This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," September 11, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MEGYN KELLY, HOST: It is the story of bravery, selflessness and a little bit of luck that made international headlines. And tonight, for the very first time three young Americans who prevented what could have been a large-scale terrorist attack on a passenger train sit down with yours truly for an exclusive interview. What went through their minds at the time and how are they dealing with the aftermath? We will cover it all.
Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone, "Terror on a Train." I'm Megyn Kelly reporting tonight from Sacramento. It is not lost on us that this is also a day when our nation pauses to grieve and remember the nearly 3,000 innocent souls who lost their lives on a September day 14 years ago. Tonight, we honor them and the heroes who put their lives on the line every single day so that the rest of us might live in peace and security. And that includes the young men you will meet tonight. Friends who were in the right place at the right time. And their actions changed history. This is their story.
KELLY (voice-over): They were tourists. He was a terrorist. And without their courage scores of people could have been killed. Friday, August 21st, just after 3:00 p.m. Three lifelong friends from California board a train in Amsterdam, bound for Paris. College student Anthony Sadler. U.S. Airforce Airman First Class Spencer Stone. And Army National Guard Specialist Alex Skarlatos, fresh off a deployment to Afghanistan. The trio had agreed to meet in Europe for the vacation of a lifetime. Instead, their lives were changed forever by what happened on board that train.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We begin tonight in France with a story that sounds like something out of a Hollywood thriller that stars three very real American heroes.
KELLY: About two hours into the trip, an alert passenger spotted a man dragging a large suitcase into a bathroom. That passenger, American- born Frenchman Mark Moogalian becomes suspicious and goes to investigate. The train crosses the border from Belgium into France. When with 500 souls onboard Ayoub El Khazzani, a 25-year-old Moroccan man comes out of the bathroom armed to kill.
An unidentified Frenchman is the first to encounter him. He tries to disarm him but falls to the floor. Moogalian then rushes the gunman and manages to take his assault rifle, what he doesn't know at the time, his attacker has another gun. Shots ring out. Moogalian is hit. The bullet narrowly misses an artery. While Moogalian plays dead, Skarlatos realizes danger is afoot. His two buddies started to wake from a nap. A French train employee runs away from the danger, but the three Americans have a very different reaction.
SPENCER STONE, STOPPED FRANCE TRAIN ATTACK: Alex just hit me on the shoulder and said, let's go.
KELLY: What happened next caught the attention of the American president, the French president and international media.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now we have late details coming in from France where two Americans are injured and are being called heroes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two American servicemen who jumped into action when the heavily armed man prepared to open fire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These three Americans, two of them U.S. service members being hailed as heroes around the world after they took down the gunman.
KELLY: And tonight, for the first time on U.S. television, those three young Americans reunite to tell their incredible story.
Joining us now in a "Kelly File" exclusive, college student Anthony Sadler, U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone, and Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos.
When you grew up here in Sacramento, were you a faithful people? Are you men of faith?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.
ANTHONY SADLER, COLLEGE STUDENT: Yes. We actually met at a faith school, a Christian school in our middle school year. And they had been going there and I just came for that year, and then we all left the school but made friends ever since.
KELLY: So you believe in God?
KELLY: Do you believe he has a hand in your faith and your lives?
SADLER: Totally. Definitely. Especially this situation if any.
KELLY: And has this struck you that as you were growing up here in Sacramento learning about the kind and loving God, there was a man over in Morocco growing up almost the same age as you, learning about a very different type of God in his mind, one who he apparently believed wanted him to go kill a bunch of people. The very same people you guys would wind up protecting? Has it dawned on you, when the juxtaposition between what you learned and what this man lived and learned?
SADLER: No, I haven't really grasped that aspect of it --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't really care about his life that much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KELLY: How do you feel about him, this terrorist?
STONE: I'm not really a fan.
I think it's weird that he was, you know, only three years older than all of us, you know, like what is going on in his head that makes him think that that is okay. I mean, and like when everything was going down we were not thinking, you know, what religion does he practiced or anything like that. He was just there to kill some people. And we were not going to let that happen, I guess, so --
KELLY: And you were there to stop him. So, you're on the train, you're on your route to France. And you're the one who first notes a sign of danger, Alek, tell us, what was the first sign?
