On September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists from the Islamic militant organization, al-Qaeda, hijacked four U.S. passenger planes and set off a chain of events that sent shock waves throughout the United States and around the world.
September 11 has come to symbolize the day in which America held it's breath. It will forever be remembered as one of the most horrific days in U.S. history.
The coordinated attacks targeted economic interests, the military establishment, the government, and the civilian population using aircraft that were filled with many innocent passengers.
Images from September 11 have been seared into the minds of the millions of horrified people who watched the events as they unfolded on worldwide television that day.
With cold blooded intent, the hijackers crashed one plane each into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The hijackers had intentions of crashing the fourth plane into the U.S. capital building in Washington, D.C., but it crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to take control of the plane away from the hijackers.
Both towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.
In all, the estimated death toll from the 9/11 attacks totaled nearly 3000 people on the airplanes and on the ground, including the 19 hijackers. The exact number of people who died in the attacks may never be known.
There were 266 people on the four planes:
2,595 people in and around the World Trade Center including 343 NYFD firefighters and paramedics, 23 NYPD police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers.
The economic impact, not just on the United States, but around the world was severe. Stock markets collapsed as people panicked and went into a state of depressed disbelief.
The destruction and the number of deaths went well beyond belief. For a while, it seemed as if the world had stopped spinning, but it didn't take long before the shock began to wear off and things started moving forward again.
On the site of the collapsed World Trade Center towers, tons of metal, dust, and other debris littered the landscape covering the bodies of thousands of people who were working in the towers that fateful day.
There were 55 military personnel and 70 civilians who died at the Pentagon.
Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks. In response to the attacks, the United States launched it's War On Terror by invading Iraq and Afghanistan in an effort to hunt down all suspected terrorist.
Osama bin Laden was subsequently found and killed in May of 2011 while hiding out in Pakistan. With bin Laden's death, and the deaths of other al Qaeda operatives, the war on terror has effectively neutralized a large number of terrorists throughout the world, but no one is letting their guards down.
The cleanup of ground zero, the World Trade Center, site was completed in 2002. The 1,776 foot freedom tower stands proudly on the site.
The Pentagon as it is seen today.
The Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania where passengers bravely fought hijackers to try and regain control of their plane before it crashed killing everyone aboard.
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