September 11, 2001 was a bright, crisp morning in many regions of the United States, which was shattered when the nation was attacked by terrorists. Americans and friends all over the world remember where they were and what they were doing that fateful Tuesday morning, when the first attack commenced with a plane being flown into the World Trade Center in New York.
On September 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time, American Airlines Flight 11 was flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center. At first, many believed the event to be an accident, simple pilot error. The news of the crash preempted many regular programs as cameramen and photographers captured flames, billowing smoke, and sadly, bodies of people who plunged to their deaths rather than remaining trapped in the building. As journalists and everyday people continued filming, snapping photos, and watching the skies, another plane, United Airlines Flight 175, was flown into the south tower at 9:02 a.m. America was clearly under attack.
Before people could absorb the shock, another strike was being executed. Unbeknownst to Americans, at least one more plane headed toward Washington, D.C. At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 was flown into the Pentagon, the headquarters of America’s military operations. People were horrified to learn that other planes that may have been hijacked were still not accounted for. Loved ones of passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 began receiving phone calls, learning that the flight had indeed been hijacked. They told their loved ones of the earlier attacks.
The brave men and women on Flight 93 refused to let their plane or their deaths be used to hurt America. They died as heroes, as they retook the plane, crashing it into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania instead of allowing the hijacked plane to go on to its intended target, believed to be nearby Washington, D.C. It was 10:03 on September 11, 2001.
In less than one and a half hours, three American landmarks had been hit and one had been narrowly avoided. Soon, U.S. Airspace was closed down completely. Many believe that other attacks were still pending on September 11 and that this unprecedented move by the U.S. government thwarted further atrocities.
America learned a lot about heroes on September 11, 2001. First responders, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and a host of off duty responders, construction workers, medical professionals, and everyday people risked their lives to help evacuate as many people as possible from the burning and badly damaged Twin Towers, as well as from the Pentagon. Brave men and women lost their lives on September 11, along with the victims inside each building and aboard each plane.
Many sayings are associated with the September 11 atrocities, such as, “We will never forget.” Certainly, Americans will never forget the day that thousands of innocent people, their parents, siblings, children, spouses, and friends, were murdered on American soil. September 11 is also known as “the day the United States once again became united” and “the day the world changed.” It’s true that Americans banded together to help each other through the harrowing events and the aftermath of that day. It’s also true that the world reacted to the September 11, 2001 attack, and perhaps the world did change.
Americans were touched by the heartfelt sentiments and condolences shared by citizens and leaders from over one hundred other nations. Hearing the National Anthem played in other countries brought fresh tears to the eyes of many. The tributes and kindnesses were without measure, and they helped America face the atrocities of September 11, as well as the taunts of her enemies, who danced in the streets and celebrated the brutal deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans in an unprovoked and unprecedented attack.
While some believe that U.S. foreign policy played a hand in inciting these attacks, they were not acts of self-defense, nor is there any way to justify such tactics. The attacks of September 11, 2001 were executed mainly against civilians, and they were nothing less than atrocities, carried out by terrorist extremists.