The terror attack in 2001 on one of the then iconic sites in New York, the World Trade Centre, shook the United States and had a huge impact globally. 9/11 terror attacks, also called the September 11 attacks, were a series of four coordinated suicide attacks by the terrorist group al-Qaeda. “Nineteen years ago, under clear blue skies, 102 minutes changed our lives forever. On Fri., Sept. 11
At 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, an American Airlines Boeing 767 flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. As images of the stricken building claimed the attention of TV news channels around the globe, it seemed possible that the tower, an iconic symbol of America, had been the victim of a tragic accident.
But 17 minutes later, when another Boeing 767 struck the South Tower as the world looked on, it became shockingly clear that America was under attack. The tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m., followed 29 minutes later by the North Tower. Two more aircraft had been hijacked. One was flown into the Pentagon; the other crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back and foiled the hijackers’ plan to attack Washington.
The attacks left 2,996 dead, including the 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible, but the true cost is still being counted today. In under a month, America had invaded Afghanistan, embarking on the longest war in its history, and in March 2003 a US-led coalition invaded Iraq.
At the time, President George W Bush gave an immediate, simple explanation of why the attacks had been made: “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”
The collapse of the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, released a plume containing 400 tons of pulverized asbestos and other hazardous materials across lower Manhattan.
An estimated 410,000 to 525,000 people, including more than 90,000 workers, were exposed to the toxic dust during the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts that followed the attack.
But there has been growing awareness in recent years of the suffering of another group of people tied to the tragedy – firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after exposure to the wreckage and the toxins unleashed in it.
While research continues into whether those illnesses are tied to 9/11 toxins, a victim’s compensation fund for people with potentially 11 September-related health problems has awarded more than $5.5 billion so far. Over 51,000 people have applied.
With crime on the rise, shops and apartments increasingly vacant and homeless people on the sidewalks, New York on Friday will mark the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and a bitter fight with the White House.
The city will hold its annual ceremony in memory of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the bloodiest terrorist attack in US history, punctuated by a minute’s silence at the exact moments that Al-Qaeda jihadists crashed two hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center towers.
Instead of reading out the roll call of the dead, the families of victims have recorded themselves in 2020. But they will still be present at the “Ground Zero” memorial.
The site museum will also open for the first time since the novel coronavirus brought the city to a standstill in March.