Americans around the nation are reflecting on the tragic events of September 11th.
News Channel 3’s Madison Weil sat down with former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who was inside the Capitol building that day.
“September 11th is a day that is seared in my memory,” said Boxer.
She says that morning she was in a meeting with other politicians in Washington D.C.
“What do you remember from that day...being evacuated from the Capitol?” asked Madison Weil.
“We had a little TV on. All of a sudden...we see a plane crash into the World Trade Center and our first reaction was oh my god did the pilot have a heart attack?" said Boxer.
She says Capitol police quickly entered the room. “They ran and said to us, ‘Get out! We think a plane is coming here.’ So we ran down those stairs...it was something I’ll never forget,” she said.
Boxer says the terrifying events of 9/11 led her to write new legislation to better protect airline pilots.
“You actually drafted a law that would allow pilots to carry a gun for self defense. Tell me more about that law and that decision,” said Weil.
“Up until 9/11, the rules were if there was a hijacking of an aircraft, the pilot had to follow the instructions of the hijacker. But now, we see the plane is being used as a weapon. I thought...if our pilots are trained, they should be allowed to defend the aircraft,” said Boxer.
That law is still in effect today.
Boxer says she’ll also never forget what happened in the days, weeks and months following 9/11: “The bipartisanship that happened then..the love of country, the love of colleagues, the love of country...everybody being together.”
“I do want to talk about that,” said Weil. “That culture of unity that was created right after that...I think it’s awful to think that something externally terrible needs to happen in order for us to feel internally unified as a nation. So given where we are today...how can we try to fix that divisiveness that we’re feeling right now?
“Right,” said Boxer. “Everything that’s happening to us now...should drive us together. In these times of COVID, there shouldn’t be any politics involved...zero. And there shouldn’t be any politics around the issue of civil rights.”
Boxer says it’s that sense of unity and resilience that our country needs now, more than ever.
“To see us this divided is an aberration. And I do think we’re going to come back together,” she said.
Watch News Channel 3 at 6 p.m. for Madison Weil's full report.