It’s a perfect Tuesday morning in early September. The summer is drawing to a close, it’s a time of new beginnings for some and a transition time from summer back into the working schedule for others. Parents are saying goodbye to their children, kids are getting ready for school, passengers are boarding flights. Everything is right and good. It’s 7:59 A.M.
8:46 A.M. American Airlines Flight 11, originally flying from Boston to Los Angeles, strikes the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Within seconds, first responders are at the scene trying to ascertain if the crash was an accident or if it was a deliberate act. Patrons of the South Tower and the surrounding buildings are instructed to stay where they are, as Port Authority officials believed the crash to be a tragic accident.
9:02 A.M. Port Authority officials order an immediate evacuation of the entire World Trade Center. At the time of the announcement some 10,000-14,000 people are already evacuated. New York City is in a state of evacuation.
9:03 A.M. Hijackers fly United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower. The crashes are ruled a deliberate act of terrorism.
9:37 A.M. American Airlines Flight 77, leaving from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, is driven into the western façade of the Pentagon. The attacks have officially reached our nation’s capital, resulting in the grounding of all flights over the continental United States. This is the first time in American history.
9:59 A.M. After burning for 56 minutes, the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:07 A.M. Upon learning of the crashes in New York and D.C., passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 attempt to regain control of their hijacked flight. Hijackers abort their mission and deliberately fly the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
10:28 A.M. After 102 minutes of burning, the iconic cell tower on top of the North Tower plummets to the ground.
September 11, 2001 was simultaneously the longest and shortest day of so many people’s lives. In a matter of two and a half hours, a mere 149 minutes, thousands of lives were drastically changed forever. In the weeks following the attacks, search and rescue worked tirelessly to find and save victims trapped in the rubble. For most of America, the events of 9/11 lasted for only a single day, but for the families of the lost, this tragedy is yet to end.
Sunday marked the fifteen year anniversary of the attacks, which is so crazy because it feels like it was just yesterday. Now, I am from New York, thirty minutes outside of Manhattan, so the threat was right in my backyard. I was only five at the time, but I can still remember where I was when I heard about the attack, as I’m sure many of you can.
2,996 people were killed that day. 2,977 innocent people were murdered in cold blood. Of the 2,977 people, 125 were from the pentagon, 246 were the passengers on the flights and the remaining 2,606 people were a combination of police, firefighters, Port Authority officials and employees of the towers. So take some time today, and every day, to remember those who lost their lives on September 11th.