Sept. 11 2001, will be a day most will always remember if they were alive that day. I sure do. It was the day that 19 members of the Islamic terrorist group, El Qaeda boarded 4 different airlines. They hi-jacked them and crashed them one by one on a suicide mission, killing 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.
That morning of 9/11, I went to work. Rich was off that day. We were having a sunroom addition put on that morning. He was going to stay home for the installation. I was working in the Pharmacy at Advantage Logistics. We were rather a small dept. at that time. Maybe 10 or 15, not really sure. We were expecting our supervisor Pam to come in. She wasn’t showing up. I’m not sure if I called her or she called first.
She said she couldn’t get away from the tv. I said, “What do you mean?” “A Plane just flew into the World Trade Center Tower in New York.” Wow, not really understanding what was going on, she said she would be in soon, and before we could hang up, she said…..”OMG, their goes another one into the other tower”. I think then the idea of something massive and evil was starting to form. I knew no one else knew what was going on. I believe I told several co-workers. Then on our next break, we had a plant wide meeting. It was conducted by our CEO Don. He was one of our best Ceos’ we ever had. He told everyone about the planes that had crashed into the World Trade Center. He said he would keep us informed as the day progressed as to what was happening.
Later we found out another plane also crashed into the Pentagon, and one more was heading back east and crashed in a field Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
At home the workers had come to put up the sunroom. Rich had left to do some errands. When he came home, the workers and him witnessed a large plane come down really low and circle around and head back to Chicago…..Now we are only 90 miles from Chicago but usually planes are on the way up to their flight path. They certainly don’t come down low and turn around. Rich went and turned the tv on and positioned it for the workers to watch as they put up the sunroom. It turns out all planes were grounded. They were instructed to go to the nearest terminal and land. The government was rightfully very worried. They didn’t know what was going on. How many more planes up their were being hi-jacked. How many more would be routed into Washington DC or New York. For 3 days, I believe the sky’s were void of planes. I remember how eerie it was. We were on the flight path into Chicago. We always saw and heard planes. The nites were really strange. You would look in the skys, and not a plane to be seen. No moving lights. No sounds. So Quiet. Not even the Hospitals Helicopter was allowed to fly. Finally after 3 days they resumed their flights, but security was stepped up massively.
I remember watching for days and days and even weeks. It had made such a huge impact on the country. Such a shock. Everyone was glued to the tv and watched the video play over and over. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.
Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed, with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures. People were in a panic. They were running for their lives. The day at the Trade Center had just begun and the buildings were full of people in their offices. The planes hit high, so the reports said the stairways were just full of people trying to get out. They were afraid of the elevators. The people above the floors where the planes crashed in were panicking.
Many of them were calling their family’s. Some knew it was probably the end and were saying their last good byes. It even got to the point that people were jumping. Their were many horror stories of people jumping 100 stories up. Little did anyone know that the towers would come tumbling down. It only took 1 hr and 42 minutes to bring down 2 110 story towers. They said the planes all had full fuel tanks that exploded on impact. The fire super heated the iron and finally, it all came tumbling down, pancaking onto each floor as it fell. As you watched it, it felt like a dream. Your mind just couldn’t encompass what was happening. The streets became a rolling cloud of ash.
Everyone was running for their lives. Their was a thick ash everywhere. I read where some people couldn’t out run it and ran into buildings or under cars to try to escape it. The ash turned out to be the buildings that pulverized as they came down. People were just covered with it.
All the rescue crews came in. Firetrucks, rescues vehicles, ambulances, and police departments. Some of the crews had parked near the bottom of the towers before they came down.
Rescue people climbed the stairs to the towers trying to rescue people who where trapped. Unfortunately, when the towers fell, many of them perished also. 9/11 was the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.
The searchers worked for hours and hours, days and weeks. The hospitals prepared for many patients. We all waited to see the patient count go up or the body count……..But it didn’t happen…..They just couldn’t find hardly any body’s from the towers. Turned out many of them were also pulverized when the building came down.
- American Airlines Flight 11 was the first plane to crash at 8:46 into the North Tower at floors 93-99 killing all 92 people on board.
2. United Airlines Flight 175 was the second plane to crash at 9:02 into the South Tower at floors 75-85 killing all 65 people on board.
3. American Airlines Flight 77 was the 3rd plane to crash at 9:37 killing 59 aboard and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the Pentagon building.
4. 10:07 am – After passengers and crew members aboard the hijacked Flight 93 contact friends and family and learn about the attacks in New York and Washington, they mount an attempt to retake the plane. In response, hijackers deliberately crash the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.
The Passengers were very brave on Flight 93. This was their way of protecting the country by sacrificing themselves and not let the terrorist achieve their goal. It was said later, they thought the plane was heading for the Capital in Washington DC. The flight impacted at 563 mph at a 40-degree nose-down, inverted attitude. The impact left a crater eight to ten feet deep , and 30 to 50 feet wide.
Suspicion quickly fell on El Qaeda. The United States responded by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had harbored El-Qaeda.
It took them until May of 2002 to finish the clean up of the Trade Center. Plans were made to rebuilt. The Pentagon was repaired within a year. On November 2006 the new construction began for the New Trade Center, and it was finished and open on November 3, 2014. A new National September 11 Memorial & Museum was built on Ground Zero, a Pentagon Memorial was also built, and out in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Flight 93 National Memorial was built in the field where it crashed .
We must never forget this day. Take nothing for granted. Appreciate our freedoms. Count our blessings. Reach out and help our neighbor. Cherish your family. We have a Great Country. We must never let anyone take that from us. Remember, all those people were innocent people who bought a ticket for an airline flight that day or simple went to work. Think of the terror during the last hour of their life. They didn’t deserve that. The people on Flight 93, died protecting our country. Lets continue to preserve our freedoms that we have. Educate our children and our future generations on what happened so it can NEVER happen again.
America is a Great Country…..Land of the Free….Home of the Brave