18 Year Later
18 years ago, the greatest terror attack in known history took place. As four planes crashed into four locations. One in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. One in the South Tower. One in the Pentagon in Washington DC. Finally, one in a field in Pennsylvania. These attacks later came to be called The September 11 Attacks. They, to this date, have been recorded as both the biggest terror attack in human history, and one of the largest aviation incidents in history. This is their story.
It started as a normal morning. Over 2,000 people readied for work at the Trade Center. 300 first responders readied to save lives. 250 people readied for their flights. And 19 hijackers readied to cause havoc. They had one goal, mass destruction. These hijackers were apart of the organization Al-Quida, and this had been a plan in the making. This plan was orchestrated over the day, as all four planes were to be crashed into four different locations.
At 7:46 AM, American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767-200ER pushed back from the gate at Boston Logan International. Flight 11 was one minute behind schedule but continued without any problems. However, there we in fact problems on that plane. 5 hijackers had boarded the plane and were waiting to strike. The plane began its take-off roll at around 8:00 AM. As the plane climbed, the hijackers made their move. They got up, drawing weapons and stormed the flight deck. They subdued they did not actually subdue the pilots, but I am trying to not say kill or provide even more graphic images the pilots, and stabbed a flight attendant. Contact was lost with the flight at 8:14 AM. The hijackers pointed the plane at New York and set off.
At 8:46 AM, the North Tower exploded into flames. The plane had been rammed into the North Tower. The building had begun to be evacuated. News cameras and emergency responders were soon on the scene. They captured some frightening.
Elsewhere in the sky, a second plane soon lost contact with ATC. And pointed itself toward New York. United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767-200 rammed into the South Tower at 9:03. News cameras captured the moment the plane struck, and the top of the tower exploded into fire.
At 9:53, the South Tower began to creak. Bits of it soon began to fall. And in one swift moment, the tower collapsed. This caused the deaths of over 1,000 people. The North Tower soon followed. Both collapses also caused surrounding buildings to crumble, killing many more. Along with that, over 200 first responders were hit and killed in the destruction. The towers were no more. However, the end was nowhere in sight.
At the same time, a third plane failed to contact ATC. This plane was American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757-200, was soon hijacked at 8:51 AM. It pointed itself toward Arlington, Pennsylvania. At 9:37, a pilot of a C-130 reported a fireball coming from the Pentagon. He said, “Looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon, sir.”
He was true, the plane had impacted the Pentagon in a big ball of fire. The Western side of the Pentagon, completely devastating it. This killed many employees working at the facility, including many high-level personnel. The Naval Command Center was completely devastated. Footage soon was recovered of the crash, and I will let it do the talking.
Elsewhere in Shanksville, Pennsylvania a plane hit a field. Why a field? One of the greatest feats in the attack had been committed minutes prior.
United Airlines Flight 93 was a normal flight, or was supposed to be. The plane, a Boeing 757-200 took off from Newark Liberty International at 8:40 AM. By then, American Airlines Flight 11 was 4 minutes out from the North Tower. At 9:28 AM the hijacking began. The hijackers stormed the flight deck and took out the pilots and a flight attendant. They pointed the flight towards DC and got underway. In the hour that followed, the passengers became aware of the hijacking. They also received calls from loved ones alerting them to the aircraft crashing into the world trade center.
The first mayday rung out as the flight deck was breached.
Soon after, the passengers began to plan. They needed to take back the aircraft from the hijackers. After things were finalized, they called loved ones and wished them farewell. Then they began to revolt. They stormed the aircraft and took out the hijackers. In the chaos, the plane later became inverted and plummeted toward the ground. The aircraft crashed in a field in Pennsylvania at 10:03 AM, all on board died.
These attacks have affected us as a nation and as a world altogether. We have increased security at borders and airports, taken further measures to prevent hijacking on board aircraft, and have been stricter on terrorism. This attack also started the war on terror. We have since been locked in the longest war in human history, spanning almost 20 years.
As you wrap up reading this, I want you to take four minutes of silence, one for each of the planes that were hijacked and crashed in an attack that galvanized the nation.
And as I finish, up I want to tell you that we cannot and will not forget this attack that changed things. We will never forget