We update this post each year so we don’t forget the horror and the Patriots of 9/11/01. Sadly those charged with the responsibility to prevent this from happening again seem to be increasingly forgetful…
Fifteen years ago America was rocked by unprecedented events. On September 11, 2001, the sights that played before us were unbelievable and terrifying.
Our nation had never seen a terrorist attack of such magnitude. In the years since, America has fought against terrorist organizations and for freedom from fear. As of late it appears we are losing ground.
That day fifteen years ago our nation turned inward. We sought comfort and solace from neighbors, family, friends, and strangers. It reminded us that we are a nation, and we are a united force.
Timeline of 9/11 Events
Here is a timeline of the events that transpired on Sept. 11, 2001, as compiled by History.com:
- 7:59 a.m. – American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 with 92 people aboard, takes off from Boston’s Logan International Airport en route to Los Angeles.
- 8:14 a.m. – United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767 with 65 people aboard, takes off from Boston; it is also headed to Los Angeles.
- 8:19 a.m. – Flight attendants aboard Flight 11 alert ground personnel that the plane has been hijacked; American Airlines notifies the FBI.
- 8:20 a.m. – American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C. The Boeing 757 is headed to Los Angeles with 64 people aboard.
- 8:24 a.m. – Hijacker Mohammed Atta makes the first of two accidental transmissions from Flight 11 to ground control (apparently in an attempt to communicate with the plane’s cabin).
- 8:40 a.m. – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) alerts North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) about the suspected hijacking of Flight 11. In response, NEADS scrambles two fighter planes located at Cape Cod’s Otis Air National Guard Base to locate and tail Flight 11; they are not yet in the air when Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
- 8:41 a.m. – United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 with 44 people aboard, takes off from Newark International Airport en route to San Francisco. It had been scheduled to depart at 8 a.m., around the time of the other hijacked flights.
- 8:46 a.m. – Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 crash the plane into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.
- 8:47 a.m. – Within seconds, NYPD and FDNY force dispatch units to the World Trade Center, while Port Authority Police Department officers on site begin immediate evacuation of the North Tower.
- 8:50 a.m. – White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card alerts President George W. Bush that a plane has hit the World Trade Center; the president is visiting an elementary school in Sarasota, Fla., at the time.
- 9:02 a.m. – After initially instructing tenants of the WTC’s South Tower to remain in the building, Port Authority officials broadcast orders to evacuate both towers via the public address system; an estimated 10,000 to 14,000 people are already in the process of evacuating.
- 9:03 a.m. – Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 75-85 of the WTC’s South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.
- 9:08 a.m. – The FAA bans all takeoffs of flights going to New York City or through the airspace around the city.
- 9:21 a.m. – Port Authority closes all bridges and tunnels in the New York City area.
- 9:24 a.m. – The FAA notifies NEADS of the suspected hijacking of Flight 77 after some passengers and crew aboard are able to alert family members on the ground.
- 9:31 a.m. – Speaking from Florida, President Bush calls the events in New York City an “apparent terrorist attack on our country.”
- 9:37 a.m. – Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western façade of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.
- 9:42 a.m. – For the first time in history, the FAA grounds all flights over or bound for the continental United States. Some 3,300 commercial flights and 1,200 private planes are guided to airports in Canada and the United States over the next two-and-a-half hours.
- 9:45 a.m. – Amid escalating rumors of other attacks, the White House and U.S. Capitol building are evacuated (along with numerous other high-profile buildings, landmarks, and public spaces).
- 9:59 a.m. – The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
- 10:07 a.m. – After passengers and crew members aboard the hijacked Flight 93 contact friends and family and learn about the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., they mount an attempt to retake the plane. In response, hijackers deliberately crash the plane into a fi eld in Somerset County, Pa., killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.
- 10:28 a.m. – The World Trade Center’s North Tower collapses, 102 minutes after being struck by Flight 11.
