Michael Bronner wrote this real-world drama from 9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes (August 2006 Vanity Fair). This web version is accompanied by mp3s from tapes labeled “Northeast Air Defense Sector—DAT Audio Files—11 Sep 2001.” Here’s an excerpt, a conversation between NORAD’s Senior Airman Stacia Rountree, Tech Sergeant Shelley Watson, Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley:
ROUNTREE: A plane just hit the World Trade Center.
ROUNTREE: Was it a 737?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (background): Hit what?
WATSON: The World Trade Center–
DOOLEY: Who are you talking to? [Gasps.]
NORAD: Is this real-world or exercise?
BOSTON CENTER: No, this is not an exercise, not a test.