SPC ALEK SKARLATOS, OREGON ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: Well, there was a lot of noise and breaking glass. I mean, it sounded absolutely like gunshot -- I just think it was because we're on the train in France. So, I didn't really think much of it until I saw a train porter run past to sort -- away from -- and then I looked back, he was running away from, because that is about when they woke up, too.
KELLY: What did you see?
SKARLATOS: The guy coming into the train car with an AK.
KELLY: What was he wearing?
SKARLATOS: Nothing, shirtless, with a backpack on the front. And pretty much mostly was just shooting the gun at that point. I was like oh, man, no way.
KELLY: Right. Even with your military training, does it dawn on you in that moment he is here to kill me, he's here to kill everyone?
SKARLATOS: Oh, absolutely, yes, we knew that right away, I think all of us did. It was just kind of there was the shock of there is no way this is actually happening. Like, and that is about the only thought I had.
KELLY: Did he have it pointed? Or where was the gun on him.
STONE: He was like -- up in the air and it looked like it wasn't really working for him, he just hadn't loaded it yet. So, I mean --
SKARLATOS: He was trying to charge it.
KELLY: Did you hear screams?
SKARLATOS: No, it was actually pretty quiet.
STONE: It's pretty quiet.
SKARLATOS: It's strange.
STONE: I heard screams when the glass started breaking. But then it stopped once he get in --
STONE: -- and all I could hear was his footsteps walking in. And then him charging the gun.
KELLY: Was he saying anything?
SADLER: He never said a word, beginning --
STONE: When we were fighting him I didn't hear a grunt or anything like that.
KELLY: Now, before you saw him, you two guys were taking a nap. You were the first to see him. Did you have to wake this guys up or did you wake up?
SKARLATOS: No, they woke up on their own. The noise woke them up and then --
SADLER: The commotion of like the train employee running by is what woke me up.
SADLER: I never heard a gunshot or the glass breaking. But like when he sprinted by us, like I kind of felt that movement. And then I woke up to look at them. And they were already ducking down.
STONE: Like I looked over at you and we were kind of both like --
SADLER: I kind of like -- it was hard to comprehend.
SADLER: Like when I looked back -- I looked at them and they were looking back. So, then when I look back, the first thing I seen was just a guy cocking the AK, and I am like, is this real? Like, this can't be real right now.
KELLY: And then you said something to your friends, what did you say?
SKARLATOS: Well, I just told Spencer, let's go, go get him and we did.
KELLY: Was there ever a thought on your part of let's not go? Let's stay right here?
STONE: No, not really. I mean --
SKARLATOS: Frankly, more my thought, like I was like, I didn't actually think that he was going to go --
STONE: Yes. So, Alek told me later, he was like yes, I didn't actually get up and go until you were half way there. And you were just kind of like go get him!
KELLY: And then you did it.
STONE: But he was there quick.
SKARLATOS: What happened was, I told them to go, but when your adrenalin is going you get tunnel vision. Sounds like steering at the guy. And I didn't even notice that Spencer had already left and I didn't even see him when he crossed my path when he was already about halfway there. So, I was a good probably three, four seconds behind him. And so, he already was like -- tackled him, beating on the terrorist.
KELLY: So, let's talk about that moment. So, essentially you just go. And Anthony is not far behind. You're first though to approach this terrorist. What do you do? What was your first approach to him? Your first contact?
STONE: I mean, I never really looked at him. And I don't remember, like saying anything -- I am pretty sure, I closed my eyes or something. But I don't remember running up to him. I just remember thinking my head and like, I'm about to get shot.
KELLY: That I might get shot.
STONE: Yes. And I'm just going to get mowed down right now. And then so, I hit him and I'm pretty sure he -- like hit me with the gun as I came up to him because I immediately started to bleed. And my eye was like half way closed, and kind of blurry. And then I was just feeling for the gun. Couldn't really get it. Kept pulling away from me. And that is when I put him in the real naked choke and then Alex --
KELLY: You got around behind him and put him in a chokehold.
STONE: I just kind of like tossed him. I don't know --
KELLY: So, you're there as well though. So, you're getting behind him and you take the gun from him. Is that what happened?
