Remembering 9/11: A Day of Tragedy and Heroism


The 9/11 incident is remembered as a tragic act of terrorism in the United States. On September 11, 2001, a group of terrorists orchestrated the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City. This event, which claimed the lives of thousands, stands as the worst terror attack in American history. Nineteen Al Qaeda militants, led by Osama bin Laden, hijacked four planes.

Two of these planes were directed into the Twin Towers in New York, while the third aircraft struck the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

The Twin Towers WTC Tragedy

As reported by History, at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, an American Airlines Boeing 767 carrying 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the North Tower of the WTC in New York City. This impact resulted in a massive fiery hole near the 80th floor of the skyscraper. Consequently, hundreds of people on that floor perished, and others were trapped on higher floors.

While the evacuation process at the Twin Towers was underway, television cameras were broadcasting the events. Then, 18 minutes after the first plane struck, a second Boeing 767 (United Airlines Flight 175) appeared in the sky, sharply veering towards the WTC and slicing through the South Tower near the 60th floor. This collision caused a massive explosion and sent burning debris cascading down the building.

Impact at the Pentagon

As many witnessed the tragic events unfolding in New York, American Airlines Flight 77 circled over downtown Washington, D.C., before finally crashing into the western side of the Pentagon at 9:45 a.m. The jet fuel from the Boeing 757 ignited a fierce fire that brought down a significant portion of the massive concrete structure. During this incident, 125 military personnel and civilians lost their lives in the Pentagon, along with 64 individuals on the plane.

Chaos of Flight 93

Remembering 9/11: A Day of Tragedy and Heroism

The fourth plane, bound for California, was hijacked 40 minutes after departing from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. Realizing that the plane was not returning to the airport as claimed by the hijackers, a group of passengers and flight attendants planned a rebellion.

They fought against the four hijackers and reportedly attempted to breach the cockpit with fire extinguishers. Subsequently, the plane inverted and hurtled into the ground at a speed exceeding 500 miles per hour. The plane ultimately crashed into a rural field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 10:10 a.m. local time.

Chronology of the 9/11 Events in the United States

Remembering 9/11: A Day of Tragedy and Heroism

According to the Timeline of the 9/11 Memorial, here is the chronology of the 9/11 events:

  • At 5:45 a.m., the terrorists who would hijack the planes passed through security checks at Portland International Jetport in Maine.
  • These terrorists were destined for California after departing from airports in Boston, Massachusetts; Newark, New Jersey; and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
  • Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al-Omari, two of the hijackers, took a commuter flight to Boston Logan International Airport. There, they connected to American Airlines Flight 11.
  • Three other hijackers joined Atta and al-Omari on Flight 11. In less than two hours, five terrorists destined for American Airlines Flight 77 were recorded passing through a west checkpoint at Washington Dulles International Airport.
  • The three additional hijackers were Nawaf al-Hazmi, Khalid al-Mihdhar, and Majed Moqed. They began their actions by triggering metal detectors, but no weapons were found.
  • The next step was rushing to the gates. The hijackers carried concealed knives on their persons and in some cases in carry-on luggage.
  • It’s important to note that before the events of 9/11, airports were not required to record security checkpoint positions. Even knives were allowed in planes if the blade length was less than four inches.
  • At 6:00 a.m., September 11, 2001, was Primary Election Day in New York City. Polling places in New York opened, conducting elections for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, and other city offices.
  • At 7:59 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Boston with five hijackers on board.
  • At 8:15 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 departed Boston for Los Angeles with five hijackers.
  • At 8:19 a.m., the crew of Flight 11 contacted ground personnel about the ongoing hijacking on Flight 11.
  • At 8:20 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 took off from Washington Dulles International Airport.
  • At 8:24 a.m., the Flight 11 hijacker sent a message, attempting to communicate with passengers and crew on Flight 11 but accidentally transmitting to air traffic control, inadvertently alerting them to the attack.
  • At 8:30 a.m., approximately 80 people had gathered for a financial technology conference on the 106th floor of the North Tower. Additionally, 72 restaurant staff had arrived before the breakfast service and conference preparations began.
  • At 8:37 a.m., Boston air traffic controllers notified military authorities that the Air National Guard in Massachusetts was mobilized to track Flight 11.
  • At 8:46 a.m., Flight 11 crashed into floors 93 to 99 of the North Tower of the WTC.
  • At 8:50 a.m., President George W. Bush was secured. However, his advisors initially considered it a tragic accident.
  • At 8:55 – 8:59 a.m., the South Tower was declared safe. Port Authority police ordered an evacuation of both towers. A minute later, this order was extended to the entire WTC complex.
  • At 9:00 a.m., Flight 175 contacted a flight operation facility in San Francisco, California, regarding the ongoing hijacking.
  • At 9:03 a.m., Flight 175 crashed into floors 77 to 85 of the South Tower of the WTC.
  • At 9:05 a.m., President Bush learned of the second plane’s crash into the WTC. Twenty-five minutes later, he addressed the American public, announcing that terrorism against the nation would not stand.
  • At 9:12 a.m., flight attendant Renee A. May called her mother, informing her that the hijackers had taken control of the plane and forced passengers and cabin crew into submission.
  • At 9:37 a.m., five hijackers on American Airlines Flight 77 crashed the plane into the western side of the Pentagon.
  • At 10:53 a.m., Flight 93 crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
  • At 10:28 a.m., the North Tower collapsed after burning for 102 minutes.

This provides the history and chronology of the 9/11 tragedy in the United States.

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