Antelope Valley Press - AV Living (Antelope Valley)
The historic raids on American soil
Sept. 11, 2021, will mark the 20th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on the New York World Trade Center Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Flight 93.
Throughout the US and around the world, television watchers saw the horrific destruction of huge architectural facilities that occurred on US soil, unlike past deadly and destructive military wars that were fought in various countries by American troops.
As millions watched the events unfolding in New York, American Airlines Flight 77 circled over downtown Washington D.C. before crashing into the west side of the Pentagon military headquarters at 9:45 a.m.
Jet fuel from the Boeing 757 caused a devastating inferno that led to the structural collapse of a portion of the giant concrete building, which is the headquarters of the US Department of Defense.
All told, 125 military personnel and civilians were killed in the Pentagon, along with all 64 people aboard the airliner.
Less than 15 minutes after the terrorists struck the nerve center of the US military, the horror in New York took a catastrophic turn when the south tower of the
World Trade Center collapsed in a massive cloud of dust and smoke.
The magnificent twin towers in New York City disintegrated while hundreds of workers tried to escape.
The structural steel of the skyscraper, built to withstand winds of 200 miles per hour and a large conventional fire, could not withstand the tremendous heat generated by the burning jet fuel.
At 10:30 a.m., the north building of the twin towers collapsed. Only six people in the World Trade Center at the time its collapse, survived. Almost 10,000 were treated for injuries, many severe.
Meanwhile, a fourth California-bound plane — United Flight 93 — was hijacked about 40 minutes after leaving Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. Because the plane had been delayed in taking off, passengers on board learned of events in New York and Washington via cell phone and Airfone calls to the ground.
Knowing that the aircraft was not returning to an airport as the hijackers claimed, a group of passengers and flight attendants planned an insurrection.
One of the passengers, Thomas Burnett, Jr., told his wife over the phone, “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 the 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.”
The passengers fought the four hijackers and are suspected to have attacked the cockpit with a fire extinguisher. The plane then flipped over and sped toward the ground at upward of 500 miles per hour, crashing in a rural field near Shanksville in western Pennsylvania at 10:10 a.m.
All 44 people aboard were killed. Its intended target was not
known, but theories include the White House, the US Capitol, the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland or one of several nuclear power plants along the eastern seaboard.
A total of 2,996 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Citizens of 78 countries died in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.
President George W. Bush, who was in Florida at the time of the attacks and had spent the day being shuttled around the country because of security concerns, returned to the White House.
At 9 p.m., he delivered a televised address from the Oval Office, declaring, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”