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Commemoration to 9/11
9/11/2001. We are all too familiar with this somber date.
I was only 7 years old and at school in the second grade, but I remember there was a lot of commotion amongst the faculty. And even though the event was explained to me when I got home, I was too young to fully comprehend what had truly happened. As I grew, I learned more each year about the impact of 9/11 on America.
It has been 10 years since these tragic events unfolded.
Today, I pay tribute to the lives lost on 9/11.
A total of 2,977 lives were lost thanks to senseless, heartless acts by Al-Qaeda terrorists.
Honorably, these losses will be shown as six related events in the order that they transpired.
It was early in the morning when passengers were boarding American Airlines Flight 11. Take-off seemed normal. But soon after, passengers and crew were injured and the flight cockpit was taken over by terrorist hijackers. The scene onboard for the passengers and crew was surreal, and their change in flight direction was very abnormal. But by the time they realized how dangerously close they were approaching Building 1 of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers and that a deliberate collision with Tower 1was the hijackers’ motive, it was too late. After 47 minutes of terrifying flight time, their flight ended.
The impact caused Flight 11 to explode into flames and all 87 people aboard, 76 passengers and 11 flight crew, were quickly killed.
In the same early morning, people were also in the hustle and bustle of boarding United Airlines Flight 175. A total of 60 men, women, children, and crew prepared for flight and took-off for what they thought was a routine trip. But, in a twist of fate, hijackers injured passengers and crew, killed the pilots, and took control of the flight. Some passengers began secretly talking of storming the cockpit and taking control of the aircraft. Before they could act, they saw their aircraft being guided directly towards Building 2 of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. After 49 minutes of horrific flight time, their flight also ended abruptly.
The impact mimicked Flight 11’s as Flight 175 crashed into Building 2 of the Twin Towers and burst into flames killing all 51 passengers and 9 crew members.
The World Trade Center was a conglomerate of 7 of the most significant American business center buildings located in prominent New York.
Business people were high-paced and actively involved in shaping national and global activities mid-morning as usual. The first impact of Flight 11 created an instant mass scene of shock and confusion. 911 emergency calls flooded switch boards at New York City Fire Department, New York City Police Department, and Port Authority Police Department. Civilians began flooding out of North Twin Tower 1 from below the crash floors, 93 through 99. People were trapped up to the top 110th floor.
17 minutes later, Flight 175 crashed into floors 77 to 85 of South Twin Tower 2. The chaos from Tower 1 had already triggered a mass exodus from Tower 2.
Both Towers were swarmed with firemen and policemen entering to help the occupants.
The South Tower 2 collapsed at 9:59 a.m. after burning for 56 minutes.
The North Tower 1 collapsed at 10:28 a.m. after burning for 102 minutes.
In both Towers, business and service people were killed by the airplanes’ impacts, by fire and smoke, by jumping or falling, and by the eventual collapse of the buildings.
For the victims, we can only imagine their adrenaline rushing and their futile plight for survival.
In all, 2,606 innocent lives were lost at the World Trade Center due to the overall destruction.
A 3rd commercial airplane, American Airlines Flight 77, was also undergoing a typical early morning boarding process. 53 passengers and 6 crew members were preparing for their air travel. At about the same time Flights 11 and 175 were being hijacked by terrorists, so was Flight 77. Box cutters, knives, and bomb threats, just the same as the other flights, were used to subdue the passengers and crew as the hijackers once again took control of the cockpit.
1 hour and 37 minutes after take-off, Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon. And once again, the passengers and crew were at the mercy of Al-Qaeda. All 59 lives were lost.
At the Pentagon, employees were celebrating the building’s 60th anniversary. Occupants on the west side numbered only 800 instead of 4,500 due to major building renovations underway.
The unexpected impact of Flight 77 claimed the lives of 125 of these hardworking, dedicated occupants.
The final hijacked flight was United Airlines Flight 93. Upon their morning take-off, there were 33 passengers and 7 crew members aboard. The terrorists followed the same takeover pattern as had been accomplished on the other 3 flights, except the outcome was to be different.
Brave passengers learned of the other hijackings and crashes and voted to take action. Many of their airfone and cell phone calls relayed their heroic plans. As they stormed the cockpit, they took their captors by surprise forcing the hijackers to down the aircraft before ever seeing its intended target which was believed to be the U.S. Capitol. All 40 passengers and crew members died upon impact in a field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania.
So now at 17, I am 10 years older and oh too clearly understand the tragic impact of these six events that happened on 9/11/2001. This tribute to the victims is my humble gift for their deaths.
United, we grieve for the 2,977 innocent people who perished in these surprise attacks against our nation. These people came from all walks of life, all races, and all ages.
The numbers of lives lost in this 9/11 tribute do not include the lives of the hijackers. I do not place any value on the lives of terrorists who place no value on human life.
American heroes emerged many times over on this dreadful day. These precious lives lost have served to educate America and make us stronger.
These were our American citizens. To honor the lives lost, we stand together against those who would attack our freedoms and our way of life.
United in purpose, we continue to grieve for the victims of 9/11, and feel for families and friends who lost loved ones from the tragedies of these six events.