September 11, 2001, will be a day those of us, who were old enough, will remember throughout our life – just like we won’t forget when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated or when Rodney King was arrested, and the Watts Riots followed. These memories are etched in our memories.
On that day, our country was attacked. Nearly 3,000 people were killed. These deaths included 400 police offices and firefighters. The terrorist attacked the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a plane purposely crashing near Shanksville, PA. It took nine months to clean up the 1.8 million tons of wreckage at the WTC. The busy complex had up to 50,000 people working in the twin towers, while another 40,000 passed through the complex.
Passengers aboard the United Flight 93 had heard about the previous airplane attacks. They knew the hijackers were controlling their aircraft. Several heroic passengers attempted to take control of Flight 93. It resulted in the hijackers intentionally crashing the plane in a field in Pennsylvania. It is believed the skyjackers had a pre-described unknown target.
Video of the attacks quickly hit the news stations. However, no footage of the Pentagon attack was released for the public to view until five years later. It is believed the reason for this was to protect any secrecy within the vast building.
The WTC attack ended with the most significant loss of human life by a foreign attack on American soil. One good piece of news resulting from the attacks was that 18 people were rescued alive from the rubble at the WTC site.
Soon after the attacks, many of the survivors and rescue workers suffered from post-traumatic stress. Respiratory problems, such as asthma and lung inflammation, developed at abnormal rates for many people who had been in and around the WTC during and after the attacks. Eighteen years later, the U.S. Senate passed a bill. It ensured that a fund to compensate victims of the attack never runs out of money – resulting in first responders needing to return to Congress to plead for additional funding.
In time, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda were discovered to have hijacked the four airplanes and carried out the suicide attacks against several targets in the U.S. The attacks resulted in significant U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.