The History Files
Twenty years ago, America was a different nation, not just because George Bush was president or Tony Blair UK’s Prime Minister. We traveled freely without security checks, walked people to their gates at airports as they departed, and greeted them at their gates as they arrived. Tickets and photo ID’s weren’t required for entry to the gates, laptops weren’t checked, liquids weren’t restricted nor metal dectors used to screen passengers.
We did not live in a surveillance state, calls were’t hacked nor written communications filtered. There was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), or The Patriot Act. There was no war in Afghanistan or heated tensions in the Middle East. Things were different in America.
What changed things so drastically? September 11, 2001 did.
On that beautiful, clear, and sunny Tuesday, the unthinkable was about to happen to America.
September 11, 2001 was the day that nineteen terrorists of Al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and used them as guided missles in their plot against America. Two airplanes were flown into the Twin Towers in NYC, one into the Pentagon in Washington DC, and one crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania.
At 8:45 AM EST, a Boeing 767, with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel, crashed into the North tower at the 80th floor, creating a hole to the 110th floor.
Most watched in horror as they considered this unbelievable accident that must have just happened, for a plane to veer off course and mistakenly hit this tall landmark in Manhattan.
Eighteen minutes later, the South tower was hit at the 60th floor. It was now clear, that this was NOT an accident.
America was under attack.
At 9:45 AM EST, the Pentagon was hit on the West side. While this was burning, fifteen minutes later the South tower of World Trade Center collapsed due to the heat of the jet fuel.
At 10:30 AM, the North tower fell. Only six in the towers at the time of their collapse lived.
In flight at this time was the fourth plane, which was hijacked after leaving New Jersey bound for San Francisco. Because of it’s later take off delays, passengers aboard Flight 93 were receiving calls and texts from loved ones telling them what was going on. Although on board, they were told that their flight had turned around and was returning to the airport, passengers knew differently.
So they planned to overthrow the hijackers. It is believed they stormed the cockpit in an effort to abort the evil attack that had been planned for this guided missle. As they did, the plane flipped and sped to the ground at a speed of 500 mph. It crashed in the fileds of Shanksville, PA at 10:10 AM. Fourty-four on board will killed. It is believed the intended target was the White House, or the Capital.
In NYC, the casualities were enormous. 2,763 died at the WTC, including 343 Firefighters and Paramedics, 23 NY police officers, and 37 Port Authority Police Officers. Citizens of seventy-eight countries were employees of the Towers and lost their lives that day.
At the Pentagon, 189 were killed. 125 were killed on the ground and 64 on the plane.
Nearly 3,000 innocent’s died that day.
President Bush led America’s response by initiating Operation Enduring Freedom, a US led coalition to oust the Taliban and destroy Osama Bin Laden’s network, on October 7, 2001. Two months later, the Taliban was removed from operational power in Afgahnistan.
Osama Bin Laden, the money and brain behind the attacks was tracked down and killed on May 2, 2011.
Additionally, The Department of Homeland Security was formed as a Cabinet post, the TSA was formed and the Patriot Act was passed, allowing for surveillance of citizens and others.
The impact of that day was far reaching.
The “Pile” of rubble that remained in NYC took 9 months to remove. From its burning fumes and toxic particles, the first responders and people working and living in Manhattan were exposed to cancer causing elements. By 2018, 10,000 people were diagnosed with 911 related cancers.
A 911 Victim’s Compensation Fund was formed and funds set to stop in 2092.
In December, 2001, Congress approved a bill calling for September 11 as Patriot’s Day.
Since that horrific day, memorials have been built at each site. They are each well worth visiting.
At The World Trade Center site, two reflecting pools were built with 152 engraved, bronze panels, surrounding the pools with the names of those lost that day. It is called, “Reflecting Absence”.
On September 11, 2011, the museum opened up, taking you a level below ground to view the violent distruction that tore our hearts that day. It’s power rivals only that of the Holocaust Museum. It is heartwrenching.
In November of 2014, The Freedom Tower, at One World Trade opened, standing proudly at 1,776 feet tall!
THIS day in American history, September 11, was MY Pearl Harbor!
In Honolulu, on December 7, 1941, they lost 2,403.
Both have changed America and the world forever.
It is my sincere hope, that we will never forget September 11, 2001, not out of vindictiveness, but out of a call for remembering truth and the patriots who gave themselves in that pursuit. Most of them unknowingly that day.
We know and we must never forget. THAT is the duty and privilege of a partiot.