SKARLATOS: I took the -- when I came up to him, the AK was already on the floor, I guess he dropped it and scuffle but I don't know exactly know. But when I got up to him, again, I kind of blacked out for the whole run up there. And the first memory I have is seeing him pull out a handgun, and I just grabbed with both hands -- out of his hands and then tried to shoot him with it. And I guess that was probably the -- about the time -- I'm not sure when exactly --
KELLY: Because it was weapon after weapon, the AK-47, and the handgun, and the box cutters. I mean, where was he getting all of these weapons from?
SADLER: I didn't necessarily watch him pull it out. But it's just like, we're all like surrounding him. Spencer kind of has him like in a bear hug at first. He doesn't put him in the rear naked choke until like the weapons are dropped for the most part. And then when he put him in the rear naked choke then that is when the box cutter came out and he tried to get him with that.
KELLY: What is a rear naked choke?
STONE: Something that you use in jujitsu, I practice jujitsu and like behind them and you flip your arm in front of the neck, and then go like that and kind of squeezed it and cut off -- arteries.
KELLY: So, what are you two doing while he has got him in the rear naked choke?
SADLER: It's like before anybody picks up a gun, like we had hit him a few times. Like it was like a scuffle. Like Spencer was always engaged with him. Like they were always body to body, grabbing him in some way. And I just remember when me and Alek first ran up like, I just start swinging, I don't remember where I hit him or how I hit him. I just remember like, to hit him at some way.
SADLER: And that is when the box cutter comes out. And Spencer screams, "get the knife, get the knife." Because we didn't really notice that at first. Like, this all happens in a seconds, and then we tussle with him some more, and then he ends up dropping the box cutter and then Alek picks up the AK and tries to charge that. And it just didn't work again.
KELLY: It was jammed?
SKARLATOS: All right. It wasn't jammed, when I picked it up, I believe it was on safe, but he had fired it already. Because when I ejected the --- well, yes, after it all settled down I picked the AK up to look through the rest of the train. And I knew it wasn't working. And so, I cycled another round of the chamber and when I ejected the previous round, I saw that the firing then had struck the primer and the primer just did not ignite. So, he had tried to shoot Spencer. And didn't go off.
KELLY: That -- I mean, when you think about that moment, Spencer, that is what happened, God was there protecting you?
The answer to that is next.
Plus, what these three young men had to say about how this has changed the way they view 9/11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just charged. They act with greatness. They acted unilaterally without asking permission, without seeking conscientious. This Islamist did not want a job. He wanted to kill a lot of people and you guys had a split second moment to decide what to do. That is what is so incredible about this. Why I love this story. They never hesitated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: When you think about that moment, Spencer, that is what happened? God was there protecting you?
STONE: Oh, of course, yes, that never happened -- that is just one questions -- and but --
SADLER: And if he had gone to the bathroom he never would have known that anything was happening, if there wasn't like the commotion at the bathroom at first.
KELLY: Because what originally what happened, was one passenger saw him going into the bathroom. He took too long in there with his suitcase. He came up and he wound up shooting another man, a French-American.
SKARLATOS: He was waiting to go to the bathroom. And this is a guy who doesn't want to be recognized and when he came out of the bathroom this is what he told us, anyway. When he came out of the bathroom they just stared at each other for a few seconds. Then he just -- I guess just grabbed his neck and they got in a scuffle. And then a train employee broke them up thinking it was just a fight. And when he broke them up that is when he entered our car, shot mark in the neck and then that is when he intervened.
KELLY: Right, Mark Moogalian, who is a French-American who approached him, he got shot, his wife saw it. And that is when you three entered the scene. When you were in the scuffle with this guy, did you ever wonder where the other people on the train was? Where was the backup?
STONE: No, I was more worried about someone else coming in with another guy, like he had buddies with him or something. So, that's why I was glad --
SKARLATOS: There's three of us on one guy. It wasn't really the thing.
SADLER: And then we have it, but he just kept pulling out weapons. So, we were just like, man, we need to knock him out as soon as we can.
STONE: There was not any really room for anyone else to help out because it's such a small area.
KELLY: How long -- you're three big guys, right? How long did it take, the whole scuffle from beginning to end where you first approached him until the moment where you had him restrained?
STONE: I would say tops three minutes.
SADLER: Like it three -- it wasn't, like it was pretty quick.
STONE: The longest time was just waiting for him to pass out frankly.
