Mourning the Anniversary of 9/11
The September 11th, 2001 attacks on the United States is one of the most tragic and important events to ever occur in American history. It was the largest attack on the United States since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Since September 11th, the country’s way of life has changed forever. How we travel, communicate, and live will all be altered because of it. Today, agencies like the TSA are there to enforce security, and laws like the Patriot Act have been a source of controversy that many people still do not fully understand. The “war on terror” has become serious, violent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Culture as a whole has changed, and citizens are more leery of people following the Muslim faith, or of people from foreign nations. It has made us love each other more, yet be cautious about our world and those around us.
Where, When, and How the Attacks Happened
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, terrorists hijacked three airplanes. The first notice that a plane had been hijacked came in around 8:20 AM that morning. Around 8:46, the first plane hit the World Trade Center’s north tower. At first, people thought it may have been an airplane accident, but soon it was realized that the US was under attack. Shortly after the first airplane hit, a second airplane hits the north tower of the WTC. At approximately 9:38 AM, a third plane hits the Pentagon, and crashes into it directly. Before the Pentagon was hit, the FAA had already gotten word that United Flight 93 was hijacked as well. Shortly thereafter at approximately 10:10, Flight 93 crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania. Terrorists from the group known as Al-Qaeda hijacked the planes only using simple weapons such as box cutters, taking over the pilot area and then crashing each plane. While it is difficult to pinpoint just how these terrorists were able to board a commercial airplane, clearly it was due to certain gaps in security that allowed them to bring weapons on board. Both the north and south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed soon after the planes hit, and the entire buildings were destroyed.
Aftermath of the Attacks
When the September 11th attacks were over, thousands of people lost their lives. Buildings throughout the Manhattan area of New York City that were near the World Trade Center suffered damage, including Tower 7, which also collapsed from the impact. Smoke, debris, soot, and dust filled the air and lingered over the city for days and days. Some workers and people living within the city suffered from lung damage from breathing so much of the dust into their lungs. People lost friends, mothers, brothers, sons and daughters, and it was a devastating time for the entire world. The shock of the event was difficult for many people, and stress as well as trauma took over many peoples’ lives. Shortly thereafter, the nation banded together in mourning and in strength to prove to the world that the United States is a strong country that will not be stopped by a violent act of terrorists. President George W. Bush arrived in New York and spoke to the first responders at the site of 9/11, letting everyone know that the US was serious about protecting itself from terrorism.
People Behind The Attacks- Al-Qaeda
Soon after 9/11, it was discovered that the attacks on Washington DC and New York were a result of a terrorist group called Al-Qaeda. The group’s leader, Osama Bin Laden, spoke in a recorded video in 2004, claiming responsibility for the event. Before September 11th, most people didn’t even know about Al-Qaeda, but soon the whole world knew about their mission. Al-Qaeda is a group of highly trained terrorists, mostly of Muslim descent, that are located all over the globe. Their goal is to destroy Western civilization and declare global Jihad, and not just towards the United States. For years, military troops searched Bin Laden’s home country of Afghanistan and it wasn’t until May of 2011 that US Navy Seals finally found and killed him in the country of Pakistan.
Beginning of the "War on Terror"
September 11th prompted world leaders to consider launching an all-out “war on terror.” This meant that there was no actual war declared on one particular country, but that all nations would be more vigilant in attempting to prevent acts of terror from occurring. The Patriot Act was passed by George W. Bush in 2011, and essentially gave permission to the US government to wire tap phone lines, read email communications, and perform search and seizure on property if there was any suspected terrorism links or activity happening. While the bill is controversial, it was designed to help the government in better defining who may be a potential terror threat. The “war on terror” is more than just an American war; it is a global effort that spans across all nations and governmental lines.
After September 11th, the people of New York knew that something should be erected to remember the thousands of victims who perished that day. It took months for crews to be able to completely remove all debris and clean up the site at the World Trade Center. Once this was done, a temporary memorial was erected to help memorialize the people who passed. In 2004, a tribute light memorial was erected in New York consisting of two large beams of light that shot up into the sky, representing both World Trade Center towers. Although the gesture was heartfelt, the people wanted something more permanent. Several architects attempted to submit plans for a permanent memorial but it has taken years for an agreement to be made. Now, the 9/11 in Manhattan at the site of the attacks is set to open on the 10th anniversary, September 11th, 2011. It will serve as a peaceful place where all citizens can pay their respects to those who lost their lives on that unforgettable, tragic day.