Taking a look back: 17 years since 9/11

On September 11, 2001, America was attacked by 19 men who had been trained by Al Qaeda. The men hijacked four passenger planes and at approximately 8:45 a.m. an American Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. 18 minutes later, people watched United Airlines Flight 175 crash into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. At approximately 9:45 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the Pentagon. United Flight 93 was also hijacked and crashed into a field in western Pennsylvania at 10:10 a.m. (BBC and CNN).
During the attack at the World Trade Center, 2,763 people, including 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers were killed. At the Pentagon, 189 people, including 74 people aboard American Airlines Flight 77 were killed. All 44 people aboard United Flight 93 were killed. A total of 2,996 people lost their lives during these terrorist attacks, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in American history (BBC, CNN).
The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed from the heat and explosion caused by the plane, just 15 minutes after both Boeing planes crashed into the Twin Towers. At 10:30 a.m., the North Tower collapsed. Approximately 10,000 people were treated for injuries after the towers collapsed, and only six people who were in the towers when they collapsed survived (History.com).
The jet fuel from the Boeing aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon started a fire which led to a structural collapse of that building as well.
None of the members aboard American Airlines Flight 77 survived (History.com).
Passengers aboard United Flight 93 discovered that the flight was being hijacked and took action.
It is believed that the passengers and flight attendants were able to overwhelm the terrorists with a fire extinguisher, causing a loss of control of the aircraft.
The plane plummeted at approximately 500 miles per hour and crashed in a field in western Pennsylvania. None of the members of Flight 93 survived (History.com).
Americans have worked to preserve the history of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. Museums and memorials have been opened across the nation to remind the
American people of the tragedy of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the brave people who gave their lives to protect others.
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum, located in New York City is dedicated to preserving the lives lost during the Attacks.
UMHB freshman social work major Natalie Gonzalez Blanco visited the museum in 2017.
“The original flag that was flown by the towers was on display at the memorial,” Blanco said. “They [found many] belongings while cleaning the debris. They also had a room where you can see pictures of everyone who died with a summary of what they did in the buildings. They had a room of some recorded calls that the people on the planes made to their families, like voicemail recordings.”
Among the exhibits at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is the Survivor Tree.
The Survivor Tree is a Callery Pear tree that survived the attacks on the World Trade Center. The tree was discovered at Ground Zero and removed from the rubble. The tree was returned to the memorial in 2010 (911memorial.org).
“My favorite part of the museum was probably the room with the [recorded] calls and missing items,” Blanco said.
“Hearing the calls play while I was in the room gave me chills because you could hear how scared the people were. The room with the items is heartbreaking because there are so many items that they found and each one has a story,” she said.
The tragedies of the 9/11 terrorist attacks left many Americans in shock. America saw an increase in airport security, an increase in the passion for fighting the War on Terror and an increase in general safety measures on commercial flights.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks had a lasting impact on the American people.
UMHB senior education major Taylor Gusler was almost four years old at the time of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.
“I think it’s important for us to remember what happened during 9/11,” she said. “It definitely united us as a country and showed us where we were vulnerable. As a future teacher, I will absolutely be teaching my students about what happened on 9/11. I think it’s important that they know what happened and the changes that resulted in this country because of it.”
Many of the Americans who died that day said their final goodbyes to their families without even thinking that it could be possible that they would never hug their children, spouses, or parents again.
We must remember the lives of the members of American Airlines Flight 767, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77, United Flight 93, and those at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon along with all the first responders who gave their lives to protect others.

Author: Bri Bullion

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