READING ON 9/11
- Four commercial jets were hijacked. American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into Tower One (the north tower) of the World Trade Center at 8:50 AM. United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into Tower Two at 9:04 AM. American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
- It is believed that the fourth jet was supposed to target the United States Capitol Building in Washington DC. Instead, the plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania as passengers on this flight fought with the hijackers and attempted to regain control of the plane.
- Tower Two of the World Trade Center collapsed to the ground at about 10:00 AM. At 10:30 AM Tower One also collapsed.
- The attacks resulted in the death 2,977 people. The victims included 246 on the four planes, 2,606 in New York City, in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. Men, women and children from more than 90 countries died in these attacks.
- The 19 terrorist hijackers also died in the attacks. The hijackers were Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia and several other Arab nations who were reportedly backed financial by Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network.
- In 2004, Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attacks. Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as reasons for the attacks.
- Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002. The Pentagon was repaired within a year.
- Many memorials were constructed to remember 9/11. These include the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, the Pentagon Memorial, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania. Next to the National Memorial, the 1,776 feet One World Trade Center was completed in 2013.
- Osama bin Laden was found in 2011, nearly ten years after the 9/11 attacks. In May 2011, after years at large, Osama bin Laden was found and killed by Navy Seals from the United States.
- Of the nearly 3,000 people killed 343 were New York City firefighters and paramedics. 23 New York City police officers also died, along with 37 Port Authority offices were struggled to complete a building evacuation and rescue office workers in the higher floors.
- Only six people who were in the Word Trade Center towers when they collapsed survived. Close to 10,000 other people were also treated for injuries and many of them were very severe.
- Operation Enduring Freedom was launched under a month after the attacks. This was an international effort, led by America, to remove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and destroy the al-Qaeda network that was based there.
- Within two months of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Taliban had been removed from operational power. Although the U.S. forces has effectively removed the Taliban, the war continued as the coalition forces dealt with a Taliban insurgency campaign based out of Pakistan.
- There were many fires ignited by 9/11. In fact, there were so many that it took New York City firefighters 100 days to put them all out.
- The cost to cleanup the debris after 9/11 was around $750 million. This was to clean up 1.8 million tons of debris and rubble.
- The site of the World Trade Center became known as “Ground Zero”. Originally, this was used to refer to the site where the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima in 1945.
- September 11 is now remembered as Patriot Day in the United States. This is a national day of mourning to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks on that fateful day.
The Herald Times
America’s Sense of Unity
By Kevin P. O’Connor
In the first day after the Twin Towers fell, when the skies were silent and the country cried, a sense of community extended from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine.
We were all Americans. We all felt the same loss.
Sheriff Thomas Hodgson was in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001, waiting to speak to a congressional committee. He drove back to Massachusetts that day. Four days later, he was in the brand new Bristol County Sheriff’s Department mobile command post, heading to New York.
He and a contingent of more than a dozen local law enforcement officers spent several days at Ground Zero. In those first days, it was enough to say you were working “on the piles.” Everyone understood it, Hodgson said.
That was just one way New York city came to feel like a village, Hodgson said.
“People brought their skill to Ground Zero, to help and do what they could,” Hodgson said. “We all came from different parts of the country with different skills, but we all had one mission.
“And, when you left at night, people were standing out on the corners at 11:30 at night, talking to each other and feeling the effects of what happened to our country.
“It was a patchwork of Americans coming together when needed to help repair something that was broken.
“I think it changed everyone.”
That change has lasted, sometimes in unexpected ways.
In many ways, this is a kinder country than the America that existed on Sept. 10, 2001, said the Rev. Donald Mier, pastor of the First Baptist Church, 228 N. Main St.
“I do see that volunteerism has increased in our city,” Mier said. “People want to take care of their neighbors more now.
“Cause and effect; I couldn’t tell you why it happened, but we do have more people ready to help.”
Mier saw that last fall, when he and a group of concerned citizens put out a call for volunteers to help operate overflow shelters for the homeless during the winter.
They got more volunteers and organizations willing to host a shelter than they thought possible, Mier said.
“Sometimes, it was very simple,” Mier said. “People would walk in and say, ‘I want to help.’”
That contrasts with the late 1980s, when the city began its first soup kitchen and had trouble finding volunteers to run it. Now there are several soup kitchens in the city, each with a strong cadre of helpers.
The First Baptist Church provides a home for the Tuesday night Branch Community Supper that is run, each week, by another community group.
“We have people signed up months in advance to offer the supper,” Mier said. “That is different from 10 years ago, when we had to go looking for people, week to week.”
The Rev. Thomas Bevilaqua of the Old Catholic Church took over as the coordinator of the volunteers who go to churches and shelters, asking to help.
“People walk in and say they want to give back,” Bevilaqua said. “There is a lot of willingness to volunteer. People say they feel they owe it to the community.”
For some, patriotism took a specific form: Jimmy Rosa returned from two weeks at Ground Zero, towing damaged and abandoned cars in a Rosa’s Towing truck.
One of his first acts when he returned to Fall River was to call the Fire Department and offer junked cars and room to work so department members could train on their Jaws of Life and extrication tools.
Armed forces recruits reported enlistments shot up.
Lino Rego, the commander of the American Legion James Morris Post in Westport said the attack on America by al-Qaida reaffirmed the patriotism that was already evident in the veterans’ group.
But it drove home, anew, the need for service to the country, Rego said.
“We talk about Sept. 11, 2001,” Rego said. “We talk about it like we do Dec. 7, 1941.
“A lot of people think about their country now and their obligations to it — about patriotism. More people think about that now than they did before Sept. 11, I think.”
“It was a wonderful thing to see so many people united right after the strikes,” Hodgson said. “Even senators and congressmen from different parties were standing together.
“We should have taken that opportunity to say that this must be sustained, that we are all Americans.”
And when he doubts that, Hodgson said, he thinks about the feeling he had as he was leaving New York City after two weeks of volunteer work there.
“To be there was as much an honor as a duty,” Hodgson said.