7:59 AM - American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 carrying 92 passengers, departs from Boston’s Logan International Airport en route to Los Angeles.
8:14 AM - United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767 with 65 passengers aboard, takes off from Boston, also heading to Los Angeles.
8:20 AM - American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 bearing 64 people, departs from Dulles International Airport.
8:41 AM - United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 that was supposed to transport 44 people across the country, takes off from Newark International Airport en route to San Francisco.
8:46 AM - Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds in the building.
8:47 AM - Within seconds, NYPD and FDNY forces dispatch units to the World Trade Center.
9:03 AM - Flight 175 collides into the South Tower.
9:37 AM - The hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.
9:59 AM - The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:07 AM - After passengers and crew members aboard the hijacked Flight 93 contact friends and family and learn about the attacks in New York and Washington D.C., they attempt to regain control of the aircraft. In response, hijackers deliberately crash the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.
10:28 AM - The North Tower collapses.
(timeline from History.com)
Most people can remember exactly what they were doing, who they were with, what their thoughts were, how they felt on September 11th, 2001. Anger, panic, terror and disbelief were just a few of the raw emotions felt and expressed throughout the nation as the people watched the television and listened on the radio to what was happening in New York City that clear Tuesday morning. Our country was under attack.
Thousands of lives were lost that day, with just as many injured, and thousands more were permanently altered. The courage, bravery, and selflessness shown by the responders that day will probably never be fully recognized. The firefighters, police, EMTs, doctors and civilians who ran towards the chaos will never be thanked enough. Everyone who risked - and sacrificed - their life deserves the title of “hero”. This dauntlessness and heroism is, in my opinion, the true definition of an American. Even in this time of tragedy and chaos, hundreds of people arrived to the scene to help, fully aware of the possibility of death, but also fully aware of how even one person could be a tremendous help. For someone to go back into a literal burning building, knowing damn well that they might not come out alive is truly heroic. To risk your own life, to put everything you’ve ever known behind you to save a complete stranger… truly amazing. It’s difficult to even begin to put into words how grateful our country is for these heroes. I am thankful to be living in a country where so many people are this selfless and courageous when it comes down to it.
Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives on September 11th, but that number would have been quite higher if it wasn’t for Flight 93 - the flight where the crew members and passengers had fought back against the hijackers. The flight had been late to depart, and once the passengers and crew learned about what had happened in New York City, they realized that their flight was involved with a larger terrorist plot and was most likely going to be used to carry out further attacks on the United States. After some discussion, a quick vote was taken: they were going to fight back. 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.” Had it not been for these passengers’ bravery and heroism, many more people could have lost their lives.
They say that tragedy brings people together, and that couldn’t be more true. Americans came together as neighbors, as strangers, as coworkers - you name it - throughout these attacks, helping in any way possible if someone needed it. Donations and drives started up the next day, going to victims, victims’ families and responders. American flags were flying everywhere for weeks to come after the attacks, showing the world that we were stronger than this tragedy.
As I’ve previously mentioned, most people are still able to recall what their day was like on that horrific Tuesday morning. However, with time always pressing on, there are becoming more and more generations that weren’t old enough to remember what they were doing, who they were with or how they felt. But that doesn’t mean the terrorist attacks on September 11th will ever be forgotten, and neither will the heroic acts of everyone who risked their lives and/or died saving other people. The selflessness and courage that these people showed on the 11th will always be remembered. The fearlessness and bravery that these people displayed will never drift out of our memories or be left out of lessons in schools. The heroism will not be consigned to oblivion; we will remember. 9/11 will not be forgotten.