9/11: A Generation Removed

Shaping Opinion Podcast Creates “9/11: A Generation Removed” to Mark

the 20th Anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks

Nine-part series features a distinct episode every day, starting September 3, 2021 

On September 11, 2021, America marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the country that happened on September 11, 2001. In remembrance of the event, the Shaping Opinion podcast releases a series of nine distinct episodes centered on the 9/11 attacks, starting Friday, September 3rd and culminating on the 20th Anniversary, September 11, 2021.

The series, entitled, “9/11: A Generation Removed,” features six new and original episodes for 2021, and three encore episodes, all based on the personal experiences of guests and stories of people who were there in New York, in Washington, D.C., and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Eight episodes feature full-length interviews, in keeping with the Shaping Opinion Podcast’s format, and one comprehensive narrative style episode that followed the entirety of the day’s events, featuring all of the series’ guests and audio content from many other sources. That episode, entitled, “As It Happened,” is released on Monday, September 6, 2021 (Labor Day).

Episode Schedule

  • Friday, September 3, 2021, “9/11: A Pentagon Story” – This encore episode features retired Navy Captain Bill Toti, who was in the Pentagon at the time of the attacks. He tells his emotional and gripping story of the moments before, during and after American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.
  • Saturday, September 4, 2021, “9/11: A Shanksville Story” – This encore episode features former FBI special agent Bill Crowley, who was responsible for all crisis communications on scene at Shanksville, Pennsylvania where United Flight 93 crashed. He tells his story from the moment of the attacks and through the investigation, when an empty field was both a crime scene and an overnight news media hub.
  • Sunday, September 5, 2021, “9/11: An NYPD Story” – This encore episode features former NYPD detective Chris O’Connor, who tells his story from the moments the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center through the many years since when he and many other first responders have had to wrestle with the health after-effects of that day.
  • Monday, September 6, 2021, “9/11: As It Happened” – This new and original episode is a 100-minute narrative of September 11, 2001 in chronological order as it happened. It features all eight of this series’ guests and recordings from a wide range of others, from air traffic controllers to President George W. Bush. It provides the full story of September 11th and includes an insightful epilogue from guests looking back on this anniversary.
  • Tuesday, September 7, 2021, “9/11: A Network Anchor Story” – Former CNN lead news anchor Aaron Brown sits down to talk about that day, from the moments he first heard the news, his iconic reporting from a rooftop in lower Manhattan, and reflections on the impact September 11th had on a nation, and himself.
  • Wednesday, September 8, 2021, “9/11: Running with the President” – Former Bloomberg News White House correspondent Dick Keil tells his story of that day, which started with him joining the president for a morning run in Sarasota, and would continue as Keil and the White House press corps could cover the event from Air Force One.
  • Thursday, September 9, 2021, “9/11: Inside the White House Bunker” – Retired Marine Lt. Colonel Robert J. Darling tells his story of what it was like to staff the White House bunker on September 11, 2001, taking a series of historic phone calls and witnessing unprecedented decision-making from an insider’s perspective.
  • Friday, September 10, 2021, “9/11: A Flag Raising” – Photographer Tom Franklin recaps his coverage of September 11th that started by taking photos of survivors of the attacks for his newspaper, and culminating in his capturing of the most famous image of that day and one of the most iconic photos of all time. Franklin tells the story of that photo of three FDNY firefighters raising a flag at Ground Zero.
  • Saturday, September 11, 2021, “9/11: Never Forget” – Ed Root, the cousin of Lorraine Bay, a flight attendant on Flight 93, tells the story behind one sustained effort to keep the memory of 9/11 alive. Root is active with the group called Families of Flight 93, and talks about how the nation’s collective memory has faded, but also what has been done, and what has to be done so that America never forgets.

Tim O’Brien, the creator of the Shaping Opinion Podcast said: “Every year, we create a special episode on the anniversary of 9/11, which features a first-person oral history from someone who was there. This year, we decided to devote much more attention to the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America to ensure that the lessons of history are not lost. And that the stories of the people who endured the events of that day are not forgotten. This series is dedicated to the memories of those lost on 9/11 and their families.”


As time has gone by since the 20th anniversary, we have continued to tell stories of 9/11 and are including them here. Please see our Addendum below for more recent stories.

Click on an episode to listen.

Episodes won’t be available to listeners until their release dates.

Then here and on all podcast platforms.

Release Date: 9/3/21

Release Date: 9/4/21

Release Date: 9/5/21

Release Date: 9/6/21

Release Date: 9/7/21

Release Date: 9/8/21

Release Date: 9/9/21

Release Date: 9/10/21

Release Date: 9/11/21


September 11

Release Date: 8/30/21


Where were you on 9/11?

Release Date: 9/5/22

About Tim O’Brien

Tim O’Brien is the host and producer of the Shaping Opinion podcast, a production of his firm O’Brien Communications. O’Brien is a communications veteran with decades of corporate communications experience, who works with organizations from Fortune 500 companies, to trade associations and nonprofits on the full range of communications challenges. He started his career in radio and has reunited with his roots through the Shaping Opinion podcast.

About the Shaping Opinion Podcast

Launched in 2018, Shaping Opinion is an award-winning podcast about people, events and things that have shaped the way we think. Every Monday, the podcast releases a new episode that features a one-on-one conversation.  The podcast, which is closing in on its 200th episode, has received a Bronze Anvil Award of Merit from the Public Relations Society of America. Listeners can find the podcast on all of the major podcast platforms, including: Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, iHeart, TuneIn Radio, Radio.com, Radio Public, Stitcher and others. More information on the podcast and a full roster of episodes can be found at ShapingOpinion.com.


The Shaping Opinion podcast is a production of O’Brien Communications, Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.

9/11: A Generation Removed was written, produced, narrated and hosted by Tim O’Brien.


We would like to thank the following for their participation and/or support in our work to create this special series.

  • Our guests: Bill Toti, Bill Crowley, Chris O’Connor, Aaron Brown, Dick Keil, Bob Darling, Tom Franklin and Ed Root.
  • Friends of the podcast: Tom McMillan, Dave O’Brien.
  • Others: Library of Congress, National Archives, FBI, Cornell University, 9/11 Commission, Flight 93 Memorial, Families of Flight 93, 9/11 Memorial, White House Photo Archives.