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Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at edwardjones.com. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday morning. It's Labor Day weekend, a time we traditionally honor the nation's workers. The COVID pandemic has had no small impact on working America, but on this Labor Day 2021, it's looking like help wanted is very much a sign of the times, as Erin Moriarty will tell us.
Richard Escado is one of 7.5 million jobless Americans who will lose federal COVID relief benefits tomorrow. It's what's kept him, his fiance, and their three children afloat this year. So why is he so upbeat? I'm excited.
You know, regardless if we're going to be losing money or whatever, I already put myself in a place where I'm ready to grow. I had on Sunday morning, why on this Labor Day, things are looking up for many workers. It's hard to believe that the attacks of 9-11 took place 20 years ago. We've asked Martha Teichner to look back to that terrible day. For 20 years, we've been trying to come to terms with what happened on 9-11. Why does having the steel bring meaning?
Because we have nothing else. We built memorials so we would remember, but are we forgetting? Coming up this Sunday morning, 9-11, still eating at our national soul. Tracey Smith catches up with actor Jeff Daniels at ease, plus Steve Hartman, commentary from columnist Charles Blow, and more, on this Sunday morning for the 5th of September 2021.
And we'll be back in a moment. Friday's COVID-dampened hiring figures tell part of the story, but these help-wanted signs may tell a more important part. On this Labor Day weekend, Erin Moriarty takes a close-up look at working America.
Come right here. Pandemic. What pandemic?
On a recent Friday night in Bethesda, Maryland, medium-rare was a packed house, yet nothing here may ever be quite the same. COVID wasn't awakening, at least for me and my family. It wasn't.
It wasn't. COVID wasn't awakening, at least for me and independent restaurants. Co-owner Mark Buecher says these days, the hospitality industry has to offer more to attract workers and to keep them. Restaurant workers are frontline workers right now. Because while customers are back, many employees are not, creating a crisis on this Labor Day that few expected. We are seeing job opening rates that are off the charts. Anybody who's having to hire workers right now is probably having a hard time.
Wendy Edelberg, an economist at the Brookings Institution, says it's a sign of the times. Hospitals that are short-staffed, airlines canceling flights, restaurants cutting back hours. We don't really have a services economy that can do stop and start. It's disruptive. It's messy. It's going to be a difficult recovery in the services sector. In July, nearly half of small businesses reported that they were unable to hire enough workers, a record high. So where did the workers go?
The answer may surprise you. In an odd way, has the pandemic been an opportunity for you? I mean, I feel like that is probably one of the more controversial situations, right? It did give me an opportunity that was rare and probably was never going to happen.
And, you know, sometimes you just have to seize that. 27-year-old Richard Escado could be working as a waiter. It's what he has always done, living paycheck to paycheck, along with his fiancée, Patsy Castillo, and their three young children in a cramped apartment in Queens, New York. And then, in March of 2020, Escado lost his job and his income. It was terrifying. I was scared. My fiancée was scared. We were wondering, you know, what are we going to do next? And yet earlier this year, when restaurants reopened, he didn't go back.
Instead, Escado stayed home, taking classes online through Perscolas, a nonprofit training organization, developing computer skills that he hopes will lead to a higher-paying job in cybersecurity. And I'm thinking, I was like, I'm scared. It's so fearful. It's just the nature of me to kind of be scared of failure, scared of that, because I don't feel like you can take many chances when you have the kids and the families. It's very scary to take those chances. But I was like, I have to do something or else I'm going to get stuck in this way.
And I was like, this might be my only chance. Because, in a strange twist, the pandemic gave Escado, and at times 40% of other jobless Americans, an unexpected boost. On some of these weeks, you were actually making more money in unemployment than you were working in the restaurant.
