BNC Chairman JC Watts Recalls 9/11 Experience, Importance of US Security

In Summary

JC Watts speaks exclusively with BNC host Del Walters about his experience in Washington D.C. on September 11. 

September 11, 2001 forever changed America, and BNC Chairman JC Watts had a front-row seat of history that day. 

The former Oklahoma Congressman was in the bunker with former members of the Bush Cabinet in Maryland. He was talking to then-Vice President Dick Cheney even as America was under attack. Watts joined DC Today with host Del Walters to recount his experience.  

RELATED: BNC Remembers September 11 & the Attacks That Changed America  

Watts said speaking about some of the memories is difficult. “Some of it is pretty painful,” he said. “It was an interesting day. It was a day of confusion and in spite of all our technology and science, we had some hiccups.” He said those hiccups have since been corrected, but he admitted they were there that day.  

He was in Washington D.C. for a breakfast meeting. When he returned to his office, he heard someone yell out about the attack. Once he learned the Pentagon had been hit, he said he could feel “that something was abnormal.” After calling his staff and praying with them, he let his workers go home and found himself being taken away to a bunker with an undisclosed location in Maryland.  

Watts said U.S. security officials took swift action to secure the line of succession, protecting the President and Vice President. Citing the Capitol Dome as a “symbol of freedom” in the world, Watts believed Flight 93, the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, was meant to destroy the capital.  

He said there are three incidents he’s experienced in his life that speak to how precarious American security is. The first was the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The second was the attack on September 11, and the most recent incident was the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.  

RELATED: House Select Committee Holds Hearing on January Insurrection 

“I think it reminds us of the importance of never letting our guard down,” Watts said. With the incidents top of mind, he said America must remain steadfast against enemies both foreign and domestic.  

RELATED: Charles Blow Shares His Lessons from 9/11 

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.  

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