- 11 a.m. – New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani calls for the evacuation of Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, including more than 1 million residents, workers and tourists, as efforts continue throughout the afternoon to search for survivors at the WTC site.
- 1 p.m. – From a U.S. Air Force base in Louisiana, President Bush announces that U.S. military forces are on high alert worldwide.
- 2:51 p.m. – The U.S. Navy dispatches missile destroyers to New York and Washington, D.C.
- 5:20 p.m. – The 47-story Seven World Trade Center collapses after burning for hours; the building had been evacuated in the morning, and there are no casualties, though the collapse forces rescue workers to flee for their lives.
- 6:58 p.m. – President Bush returns to the White House after stops at military bases in Louisiana and Nebraska.
- 8:30 p.m. – President Bush addresses the nation, calling the attacks “evil, despicable acts of terror” and declaring that America, its friends and allies would “stand together to win the war against terrorism.”
Stories of Heroism
In the horrors of that day, heroes rose among the chaos. Their examples are a testament to the goodness of those around us. To mark this Patriot Day, let us remember their stories, their sacrifice, and the importance of standing together against forces of evil.
There are too many heroes from that day to mention in one post. 343 firefighters died instantly when the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11 2001, along with 60 police officers and eight paramedics.
Below are inspirational stories of three everyday Americans who naturally ran to, not from, danger.
Welles was an equity trader on the 104th floor of South Tower of the World Trade Center. Crowther had trained as a volunteer firefighter as a teenager and knew how to respond in the face of disaster. Survivors describe a young, authoritative man bursting into a room of frightened people and directing them to the stairwell. He guided the injured to the healthy to help them down. Crowther saved the lives of at least 18 people that day. He returned to the crumbling building three times.
He ultimately perished and his body was recovered among firefighters and police in the lobby of the South Tower. As one of the thousands that worked in the World Trade Center, it was not his responsibility to save lives that day. He could have easily survived, but instead gave his all to ensure the survival of dozens of others who needed him.
The story of flight United Airlines Flight 93 is an amazing tribute to courage in the face of destruction. Tom was on that flight that day. He made four phone calls to his wife, Deena. In his last phone call he told his wife, “I know we are going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it.”
Burnett and others fought back against the hijackers of the flight which ultimately crashed in a rural Pennsylvania field. There were no survivors from that flight. Although the intended target of that flight is unknown, it is generally believed that it was headed for either the White House or the U.S. Capitol building. Had it reached its destination, an untold numbers of lives would have been lost in addition to those from Flight 93.
Ronald was the New York Fire Marshal. He had a long list of military service. He had been in the Army for 29 years. He served in the Special Forces, Green Berets and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Later he joined the New York Fire Department and served there for 23 years before his death on September 11th. He climbed as far as the 78th floor when the building collapsed. He is the only New York Fire Marshal to be killed in the line of duty.
These are just some of the countless people who rose to the aid of their fellow men in a moment of panic and terror. The New York police and fire departments, employees of the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and passersby all took part in an effort to overcome the impossible.
In September 2011, the World Trade Center Memorial officially opened. It has come as a sense of closure to many who lost or nearly lost loved ones that day. Two reflecting pools stand in place of the original towers inscribed with the names of the 2,983 victims lost that day; in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C., as well as the names of those lost in a bombing at the World Trade Center in 1993.
- Heroes are everywhere.
- Terrorism has many faces.
- We must support the men and women of our military.
- America is vulnerable.
- Terrorism affects everyone.
- We can all do our part.
- We are at our best when times are at their worst.
Let us remember this Patriot Day the emotions, the heartache, and the strength that came after that clear autumn day. It is a reminder of both the fragility of life and imperceivable courage of the common man and woman — Americans.
We are reminded of the greatness of our Country and that for it, we shall always fight. For it is our privilege to be a citizen of the United States of America.
Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.
~ From George W. Bush’s speech, delivered 11 September, form the Oval Office, Washington, D.C.
At *your* service,
P.S. Help spread this story about this important day in our Nation’s history! Do me a favor and share this post!