America changed forever as daily routines of men, women and children rushed around this Tuesday morning. On September 11, 2001 planes were hijacked, buildings collapsed, and many lives were lost. Washington, Pennsylvania and The World Trade Center was the target for these men to destroy. Will we ever know the real reason for this disaster? I’m guessing that this will remain a mystery forever ( 9/11 Commission Report 1).
At 6:45 in the early morning hours, Atta and Oman arrived in Boston. Atta received a call from Marwan al Shenni with instructions. As they boarded planes many of Shenni’s colleagues were there and with little experience of traveling, struggled as they went through security. No suspicious activity was noted, everyone was aboard planes in small groups and these men were headed in four different directions.
The first plane, American Airlines Flight 11 was to capacity with 9 flight attendants, 81 passengers aboard, the captain and his first officer. The plane had just reached about 26,000 feet in the air when the chaos began. Two flight attendants were stabbed and the hijackers quickly took control by spraying some sort of irritant in the first-class cabin, ordering passengers to the rear of the plane. The captain and his first officer were not able to reach ground control to notify them of what was going on before the crash took place ( 9/11 a tribute 18).
The second plane, United Airlines Flight 175 had 56 passengers, 5 hijackers, and 9 crew members aboard the plane which was originally headed for Los Angeles. After the crash from American Flight 11, United Airlines 175 had been directed away from the area as a safety precaution ( 9/11 a tribute 18).
America didn’t know what was going on at the time of the first plane hitting the north tower in New York City of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building. President George W. Bush was notified by the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card that a plane had hit the World Trade Center at 8:50 a.m.. By the time the second plane slammed into the south tower at 9:03 a.m., America was in shock as reports were being made that this was done by terrorists. NYPD and FDNY forces dispatched units to the World Trade Center as Authority Police Department officers on site immediately began evacuation ( cnn.library. September 11th Terror Attacks Fast Facts).
The World Trade Center was located in Manhattan, a superb of New York City. This was a commercial complex, containing several businesses as well as an underground shopping mall. The Twin Towers were located in the center of this complex, each tower had one hundred and ten stories and, together, were the workplace of approximately thirty-five thousand people and over four hundred companies, making this an ideal location for a terrorist attack (FAQ about 9/11).
The first hit took place between the ninety third and ninety-ninth floors (Schmemann). The impact killed hundreds of people and trapped hundreds more in floors above. The people trapped dove off the side of the building to their deaths desperate to escape the damages and flames (Weinberg). The evacuation began immediately, but eighteen minutes after starting evacuation, the second tower was sliced through the seventy-seventh and eighty-fifth floors (history.com Staff. “9/11 Attacks”). This crash caused a huge explosion because of the full gasoline tanks on the planes and destroyed the towers and five other buildings in the World Trade Center (FAQ about 9/11).
Shortly after the American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north tower, the south tower collapsed creating massive clouds of dust and smoke. The towers, which were suppose to withstand 200 miles per hour of wind gusts couldn’t withstand the intense heat put off from the fire of burning jet fuel. While dealing with the evacuation, devastation and mass destruction, the north tower collapses 102 minutes after it was struck at 8:46 that morning. Following what seemed like days to America, the World Trade Center collapses at 5:20 in the evening after burning for hours. America was brought to reality when our president, George W. Bush was able to make it safely back to Washington D.C., after making a quick trip around the United States for security purposes and for concern of more terrorist attacks. Once he was safely back at the White House he addressed the United States making this profound statement. “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” (history.com Staff. “9/11 Attacks”) He continued to say that he won’t let them get away with any of this, that we will find them!
On September 12, 2001, the United Nations held an emergency meeting, in which they condemned the terrorist act, stating that “a terrorist attack on one country was an attack on all humanity” (The U. S. And Int’l Response to 9/11). For the first time in the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO decided to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which states that an armed attack against one or more NATO countries is an attack against all NATO countries. (The U. S. And Int’l Response to 9/11). The United States invoked their right of self-defense during wartime, meaning that a nation that has been threatened or attacked has the right to defend itself. The country was officially at war. Fires continued to burn within the rubble of the buildings for several weeks. Rescue and recovery teams works effortlessly for months following this mass destruction. The clean-up and large gaping holes where the towers once stood became a tourist location until May 30, 2002.
Eight months and 19 days later, the cleanup and recovery efforts officially ended with a brief and somber ceremony. There were no speeches. The ceremony began with the sound of a fire bell ringing for a fallen firefighter at 10:29 a.m.
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