Yeah. At one point, an extra $600 a week in federal COVID relief benefits, on top of his state unemployment, gave Escado and his family as much as $1,000 a week, more than he ever made as a waiter. That hasn't gone down well with many in Washington, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
We have flooded the zone with checks. It's actually more lucrative for many Kentuckians and Americans to not work than to work. And yet, even after nearly half of the states, all but one with Republican governors, followed that logic and cut off many of those benefits this summer, workers remained on the sidelines. It proves, says Escado, that it isn't that benefits are too high, it's that wages are too low. What do you say to some people who say, you're part of the problem, you didn't go back to the job force? I know that people need people to be in their jobs. I know the companies need that to go on. But I also think that they have to understand that the people who are under them are not surviving.
They're barely surviving. In the United States, we always reinvent ourselves. And you're transforming yourself. Absolutely. Until he was laid off last year, 42-year-old Dan Nicolayescu, a trained mixologist who emigrated from Romania as a teenager, had spent more than two decades in the restaurant industry.
Floor manager, doorman, beverage director, head bartender, you name it. Did you ever think you would leave it? No.
You never crossed my mind until last year. So pre-pandemic, you kind of just thought, OK, no sick days, no retirement plan. That's the way the business is.
And you pretty much accepted it. Yes. But he says a year home with his wife and two kids changed his perspective. Nicolayescu is hoping to trade mixology for mycology, mushroom farming, and is now looking for work in the field. Is there money in mushroom farming? I guess I'll have to find out. But we can't always pursue only the financial side of things.
There is no rewind button in life, right? So let's pursue happiness. OK, mushroom farming may not be everyone's idea of happiness, but the pandemic has caused many people to reassess their professional lives. And the good news for lower paid workers, says Wendy Edelberg, is that as businesses compete for labor, wages and benefits are on the rise. There was a time when $15 an hour seemed beyond the pale. And now what we're seeing nationally is that market pressures are doing the job that the federal government couldn't. Market pressures are pushing up wages for lower wage workers across the country. I mean, we see some national employers raising their minimum wages to $15 an hour across the board.
And these wage increases are long overdue. Back at that sizzling steakhouse in Bethesda, Mark Buecher says restaurant owners have to face the new reality or find another line of work themselves. Only 15% of a restaurant's income statement is hourly labor. That's it. There's 85 other percent in there to find money or find opportunity to pay your people. And if you can't get it, it's OK. Your business isn't working.
You don't have a labor problem. You have a sales problem. And that's I think that's what we're learning coming out of COVID. What's going to happen, though, to the restaurant owners who say that their profit margins are just too thin to pay their workers more, going to lose those businesses? It is surely going to have an effect on businesses. It's going to have an effect on prices. We need to decide as a society if we think that even our lowest wage workers should be paid a living wage.
And personally, that's something I'm willing to pay for. There's still a lot of uncertainty for workers like Richard Escado. Tomorrow, on Labor Day, no less, those federal benefits end. What is your outlook on this Labor Day as opposed to a year ago? I'm excited. Regardless if we're going to be losing money or whatever, I've already put myself in a place where I'm ready to grow.
I feel like I'm growing and I feel like I'm definitely destined for something greater. We know it was a terrible day that changed everything. But how do we comprehend what happened to all those people smiling out at us from the missing posters? How do we explain the accident of survival or sudden heroism This morning, we tried. That was Martha Teichner 20 years ago trying to make sense of the unimaginable, the attacks of 9-11.
All these years later, she tells us that task hasn't gotten any easier. I was walking to work and all of a sudden I see a door open. I see a jet crash. Oh my God, another plane has just hit. It hit another building. For anyone who lived through it, 9-11 will always be one of those I will never forget where I was moments. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, there is smoke pouring out of the pentagon. Four crashed planes. Nearly 3,000 dead. It's crazy, it's nightmares, I'm getting right here.
After 20 years, the poison of the time-release horror is still as toxic as ever. Is still spreading, is still history in the making. It's another Pearl Harbor for this country. You know, it's impossible not to compare this with the attack on Pearl Harbor. A Pearl Harbor moment with the expectation of a World War II kind of victory to follow?
