concentration camps during WWII, what rubbish! Because of 911 the country has lost trillions of dollars and as a result we have had to borrow even more and more money from foreign powers. Sure the U.S. Government set it"s self up for even further economic ruin. YEAH RIGHT!

        September 8, 2011 at 5:22 am |
    • David Parker

      I am in complete agreement, the whole subject still makes me sick that so many people are so naive and cant see through the smoke. Then we have Hussein...why Hussein??

      September 7, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply
    • Light In The Black

      Well said Ben.

      September 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • Matt K

      Ben, last time I checked, Dick was the VP, so not the Commander in Chief, moron. Do you honestly believe that we in uniform are so blindly obedient not a single one would have ignored any supposed "order" and done something? Our oath is to defend the people, not sit on our thumbs and watch!
      Go back to your corner with your tin foil hat and keep on drinking your coolaid.

      September 9, 2011 at 7:46 am | Reply

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