Today is September 11, and once again the nation will pause to remember and honor the lives lost 17 years ago in the worst terror attacks on US soil. Keep reading to find out more about some of the commemorations. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Hurricane Florence
Hurricane Florence is coming, and it's packing a punch. The Category 4 storm is headed toward the southeast US coast with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph. And fears are that by the time it makes landfall late Thursday or early Friday, it will have strengthened into a Category 5 storm, meaning sustained winds of close to 160 mph. So yeah, Florence is a monster. More than 1 million people face mandatory evacuation orders in coastal North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, where Florence could begin delivering tropical storm-force winds tomorrow. You can track the storm here. And don't forget about Hawaii: Tropical Storm Olivia, with 70-mph winds, will hit the islands tonight and tomorrow.
2. White House
The Trump White House, with its laser-like focus on stopping leaks, changed its cell phone policy, CNN has learned. Staffers now have to leave their phones in their offices or in lockers near the West Wing entrances before they will be buzzed into the Situation Room. This has everything to do with fired staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman, who secretly taped White House chief of staff John Kelly firing her in the Situation Room. Meanwhile, the White House braces for the release today of Bob Woodward's book, "Fear." Its publisher plans to print 1 million copies.
3. Russia & China
Russia kicked off its largest war games exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union and invited China to join in. At least 300,000 troops, 36,000 vehicles and 1,000 aircraft are involved in the exercises in eastern Russia. They'll be joined by thousands of troops from China and Mongolia. At the same time, President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet up in the east Russian city of Vladivostok. The two men have cultivated a special relationship, and this marks their third meeting this year.
4. Dallas shooting
Dallas police officer Amber Guyger might face a more serious charge after she shot and killed her neighbor. Guyger's already charged with manslaughter in the death of Botham Shem Jean, but a prosecutor said additional charges could follow after the case goes to a grand jury. Guyger said she shot Jean after mistakenly thinking he was in her apartment, but Jean was actually in his own place. Last night, about 100 demonstrators took to the streets of Dallas to protest how police have handled Jean's death, while a vigil was held for him at his alma mater, Harding University in Arkansas.
5. Great Pacific Garbage Patch
We've all heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- that ginormous field of plastic, litter and other debris floating between California and Hawaii that's three times the size of France. Well, somebody's finally trying to clean it up. Right now, what's essentially a giant pool noodle is being set up off the California coast for a test. The Ocean Cleanup System 001 consists of a 2,000-foot-long floating barrier with a 10-foot skirt that hangs below it, in the water. It's supposed to curve into a "U" shape and gather up debris while fish and other wildlife swim under it unharmed. If the test works, Ocean Cleanup will be sent out to the garbage patch.
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Remembering September 11
• President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will participate in the ceremony at 9:45 ET this morning at the memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which honors those aboard United Airlines Flight 93.
• From 8:30 a.m. to about 12:15 p.m. ET, there will be a memorial service at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. There will be bagpipes, a reading of victims' names and a moment of silence. Church bells will ring throughout the city at the time when planes struck the north tower, the south tower, the Pentagon, in Shanksville, and when the towers fell.
• Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will be on hand at an observance ceremony at the Pentagon this morning at 8:45 ET. They will read the names of the 184 who died at the Pentagon, lay a wreath and observe a moment of silence at 9:37 a.m.
• Of course, you'll be able to watch all of this on CNN TV and all of CNN Digital's platforms.
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