Infamy and Courage: 17 Years After 9/11

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By: Austin Atnip and Melaina Files
17 years ago, an attack on U.S. soil left the homeland scared, angry, and confused. The attacks during 9/11 have gone down in infamy as we continue to memorialize the event nearly 20 years after to honor the 2,977 victims. It is 2018, and we still feel the effects of 9/11 on a national scale. From policy changes, the TSA, the national debt and the ongoing war in the Middle East. This event radically changed not only America, but the world.
During a Tuesday morning on September 11th 2001, a three pronged, coordinated terrorist attack conducted by Al-Qaeda was about to shake America and its allies to their core. The attack first began with an American Airlines Boeing 767 crashing into the North World Trade Center tower in New York City. At first, the general public believed it to be an accident; however, 18 minutes later, another Boeing 767 crashed into the second Twin Tower. It was at this moment when the world knew that America was under attack.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., a third commercial airplane was circling over the Pentagon. The plane’s original destination was Los Angeles, California, but at 8:41 a.m. the plane was hijacked by 5 Al-Qaeda members. They stormed the cockpit, but unlike reports from the other hijackings, the pilots were not killed immediately nor were any of the passengers. The victims were pushed to the back of the airplane and the terrorists began setting course for the U.S. headquarters of the Department of Defense, the Pentagon. At 9:45 a.m., the commercial airline crashed into the Pentagon like a guided missile causing devastating damage. This killed a total of 189 people, including victims on the airline and people who were inside the Pentagon.
On the same morning, a fourth American Boeing was being hijacked called Flight 93. The flight was delayed so the passengers have already heard the news about the New York and Washington attacks. So when the plane was hijacked 40 minutes after it took off, the passengers devised a plan to storm the cabin and remove the terrorist threat. 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.” Another passenger, Todd Beamer, said, “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll” over an open line. The passengers fought the 4 hijackers by using boiled water, a fire extinguisher, and their courage. At 10:10 a.m., Flight 93 crashed into a rural field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. There were no survivors. The final destination of the airliner was not clear but some speculate The White House was the next target. If it had not been for the courageous acts of everyday American patriots, then so much more could have been lost that day.
 
References
History.com Staff. (2010). 9/11 Attacks. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks