The morning of September 11, 2001 started out like any other morning.
Across the country people were drinking their morning beverage or enjoying breakfast. They watched their morning news show or read their newspaper. Adults headed off to work, perhaps with a kiss and a hug. School children went to school. People had plans and hopes for later in the day, later in the week, or later in the month.
Nobody noticed as planes departed from airports in their routine manner.
Headed for Los Angeles, American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Logan International Airport in Boston at 8 a.m. A few minutes later United Airlines Flight 175 took off from Logan at 8:14 a.m., also bound for Los Angeles. American Airlines Flight 77 took off at 8:21 a.m. from Washington Dulles International Airport, also headed to Los Angeles. At 8:41 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93 was airborne bound for San Francisco from Newark International Airport in New Jersey.
Nobody connected the four flights to anything sinister.
No one but the al- Qaidi terrorists that had laid out the plans knew of the impending largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil that would occur that morning.
The first sign of trouble came at 8:40 a.m., when the Federal Aviation Administration notified North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Northeast Air Defense Sector about a suspected hijacking of American Flight 11, 14 minutes after it left the ground.
Three minutes later, at 8:43 a.m., the FAA notified NORAD of the suspected hijacking of United Flight 175.
American Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower World Trade Center Tower at 8:46 a.m. At 9:03 a.m., United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower.
The World Trade Center was a 16-acre complex in lower Manhattan that contained seven buildings with a large underground shopping mall that connected six of the buildings.
The Twin Towers were two of the seven buildings. At 110 stories, with each floor an acre in size, they were the tallest buildings in New York City.
Video clips of the airplanes flying into the two towering office buildings were played over and over on television stations, almost appearing like a never ending loop.
The terrorists intentionally crashed the two hijacked planes into the upper floors of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. A third plane was intentionally crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
After learning about the other attacks, passengers on the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, fought back, and the plane crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania about 20 minutes by air from Washington, D.C.
The Twin Towers ultimately collapsed because of the damage sustained from the impacts and the resulting fires. The collapse of the Twin Towers brought about the destruction of the remaining five WTC buildings.
According to the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, the attacks killed 2,977 people from 93 nations, not including the 19 terrorists: 2,753 people were killed in New York; 184 people were killed at the Pentagon; and 40 people were killed on Flight 93.
Among the dead were occupants of the buildings and planes along with firefighters, law enforcement officers, and military personnel that responded to the scene.
New York Magazine reported that 343 New York firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers were among the 9/11 casualties.
Thousands of volunteers came to Ground Zero — the World Trade Center site — to help with the rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts, and on May 30, 2002, the last piece of WTC steel was ceremonially removed.
On Sept. 11, 2023, CBS News’ 60 minutes reported that 341 firefighters had lost their lives to causes related to 9/11 in the 22 years following that fateful day.
Patriot Day occurs on September 11 of each year in memory of the people that died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.