The terrorist attack shook the country and permanently changed American culture; here we remember the events and victims.
On September 11, 2001, 17 years ago, America suffered one of the most tragic events in national history after 19 terrorists crashed four airliners into different locations, including into both towers at the World Trade Center. Many people woke up that morning to go about their everyday lives, but thousands didn’t get to go home. Today, we honor those who were lost and the heroism of the first responders.
According to History.com, on that day, four American Airline planes were hijacked in the morning by “militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida” in a suicide attack against targets in the United States. Two of the hijacked planes were flown into the twin towers of the World trade Center in New York City; a third plane crashed into the Pentagon located outside of Washington, D.C., and the fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Hundreds of people were killed immediately after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center’s north tower.
However, the numbers increased when the second plane hit the south tower shortly after. As the towers went up in flames and littered the streets below with rubble, hundreds of first responders ran into the chaos to try to save those trapped inside. As people tried to escape and help, a few hours following the attack, the towers fell into a burning heap, killing dozens of people and responders.
As the towers fell, only one other plane accomplished its mission: to crash into the Pentagon. According to biography.com, the plane “crashed into the west side of the Pentagon” killing more government workers.
The fourth plane, originally hijacked by terrorists, was taken back by the passengers inside. History.com tells the story of two people who contacted their loved ones right before the plane crashed because they knew the plane was not going back to the airport, but to be used as a suicide mission. The passengers and flight attendants planned to attack their captors and sacrifice their lives to save others. History.com states the passengers fought the hijackers until the plane “flipped over and sped toward the ground … crashing in a rural field near Shanksville in western Pennsylvania … killing 44 passengers on the plane.”
Later that day, according to biography.com, President George W. Bush delivered a televised address declaring, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
After that day, according to History.com, Operation Enduring Freedom, the American-led effort to oust the Taliban and destroy Bin Laden, worked for years in an attempt to bring justice to those affected by the terrorist group. On May 2, 2011, Bin Laden was tracked down and killed by U.S. forces at a hideout in Pakistan.
According to History.com, “2,996 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, including the 19 terrorist hijackers aboard the four airlines.” Many more were injured physically and mentally after watching their loved ones fall with the towers or the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania and into the Pentagon. Also, today people are suffering from lung cancer because they breathed in the toxic air that was released from toxic minerals that were burned in the towers.
Many American lives were lost on September 11, 2001, and today, they are still remembered across the country. The twin towers at the World Trade Center were not rebuilt but were renamed to “Ground Zero” and made into a large memorial plaza — a tribute to all the lives lost in the events of 9/11. The main building of the rebuilt complex is called One World Trade Center and is located in lower Manhattan, New York City. It was a day that left everyone feeling lost, confused and hurt. The events of the day affected huge cultural changes not just in the U.S., but around the world.