Christie Shares Personal 9/11 Story: I Have ‘Extraordinarily Vivid Memories of that Day’

‘It was incredibly frightening’


KILMEADE: “Governor Chris Christie. You’re back on our couch. But not to talking about the run for president, to talking about that day.”


KILMEADE: “What is that mean for you personally really struck home?”

CHRISTIE: “Well, it's extraordinary 48 hours on September 10th, 2001. I was called by the White House and told that President Bush was naming the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, on the day before 9/11. The next day, my wife and my young per brother went in to New York City as they always did to the world trade center. My brother, to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange where he worked. And my wife to her office at The Seaport Group two blocks from the World Trade Center. And so, I have some extraordinarily vivid memories of that day.

DOOCY: “Were you on the phone with her?”

CHRISTIE: “I was on the phone with her when the second plane hit. After the first plane -- I had taken the kids to school, I taken the day off. I took September 11, off.”

DOOCY: “Sure, it was a big day in your life.”

CHRISTIE: “It was. And so, I had taken the day off and had taken the kids to school. When the first -- I got back, and that first plane that hit. I called to see if she was okay. And she said, ‘Yeah, no big deal’. They said it's a commuter plane. She said then, ‘I can see the fire out the window, but it looks like to coming to take care of it.’ And then, while we were on the phone talking about other things, the second plane hit the second building. And we then went – she said, she had to evacuate to her basement. We then went five and a half hours without speaking to each another. I was trying to call her, couldn't reach her, couldn't find her. Knew the kids were getting to come home from school. We had three children at the time, 8, 5 and 1. They had been told at school about the attack. So many of the kids in Morristown, in the school where they went, had parents who worked in the New York City.”

DOOCY: “Absolutelly.”

EARHARDT: “What was going through your mind when you couldn't reach her?”

CHRISTIEL “I was thinking that what was I going to do if I had to raise three children on my own, what would I say to them about their mother? It was incredibly frightening. And about five minutes before the kids were going to come off the school bus, she called me from a pay phone up in Midtown, Manhattan where she had walked with a group of her coworkers. When they eventually decided to leave the building after both buildings have collapsed. That night she actually wound up taking the ferry from the east side of Manhattan to Jersey Shore. I went down and picked her up there. When she got off that ferry, she came walk down the street, she was wrapped in a blanket and soaking wet. Anybody who had been in lower Manhattan they were covered in dust and they were hosed off. That’s the first sight of my wife after having –“

EARHARDT: “What did you do?”

CHRISTIE: “I just grabbed her, hugged her, got her in the car and got her home.”

DOOCY: “You couldn't reach her, same problem we had here. The phones didn't work, spotty service. They closed the bridges, they closed the tunnels. It turns out a couple of guys were just sitting out in New Jersey before this all happened.”

CHRISTIE: “They were. What happened and what we know now looking back all these years later, people were hiding in plain sight. Our country is a lot different now and we always be a lot different because of that day. That night, Mary Pat and I got home, got called by a good friend of ours. Her husband, Mary Pat had helped him get a job in New York City in the world trade center. She called us to ask Mary Pat if she had heard from Frank during the day. Because she hadn't heard from him. We sat with her number of hours that night waiting for the news. Ultimately, he never came home. The gym in our parish is named after him.”

DOOCY: “All of us who’re working at the channel, friends and neighbors would bring us pictures and say would you hold this up on TV? So many at point people felt -- I know they're alive, they're just amnesia or something.”

CHRISTIE: “We heard those stories, all of us, over and over. Our oldest son's best friend's dad was killed in the trade center. Now for 14 years we've watched this young man grow up. They’re now both seniors in college. Every year on his father's birthday, he puts his father's picture on his face book page saying we'll never forget you.”

EARHARDT: “What do you say to our country about the president trying to down play what's happening, changing reports to the public? What do you say to our country because -- frankly I’m little terrified.”

CHRISTIE: “On a morning like this morning, we have to remember how real this threat is. We understand from the threat on September 11, America is not a fortress because we're surrounded by two oceans. Doesn’t mean we can't be attacked. We have to be vigilant and use the tools we have to protect our country.”

KILMEADE: “You're here as a spouse, and would be a single parent, but you’re also here as somebody is in charge of this. And you know 9/11 was preventable. And the next one could be preventable if go about the things the right way.”

CHRISTIE: “If I told all of you the week after 9/11, 2001 that we would go all these years without another major terrorist attack on American soil, at that moment would have thought that was impossible. The work we showed when I was U.S. attorney is that you can do this. It’s hard work, difficult work, dangerous work. Our country can do that to protect ourselves, and we need to. The memory of those 2077 people and those families still here demand we do those things.”

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