Katie Couric’s Voice

remembering 9-11

Quite the creature of habit, I had the Today Show on in the background as I went about my morning routine.

Annie had headed off to school and I was awaiting the arrival of a friend who was coming over to work on a volunteer project with me.

Out of the corner of my ear (is there such a thing?) I heard Katie Couric mention something about reports of a small plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

“Oh dear”, I thought. “Must have been a student pilot. Hmmm, it seems strange that a student pilot would be allowed in the air space over Manhattan.”

I went about my business until I heard Katie talking to a viewer who called in to give her eyewitness report.

The semi-panicked woman said over and over, “It wasn’t a small private plane. It was a large jet.”

Katie kept trying to convince the caller that, while it may have looked like a large plane, it couldn’t have been. “I’m sure it happened so fast that you didn’t get a good look.”

The woman did not waiver from her story.  This back and forth between the eyewitness and Katie Couric went on for a few minutes.

Then someone must have spoken to Katie in her earpiece. Telling her the awful, horrible, unimaginable truth.

It was then that Katie Couric’s voice changed and I knew something was terribly wrong.

I spent the rest of the day riveted to the television coverage like everyone else.

My friend joined me as we watched the horror play out. It was her birthday. It was not going to be the kind of birthday she had planned.

Throughout the day I remember being so impressed by the journalists, most of whom were New Yorkers themselves and many of whom had family members or friends working in or near the World Trade Center. Reporters were interviewing witnesses while trying to verify the safety of their own children. They talked to person after person who was desperately trying to get news about their spouse or parent. How on earth were the journalists able to keep their composure in the midst of stories that brought the rest of us to tears.

The professionalism exhibited, under the most difficult of circumstances, was oddly comforting. I guess it provided some sense of calm and order in the face of a very different reality.

Let’s pray that these professionals are never again faced with having to report such atrocities. And let’s pray for all of the souls lost in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, along with their families and friends.


This post was written as part of the September Sapphire Even Day Blog Challenge sponsored by Being a Wordsmith. Today’s topic: Commemoration – Where were you on September 11th, 2001.

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  1. Great one. I remember being out on a walk with a pilot’s wife who was also a runner. He found us and told us the sad news. Katie took me through that awful day. Have switched to GMA after about 40 yrs when Matt got rid of Ann. Love my new GMA!!

    • Old habits are hard to break, I’m still with Matt and Al. It is hard to believe that it has been 12 years. And during that time Matt has had 4 different co-hosts.

  2. i am in nyc for 9/11 and definitely want to honor the victims and the heros while i am here.

    • I’m sure the Freedom Tower is a beautiful and moving symbol of rebirth. I understand they are going to do the Tribute in Lights in the night sky on Wednesday. I hope you get to see that.

  3. I will never forget the day of September 11 for as long as I live. And I will never forget watching the journalists that were covering it as tears streamed down my face.

    • They were reporting news that, I’m sure, they just couldn’t comprehend was really happening. Hour after hour the reporters rose to the occasion while the rest of us watched in disbelief.

  4. I felt chills reading your post. I was just commenting on Small Talk Mama’s post about how I was remembering so many other things about 9/11 from the posts being linked up. I thought it must be have been a student pilot too initially. We’ve all heard about those accidents before. But when I heard about the second plane, I knew that was no accident. Thank you for sharing and linking up!

    • This is a very emotional topic. We all remember what we felt and saw and heard on that day. And we all have different stories, different perspectives. I’m glad you chose this prompt for the challenge.

  5. What a wonderful post. I don’t think I could have held my composure as well as those reporters did.

  6. Im with you in praying that these professionals don’t have to endure another challenge like this. Amazing reading all these posts and what was gleaned from the day. Beautiful tribute Mo!

    • I think it is so interesting to see all the different points of view and what people remember from that day. Watching the Today Show this morning, I was brought to tears again. The images and interviews with survivors are so powerful.

  7. Isn’t it interesting that getting awful news from one of our favorite anchors is a bit more comforting than if you just hear it from a random reporter. I think it makes remembering easier, because their voices are more vivid in our heads.

    • Of course the true heroes of the day were the first responders but I think many people played a part in telling the story and rallying us all to stand up in defiance against the perpetrators of these heinous acts.

  8. Beautiful post Mo. Katie Couric is definitely one of the journalists who stands out to me most when I remember the coverage from that day. It is so hard to believe so much time has passed and yet it also feels like a lifetime ago.-Ashley

    • I heard someone say that for today’s children the event is history even though it still feels like current events to those of us who so vividly remember that day. So true.

  9. Thanks for sharing your moment, Mo. Such an incredibly emotional and shocking day. I had a UPS guy tell me about it – we both thought it was a small plane accident. But like Kimberly, as soon as I heard that a second plane had hit, I knew it had to be a terrorist attack. For us in DC, the attack on the Pentagon was even more of a shock ~ we were never complacent about safety again. It’s like we lost a little bit of innocence we didn’t know we still had.

    • It is incomprehensible what additional destruction would have been done to DC if not for the incredibly brave and selfless passengers on Flight 93. Many people acted heroically that day. Today, and always, we remember them all.

  10. I was at work. I worked at a television station. It was chaotic as you can imagine. We sat in my bosses office and watched in horror. That event pretty much ended my time in television news. After so much sadness, I made the decision to move on to lighter things. Can’t believe it’s been twelve years.

  11. Thanks, Mo, for this post. I also noticed the change in Couric and others’ voices. I recall my son calling with this question, “Mom, what is going on? Why?” and sitting in silence with him. I remember a visit there months after, the tribute wall, and a quiet sniffles . I remember talking to two dear NYC friends. Both sat quiet.

  12. You know, I had totally forgotten about this aspect. This is how I was introduced to Campbell Brown – through her coverage of the day’s events. I remember watching her running through the streets broadcasting live, and thinking to myself, “Who is this reporter, she’s doing an awesome job!” I then began to think that there was no way I could do a job like that. You’re right, the professionalism exhibited that day was like no other. I too pray that they never have to experience and report something like that again.

    • Kennie, how could I have forgotten Campbell Brown running through the street?! Those scenes and her kind of “controlled panic” demeanor gave us glimpse into how chaotic things were.

  13. 9-11 was seared into our collective psyche that day. My Husband was there, on an unexpected business trip. The emotion will never leave me and often, a picture, a sound, the numbers 9-11, have the power to take me back instantly. We were lucky, he came home to us. I pray for the families that weren’t so lucky.

    • I can’t even imagine your terror that day knowing that your husband was there. Your heart must have stopped until you heard that he was safe.

  14. We thought the same thing at first. We were in Boston visiting friends and my preschool age son pointed at the tv and said “that plane just hit that building” or something very close to that. And then we watched in horror as the buildings crumbled. I will never forget that day as long as I live.

    • Fortunately your preschooler probably didn’t understand what was going on but I think people of all ages felt the sadness that followed. We should remember that day but we should also remember the unity it brought to our country.

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