Was it World War II or Vietnam? Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there. With those words, President George W. Bush launched a war with the United States. With those words, President George W. Bush launched a war with no end date. Taking the fight first to Afghanistan to topple the Taliban regime, which had harbored Al Qaeda and 9-11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
We've watched in real time how that just ended in chaos. I was 21 years old on 9-11. Eager to right a wrong, Elliot Ackerman became a decorated marine and intelligence officer and deployed five times to Afghanistan and Iraq. The September 11th happens. We're telling ourselves these stories about the Second World War and we go to try to fight a war that's in that type of a paradigm.
The paradigm doesn't fit. Ackerman writes about war now as a veteran who sees the last 20 years as sacrifice squandered. There's an old bit of gallows humor amongst Marines and soldiers. Knock, knock. Who's there? 9-11. 9-11 who?
I thought you said you never forget. But that's pretty scary. That's a bit of gallows humor when you're sitting there in Afghanistan in 2012 and 2013 getting shot at and you know the country doesn't care. The war on terror has been fought far away in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere. Fought by an all-volunteer army, not an entire nation's sons and daughters.
So invisible to most Americans. Although 7,000 service members have lost their lives. How do you fight a war on terror?
You're basically fighting for something to not happen. Another 9-11 hasn't happened. In 2011, we got bin Laden.
But here we are at 20 years and counting. Water is very special. We first met Lee Ailpi five years ago before the 15th anniversary, as he showed us his son's name on the memorial at ground zero to those who died.
It's like holy water. For Ailpi, the meaning of 9-11 is and always has been personal about this place on that day. My son Jonathan, a New York City firefighter, called and said turn the TV on. The first plane had hit.
Jonathan said, they're sending us to the World Trade Center. I said, okay buddy, be careful. And he said, okay. And that was the last time I even spoke to my son.
By the time the North Tower collapsed, Lee Ailpi, a retired firefighter himself, was racing to the site. I asked him, everybody, did you see my son? The answer was no, no, no. Then I started meeting dads, did you see my son?
No. So we walked together. Eventually there were eight of us that would meet up every day. For nine months, together, they clawed through the rubble, searching for their firefighter sons. Lee Ailpi kept going back, even after Jonathan's body was recovered. 343 New York City firefighters died on 9-11. A symbolic stand-in for all of them, Jonathan Ailpi's battered gear.
Lee Ailpi gave his son's coat and helmet to the 9-11 Tribute Museum, which he helped to found. So the next generation would understand. In 2021, do they? He thinks no.
And I love talking to young people. And I'll ask a student, or two, or three, or four, what does 9-11 mean to you? And the answer is, what is 9-11?
We checked. Only 14 states require 9-11 instruction. How it's taught, or if it's taught at all, is mostly up to individual districts and schools. One of the things that I discovered is that a lot of adults were still so traumatized, are still so traumatized, by 9-11 that they don't want to talk about it. So in fact, when I was writing Towers Falling, it was a very hard journey. Young adult author Jewel Parker Rhodes sees herself, among the writers and educators, finally beginning to grapple with 9-11. If you look at 9-11 literature, we're building a canon that you can start in elementary, and all the way up, move to more increasingly complicated, well-told stories about the legacy of 9-11 and the time that we spent in Afghanistan. Towers Falling was one of two 9-11 books assigned as summer reading to middle school students at Queensgrant Community School in Mint Hill, North Carolina, outside Charlotte. How do you feel looking at these photos and hearing the bit of the story that we just read? For an entire week... My aunt was actually in New York working, and my mom was super scared because she couldn't talk to her. In nearly every class...
I'm going to give you 10 minutes to build our little towers. ...kids who weren't born on 9-11. My uncle worked downtown, and he had to run away from the school.
And he had to run away from the building. Tried to grasp what happened. Because it's the 20th anniversary, that's why Queensgrant took its deep dive into 9-11 this year. Do you think your parents are ever going to forget 9-11? What happens after your parents are gone? Who's going to remember?
