Michael Foran / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Sept. 11, 2001, is and always will be a tragic day in our country’s history. That day there were four plane crashes. One into both the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in New York, NY, Flights 11 and 175, one into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., Flight 77, and Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. These attacks were caused by the terrorist group al-Qaeda. We mourn this day every year by having a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.to remember those who were lost, both in the crash and in the rescue efforts. All of the crash sites, except for the Pentagon, have memorials to honor the bravery of those who lost their lives on that day. This day will not be forgotten.
All of America stopped and stared as the tragedy unfolded. The first attack was on the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. The North tower was hit first, followed by the South tower at 9:03 a.m. The Southern tower fell at 9:59 a.m. followed by the Northern 29 minutes afterward. The New York City fire department deployed 200 units, and the police departments sent out 1,331 officers. Over 500,000 people were saved from Manhattan by boat in a matter of nine hours. Damages to the city totaled over 10 billion dollars, however, no physical damage could outweigh the pain America felt for those that had fallen and their loved ones.
As the third plane flew through the air, it collided with light posts and a power generator, damaging its right wing. However, the damage to the plane did not stop it from colliding with the western side of the Pentagon, which resulted in it almost completely collapsing. This crash ended in 125 deaths, 70 of which were civilians and the other 55 were military personnel. The death count from that location could have been much higher if not for the design of the Pentagon. Fortunately, on Sep 11, 1941, construction on the Pentagon began. The building was made almost entirely of reinforced concrete because steel was being conserved for World War II. Due to that previous construction, it took another 30 minutes for the top floors to collapse, giving almost everyone enough time to get to safety. If this had not happened, we could have lost many more lives that day.
The fourth and final crash was in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The target of this plane was believed to be either the White House or the country’s capital. Luckily, this one didn’t finish its course. It was due to the bravery of the plane’s 40 passengers. When they realized that the plane had been hijacked, they decided to sacrifice themselves in order to bring the plane down. Some of these people had called loved ones or others to tell them what was happening and that they would be going down along with the plane. When the time came, a few of the people broke into the cockpit and took control. They ended up overcoming the hijackers and nose-diving the plane into an empty field where no other main population would be hit. It met the ground at 10:03 am, releasing no survivors. There is now a Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville to honor these courageous people. Let them never be forgotten.
On that day, almost 3,000 people lost their lives, not only Americans but people from all over the world. Adding to that, there were over 25,000 injuries. No one who had boarded those four planes was still alive by the end of the day. These brave souls will be remembered for a very long time. September 11 is not a holiday for celebration. It is for remembrance. This day was and always will be a tragedy in American history and has changed our country in many ways. May we hope our country never has to face something like this again.