RUTLEDGE – Friday is the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
A total of 2,977 individuals, from the ages of two-and-a half to 85, were killed as a result of the terrorist attacks. Individuals hailed from more than 90 nations and were diverse in ethnicity, socioeconomic status and faith.
The day began as any other day. Families got ready for work or school. People were double checking luggage and rushing to an airport, where they would board a plane. While life was moving as usual for many Americans, 19 al-Qaeda hijackers were boarding California-bound airplanes. Those 19 hijackers would commandeer four airplanes and travel toward four locations across the country, the World Trade Center twin towers, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
American Airlines Flight 11 struck floors 93 to 99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. All 76 passengers, 11 crew members, hundreds of people inside the building and five hijackers were instantly killed. The crash destroyed the three emergency stairwells, blocking people who were on the 91st floor and higher from exiting the building. The North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m. More than 1,600 people died as a result of the attacks.
United Airlines Flight 177 struck the South Tower from floors 77 to 85 at 9:03 a.m. Fifty-one passengers, nine crew members, hundreds of victims inside the tower and five hijackers immediately lost their lives upon impact. The crash rendered two of the three emergency stairwells impassable. At 9:59 a.m., the South Tower collapsed after burning for 56 minutes. More than 800 civilians and first responders died as a result of the attacks.
When people began to realize they could not exit the towers, many jumped from the windows in an attempt to control their own deaths. The 9/11 memorial estimates 50 to more than 200 people died from falling from the towers.
American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. The crash killed 53 passengers, six crew members, 125 military and civilian personnel and five hijackers. The E ring of the Pentagon collapsed at 10:15 a.m.
United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m. Passengers and crew members had stormed the cockpit, forcing the plane into the field located 20 minutes outside of Washington, D.C. The 33 passengers, seven crew members and four hijackers died during the crash.
At 5:20 p.m. 7 World Trade Center collapsed. There were no casualties.
Airplanes were emergency-landed and informed to remain on the ground as a result of the attacks. New York City was covered in debris and dust. Lower Manhattan was evacuated, and people were found in the rubble of the towers, some still alive.
President George W. Bush vowed America would find the people responsible for the attacks. He said America would make no distinction between those who committed the acts and those who harbored them.
Houses of worship are encouraged to toll their bells at 8:46 a.m., Friday, September 11 in remembrance of the victims lost in the attacks. The names of the victims can be found at names.911memorial.org.