September 11. It was an event which shook the free world to its very foundation. USA and the world will never be the same after September 11.
The ISS is also a replica of free enterprise with sworn enemies America and Russia joining hands. Astronaut Frank Culbertson was the sole American in ISS and he had no access to any TV or radio. Therefore he was largely unaware of the tumultuous events in New York.
“Frank, we’re not having a good day here on Earth,” Culbertson recalls the space agency telling him early that day.
Frank chronicled his memory about everything which he did and saw that day under a title “9/11 A Perspective from Space”.
What Frank saw was extraordinary although he could not connect with all the events and its sequence. The Russian crew of the ISS comforted him and also shared news about what they had learnt from their own ground communicators. Frank continuously filmed when his spacecraft flew over New York City and Washington DC after knowing about the World Trade Center and the Pentagon strike.
Frank said, “I saw this big gray blob developing over the southern part of Manhattan. And what I was seeing was the second tower come down,”
Frank was not aware about the attacks at that time. The next day had more bad news for Frank. His U.S. Naval Academy classmate Charles “Chic” Burlingame had been the captain of American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon.
The Astronaut started playing trumpet at this spot as a mark of respect for his martyred colleague.