Remembering 9/11: The role Florida played in investigating the attacks

How the state’s leaders reacted that day and in the weeks after

Saturday is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Besides the lives lost, the shockwaves from the terror attacks touched just about every aspect of our lives back then. News4Jax reporter Mike Vasilinda tells us... Florida played a central role in the ensuing investigation.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Saturday marks 20 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was a day that saw the State Capitol shut down and tourism come to a screeching halt. Florida played a central role in the ensuing investigation.

Then-Gov. Jeb Bush and the six Cabinet members were meeting off-site across town for a regular monthly meeting on Sept. 11, 2001.

After the planes hit, notes were exchanged and the governor was given a cellphone.

“Let me find an office where I can talk. We can make a quick decision on this. What’s your feeling about it?” Bush said at the time.

The decision was made to close the 22-story Capitol and the 17-story education center.

“And the fact that it is a high-profile building, it is probably appropriate to evacuate the building,” said Bush.

Even after commercial planes were flying again, few people took to the skies, prompting Bush and his wife to take a trip to show it was safe.

“Without commercial aviation, this state won’t survive,” said Bush.

Florida U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and Southwest Florida Congressman Porter Goss led the investigation into the intelligence failure.

Twenty-eight pages of their final report, which implicate the Saudi government, remain classified today.

“That chapter relates to who financed 9/11. I think that’s a critical issue,” said Graham in April 2016.

Graham, who authored the pages, has been seeking their publication ever since.

“The American people need to know, so that they can make an assessment of who are our real friends and allies, and who are people who are really willing to stab us in the back,” said Graham.

After 19 years of secrecy, those 28 pages could soon be made public, likely within the next six to eight months.

Six days after the attack, trading on Wall Street resumed.

The market dropped more than 7% and the state pension fund dropped by $5 billion. Today it remains one of the strongest pension funds in the country, totaling nearly $200 billion.

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