KELLY: So, I want to get to you to that. Because now he is slicing you with a box cutter where we just left off. Did you feel it? I mean, he has gotten you in the eye --
STONE: You know, I just saw him kind of going like this. And then something drag across my neck. I didn't feel that. And I looked over my finger and that is when I saw it cut to the bone. And that's when -- scream, "Hey, he has a knife, he has a knife, get the knife away." And I just kind of pushed him away, kicked him a little bit, and then that's when he kind of ended up in the middle of the train and then we're all surrounded him.
KELLY: Did you feel pain in that moment?
STONE: No, not at all.
KELLY: Not at all, it's just a pure adrenalin.
KELLY: Did you have a conscious thought of have I been sliced in the neck? Am I endanger of dying?
SADLER: I didn't know. I had to tell him, like after he crawled over to Miss Moogalian, like, and he was already giving him the treatment, I had to tell him because I didn't notice until when I was standing over the top of him. And then my -- moved a little bit in the back of his neck opened up. You know, I was like Spencer, don't move. Like he was already given first aid. I was like try not to move. And he was like, why? Your neck is cut. And he's like, isn't bad? I was like, yes, but not like too too bad and he was like, all right.
STONE: Yes. Like, I feel like he tried to lie to me a little bit --
SADLER: All right. It ain't that bad. From the video, it showed it was pretty bad. But I just -- I didn't want him to start panicking because he was saving somebody else's life, so --
KELLY: You have video that you took on board the train which was been incredible to see of some of the scuffle. And we see one shirtless man.
SADLER: It was after he was tied up and he was already giving first aid. It was not during the ordeal or anything.
KELLY: But what is incredible about this is, when you finally got him restrained, you're bleeding at the back of your neck. And if he had sliced just a little deeper or a little to the left to the right --
STONE: And that's where I think my jujitsu came in, because they teach you to like, you know, to tuck your body tight. You know, I had all the right movements. I was pretty deep and I was kind of hugging his back. So, I don't think he would have even had the opportunity to do that. But I mean, it could have easily happened if he was stronger and managed to get out of my grip. No biggie.
SKARLATOS: Maybe an inch away, so.
KELLY: Yes. You could have been killed in that moment quite easily. I mean yet another moment that --
SADLER: Even if he was stabbed instead of slicing it could have been completely different, too.
KELLY: And yet while you're bleeding out of your neck and your thumb is almost severed, you went to save the life of Mark who was the first one shot by this terrorist. And while you're doing that, you're patrolling the rest of the train looking for other bad guys, which is -- I mean, there was no stopping you guys in terms of your bravery and your courage and your willingness to put yourself in the line of fire. What the viewers may not know is that you actually had some medical training. That is what you were doing in Portugal for the Air Force, correct?
STONE: Yes ma'am, an EMT. Paramedics but on the EMT.
KELLY: Okay. So, had you ever --
SKARLATOS: You're getting promoted lately.
KELLY: Yes. Absolutely. Had you ever had to save somebody's life in this way before?
STONE: Never, I mean, I only worked in a pediatric clinic and everyone serves and, you know, not much happens there. And you know --
KELLY: Some --
STONE: Yes. People want to get out of work the next day.
KELLY: Okay. So, not, you know, severed arteries?
STONE: No, never. I have never even seen that.
KELLY: You guys -- you get this guy down, you wind up restraining him. Is it true that you used tie and scarves from people on board the train to tie him up half time?
SKARLATOS: That was mostly Chris. He was a great help. He helped tie him up while I was looking down to the other cars and Spencer was obviously saving mark's life. So he -- not only did that but yes, actually he translated for us with like a lot of the French train employees that were doing a lot of ridiculous stuff. So he was actually a great help just for his language skills. And his great ability -- tie the terrorist. So, I don't know where he learned that one.
KELLY: That comes in handy. What were the ridiculous things that the French train employees were doing?
SADLER: Random employee, first time we had seen him like, he just ran over. And this is like really toward the end, like the guy slipping away. He runs over, let him go --
KELLY: He is telling you to let go of the terrorist.
STONE: He starts to stop the guy, like stop, he is unconscious, he's unconscious, and I screamed at him something else. And I was like get away from me. And then he was like --
SKARLATOS: Like don't let him --
STONE: Put the AK down, and we're like no, it's fine, we got to handle it. Where were you five minutes ago, get away.
