9/11 World Trade Center attack, 102 minutes that changed the US and the world

11 September 2001 is a watershed date that has forever changed the history of the United States and the entire world. The images of the crash of the planes operated by the ‘al-Qaeda pilots’ on the Twin Towers and then on the Pentagon will remain forever in the memory of all those who turned on the TV that day, including this author who saw the second plane crashing on the second tower live on the TV, and lived those unreal and at the same scary moments live. Films, documentaries, TV series and books have analyzed in every detail the attack launched 20 years ago by Osama Bin Laden on the heart of America. The event ended up in the history books, which addresses the curiosities and the significance.

Two decades have passed since the attacks that rocked the United States and shocked the world. The terror attacks resulted in the deaths of 2,977 people. 2,753 died in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. There were 184 deaths at the Pentagon, and 40 dead were among the passengers on Flight 93. The youngest passenger on flights hijacked by terrorists was Christine Hanson, who boarded United Airlines Flight 175. She was two years old, and she was going for the first time to Disneyland. The eldest was Robert Norton, 82 years, and he was aboard American Airlines Flight 11.

Immediately after the attacks, first responders rescued those trapped in the rubble. The next day they had a harrowing new mission: to search for human remains to identify the bodies later. ABC broadcaster reports, in 20 years – through the analysis of the remains of human DNA found in the rubble – the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York has identified only 1,647, the last two only a few days ago. 40% of Ground Zero’s deaths still don’t have a name.

The New York Fire Department lost 343 fighters, about half the casualties recorded by personnel on duty in the department’s 100-year history. Those operations were hazardous. Some firefighters wrote their names on their arms in case they got crushed.

The collapse of the South Tower recorded a magnitude of 2.1 on the seismographs. Columbia University in New York said it recorded a magnitude of 2.3 when the South Tower fell.

The collapse of the Towers overwhelmed and crushed 1,337 vehicles, including 91 fire brigade vehicles. Removing the debris on the World Trade Center site took 1.5 million man-hours over 261 days.

The time elapsed between the start of the attack and the collapse of the World Trade Center towers seemed like an eternity. In reality, it all took place in 102 minutes, just under two hours. American Airlines Flight 11 en route from Boston to Los Angeles hit the first tower in New York at around 8.46 am ET. Seventeen minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175, also bound for Boston to Los Angeles, struck the South Tower. The latter collapsed in just ten seconds at 9.59. The North Tower, on the other hand, came down already at 10.28.

It took 3.1 million man-hours to clear Ground Zero from 1.8 million tons. The toxic debris has also made thousands of people sick with cancer. According to CNN, the site of the attacks was officially cleaned up only on 30 May 2002.

9/11 World Trade Center attack
9/11 World Trade Center attack

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assigned more than 2,500 of its 11,500 agents to counter-terrorism operations. CIA produced 350,000 pages, and the FBI printed 20,000 pages for Congressional hearings on possible intelligence failures before 9/11. Eleven people shared addresses with at least one of the hijackers. Seven of the 11 were on the FBI “watch list” and were pilots.

The United States offered up to $ 25 million in reward, paid for by the Rewards for Justice program, for the information that led to the location of Osama bin Laden. In the three months leading up to 9/11, the CIA forwarded 300 names per month to agencies hunting for terrorists. In September, the number jumped to nearly 1,000; in October 1400. It stabilized at less than 900 names per month.

The economic aspect of the attack was devastating. According to a New York Times investigation, the impact of 9/11 was at least $ 3.3 trillion in property damage, recession, compensation and the war on terror. The stock market closed for four days after the attacks, the first time since the Great Depression, and prices dropped dramatically. The restaurant sales declined by $ 6 billion in September 2001. In October of that year, about 55,000 jobs were lost US-wide in restaurants.

In 2002, the New York authorities estimated the cost of material damage at $ 55 billion, with the collapsed towers alone costing about $ 8 billion.

However, the most significant item of expenditure concerns the war on terror, announced on September 20, 2001, by the then President Bush with the beginning of the intervention in Afghanistan, followed by that in Iraq. On August 30 August 2021, the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan was more embarrassing than the Trade Tower attacks.

Applications for Middle and Near Eastern Studies specializations at New York University increased by 53% in the fall of 2002.

One World Trade Center or Freedom Tower, the skyscraper built in place of the Twin Towers, is 541 meters and is the tallest in America and the sixth in the world. Finished in 2014, the building houses offices, an observatory, a memorial and a 9/11 museum.

Built with high-strength concrete, steel reinforcement bars and equipped with an additional safety ladder for first aid, it is one of the safest buildings in the world. Outside the memorial is the famous Survivor Tree, the only tree that survived the attacks symbolizing rebirth.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India, portal publishing news and current affairs. He holds an M.B.A in International Business from the Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA. Twitter: @chackojoseph *views are Personal.
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