The Attack 9/11 2001

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On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Often referred to as 9/11, the attacks resulted in extensive death and destruction, triggering major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defining the presidency of George W. Bush. Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and firefighters.

With the exception of the Civil War battle of Antietam, more American lives were lost on September 11, 2001, than on any other day in U.S. history: 2,996 people were killed—265 on the four hijacked planes, 125 at the Pentagon and 2,606 at the World Trade Center and surrounding area. More than 411 emergency workers died on 9/11, and the total number of rescue and recovery workers who have died has more than doubled since the attacks, to 1,064 as of July, according to data obtained exclusively by Newsweek from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

On September 11, 2001, at 8:45 a.m. on a clear Tuesday morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact left a gaping, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. As the evacuation of the tower and its twin got underway, television cameras broadcasted live images of what initially appeared to be a freak accident. Then, 18 minutes after the first plane hit, a second Boeing 767–United Airlines Flight 175–appeared out of the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center and sliced into the south tower near the 60th floor. The collision caused a massive explosion that showered burning debris over surrounding buildings and the streets below. America was under attack.

The attackers were Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia and several other Arab nations. Reportedly financed by Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organization, they were allegedly acting in retaliation for America’s support of Israel, its involvement in the Persian Gulf War and its continued military presence in the Middle East. Some of the terrorists had lived in the United States for more than a year and had taken flying lessons at American commercial flight schools. Others had slipped into the country in the months before September 11 and acted as the “muscle” in the operation. The 19 terrorists easily smuggled box-cutters and knives through security at three East Coast airports and boarded four flights bound for California, chosen because the planes were loaded with fuel for the long transcontinental journey. Soon after takeoff, the terrorists commandeered the four planes and took the controls, transforming ordinary commuter jets into guided missiles.

As millions watched the events unfolding in New York, American Airlines Flight 77 circled over downtown Washington, D.C., and slammed into the west side of the Pentagon military headquarters at 9:45 a.m. Jet fuel from the Boeing 757 caused a devastating inferno that led to the structural collapse of a portion of the giant concrete building.

Firefighters work to put out the flames moments after a hijacked jetliner crashed into the Pentagon at approximately 0930 on September 11, 2001.

All told, 125 military personnel and civilians were killed in the Pentagon, along with all 64 people aboard the airliner. Less than 15 minutes after the terrorists struck the nerve center of the U.S. military, the horror in New York took a catastrophic turn for the worse when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed in a massive cloud of dust and smoke. The structural steel of the skyscraper, built to withstand winds in excess of 200 miles per hour and a large conventional fire, could not withstand the tremendous heat generated by the burning jet fuel. At 10:30 a.m., the other Trade Center tower collapsed.

Close to 3,000 people died in the World Trade Center and its vicinity, including a staggering 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers who were struggling to complete an evacuation of the buildings and save the office workers trapped on higher floors. Only six people in the World Trade Center towers at the time of their collapse survived. Almost 10,000 others were treated for injuries, many severe.

This is Secret Service Special Agent Tom Armas. On 9/11/01, SA Armas was working out next door to the World Trade Center when all hell broke loose. He ran towards danger, not once, but multiple times, climbing 40 stories in the North Tower to rescue people. He did this in gym shorts and a t-shirt. He eventually became trapped in the North Tower’s lobby after the South Tower collapsed. Tom made it out. This is one story of heroism on September 11th and there are countless others from that day. I encourage you to find your own hero from 9/11, read their story today. Remember that ordinary people became extraordinary. You don’t have to wait for the world to fall down around you to decide to be extraordinary. Be kind to each other. Be tolerant of each other. Photo By: Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News via Getty Images

First FDNY battalion chief to enter the north tower on 9/11 set to retire- 2018

Still Riding Rescue company New York cityMany of the heroes in this video perished on 9/11

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