SKARLATOS: And so the first thing he did after all that once we got him away, is he comes back with like wet paper towels, first like to wipe our hands off. I'm like Spencer is still holding this guy's neck, we're like dude, don't worry about cleaning up yet, like, we've got business --
KELLY: And you needed somebody to restrain the employee from you as you restrained the terrorist.
SADLER: That's when Chris came in. He was like, like, tell him to get back, like you know, like we have this.
KELLY: We got it.
KELLY: What about you when you go patrol -- these guys have got the terrorists under control. You decide go to see if there were any other bad guys. Was there any fear that you might find one?
SKARLATOS: No, honestly, like -- it sounds cool and whatnot. But like I just charged the AK, I extended the -- and like I didn't even have it like, I was fairly convinced that there was nobody on the train. Because you could look back and see it. It was empty. I was carrying it like down here, like --
KELLY: What would they do, were they looking at you -- when you were walking to the train car --
SKARLATOS: No. Again, there was nobody in like -- I went three cars back, completely empty.
KELLY: The train still moving at this point?
SKARLATOS: It was just stopping or had stopped at that point. At the first stop. It was not at the station yet. But everybody was crammed back into about the third or fourth car back.
KELLY: They were altogether?
SKARLATOS: Yes, everybody just pushed back away, and they were all crammed back in that one little car. And I just asked them if there was anybody else hurt that we didn't know about or any other gunmen, and they said no, there's no back-up. So I just started to go back and started helping Spencer with Mark with the AK.
KELLY: In the meantime, Spencer, you were there with your hands inside Mark's neck, basically.
SADLER: And we got him a first aid kit. So, he was like trying to instruct me like, what to take out of the first aid kit. So I had to let it --
STONE: He's trying to like, read it to me. I can't really see what it was. It was in French.
SADLER: And I kneeled down next to him.
KELLY: It's in French.
STONE: Yes. And so --
SADLER: I kneeled down next to him and he has blood coming down his face, Spencer does. So he could barely even see. So, I was like open the first aid kit, I'm like going to it, like do you need this, do you need this? And he was just like, trying to do that, hold him -- and nothing of the first aid kit was helpful.
KELLY: It was not helping.
STONE: I told his wife, Isabella, to grab the scissors there in the - - and just cut his shirt off, because I wanted to check if he had any other wounds or anything like that. Because he could just, you know, still been dying even though I'm stopping this. And we kind of cut his shirt. We didn't cut it off. By the way, we should have. We're checking his body, trying to find gunshot wounds. We didn't find anything else like, oh, how did he get grazed in the neck or something like that?
SKARLATOS: I thought he got stabbed because we didn't see like, it looked like he just got stabbed --
KELLY: He got shot through the back and it came out the neck.
STONE: It hit him back here, it went down between his wrist, appears -- and then it came out the neck.
SADLER: When I first seen him after the gun was passed out, I turned around. This is the first time I have ever seen Mark throughout the whole ordeal. Like, he has a hole in his neck. And it just swirling across by the aisle way. And then he is bleeding down his shirt. So I'm thinking he had gotten stabbed. Because I still at that point had not heard the gunshot. So, like --
KELLY: What were you going to say Alex, about his wife, about Mark's wife?
SKARLATOS: He kept insisting that he got shut in the chest. So, I'd take the box cutter and cut his shirt off. I looked at his chest, and there was nothing on his chest. So --
STONE: It wasn't funny, I was like -- looking back, I was like, hey man, do you want to say a prayer with me real quick? Because in my mind, I'm like you're dead. And that's why I call his wife over and wanted her to kind of say her last word, I guess. And he was like, no, I think I'm good. And I was like, what? All right, man, cool, and I said a prayer for him.
SKARLATOS: He was actually complaining about --
KELLY: Did you --
STONE: Yes. He was actually complaining about his arm and things like that.
KELLY: In that moment -- bleeding out of the back of your neck and saving his life, you got your hands in his artery, did you take the time to say a prayer?
STONE: Yes, I said one for myself, too.
STONE: Yes, so I was like --
SKARLATOS: Yes, it was crazy.
KELLY: Unbelievable. In any of this, did it dawn on you, was there a conscious thought of I may be about to die?
KELLY: When we come back these three will not only respond to that but they also tell us how this moment has changed their lives now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is an old Greek saying, it's better to die like a lion than to be slaughtered like a sheep. And especially this one, a terrorist coward. And like I said, the PC crowd really needs to take a listen. (END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: In any of this, did it dawn on you, was there a conscious thought of I may be about to die?
