9/11: As it Happened

September 11, 2001 was a clear and sunny day. It was a normal day, where parents kissed their loved ones before heading off to work, where passengers boarded a plane for either a vacation, work, or maybe to visit someone. What they didn’t didn’t know was that it would be the last time they would ever be able to do such things, because on September 11, the United States experienced the greatest tragedy ever to occur in our country. The History Channel had a timeline of the events that occurred, which was able to offer more of understanding of what happened. Going by their timeline this is how that day unfolded:


7:59 am, on that fateful day, American Airlines Flight 11 with 92 people aboard took off from Boston’s Logan International Airport en route to Los Angeles, California.

8:14 am, from the same airport, United Airlines Flight 175 with 65 people aboard departed also headed to Los Angeles.

8:19 am, only 20 minutes after the plane departed, the flight attendants aboard American Airlines Flight 11 alerted ground personnel that the plane had been hijacked and the FBI was soon notified. 8:20 am Flight 77 takes off from Washington D.C., headed for Los Angeles with 64 people aboard.

8:24 am, hijacker Mohammed Atta makes his first accidental transmission from Flight 11 to the ground in an apparent attempt to communicate with the planes cabin.

8:40 am, air traffic controllers of the FAA alert North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)’s Northeast Air Defense Sector of a possible hijacking. NEADS then responds by scrambling two fighter planes located at Cape Cod’s Otis Air National Guard Base to locate and tail Flight 11; the two fighter planes were not in the air by the time Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower.

8:41 am, United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark International Airport with 44 people aboard. The flight is a Boeing 757 en route to San Francisco.

8:46 am, Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers aboard Flight 11 crash the plane into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, instantly killing everyone on board and hundreds of people inside the tower.

8:47 am, NYPD and FDNY units are dispatched to the World Trade Center, while Port Authority Police Department officers on the site begin immediate evacuation of the North Tower.

This was only the beginning. These events would turn into a rolling snowball filled with catastrophic results.

8:50 am, President George W. Bush, who was visiting an elementary school in Florida at the time, was notified by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, that a plane hit the World Trade Center.

9:02 am, Port Authority officials call for an evacuation of both of the Twin Towers; an estimation of 10,000 to 14,000 were already in the midst of an evacuation.

9:03 am, United Flight 175 crashed into the WTC’s South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

9:08 am, the FAA bans all takeoffs of flights going to NYC or through the airspace around the city. Soon after, the Port Authority closes all bridges and tunnels in the NYC area. Then, the FAA notified NEEDS of a suspected hijacking of Flight 77 after passengers and crew aboard the plane are able to successfully alert family members on the ground.

9:31 am, President Bush speaks from Florida and calls the events unfolding an “apparent terrorist attack on our country.”

9:37 am, the tragedy moves to Washington D.C. and the Pentagon is hit, Flight 77 crashes into the western facade of the building, killing 59 on the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building at the time of the attack.

An hour after the first attack occurred, the FAA shuts down all airspace over the U.S.. Over 4,000 planes are instructed land and guided to airports across Canada and the US. This is the first time in history that this has happened. A few minutes later, the White House and U.S Capitol building are evacuated.

9:59 am, the world watched in horror as the first tower collapses.

10:07 am, the passengers and flight attendants aboard United 93 decided to attempt to retake the plane. The hijackers then crashed the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing everyone aboard.

10:28 am, the World Trade Center’s North Tower collapses.

Mayor Giuliani then calls for the evacuation of Lower Manhattan, including more than a million residents, workers and tourists, as the fire department begin to search for survivors at the WTC site.

1:00 pm at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, President Bush announces U.S. military forces are on high alert all across the world.

2:51 pm, U.S. Navy dispatches missile destroyers to NY and Washington, D.C.

5:20 pm, the 47 story WTC 7 collapsed after burning for hours; luckily, the building had been evacuated in the morning, and there were no casualties. The collapse, did, however, force rescue workers to flee for their lives. It was the last building to fall.

8:00 pm, President Bush addresses the nation, calling the attacks “evil, despicable acts of terror”. But while these acts were meant to tear us down, he declared that America and its friends would “stand together to win the war against terrorism”,

September 11, 2001 was a day that no one in America will ever forget, nor should we. The day was terrifying, angering, and unifying for every single U.S. citizen. Viewing this day as a historical event, reading about this day and watching the lives affected ignites an anger inside me to know that a group of people were despicable enough to do such a horrid thing to innocent lives.