September 11 tribute


Caroline Newman

This year, people across the globe remember and honor the 2,977 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center site, Shanksville Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. Recalling the devastation wrought on 9/11 fills the atmosphere with grieving emotions. Yet 9/11 remains in the hearts of families and friends across the world.

Lauren Lee, News editor

September 11, 2022, marks the 21st anniversary of the tragic incident that took the lives of thousands of Americans. People across the globe commemorate victims of the terrorist attacks of 2001 when hijackers took control of commercial planes and used them as missiles, crashing into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. The attack killed 2,753 people in New York, 184 people at the Pentagon and 40 people on Flight 93.

American Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City at 8:45 a.m September 11, 2001. The impact left a gaping, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds and trapping a multitude of people on higher floors. Eighteen minutes after the first plane hit, Boeing 767 United Airlines Flight 175 appeared in the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center, and sliced into the South Tower near the 60th floor. The collision caused a massive explosion that showered burning debris over surrounding buildings and onto the streets below. 

As millions watched the events unfold in New York, American Airlines Flight 77 circled over downtown Washington, D.C. before crashing into the west side of the Pentagon military headquarters at 9:45 a.m. Jet fuel from Boeing 757 caused a devastating inferno that led to the structural collapse of a portion of the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense. Flight 77 killed 125 military personnel and civilians in the Pentagon, along with all 64 people aboard the airliner

The United States identified the hijackers as Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia and several other Arab nations. Reportedly financed by the al Qaeda terrorist organization of Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden, they allegedly acted in retaliation of America’s support of Israel,  involvement in the Persian Gulf War and continued military presence in the Middle East. Ten years after the hijack, a U.S. force transported by helicopters raided a secure compound in Afghanistan and killed bin Laden. In July of 2022, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who contributed to the 9/11 ambush, recently died from U.S. attacks.

“When the 9/11 tragedy happened, I was sitting in my office in utter disbelief. After seeing the second plane hit the tower it was hard to continue watching. The most terrifying part was seeing people jumping from the towers in order to possibly save their life. I wondered what was going through their head while jumping,” physics teacher Elizabeth Walker said.

Even after the immediate shock of 9/11 had subsided, concerns over terrorism remained at higher levels in major cities like New York and Washington. The personal impact of the attacks displayed keenly in the cities directly targeted. In November 2001, ex-President George W. Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which created the Transportation Security Administration, handing passenger screening over to federal employees. The act also increased the number of Federal Air Marshals.

 Americans across the political spectrum share the same feelings when it comes to their memories and sentiments related to the attacks. However, young adults demonstrate less connection to the event and the feelings of unity Americans felt following the attacks than their older counterparts. When people ask Americans what to never forget about 9/11, clear majorities of Republicans and Democrats mentioned the victims and their families and the sacrifices of first responders.

“We need to involve younger Americans more in the process of creating memories and lessons from 9/11. If we want to try and build stronger shared memories of the attacks and what we should learn from them, it will not be enough to tell younger Americans about that period, from the vantage point of older Americans,” director for More in Common USA Dan Vallone said.

First Lady Jill Biden will speak at the Flight 93 National Memorial Observance in Shanksville, Pennsylvania Sunday. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband will attend New York City for a commemoration ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial.