Where They Are Now
The Chief of Staff: Andrew Card
It was a whisper that would echo forever: the White House chief of staff leaning over to inform his boss that America was under attack. George W. Bush lingered for several minutes that day, continuing to read The Pet Goat with a group of elementary-school students. "I thought he reacted exactly the right way. He did nothing to introduce fear to the kids. He did nothing to demonstrate fear to the media that would translate into the satisfaction of the terrorists around the world," Andrew Card says now.
Card's life was changed as well. Partly because of the photo, he became a reluctant public face of a war on terror that sparked a decade of political strife. After leaving the White House five years later, he says, "I went dark, and recuperated and rejuvenated." Card hit the speaking circuit, then entered the corporate world, sitting on the boards of Union Pacific and Lorillard. Now 64, he has reaffiliated with the Bush clan, as acting dean of the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. "I am committed to making sure people don't forget the day."
The Widow: Mary Duff
Surrounded by unfolding narratives of heartbreak, Mary Duff, as an angelic-looking 33-year-old widow, became a symbol of grief on the front pages of newspapers around the world. Duff's husband, Peter Ortale, was working as a bond broker for Euro Brokers on the 84th floor of the South Tower when it was struck by United Flight 175. Four days after he never came home, Mary picked up a photo of Peter, and with her mother, Kathi Adlum, formed a search party of two. Their efforts turned up nothing, but for weeks, Duff held out hope. "And then," she says now, "I more or less went to bed for two years."
Duff's recovery has been slow. She had a daughter, Kate, now 5, with a longtime friend-"a very modern family," she calls it. She's in therapy and sometimes wonders why she still lives in New York. "Then again," she jokes, "where else can I live that delivers 24/7?" On Sept. 9, she'll venture her closest to Ground Zero in 10 years to host a benefit in Ortale's name. And on the 11th? "I'll light a candle like I always do, and I'll have my hour of crying, and then I'll ask Kate to go to the park."
The Firefighter: Bob Beckwith
Bob Beckwith put his retirement on unexpected hiatus when, three days after the attacks, he left his home on Long Island, talked his way past three police and National Guard barricades, and managed to reach the smoldering Ground Zero. The former firefighter, then 69, found himself on a bucket brigade, hauling away debris. Then came word that President George W. Bush was on site. A man he later learned was Karl Rove asked Beckwith to test the strength of a pile of rubble for "somebody important." When the president arrived, Beckwith helped him up. "Where you going?" Beckwith remembers Bush asking when he tried to walk away. "No, you stay right here." With one arm around the ash-smeared man, Bush rallied the first responders by bullhorn. "That was uplifting for us," Beckwith says now. "I said, 'Whoa, boy. I can't wait to get back to work.'"
It turned out to be the first of almost a dozen meetings with the president, including one memorable visit to the White House with former governor George Pataki and former mayor Rudy Giuliani. Beckwith, who remains on Long Island and now has 10 grandchildren, all of whom live close by, still exchanges Christmas cards with the former president. …