By Jesse Sarles

DENVER (CBS4) – Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb was in the middle of his third and final term in office on Sept. 11, 2001. He took some time this month to share his memories of 9/11, 20 years later, with CBS4. Read a transcript of CBS4’s report below:

“I saw that first plane crash into the first World Trade Center tower. And my first response was ‘How in the hell could that happen?'” Webb said.

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb (Photo By Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“When the second plane hit I said ‘This is a specific terrorist attack.’ And I immediately picked up the phone and called my security team, called the deputy mayor and said ‘Let us set up our emergency operations center in the basement of the City and County Building.’

(credit: Evan Semón/CBS)

“My goal was (to) make sure the city’s protected, (have) extra police on standby … closing down the World Trade Center here.

(There’s a skyscraper in downtown Denver called the World Trade Center.)

“Three airports shut down. … to make sure that we are prepared for anything that might transpire here.

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb (Photo By Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“I flew to New York to visit with mayors at the site for the World Trade Center. That smell never goes away. The smell of burning bodies, smell of bodies that still hadn’t been recovered yet.

After the attacks, Webb announced one of the responses from the Mile High City: “We will plant flags in the Civic Center till it totals the 3,000 people that lost their lives,” he said.

“And then later we put a plaque in Denver International Airport on Concourse B for Captain Jason Dahl, who’s from Colorado and was one of the pilots who was flying.

Jason Dahl (credit: CBS)

“We as Americans have always pulled together in time of crisis.

“I think that 9/11 had us all pulling in the same direction. … That we have to stay together as a nation. We have to tolerate dissent without being so disagreeable. But as Americans, we all have to be rowing in the same direction. We can’t have part of the people in the boat rowing east, another part of rowing west. Because it’s a big, bad world out there and everybody’s not our friend.

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Jesse Sarles