Out of the Blue

The Story of September 11, 2001, from Jihad to Ground Zero

Richard Bernstein and the Staff of The New York Times; With a new Afterword by the Author; Foreword by Howell Raines

Times Books

Excerpted from Out of the Blue: A Narrative of September 11, 2001 by Richard Bernstein, Staff of the New York Times. Copyright © 2002. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"By the night of September 10, all nineteen men were in their final staging areas—at hotels in Newark, in Maryland, in Boston, and in Portland, Maine. They had a final sheet of instructions provided by Atta that told them what they were supposed to do in their final night on earth. They were to shave excess hair from their bodies. They were to read al-Tawba and Anfal, the traditional war chapters in the Koran and to reflect on the things that God has promised the martyrs. 'Remind your soul to listen and obey,' the instructions read. 'And remember that you will face decisive situations that might prevent you from one hundred percent obedience, so tame your soul, purify, convince it, make it understand, and incite it.'

Probably the men read those paragraphs and reflected on the magnificent deeds they would accomplish for the sake of God and His glory the next morning. Still, there is an almost poignant gesture by one of them, Ziad Jarrah, the young Lebanese who had asked his parents for $700 so he could have some fun. Early on the morning of September 11 he called his girlfriend in Germany. Later she told police that he sounded normal. He said that he loved her.

Copyright © 2002.