History Corner: 9/11

Peyton Goble

September 11, 2001, 8:45 a.m. What seemed to be a normal Tuesday in New York City changed the lives of all Americans forever. People stand in disbelief while they watch a jet fly into the north tower of the World Trade Center. The initial thought of most people was that this crash was an accident…until the unthinkable happens. 18 minutes after the first plane crashed a second one crashes into the 60th floor of the south tower. The collision ignites an explosion sending thousands of pounds of debris to the streets of the city. Parents, sons, daughters, grandparents, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and friends were killed that day. These people had done no wrong to deserve such a horrifying death. Family members watched the news helplessly with only the hope of their loved ones making it out alive. 3,000 people died from the attack including, 343 firefighters and paramedics and 23 New York City police officers who were trying to help the innocent people that became victims of these attacks.

While people had their focus on the World Trade Center attacks, another act of terrorism was brewing, but a few patriotic heroes refused to let the terrorists succeed. People on United Flight 93 learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center via cell phone, yet they still boarded the plane hoping to arrive safely to their destination. 40 minutes after boarding the plane in Newark International Airport the plane was hijacked. The people knew that they would not make it to their destination safely. Many of the people called loved ones saying their final goodbyes. Thomas Burnett Jr, told his wife over the phone that “I know we’re all going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey.”

Another passenger-Todd Beamer-was heard saying “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll” over an open line.

Sandy Bradshaw, a flight attendant, called her husband and explained that she had slipped into a galley and was filling pitchers with boiling water. Her last words to him were “Everyone’s running to first class. I’ve got to go. Bye.”

These were the last words heard from these brave people, and their actions altered the hijacker’s plans. The passengers fought the four hijackers by attacking the cockpit with a fire extinguisher. The plane then flipped over and sped toward the ground at 500 miles per hour, crashing in a field in western Pennsylvania at 10:10 a.m. All 45 people aboard were killed. Its intended target is not known, but theories include the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland or one of several nuclear power plants along the eastern seaboard.

At 7 p.m., President George W. Bush, returned to the White House after being hidden during the attacks. At 9 p.m., he delivered a television address from the Oval Office, saying, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” In a reference to the eventual U.S. military response he declared, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” Basically George W. Bush declared that if you were a terrorist or supported terrorism then America is coming after you. The families of those that had died that day have the full support of the American people and their loved ones will always be remembered and considered heroes.


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