It makes me cry, but it's good. Lee Ielpe lives in Florida now. This memorial, not far from his home, has his son's name on it. It keeps them alive. It keeps Jonathan alive. But will names un-granite and a mangled hunk of World Trade Center steel be enough?
He can only hope so. Why does having steel bring meaning? Because we have nothing else. But this tells a story. A powerful story. A big forklift brought it out to us, and so secured it to the trailer, covered it with American flag, and started our journey home.
Wauseon, Ohio firefighter, now chief Rick Sluder, had never been to New York City. When he and several colleagues went there to collect this nearly two-ton piece of North Tower steel from Hangar 17 at JFK Airport, where the awful wreckage of 9-11 was kept. You're in awe of, oh, you know, man, that's a big piece of steel.
That's a big responsibility. How big a responsibility became clear as the men drove the beam across Northern New York City? Across Northern Ohio. You get groups of people around it in different towns we stopped in that would just stand and look at it, touch it, and hug it.
They were along the route with flags, cheering, and fire departments from that jurisdiction would escort us. And it was like that the whole way back to Wauseon. People just say it was just really emotional, you know, seeing it, being able to touch the beam.
They just want to walk up and feel it. This is the monument Wauseon and neighboring fire departments built in the middle of the county fairgrounds, surrounded by corn and soybean fields 600 miles from the World Trade Center. Why did you feel so strongly about wanting a piece of that in Wauseon? Because it didn't just happen in New York or Washington, D.C. or Pennsylvania. It happened to the nation. And in this riven piece of steel, and the nearly 500 others like it all across the country, the violence of that day lives on. It happened yesterday. We learned of the passing of my old friend and yours, Willard Scott, who spent 35 years bringing us sunny skies as the weatherman on today.
We also had a death in our Sunday morning family this past week. For almost 40 years, cameraman Isidore Blackman was a colleague and treasured friend. A man you rarely saw, but whose work we celebrate. Through Izzy's eyes, we came to see the world, to notice what he noticed, a wild flower by the side of the road, fingers on a keyboard, a shaft of light. And the stories he told with his camera.
So many stories of painters and dancers and good people, of smoked hams in Nebraska, lobsters in Maine. Izzy came to CBS News in 1965 to film civil rights marches, anti-war protests, politics, and the like. Hello, I'm Charles Kuralt. But before long, he took to the back roads with Charles Kuralt. And Isidore Blackman takes all the pictures. To discover an America that wasn't in the headlines. For 20 years, the on-the-road bus would take Izzy and Charles and sound man Larry Gionesschi to every corner of the country to tell the stories that weren't often told.
There's nothing more that a photographer wants to do is find something to show other people. And boy, we sure did. We sure did. A man moaning in the background is our cameraman. Mr. Blackman had just been put through a snap roll by a little old lady of 80. Long before drones and tiny cameras, Izzy took us aloft to see from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, of the crow's nest of a schooner, or with the help of a cherry picker, to show us the world from the point of view of a kite. After the bus was retired, Izzy took up residence full-time at Sunday morning, where he criss-crossed the country for 15 more years, telling hundreds more memorable stories with his camera. Until in 2002, aboard another RV with Bill Geist, Izzy took his last pictures for CBS. Izzy, stop shooting. Stop rolling, Izzy. In retirement, Izzy took up his camera once again to make a documentary about the Underground Railroad with his wife, Mary Rosemary.
He never stopped seeing and helping us to see too. I wish I could do it all over again. So do we, Izzy.
Farewell, and thank you. It's the humidity. That's what keeps bringing me back, yeah. I'm not comfortable unless I feel like I'm in a sauna. At his home in Chelsea, Michigan, Jeff Daniels is right where he wants to be. It's also where the 66-year-old actor thought he'd always be.
It gets a little warm. I never had any faith whatsoever that the acting career would last. Never? No. It's one reason I moved back to Michigan after 10 years in New York.
This was 1986. When it's over, I'll have my wife and two-year-old and later two other kids. And when the phone call comes, you're over.
