Sept. 11, 2001, was a clear sunny day in the eastern United States. A simple Tuesday, a school day, and a work day.
Most everyone who is old enough to recall that day, remember the horror they felt as the events of that morning unfolded. Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airlines in a strategically planned attack against the United States. The four aircraft strikes killed nearly 3,000 people, the deadliest attack on American soil by a foreign entity.
Here is the timeline from that day (all times eastern):
- At 7:59 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 takes off from Boston, headed to Los Angeles. There are 76 passengers, 11 crew members, and five hijackers on board.
- At 8:15 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 takes off from Boston, also headed to Los Angeles. There are 51 passengers, nine crew members and five hijackers on board.
- At 8:20 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Dulles, Virginia, headed for Los Angeles. There are 53 passengers, six crew members, and five hijackers on board.
- At 8:42 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark, New Jersey, headed to San Francisco. There are 33 passengers, seven crew members and four hijackers on board.
- At 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 flies into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. All passengers onboard are instantly killed along with employees of the World Trade Center above the 91st floor.
- Sixteen minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 slams into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. All passengers are killed instantly, along with an unknown number of people in the tower.
- At 9:37 a.m., a third aircraft (Flight 77) flies into the Pentagon. All passengers are killed instantly and so are 125 civilian and military personnel in the building.
- At 9:57 a.m., the passengers and remaining crew rush the cockpit of Flight 93 and try to take over the plane as it is now headed to Washington, D.C. At 10:02 a.m., the plane slams into a Pennsylvania grassy field at 525 miles per hour.
- The South Tower at the World Trade Center collapses at 9:59 a.m. and the North Tower falls at 10:28 a.m.
There are more than 1,000 memorials in the United States, including the following three on the site of where these terrorists forever changed the lives of those impacted by this tragic day.
The 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City is located where the World Trade Center once stood. In the plaza are twin memorial waterfall pools that list those killed on Sept. 11 as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Nearby, the museum tells the stories of the victims, media narratives from that day, stories from families who lost their loved ones, and those who risked their lives to save others. It’s a must-see when in New York City.
The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Washington, D.C. honors each person who lost their life that day with a memorial bench. A proposal to construct a 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center is in the works.
The Flight 93 National Memorial is in southwestern Pennsylvania, about 20 miles from Somerset. The memorial is a place of solitude where visitors hear the stories of the people of Flight 93 and see where the plane crashed. A ceremonial Bells of Remembrance are in the field below, along with 40 engraved marble panels with the names of the victims. A large sandstone boulder marks the impact site of Flight 93. The Tower of Voices, a 93-foot-tall structure, holds 40 windchimes representing each person onboard the flight. The center details the amount of evidence recovered from the field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
For more insight on other memorials, Smithsonian Magazine has seven 9/11 memorials to visit across the United States.