As a result of the extensive damage to both World Trade Center buildings, they both collapsed some time before noon. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was briefly trapped in an adjacent building during the collapse. MSNBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield and her crew forcibly entered an apartment building along with emergency personnel to escape the cloud of debris that was quickly expanding from the collapse. Ashley has said repeatedly that the force of the dust cloud was such that she couldn’t even breathe through her clothing, and that it was difficult to breathe even when she was inside of the building.
At 9:49am for the first time in US history all flights were grounded by the FAA. 50 domestic flights remained in the air, although at this time they have all landed. 18 international flights were being redirected at the time. As of right now there will be no commercial air traffic in the United States until after noon tomorrow.
President Bush had been in Florida at the beginning of the day but he soon took the air in AirForce1 and landed around 12:30pm at a military base in Barksdale, Louisiana. The first lady had been set to make her policy debut before Congress today, but was quickly whisked away to an undisclosed location this morning when news of the attacks reached Washington. At some point in Louisiana President Bush spoke to cameras, but to my knowledge this footage has not been made available nationally; so far we have only seen his first address from this morning.