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Remembering 9/11 through the eyes of three Idahoans

A television reporter, a police chief, and the man who was governor of Idaho that day shared their recollections of the attacks.

BOISE, Idaho — When we think about the events that changed the world, we remember ones that caused a seismic shift of the future with widespread implications in just one day - the discovery of electricity or penicillin or the double helix, Wall Street crashing in 1929, dropping the atom bomb in 1945, and landing on the moon in 1969.

When one asks about memories of the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, the common recited refrain is that nearly everyone who remembers that Tuesday refers to it as the day the world changed.

Four passenger planes were hijacked shortly after takeoff that morning. Two from Boston, one from Washington, D.C., and one from New Jersey; each filled with people and fuel and heading to the West Coast.

At 8:46 a.m. Eastern Time, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

At 9:03 a.m., 17 minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the South Tower.

At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Just 22 minutes later, the World Trade Center South Tower collapses.

Eight minutes after that at 10:07 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the passengers overtook the hijackers to keep the plane from crashing into another building, likely in Washington, D.C.

At 10:28 a.m., the second WTC twin tower, the North Tower, collapses, 102 minutes after being hit by Flight 11.

An estimated 17,400 people were in those towers when the nightmare began. Nobody survived above the impact zone in the North Tower.

However, 18 people managed to escape from the floors above the impact zone in the South Tower.

In all, 2,977 people were killed that day or died shortly after from injuries. That doesn't include the 19 hijackers, but it does include all 246 passengers and crew aboard the four planes, the 441 New York City first responders, and the 125 lives lost at the Pentagon.

That death toll doesn't include the thousands more who later died from exposure to toxic debris.

Those killed at the Pentagon included two Idahoans, Brady Kay Howell, who grew up in Sugar City, and Ron Vauk, who graduated from Nampa High School.

Of course, the complete toll took weeks to uncover.

It took eight months to clean up the debris from the twin towers, what forever became known as Ground Zero.

Now, 20 years later, KTVB wanted to look back at that day, and the months and years following, through the eyes of a television reporter, a police chief, and the governor, who despite watching it all unfold from a distance, like the rest of us, were still very closely involved.

The 208 also talked with former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, Mike Johnson, who was police chief at the Boise Airport in 2001, and former KTVB reporter Alyson Outen. Watch the video above to hear their insights from that day.

Join 'The 208' conversation: