Twelve years ago today, the world changed as we knew it. After decades and decades of feeling invincible, on September 11, 2001, America learned how vulnerable we were to a major terrorist attack.
At 8:46 a.m., hijackers flew a plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. On board were 11 crew members and 76 passengers (not counting the hijackers). For seventeen minutes, the country thought a terrible plane crash had occurred. Until the second plane hit the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. And our worlds changed forever.
The second plane was carrying nine crew members and 51 passengers. Both planes had made their departures from Boston’s Logan Airport and were both heading to Los Angeles.
At 9:37 a.m., a plane carrying six crew members and 53 passengers crashed into the Pentagon. And America held its breath.
At 10:03, a plane crashed into the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The 7 crew members and 33 passengers onboard had tried to overcome the hijackers. The hijackers’ intended target for that plane is believed to have been either the White House or the Capital.
There were 2,977 victims killed that day. There were no survivors from any of the plane crashes - 246 passengers and crew members were killed. In New York City, there were 2,606 people, either in the towers or on the ground who were killed. And there were 55 military personnel who were victims at the Pentagon.
The nineteen hijackers, none of whom survived, are included in any of these victim totals.
Almost 500 people killed that day were New York City emergency response workers who rushed into the towers to rescue victims. Hardest hit was the New York City Fire Department, who lost 341 firefighters and two paramedics. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department lost 37 police officers. The New York City Police Department lost 23 officers. There were eight EMTs from private emergency medical services also killed that day.
Many of those rescue workers who responded to the World Trade Center have since dealt with serious health issues, including cancer and lung problems, which studies have linked to exposure from toiling in the wreckage at Ground Zero.
This morning, in what has become a traditional ceremony, relatives will recite the names of the nearly 3,000 victims, as well as the 1993 trade center bombing victims' names.