One Hour And Forty-Two Minutes
“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met” (David Levithan). September 11, 2001. Looking back, the day just seems to have been a blur. One wouldn’t think that one hour and forty-two minutes could affect the country as it did. Many had considered September 11th as a wake up call for the country.
The George Bush administration had even used “alternate methods of interrogation” to find out who was responsible for coordinating the attacks. Al-Qaeda, led by known terrorist Osama bin Laden, had engineered the attacks, along with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who had presented the idea in 1996. Together, the two collaborated, choosing secondary and primary attackers. Bin Laden had provided financial support for the attacks, and slowly, the date ‘September 11, 2001′ came closer. Sometime during spring 2001, bin Laden had given the instructions to move as quickly as possible.
On September 11, 2001, at 6:52 a.m., Marwan al-Shehhi called Mohamed Atta and had confirmed that the plans for the attack were set. At 7:35 a.m.
, Mohammed Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari boarded American Airlines Flight 11, which carried 76 passengers and 11 crewmembers, the very same flight that crashed in to the North Tower of the World Trade Center and killed about 1,600 people. During this flight, the attackers had overpowered the captain and first officer, and stabbed flight attendants Karen Martin and Barbara Arestegui, as well as slashing the throat of a passenger named Daniel Lewin, who was believed to be the first fatality that day. The plane had deviated from its scheduled route at 8:16. Atta made the first announcement at 8:23 a.m.
, accidentally sending his message to Boston ARTCC: “We have some planes,” he said. “Just stay quiet and you’ll be O.K. We are returning to the airport.” This was followed by several announcements; at 8:24, he said, “Nobody move.
Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.” The last announcement was at 8:33, when Atta said “Nobody move, please. We are going back to the airport. Don’t try to make any stupid moves.
” Amy Sweeney, a flight attendant aboard the aircraft had said, “We are in rapid descent…we are all over the place. Oh, my God, we are too low!” At 8:46 a.m., Mohamed Atta had purposely crashed American Airlines Flight 11 in to the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The crash had trapped anyone above the 92nd floor. 1,344 people had no way to leave the building, as all the stairwells and elevators were impassable.
While Flight 11 had caused the most loss of life, it was not the only flight that was hijacked that morning. United Airlines Flight 175 was the next flight to be hijacked, departing at 8:14, 14 minutes later then it was scheduled. The plane carried 51 passengers and 9 crewmembers, and ended up killing about 900 people. Hijackers Fayez Banihammad and Mohan al-Shehri killed the pilots while Hamza and Ahmed al-Ghamdi moved passengers to the back of the plane. At 8:47, the plane deviated from its planned route.
At 8:52, a passenger named Peter Hanson phoned his father and told him to call United Airlines. A second call was placed at 9:00: “It’s getting bad, Dad. A stewardess was stabbed. They seem to have knives and Mace. They said they have a bomb. It’s getting very bad on the plane.
The plane it making jerky movements. I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane. I think we are going down. I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly in to a building. Don’t worry, Dad.
If it happens, it’ll be very fast…Oh my God…oh my God, oh my God.” United Flight 175 crashed in to the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. The South Tower eventually collapsed at 9:59 a.m.
, after 56 minutes of burning. The third plane out of the four to be hijacked was American Airlines Flight 77, carrying 53 passengers, 6 crewmembers, and killed 125 people in the Pentagon. The flight departed at 8:20 a.m. The FAA had already known about the American Airlines and United Airlines plane crashes, and the airlines were grounded.
However, Air Traffic Control had failed to stop Flight 77. Passenger Barbara Olson had called her husband, a United States Solicitor General, to inform him that the plane was hijacked. The “pilot”, Hani Hanjour, had crashed the plane in to the western side of the Pentagon at 9:37, killing all on board. The last plane to be hijacked was United Airlines Flight 93. The plane had 33 passengers aboard, plus 7 crewmembers. The fatalities totaled 40 people.
The plane took off at 8:42 a.m., and was hijacked at 9:28. Several calls were made throughout the flight, and this was the only flight to have a passenger revolt. The passengers were attempting to gain access in to the cockpit, but the hijackers were descending the plane at a fast rate. The plane had finally crashed in to an empty field in Stonycreek, Pennsylvania at 10:03, the last hijacked flight that morning.
The attacks on America were a serious tragedy, one that should never be suffered again. It was because of this event the United States had initiated the War on Afghanistan, where U.S. troops had targeted Taliban and al-Qaeda camps. In response to these attacks, President Bush had announced the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security, protecting the nation from terrorist attacks, accidents, and natural disasters.
Even today, people still remember 9/11. Each year, on September 11th, the victims of 9/11 are honored with a moment of silence. There has not been a tragedy that has devastated the country like the September 11th attacks.