How Paul McCartney Witnessed 9/11 From the Tarmac at J.F.K. Airport

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Paul McCartney witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. At first, he thought the incident was just an illusion, but the horrible truth prevailed. Paul was at the airport of all locations during the attacks and quickly sprang into action.

“Out of the window on the right hand side of the airplane, you could see the Twin Towers,” Paul told the Hollywood Reporter. “First there was a plume of smoke and then there was a second. I said that’s an optical illusion.

“It’s probably just some sort of little fire. Finally the steward came over to me and said, ‘Look, something serious has happened in New York and we’ve got to get you out of here.’”

According to Mental Floss, Paul left the plane and went to the bar to grab a drink. Paul did not able to get back in Manhattan and ended up staying in a hotel on Long Island which was near to the airport. Watching the news coverage all day, Paul knew he had to do something.

Paul added, “While I was out there [on Long Island] twiddling my thumbs. I began to think, is there something we can do?”

Paul McCartney, who witnessed the collapse of the World Trade Center, watched the tragedy unfold before him from a vantage point at Kennedy Airport for the second time in two months. Ironically, Reuters reports, the 59-year-old former Beatle at the time had just flown to New York to raise funds for the victims of the 9/11 attack when he witnessed the aftermath of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587. McCartney and his girlfriend Heather Mills, 33, were aboard the Concorde supersonic plane as it glided to a stop in New York just before JFK airport closed.

“Heather and I went out to dinner and when we finished, I said, ‘Would you like to get a cab and see how near we can get?’ So we took a cab, and we went down to Canal Street, and then we started walking,” Paul told Rolling Stone in 2001.

“It was raining. We went up to the police lines and asked, ‘Could we go down here?’ A few of the guys recognized me and said, ‘Well, you can come through, Paul!’

“It was that kind of spirit,” he continued. “It was like, ‘Good, you’re down here,’ and I was like, ‘It’s great what you’re doing.’ Of course, the nearer we got, the smoke was in our clothes, in our eyes. You could see all the spotlights. We just stood there, said a little prayer, and that was it.

“Then we went to this bar nearby, which was nearly empty; maybe a couple of rescue workers were there. I said, ‘I need a stiff drink.’”