On the morning of 11 September 2001, America woke to unimaginable news. Four commercial passenger jet airliners, hijacked by 19 terrorists linked to al-Qaeda, crashed into prime US locations. Tower One and Tower Two of the World Trade Center in New York, together with the Pentagon in Washington DC, became targets. Almost 3,000 civilians and military personnel lost their lives. The world watched in horror, as one of the most pivotal moments in the 21st Century unfolded and changed the course of American history forever.
At 08.46, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into north face of the North Tower ( 1 WTC), followed by United Airlines Flight 175 which collided with the South Tower (2 WTC) just sixteen minutes later. The world watched in shock as the scene developed. As emergency services and members of the public rushed to help, the unimaginable happened. Both towers collapsed with cataclysmic results. Buried under tons of rubble, of the 2,759 who were killed in New York on 9/11 (including 10 hijackers), many of the bodies would never be found.
Those who had escaped the buildings, many who had rushed to the scene to help and individuals who simply stood watching the horror unfold were suddenly caught by a tidal wave of terror. A choking cloud of dust now raged across the city. Within 102 minutes, the famous New York skyline resembled a war zone and its residents left shell-shocked.
Attack on the Pentagon
Just 34 minutes after the second attack on the Twin Towers, American Airlines Flight 77 hit the west wall of the Pentagon. The impact killed 125 people in the building and 59 passengers and crew.
Heroes of Flight 93
At 10.03, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. It is believed The White House may have been an intended target, but terrorists were overcome by brave passengers once they received mobile calls informing them of similar hijackings in New York and Washington. All 44 people on board, including the four hijackers, were killed.
Immediate reaction and live transmission of events meant the horrific images of 9/11 were played to the world. It was the power to provide mass live coverage, which meant many viewers watched helplessly as the South Tower (2 WTC) was hit.
I believe the terrorists attacked us for two reasons. To kill a lot of people and to kill our spirit. They did kill a lot of people, but they didn't kill our spirit. People displayed a very brave attitude with the way they dealt with it. And I think the terrorists never expected that. - Rudolph Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City
Later the same day, President George W. Bush stated he aimed to find those responsible, joining all other countries fighting the war on terror. The militant Islamic group, Al-Qaeda, later claimed responsibility for the attacks on September 11th.