I'm already home. But right now, his home is on streaming TV. Man can have two reasons for doing the right thing. In the new Showtime series, American Rust, Daniels is the police chief of a rundown little town trying to uncoil a murder mystery that touches some of the people he's closest to. This case is poisoning my town. What appealed to you about the police chief?
I hadn't played it before. I really enjoyed driving the police cruiser. His character is like just about everyone else around here. A good person going through tough times in rural Pennsylvania. I protected you so many times, Pete. Tried to get you cleaned up, changed attendance records, all because you've got a family. Well, I can't help you anymore.
We had budget cuts the last three years. There's a bunch of people in American Rust, if they aren't at bottom, they can see bottom. And they're stuck, and they're trying to get out, and they're good people, and they have to make bad decisions just to survive in the United States of America.
It's a role he's played many times. Give me the gun and go home. Give me your gun.
The guy with the guts to say what no one else will. Why is America not the greatest country in the world, professor? That's my answer. You're saying- Yes. You might remember his famous monologue in 2012 from Aaron Sorkin's series, The Newsroom. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.
The speech went viral. Enough? This regiment was formed last summer. But Daniels had been just as stirring two decades earlier as a union officer in the 1993 film, Gettysburg. We are an army out to set other men free.
America should be free ground, all of it. All of it. The thing is, after his heroic role in Gettysburg, it was hard for some folks to picture Jeff Daniels like this. What are you waiting for?
Get over there and talk to her. As Jim Carrey's goofy sidekick in the Farrelly brothers 1994 hit, Dumb and Dumber. Psycho, when she finds out how far I came just to see her. You know what you have?
Her briefcase. There was someone else on call the whole first week of shooting. What? Yeah, yeah. Somebody to replace you?
Yeah. Jim wanted me. The Farrelly brothers wanted me. Studio. Oh look, Frost.
Harry? Of course, in the end, he stuck it out and they loved it. Even the folks back home. Mika Brzezinski took a trip to Daniels' hometown for us in 2006.
Oh, I could spend a lot of money here. And met Jeff's dad. People will say we look alike and I'll say that's too bad because I'm not too good looking. Bob Daniels was funny, but to Jeff, he was also the moral inspiration for every great role he would ever play. But to always remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.
Sadly, Dad didn't live to see this. His son Jeff as Atticus Finch in the Broadway adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. I knew Atticus before I played Atticus. I grew up with him. That knee deep indecency and treating people with respect.
All those basics. That was Dad. I miss him. What do you miss? I don't know if I can get through it. I wish he'd seen Atticus.
I wish he'd seen Atticus. It was weird because I had run it for a year and here comes Father's Day. So you do the Sunday matinee and you're thinking maybe he's watching and all that. I'm not religious, so I don't know.
We'll see. I walk into the Sunday matinee on Father's Day and I hit it and I'm gone and everything works. You get to the closing argument and you write it like you're writing Secretariat. Let's begin by restoring this man to his family.
Let's begin with justice. And you get to the end of the show and you hope to see him at the back of the house in some angelic holy light and you don't because he's not there. He's not there.
Okay. But after that show, after all the curtain calls, he was handed a letter from a woman in the audience who'd known his dad. I always was asking your dad, you know, aren't you proud of him? Aren't you? You know, I finally got it. Aren't you?
He goes, of course I'm proud of him, but I'm proud of him for the person he is, not just for what he's done in his career. I'm reading this. Maybe he does see it.
Now you got me going, too. Well, I mean, he ain't gonna love my dad. What can I tell you?
Yeah, there you go. Summertime at the Daniels house is family time. His three grown children live close by and the grandkids are frequent visitors. What's the best part about being a grandpa? The best part about being a grandparent is that you no longer have to listen to other grandparents tell you how great grandparenting is. Oh, you're gonna look shut up. But summer days are fleeting. Before long, granddad will be back on Broadway as Atticus Finch, and after that, who knows?
Even out here, his phone never seems to stop ringing. There we go. Wow.
Don't fall in. You're working really more than ever. I'm working more in my 60s than I have in any decade of my career, which is not how they draw it up in star school.
It just isn't. And I have yet to fail miserably since newsroom. And I have tried, you know. I just keep risking it. And maybe that comes with knowing what you're doing after 40-some years.
Maybe that's, and I think that's part of it, is that I kind of know what I'm doing now. Two words that speak volumes. Steve Hartman has a story about the power of thank you. Inside the Vitalia Senior Residences in Strongsville, Ohio, 95-year-old Frank Grasberger sits on a treasure.
Literally sits. In fact, Frank says, other than his wife Dolores, almost nothing matters more to him than this note, which he carries everywhere. I'd never be without it. Why did it matter so much that you have it with you all the time? Because it's something that somebody thought of me that much. When he has that letter with him, he has a feeling of faith and trust and love. To understand how a letter can do all that, you first need to know that Frank is a World War II veteran. And back in 2009, a third grader wrote to thank him for his service. If it wasn't for you, we would never have freedom. I'm so happy you made sacrifices. Your friend, Deshauna Priest. To Frank, that simple thank you came to symbolize a life well served. I'm tickled at that that I have a letter like this.
He wanted to thank the author. We never could find her. He says, before I close my eyes, I have to find her. I have to find her. Just about everyone who works here was well aware of Frank's attachment to that letter and his decade long desire to find the little girl who wrote it.
So the staff did some sleuthing. And lo and behold, Deshauna is now 21. She vividly remembers writing the letter as a school assignment because she so admired people in uniform. It's like, wow, I get to write to a vet. Yeah, so it was like an honor. Yeah, an honor that continued when Deshauna surprised Frank in her National Guard uniform.
Oh, I love you so much. You can't imagine the feeling I had when she stood next to me. It just took my breath away. It really did.
I thought, where's his heart pills? Because I thought, oh, this is it. This is the big one. It's telling you this is a godsend. It really is.
Fortunately, Frank's heart only swelled and may never return to its original size. So this is the beginning of something. Yeah, a friendship. Family, not friendship. There's love there, deep down in the heart. She's like my third daughter.
She really is. It started with a lot of love and affection and it's ending the same way. Who knew a simple thank you could make a life complete? Opinion This Morning from New York Times columnist Charles Blow. 100 years ago this week, the New York World began to publish a 21-part explosive expose on the inner workings of the Ku Klux Klan. It was a sensation. As the Columbia Journalism Review has put it, the series drew two million readers nationwide, New Yorkers stood in line for copies, and the Justice Department and several congressmen promised to investigate the group.
The world would win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the most coveted of the awards, for its efforts. But some believed giving the Klan this much exposure was a terrible idea. As Felix Harcourt, author of Ku Klux Culture, told The Guardian in 2018, some in the black press think that the best thing to do is to deny the Klan any publicity whatsoever, what was referred to at the time as dignified silence.
Sure enough, the series did not have the effect that one might have thought. It did not cowl or shrink the Klan. To the contrary, the Klan's membership exploded.
Just four years later, 30,000 Klan members marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. in what The Washington Post called at the time, one of the greatest demonstrations this city has ever known. This all remains a cautionary tale about exposure and evil in the world of journalism. In 1913, soon-to-be-nominated Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in Harper's Weekly under the headline, What Publicity Can Do, that sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.
But in journalism, this idiom is more complicated. Sometimes, the infected court the infection. Sometimes, the light you shine on evil also illuminates the path to it.
Sometimes, publicity is advertising. Consider how this continues to manifest today, whether through election decisions or through government, whether through election denial, QAnon conspiracies, or vaccine resistance. Sometimes, people are drawn to what we believe fact and logic would repel them from. Sometimes, when we expose evil, we create or amplify an allure of it. Sometimes, people willfully plunge into and are consumed by the very flame that provides the light. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. Well, Georgia's right up there, but New Hampshire is a surprise. In New Hampshire, people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
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