Terrorist attacks in NYC affect Ithaca and Tompkins County, and communities around the world

September 11, 2001 by Mark H. Anbinder

On September 11th, 2001, a project we'd been working on was unveiled a bit early. 14850 Today was to be a collaboration between 14850.com and WVBR News, and on that remarkable day, we pressed it into service ahead of schedule so we could share the information we had that area residents might need.

The terminals at Los Angeles International Airport have been evacuated in response to this morning's terrorist attacks. Kennedy Space Center has been closed, and non-essential NATO employees have been asked to leave NATO headquarters in Brussels. Federal buildings and the United Nations Headquarters have been evacuated. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ordered all nuclear power plants in the US to maximum security readiness.

President Bush was on the ground at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana earlier this afternoon, but has reportedly left that facility on Air Force One. Before leaving Barksdale, President Bush announced that he had placed the nation's military on high-alert status. He says "We will do what it takes, whatever's necessary to secure America and Americans." He asks for prayers for those killed or wounded in the attacks and adds: "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts." 

An official says an emergency dispatcher in Westmoreland County in western PA received a cell phone call at 9:58 this morning from a man who said he was a passenger locked in a bathroom aboard United flight 93. The man reportedly told the dispatcher that the plane was going down, that he'd heard explosions and seen white smoke coming from the plane. Dispatchers then lost touch with the caller. 

Two hijacked passenger planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center about twenty minutes apart, shortly before and shortly after 9 this morning. Both towers have since collapsed. Another aircraft crashed into the Pentagon, where there are reports of major fires and a partial building collapse. A car bomb has reportedly gone off outside the State Department.

Primary elections today have been cancelled throughout New York State.

TC3 has cancelled afternoon and evening classes. Cayuga Community College closed at 12:30. SUNY Cortland has cancelled afternoon and evening classes.

Trumansburg, Newfield Central Schools, Cortland City Schools, Groton, Spencer-Van Etten, Union Springs Schools, Moravia Schools, and Southern Cayuga Schools are cancelling all after-school activities. The Community School of Music and Arts has cancelled today's children's choir and other ensemble classes. Although all Dryden after-school activities are cancelled, the Dryden After-School Program will remain open. The Alternative Community School parents and caregivers meeting scheduled for tonight has been cancelled. Major League Baseball has postponed today's entire schedule.

New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has said that EMTs and doctors who would like to help will be very much appreciated. There are still buses running into New York City. If you want to help, contact the nearest National Guard post for information about getting to the area. Perhaps as many as 200 New York firefighters are reportedly missing. There are an estimated 10,000 emergency services personnel on the scene in New York.

The New York Penn Region of the American Red Cross has reserved half of the local blood supply to be sent to New York. Blood donation centers will remain open tonight and tomorrow night until 10 pm in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. Especially O positive and O negative will be important, but the Red Cross is also experiencing low levels of B positive, O negative, A negative, and AB negative. You can give blood if you are at least 17 and weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in good health.

The next blood donation opportunity in the Ithaca area is this Thursday, 11:30-4:30, at the Ithaca VFW post on West State Street. Please DO NOT go to the Ithaca Red Cross today. The Red Cross asks that people make an appointment to give blood, and be understanding of delays when they go. Call 800-272-4543 to make an appointment. If you can't give blood, please volunteer to help at a blood drive. Call 273-1900 to give them your name and phone number.

The Suicide Prevention and Crisis Counseling Service has trained counselors available to help anyone who is upset about today's terrorist attacks. If you need counseling, you can reach them at 272-1616. The Ithaca Church of Christ will hold a prayer vigil at 7pm that's open to the community. The Newfield United Methodist Church is holding a prayer vigil tonight at 8. Call 564-0558 for more information. Ithaca College is holding a prayer service at 8pm on the Academic Quad outside the Campus Center at IC. There will also be a prayer vigil on the Cornell University Arts Quad tonight at 7.

Cornell University is offering assistance to members of the community. Trained counselors will be available in residence halls, each college advising center, and Gannett Health Center, and there will be students and staff members available to help...

  • On West Campus, Noyes Center Third Floor
  • Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room
  • Anabel Taylor Hall Chapel
  • Bartels Field House, Ramin Room
  • On North Campus, Robert Purcell Multipurpose Room and Community Commons Multipurpose Room, Third Floor
  • or call 254-EARS for Cornell's Empathy and Referral Service.

Transportation into and out of the New York and Washington DC areas is of course quite congested... and train, bus, and subway service has been shut down. We have word that the George Washington Bridge and NY heavy rail lines have been reopened. Communications are swamped... so if you're trying to reach folks by phone, it may be a while. You may have more luck with e-mail, though most news web sites are swamped with traffic. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has urged New Yorkers to stay put... unless they are in Lower Manhattan... in which case he asks them to leave the area.


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