Life in the land of the free, and the home of the brave
Life in the land of the free, and the home of the brave
7 years later
September 11th, 2001, 8:46am, the nation watches in shock and disbelief. American Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower at the World Trade Center. It soon became clear that the chaos of this horrifyingly surreal news footage was part of a series of terrorist attacks that would continue to unfold in this day-turned-nightmare. With live steaming video on every television channel, Americans are shattered and reporters are speechless as United Flight 175 crashes into the South Tower at the World Trade Center. We are a country in crisis. The shear devastation continues to compile. 9:21 a.m. - Bridges and tunnels leading into New York City are closed.9:25 a.m. - All domestic flights are grounded by U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
9:45 a.m. - American Flight 77 crashes into The Pentagon.10:05 a.m. - The South Tower at the World Trade Center collapses.10:05 a.m. - The White House is evacuated.10:10 a.m. - A large section of one side of The Pentagon collapses.10:10 a.m. - United Flight 93 crashes in a wooded area in Pennsylvania, after passengers confront hijackers.10:28 a.m. - The North Tower at the World Trade Center collapses.
The attacks of 9/11 were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda. On that Tuesday morning, 19 terrorists hijacked 4 commercial passenger jet airliners. Two were intentionally crashed into the twin towers, killing everyone on board and many working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours.
The hijackers crashed the third airliner into the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers and members of the flight crew on the aircraft attempted to retake control of their plane, which was headed for Washington, D.C.
There are no known survivors from any of the flights. 2,974 people from over 90 different countries died in the attacks. Another 24 are missing and presumed dead.
The motive of the attacks are consistent with the overall mission statement of al-Qaeda, as set out in a 1998 fatwā issued by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Ahmed Refai Taha, Mir Hamzah, and Fazlur Rahman. In a statement that begins by quoting the Koran as saying, "slay the pagans wherever ye find them." And concludes that it is the "duty of every Muslim" to "kill Americans anywhere.”
And so they begin the initial steps of a terrorist plot so heinous, it is difficult to comprehend. Even seven years later. 9/11 shattered and infuriated the hearts of Americans. It was a day the world as we knew it was changed forever. But al-Qaeda may have failed to consider the ramifications and the reactions they would receive, by the people of a country who stand as one, without any tolerance for terrorism.
Differences were set aside and political party choice had no bearing. Nor did race, creed, gender or economic standing. We all had one thing in common; we were Americans under attack. And that’s the only thing that mattered. We came together as a nation, shattered and shocked, but nevertheless strong and united.
Rescue workers, fire personnel and law enforcement arrived in masses to aid in the tireless and often gruesome search and rescue efforts that lie in the weeks ahead. They helped as Americans knowing full well that their own safety was in jeopardy in the unstable structural remains. 411 emergency workers lost their life.
Civilian volunteers flew to the city to help strangers by preparing and serving meals, or offering a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, to who ever needed it. There was a surge in blood donations across the country. Relief funds were immediately offered to assist victims of the attacks, by providing financial assistance to the survivors of the attacks and to the families of victims.
The Bush administration declared a war on terrorism, with the stated goals of bringing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to justice and preventing the emergence of other terrorist networks. To be accomplished by means including economic and military sanctions against states suspected of harboring terrorists and increasing global surveillance and intelligence sharing.
Congress passed and President Bush signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, creating the Department of Homeland Security. The USA PATRIOT Act was passed to help detect and prosecute terrorism. A group of five democrats and five republicans formed to create the 911 commission, which would analyze the events leading to the attack and prepare a report in hopes to restructure any flaws within national security issues to insure the tragedies of 9/11 were never relived.
The long term effects are of great significance as well. The economy would suffer tremendously and affect all of the United States. There is long term health effects from toxic debris resulting from the collapse of the Twin Towers consisted of more than 2,500 contaminants, including known carcinogens. This has led to debilitating illnesses among rescue and recovery workers, which many claim to be directly linked to debris exposure. The gruesome, tragic aftermath of the 9/11 attacks are still prevalent today.
Immediately following the attacks, memorials and vigils were held. And permanent memorials were built at all four crash sites. Currently there are memorials that have been constructed, in the construction process or the planning phases all around the world. We will never forget. Books have been written. Photos are abundant. And memorandum is plentiful. We will never forget. Scholarships and charities have been established. Bonds were forged and friends were found. We will never forget.
When September 11th marks our calendar with each passing year, Americans look to the sky at the jets flying overhead with a melancholy apprehension and we remember why we fight. Let our message carry throughout the year; we will never forget.
Like John McCain said, it is not if we can fight, but why we fight. That is what makes America strong. We fight for one another. For freedom. Together as the people of this great land. And we will never forget