Remembering 9/11

9/11 Memorial

Ashley Falco, Staff Writer

On September 11, 2001, two terrorist-controlled planes flew into the World Trade center, better known as the Twin Towers. However, that wasn’t the only attack, as there were two other planes. One crashed into the Pentagon, and the other crash-landed into a rural field in Pennsylvania. Sixteen years later, we mourn the loss of our loved ones and the authorities that risked their lives to save those who unfortunately found themselves trapped in the World Trade Center.

It all started when the first of four planes flew into the north tower at 8:46 A.M. The plane was an American Airlines Boeing 767, which was loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel. At first, those who saw the whole scene unfold thought the plane had accidentally crashed into the tower. Little did they know that it was most definitely not accidental. At 9:03 A.M., the second of the four planes crashed into the south tower. The plane was another American Airlines Boeing 767, United Airlines Flight 175. After this occurred, America realized this was not an accident at all. It was a terrorist attack. Then, at 9:45 A.M., the third of the four planes, American Airlines Flight 77, hit the West side of Pentagon, and by this point, America was in a frenzy. As if the panic wasn’t enough, the catastrophe took a shocking turn. Less than 15 minutes after Flight 77 struck the Pentagon, the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. Sadly, at 10:30 A.M., the north tower fell. It’s said there were only six people who survived the fatal collapse of the two large buildings. The madness still wasn’t over, though. After the Pentagon was hit, there was another plane, almost “thankfully” the last of the four, United Flight 93. Flight 93 was taken over by four heroic passengers that were well-aware that they would not be returning to an airport; they were willing to die if it meant nobody else would be harmed by the terrible doings of the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda. Flight 93 was said to be heading towards Washington D.C., straight to the White House.

America responded at 9:00 P.M., when George W. Bush, who was the President of the United States at the time of the attack made televised statements. His unforgettable words were, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” As for the military response, he declared, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” With the President’s emotional statement, Americans were devastated. To this day, we are all still shocked and mortified.

Thousands of people lost their lives on this devastating day. At the World Trade Center, a whopping total of 2,763 innocent people died. This includes 23 New York City police officers, 37 Port Authority police officers, and 343 firefighters and paramedics. All of these heroes risked their lives to evacuate as many people from the two large burning buildings as possible, and for that, we salute them. Going over to the Pentagon, 189 people were killed, including the 64 people that boarded American Airlines Flight 77. Very sadly, all 44 people that were aboard Flight 93, which crash-landed into a rural field in Pennsylvania, were killed on impact. There were 19 terrorists in total behind this attack, and they also were killed.

9/11 was a turning point for America. We now take more safety precautions when boarding planes, and though the security officers are a bit more strict than they used to be, they are helping protect us all from another terrorist attack. America is grateful for the people that did everything they could to save their fellow Americans, may they rest in peace. Our nation is stronger than ever now, and we will not back down. The ones we lost are the ones we avenge, and forever will we. The World Trade Center is now one large building, and there is a memorial close by. Americans will never forget this terrible day.