9/11: Remembering America’s tragedy 20 years after
Today marks the 20th year anniversary of the tragedy where nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, across the US, UK and the world.
The September 11 attacks, referred to as 9/11, was a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the militant Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States of America, on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
On that morning, four commercial airliners traveling from the northeastern United States to California were hijacked mid-flight by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. The hijackers were organised into three groups of five hijackers and one group of four.
Each group had one hijacker who had received flight training and took over control of the aircraft. Their explicit goal was to crash each plane into a prominent American building, causing mass casualties and partial or complete destruction of the targeted buildings.
The first plane to hit its target was American Airlines Flight 11, flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan at 8:46 am. Seventeen minutes later at 9:03 am, the World Trade Center’s South Tower was hit by United Airlines Flight 175. Both 110-story towers collapsed within an hour and forty-two minutes, leading to the collapse of the other World Trade Center structures including 7 World Trade Center, and significantly damaging surrounding buildings.
A third flight, American Airlines Flight 77, flown from Dulles International Airport, was hijacked over Ohio, and crashed into the west side of the Pentagon (headquarters of the American military).
The fourth, and final flight, United Airlines Flight 93, was flown in the direction of Washington, D.C. The plane’s passengers attempted to regain control of the aircraft away from the hijackers and ultimately diverted the flight from its intended target; it crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The attacks resulted in 2,977 fatalities, over 25,000 injuries, and substantial long-term health consequences, in addition to at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.
It remains the deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 340, and 72 killed, respectively.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks memorials have been organised in London while President Joe Biden is visiting all three plane crash sites in the US.
President Joe Biden has described national unity as the United States’ greatest strength in a video commemorating the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks on Sept. 11 which left nearly 3,000 people dead.
“In the days that followed Sept. 11, 2001, we saw heroism everywhere, in places expected and unexpected.
“We also saw something all too rare: a true sense of national unity.
“In the battle for the soul of America, unity is our greatest strength. Unity doesn’t mean we have to believe the same thing, but we must have a fundamental respect and faith in each other and in this nation,” the president said in a viral video.
“The 9/11 generation is stepping up to serve and protect in the face of terror, to show everyone seeking to do harm to the America that we will hunt you down and we will make you pay.
“That will never stop,” Biden said.
President Biden said that “the darker forces of human nature” also emerged following the attacks, namely “fear and anger.”
“Resentment and violence against Muslim Americans, true and faithful followers of a peaceful religion,” he said.
But the country cannot allow itself to be divided. “Unity is what makes us who we are – America at its best.”
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said that on Saturday, the president and the first lady would “honor and memorialize the lives lost with travel to all three sites of the 9/11 attacks, visiting New York City; Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and the Pentagon.”
The president was set to visit ground zero in New York City, the Pentagon and the memorial outside Shanksville, where one of the four hijacked planes crashed after passengers attempted to regain control of the aircraft, the White House said.
The al-Qaeda plane hijackings were the single worst attack on U.S soil in the country’s history.