Remembering 9/11 … facts from that day

“We’ve defeated freedom’s enemies before, and we will defeat them again. … There is a difference between being alert and being intimidated and this great nation will never be intimidated.”

– President George W. Bush, 2001

8:46 a.m. It began with first one tower and then the other of the World Trade Center hit by commercial airliners. America was under attack.

It has been fourteen years since the worst terrorist attacks ever on American soil on September 11, 2001, a beautiful morning in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York City. Most can remember where they were when they heard the news of commercial airplanes hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists hitting the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and crashing into a Pennsylvania field on its way to destroy the U.S. Capitol or White House in D.C.

Fourteen years later the emotions are still raw for those who were affected by that day. While the memory has faded for some and a younger generation was too little for it to be significant, others will never forget.

On September 11, 2001, terrorists killed 2,977 people and 2,337 were injured. The oldest victim was 85 years old; the youngest was two years old.

Those 2,977 lost souls were from more than 90 nations; most were Americans. Sadly, 3,051 children lost a parent while 1,609 adults lost a spouse or partner.

New York City lost 343 firefighters and paramedics, and 75 NYPD officers perished. The ones who survived carry deep emotional memories of that day and the ones who died.

Over 20 percent of Americans knew someone who was hurt or killed on 9/11. The resulting fires at the World Trade Center burned for 99 days after the attacks, until December. More than 300 firefighters went on leave from respiratory problems for months after the attacks; some have had chronic health issues.

Clearing the sites of the attacks involved removing 1,506,124 tons of debris.

The Pentagon, one of the most secure buildings in the world, was hit by hijacked American Airlines Flight 77. Inside the building there were 124 deaths and 76 injuries in addition to the loss of 64 passengers on the plane.

United Airlines Flight 93 spiraled into the ground outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Inside were 40 passengers and crew who fought back and prevented additional national tragedy when the plane did not reach Washington, D.C.

President George W. Bush addressed the nation that night and promised to protect the American people and hunt down those responsible, saying, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

Today, thank a military member, firefighter, police officer, and other First Responders … say a prayer for those who were lost and their families … educate the younger generation so they will be alert to this always-present danger … and never forget. remembers … may we never forget.

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