SADLER: I thought that the second I seen him for the first time. I was like is this real? And it was a split second thought process. I thought was this real, and it's real, we're about to die. The next thing I look over at him and Spencer is getting up out of his seat already. So I was like maybe we have a chance, when I saw Spencer finally reached him I was like we have a chance.
KELLY: That is one of the things that people wonder about you guys. Have you always known you would rush through the danger?
STONE: You're going to hesitate and you're going to die.
KELLY: When you were in Afghanistan, you were there for nine months with the National Guard. Did you see combat? Did you have any experience that would prepare you for this?
SKARLATOS: I mean, training, it was like the firearms and stuff like really helped afterwards once I got the A.K. and things like that. But frankly, Afghanistan was nothing like the train. We got rockets from time to time, things like that, but nothing like that.
KELLY: And so now you're on your vacation celebrating your down time with your best friends. And you appreciate -- you know the irony of danger coming to you then. The terrorists coming to you then as opposed to I mean, Afghanistan.
SKARLATOS: Again, not just that, the sheer odds of that. The one time we're in France, the one time I don't have a handgun on me. The one time we're all together again, just a coincidence -- it's amazing, just the sheer odds of it happening then and there.
SADLER: You hear terrorists in America all the time. But you never think ok, that is going to happen to us. Like we talked about it, and we all were like the same mentality, but you never until it happens.
KELLY: That's the thing is -- you guys are obviously you joined the military so you have at least somewhat conscious of the fact we're in a war and we have an enemy and they want to kill us and they want to kill civilians.
SADLER: It lets you know always be aware of your surroundings. Don't let yourself be known as military and American.
KELLY: But you were not in military gear when you were on the train, were you?
STONE: We were not the targets, we were the only ones who did something.
KELLY: But how hard is that, because you're young guys, 22.
KELLY: All right, he is the baby. So it's not like you had a lifetime of being in the armed forces or being cops or whatever, where you trained for years and years and years to be alert, to understand there could be danger on every corner. Did it still come naturally to you?
SADLER: Literally, Spencer got up out of his seat. I had to ask him, we didn't see him for hours because he was at the hospital, actually until the next day. And then I asked why did you get up that fast? Even I have to know that because I am talking like -- I look back over, Alek says go, literally within five seconds of all that, that whole ordeal was five seconds. Spencer got up out of his seat. So I was like I guess we're going.
KELLY: When it was all over and the train stopped and the authorities came on the train, from that point forward was there a moment between the three of you when you looked at each other?
STONE: No, I was sitting at the table and they were kind of working on me with ID's and stuff. I was shouting at Anthony to grab my stuff because I didn't want it to be confiscated by the French police, my phone, and my laptop, all my...
SKARLATOS: Which our stuff was still four cars back in the original spot that we were.
STONE: I was actually screaming for Alek and Anthony to take a photo. I was like get it on Snapchat!
KELLY: But when was the first time you had just the three of you?
SADLER: The ambassador's mansion.
STONE: The police station, and we hopped in the motorcade and headed to the...
KELLY: How many hours later were that -- or minutes?
SADLER: It was a full day.
KELLY: And was there...
STONE: We laughed like half the way.
SKARLATOS: It was like a joke, almost like a party, it was great. I was like, it was crazy.
SADLER: And then all of our stories were totally different, I was like no that is not what happened. This happened. You don't know what you're talking about.
KELLY: Did you realize in that moment the enormity of what just happened?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Stay with us for the answer to that. Plus, wait until you hear what they say when I ask these young men about their most emotional moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officials in France have opened a formal terrorism investigation in that attack aboard a high speed train. They're saying now there is clear evidence the gunman stopped by those Americans on board, planned to carry out a mass murder and has apparent ties to radical Islam. And now authorities say somebody was helping him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: In August 2015, a few brave men risked everything to save a train full of passengers from a terrorist in France. As the world learned of their heroics, tributes poured in. One day after the attack, President Obama personally called the three Americans to express the well wishes of an inspired nation. There was also praise from military leaders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those guys on the train in France make you proud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you know, evil arrived in the form of a heavily armed gunman on a high speed passenger train in Europe. What the gunman did not expect, however, was a confrontation with our very own Captain America.
KELLY: Nearly every presidential candidate weighed in both off camera and on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They obviously figured out something was going on and took matters into their own hands and potentially saved maybe dozens, hundreds of lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what I want to say about these guys. They represent themselves and the military in our country so well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what is so inspiring about these three young men, their humility, their modesty. They're not pounding their chests, they're not talking about how great they are.
KELLY: French President FranØois Hollande presented the Americans with France's highest award, the Legion of Honor, and praised their heroism as a source of inspiration, saying that "Faced with the evil of terrorism there is a good, that of humanity, you are the incarnation of that." Back in the U.S., it was a heroes welcome, complete with a parade in their hometown of Sacramento.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's not lost on me as a mayor that the story we are celebrating here today could be entirely different, if it was not for the bravery of Anthony, Alek and Spencer.
KELLY: The guys, they say don't call us heroes. But as we say at Fox, we report. You decide.
Did you realize in that moment the enormity of what had just happened and how this could be a worldwide story?
SADLER: They kept telling me no, Alek was like, we're about to go home tonight and I was like...
STONE: I knew it was a big deal when I was sitting in the hospital and they told me to go to bed, and I was like yeah, right, I won't be able to fall asleep. And they come back an hour later you're on TV, big hero.
KELLY: What has been the most emotional part of this for you?
SKARLATOS: Well, just the appreciation people have shown for me. It's just -- when I flew into Newark Airport, first time hitting stateside there was about 2 or 300 police officers there. It was like the most touching experience ever, and just probably the appreciation and how grateful everyone has been. How nice the French were to us. I mean, we -- I mean, everybody has been treating us amazing.
SADLER: Everybody says my family rides that train all the time. I've been on the train all the time. It's a popular route, from Paris to Amsterdam. It's kind of humbling. I'm not in the military. So when tons of high-ranking military people come up to me and congratulate me, and a lifetime of combat, that is real humbling for me.
KELLY: How about you Spencer?
STONE: For me, it's the same. I had this moment where this little girl was asking me like if I could fly and things like that. And that literally made me melt. And I'm like oh, my god, I'm these kids' heroes right now, this is insane, just the appreciation from everybody, people on the train, what do them have to be appreciating us for...
KELLY: Is it true that your nickname was Captain America even prior to this?
STONE: Yeah, I don't like to -- but yes, it is.
KELLY: Way to live up to your nickname. What was it like telling your parents for the first time?
SKARLATOS: I didn't get hold of my parents for a while. I tried to call my mom, I tried to call my dad. My little brother was the first one that picked up. I was just like, hey, we were just involved in an active shooter outside of Paris on a train. Tell mom and dad -- and Google it if you don't believe me.
KELLY: All right, here is a tough question for you because you are three American heroes. But I want an honest answer. Have there been any tears?
SADLER: Have I cried since? I have, yeah.
STONE: The first time I cried was when the girl was telling me that I'm her hero and asking if I could fly. That was embarrassing, in front of like my whole family and her whole family at some dinner. But it needed to happen...
KELLY: What about you, they're on record.
KELLY: Maybe, well, the interview is not yet over.
SADLER: He does cry.
KELLY: What brought you to tears?
SADLER: I was having a conversation with somebody, and they were just trying to explain to me basically how much they felt that they almost lost me. And I was just like you don't understand like how I feel.
SKARLATOS: And like you're getting all this publicity and stuff, but really we're just grateful to be alive frankly. This is all awesome and great, don't get wrong, but like -- die on a train outside of Paris.
KELLY: Other than you are still here, you're still standing, how has life changed for you?
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KELLY: Being a hero sometimes comes with rewards. In the final part of our interview we'll hear about that.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know you didn't have a car. And we heard you're moving back to Sacramento. Do you know how to drive stick?
STONE: I can, I can, I learned in Portugal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, beautiful, because that Camaro is for you, as well -- this way you never -- the important thing is you never have to get on a train again this your life, all right?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So ladies and gentlemen, it is that time. All eyes up to the stage, we're going to welcome a band of brothers, who by taking some action, by doing good saved hundreds of lives and ignited a worldwide movement, ladies and gentlemen, our Sacramento hometown heroes, Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone, and Alek Skarlatos.
KELLY: Other than you're still here, you're still standing, how has life changed for you?
STONE: I haven't even had time to sit down and think about it.
