By Austin Durkin
September 11, 2001. This date, this one day, changed America forever. It changed the world forever. This was the day that a terrorist group known as Al-Qaeda attacked America with four coordinated attacks on three locations in the USA.
The Four Attacks
The first and second attack was on the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan of New York City, NY. At 8:46, American Airlines Flight 11, hijacked by five terrorists, crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC 1). That plane had 92 passengers aboard. The plane crashed into the 93rd through the 99th floors. This tower burned for 102 minutes before the structural integrity gave out and the tower collapsed. This was at 10:28 am. At 9:03 am, United Airlines Flight 175, hijacked by another 5 members, crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center complex. The airplane crashed through the 75th floor through the 85th floors. This plane had 65 people aboard. The tower burned for 56 minutes until it collapsed at 9:59 am. WTC1 debris fell onto the 7 World Trade Center building (WTC7). This building burned until 5:21 pm when it finally also collapsed. This building had already been evacuated and caused no more casualties. Both of the initial aircraft impacts killed all of the passengers and hundreds inside the buildings. Before the towers collapsed both had 110 floors full of scared, dead, or evacuating civilians. The total recorded death count of just these two attacks was 2,606 people. Along with the thousands injured. When the buildings were hit, there were so many people within the towers calling emergency services that hundreds of calls couldn't even get through.
The third attack was on the US Pentagon. At 9:37 am, American Airlines Flight 77, with 5 hijackers aboard, crashed into the west wing of the US Pentagon. This killed 59 people aboard the airplane and 125 military and civilian personnel. After the third attack, the FAA ordered all flights in continental United States to land. This was the first time in history such an order had been given. An approximated 3,300 commercial flights and 1,200 private planes were guided to airports in Canada and the United States over the two-and-a-half hour period.
The fourth and final attack was said to be aimed at either the United States Capitol or the White House. United Airlines Flight 93, hijacked by four terrorists, was on its way to one of the two suspected targets when it crashed at 10:03 am near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It never made it to its destinations thanks to the heroic passengers on Flight 93. They fought the hijackers until the plane went down due to a hijacker causing it to do so deliberately. Sadly, all 40 passengers and crew died, but their heroic actions should never be forgotten.
At 11 am, lower Manhattan was told to evacuate. At 1 pm, President George W. Bush announced that all military bases were on high alert. Finally at 8:30 pm, President Bush announced that this was an act of terrorism and that we needed to “stand together to win the war against terrorism.” Altogether, the total recorded death count of 9/11 was 2,996 people. There were also over 6,000 people injured.
However, looking back there was a positive that came from this terrible day in history. On this day (and the following months), America came together to help and mourn. That day there were police, firefighters, medical staff, coast guard members, private ferry services and boats racing to lower Manhattan the rescue those who were trapped. There was the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, NY Army National Guard, and Civil Air Patrol there for military support. There were everyday civilians trying their best to help as well. This day was terrible, but it was proof that America, even at its lowest, can help one another and stand strong as a united nation against any problem or foe.