Just short of 20 years have gone by since the 9/11 attacks, and former Rep. Pete King, who was in office during the 2001 attacks and lost several friends when the Twin Towers collapsed, recalled on Newsmax Wednesday the first death that shook him hard.
"I guess it was the next day," the New York Republican said on Newsmax's "National Report." "A good friend of mine, his son was a firefighter who was not supposed to be working that day. He actually volunteered for his cousin who was in the Democratic primary for City Council. And he was leaving the firehouse to go to that, and then he went back in. His name was Michael Boyle. His father was Jimmy Boyle, who grew up with me. So that really hit me hard. That was the first one that was really personal to me."
King, like most other Americans, remembers clearly where he was when the news broke of the first plane to hit the World Trade Center's Twin Towers.
"I was in Washington driving toward the Capitol at five minutes till 9, and on the radio, they said a small plane crashed into the World Trade Center," he recalled. "It was not even a big thing, not an emergency bulletin."
However, he was concerned because his wife was flying from New York, out of LaGuardia Airport, to come to town for then-President George W. Bush's first congressional barbeque.
"The flight was at 8:30 out of LaGuardia that morning, so I just called the Delta desk out of extra caution, and they wouldn't answer my question so I got a little nervous about that," King said. "When I got up to my office, I opened the door, and right in front was a TV screen. I saw a plane hitting the World Trade Center. [I thought] they've got to have this on video then realized there was a second plane that was hitting."
He said his wife called him at about 9:30 a.m. from her plane, which was grounded.
"My son worked at the Commerce Department, and there was word that a bomb had gone off down there, and that turned out to be false," said King. "But all the phones were dead in the building. And then my son-in-law worked one block north of the World Trade Center on the 20th floor. So he was evacuating. So in my own mind, [this] sounds terrible. Now, once my family is fine, this is fine. Everything is great."
But then, he said it "suddenly hit me" that there were thousands of people in the towers.
King also recalled in 2019, when $4 million was almost cut from the 9/11 New York Firefighter's health program.
"This was typical bureaucracy," said King. Mayor Bill de Blasio had been fighting with the federal government over funding for a housing project, and "they cut off money from the fire department to help the row, which had nothing to do with this. I guess they figured New York City is New York City."
However, he said he spoke with then-Vice President Mike Pence, on that Sept. 11, when they were both at Ground Zero, and "he was really almost agitated" when he learned of the cut.
"Sure enough, my office in Washington, within two hours got a call from the vice president's office and within a matter of days it was worked out," said King, noting that if he hadn't run into Pence, the money may have been lost.
King noted that come Saturday, he'll be at Ground Zero again for the reading of the names of the victims that were lost on 9/11.
"I've done it just about every year," King said.
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