SKARLATOS: Totally upside down.
SADLER: Life's changed like that.
KELLY: You were on Jimmy Kimmel. They gave you a car. You have a new gig. Tell the audience what your new gig is.
SKARLATOS: I'm doing Dancing with the Stars.
KELLY: How does that happen?
SKARLATOS: Shut up. Shut up. I guess I got in contact with one of the guys that produced Good Morning America the day I was on it, and kind of like floated it to me as like a rumor. Then I got a phone call a few hours later and they asked me if I wanted to do it. I was like, I'll have to think about it. In my head I already knew I was going to do it.
KELLY: Do you dance?
KELLY: What do you guys think of that?
SADLER: Out of three of us I would have never pegged Alek to have done that.
STONE: Just wouldn't have thought. Just wouldn't have thought.
KELLY: He's going to loosen up soon.
SADLER: He's looking good. He showed us a video. I think he's going to go far.
KELLY: What do you think is next for you? You had dreams of becoming a police officer. Do you still think that will happen?
SKARLATOS: Eventually. We have no idea what is in store for us, even now. So I'm sure eventually we'll all get back on our intended tracks, I guess. For now, we're just trying to figure out what we're doing next week and stuff like that. And it's been insane.
KELLY: Do the honors that you received mean anything to you? You got the Legion of Honor in France. You got a phone call from the President of the United States. In those moments do you believe that you're a hero?
STONE: No, still not.
SADLER: Hero is just like a word. I don't know if we'll ever claim that. I'm appreciative to everybody who says it, but I don't think we can ever claim that.
SKARLATOS: If we were like, totally safe and we were in an armored box and we left the armored box to like, stop this train attack, then yeah, maybe we could live up to the word hero. But we were just -- doing it to save ourselves, too. It's not like we really intended to do it for somebody else. It worked out that way and it worked out great. Don't get me wrong.
KELLY: Because it wasn't purely benevolent you deprive yourself of the title. I think our viewers are going to have a problem with that. I think they're going to object. Let me talk to you about today. You're going to go off after this and be honored in a parade in your hometown. And of course this is the 14 year mark since 9/11 and the 9/11 attacks. And already we've heard in the past week or so many people compare what you did on that train to what the brave souls on board United Flight 93 tried to do in stopping a terrorist. You guys were kids on the day of 9/11. Eight years old or so. Do you have a different appreciation for what happened on that day this year?
STONE: For sure.
SKARLATOS: Of course. Just hearing you say that gives me chills. It's -- I feel so much more connected to like, terrorist attacks and things like that and victims of terrorist attacks. I mean, that easily could have been us. If any one of six or seven things went a different way.
SADLER: I visited the 9/11 Memorial about a week ago. That was my first time in New York, first time at the 9/11 Memorial. This was about less than a week after our ordeal happened. It just gave me a whole new perspective. I was just like, appreciative of the names, just like on the stones out there because that could easily have been us, just as easy.
KELLY: Does it underscore to you at all what it means to be an American? What your duty is as an American?
SADLER: I think so. I think our duty is just to act. A lot of people have told us that said Americans would do that. I don't know if I'd go that far. I can't speak to everybody. I just feel like as Americans, we do grow up kind of that sense we're not going to lay down. We're going to take the fight to whoever it is. I think that's exactly what we did.
KELLY: Amen. Good for you. Thank you all so much.
SADLER: Thank you for having us.
KELLY: God bless.
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KELLY: We'll be right back.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today every Sacramentoan has their chest puffed out just a little bit, walking with a little extra pep in our step. Knowing that the city's native sons who came to rescue and thwarted another potentially grisly terrorist attack sent a message to terrorists everywhere as Americans, as Californians, as Sacramentoans we will not sit idly by. We can now be prouder as a city than we are right now, Sacramento. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome. Give a Sacramento love to our hometown heroes, Anthony, Alek and Spencer.
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KELLY: As you travel across this great country, you sometimes spot those little signs that read if you see something say something, a daily reminder of the legacy of 9/11. Tonight, we were honored to share with you the story of three young men who saw something and did something, saving an untold number of lives. They don't call themselves heroes but we do. Please take a moment tonight to remember the victims of that horrible attack 14 years ago, and the heroes who tried to save them. And say a prayer for the families and the survivors. Thank you for joining us. I'm Megyn Kelly.
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