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The 22nd Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks; Remembering the Lost Lives




Image from “ABC News”. The image captures the Twin Towers moments after the attacks.


September 11th, 2001, is a date every American citizen remembers where they were. The cold-hearted tragedy not only led to an immense impact on the United States, as well as it did on the world. This month, September 2023, marks the twenty-second year since the hurtful events in the United States, where thousands lost their lives, and many more lost their loved ones. Have a look into the depth of what the date 9/11 stands for, who is to blame for the catastrophes, and the aftermath which has not ended its torment below.


9/11


American Flight 11 at 07:59 am was cleared for take-off leaving Boston Logan Airport and heading to Los Angeles. The flight stopped responding to the FAA (US Flight Aviation Administration) at 08:13 a.m. At 08:19 am, Betty Ong, a flight attendant on flight 11, was able to communicate that “somebody’s stabbed in business class”. “I think we’re being hijacked”. Shortly after, the line was cut off. 08:46 am: American Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. 09:03 a.m: United 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. The hijackers used the Hudson River as a guide to New York City.




Image from “The Constructor”. The image captured the moment in which the second aeroplane headed to the South Tower.


About twenty-five minutes following the first crash, it was communicated that American Flight 77 which went from Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles had taken a detour to Washington, D.C. Twenty-six minutes after that, the Pentagon was hit.


Image from “U.S. Department of Defense”. The image captures the damage post the attack on the Pentagon.


At this point, it became clear that the terrorists’ targets were the buildings that symbolised American power, therefore these buildings attempted to be evacuated as quickly as possible. This includes the White House.


Shortly before take-off, a few passengers of Flight United 93 who were able to make phone calls, learned what had happened to the other flights. Soon after take-off, as the hijacking happened, they were threatened to move to the back of the plane. After being able to report their danger to the central, the passengers and crew members learned about the other attacks which had happened shortly before. They all knew what was going to happen. They all knew their destiny. A group of these people made the dangerous decision to confront the cockpit, where the trained hijackers took control of the plane. Knowing that the plane was destined to attack another building, the victims on board heroically sacrificed their own lives to spare thousands. The heroes disrupted the hijackers’ plans. Flight United 93 crashed in a field at Somerset, Pennsylvania, at 10:15 a.m.


It is believed that the plane had the intention to hit the Capitol, another American landmark. In the Capitol, the two chambers of Congress were present, the House, and the Senate. Flight 93 were saviours who protected up to 535 people, if not more.


Al-Qaeda


The infamous Al-Qaeda is an Islamic extremist terrorist group founded by Osama bin Laden in 1988. The young group of men surged during the soviet invasion of Afghanistan during the Cold War. At that time, they were a group of determined and passionate men who stood to defend their country and fought alongside the US, which aided a great deal in their victory against the Soviet Union.


After defeating the superpower nation, Al-Qaeda concluded that if they were able to win a battle against Russia, they could do the same to other countries. In other words: they got cocky. Cocky enough to spur a battle with the US, who were precisely the ones who gave Afghanistan the resources and support they needed to defend their country. It seems as if the terrorists who crashed the planes were a metaphor for Afghanistan itself, who also entered a suicide mission when undertaking the formidable American pride.



Image from “The New York Times”. The image captures Osama bin Laden, the late leader of Al-Qaeda.


According to Ayman al-Zawahiri, late deputy to bin Laden, Al-Qaeda stood for the dominant rule based on the Sharia Law on a global scale. The Sharia Law is the principle guide many Islamic cultures follow regarding morals, religion, ethnicity, and law. The extremists seek to force their ruling ways upon the United States, Western countries, as well as other Muslim cultures.


Due to their assaults and solemn existence, Al-Qaeda has inspired other extremist terrorist groups around Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Even though the group has been intimidated, its principles continue very much alive to this day, as well as its persistence and influence around the world.


Lives Lost


Although the numbers are not certain, there is an estimate of 2,977 people killed as a consequence of the tragic attacks on the date of September 11th, excluding the terrorists, which were a total of 19.


2,753 of the total number of deaths happened at the Twin Tower attacks, 197 happened at the Pentagon attack, and the remaining 40 were at the aeroplane crash in Pennsylvania. Out of the casualties, 343 were firefighters and 72 were police officers.



Image from “CNN”. The image captures the monument memorial of the Twin Towers in honour of the lives lost.


After that date, 341 FDNY officers have died due to illness related to the collateral effects of the attacks. Several civilians, accurately around 400,000 people, experienced the same deadly destine due to the immense clouds formed from the fall of the Twin Towers, which choked the streets with toxins. Some collateral effects include acute traumatic injuries, aerodigestive disorders, numerous types of cancers, conditions related to behavioural and mental health, and musculoskeletal disorders.


The record of casualties made it “the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil” to date, according to Britannica.


War on Terror


Image from “NBC News”. The image captures President George Bush during his speech to the nation on 9/11/2001.


George W. Bush, the President of the United States (2001-2009), reigned a war against Al-Qaeda, placing a death sentence on Osama bin Laden, who became the most wanted man in the world. The War on Terror rose, with the intention of going against “those who seek to export terror, and a war against those governments that support or shelter them”.


America had destroyed all training camps of terror and ridding Al-Qaeda of dominant power. In 2011, from President Obama’s orders, Bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEAL agents in a compound located in Pakistan where he hid from the world.


After what seemed like political progress in the nation, in 2020 the Taliban and the U.S. signed a peace treaty commonly known as the Doha Accord. The treaty promised the disengagement of the Taliban over the nation and peace discussions with the government in exchange for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.


Thenceforth, as the United States retreated from Afghanistan, ending the two-decade military intrusion, the Taliban broke the agreement. The Taliban took over Kabul, over the Afghan government. The Taliban brought back past regimes, such as the restriction of women’s rights, suppression of freedom of expression, limitation on education, and cruel punishments.


“What’s next?”


As the world recovers from the terror spurred by Al-Qaeda, which opened opportunities for other terrorist groups, we are able to identify the struggle for the maintenance of peace. From afar, Earth might seem blue and green and full of life, though if you look close enough, you are able to point out the fires and clouds of illness, intended harm, which suffocate its inhabitants around the globe. If we are not able to eradicate war and terror upon ourselves, we will also collapse and cause each other's deaths. Yet, we cannot help to wonder, why haven’t nations begun to intervene in the situation in Afghanistan.


Bibliography

Works Cited

“Ayman Al-Zawahiri | Biography, Death, Location, & Facts | Britannica.” Www.britannica.com, 5 Sept. 2023, www.britannica.com/biography/Ayman-al-Zawahiri#:~:text=Zawahiri%20was%20closely%20affiliated%20with. Accessed 27 Sept. 2023.

HISTORY. “The Top Secret Tapes | 9/11: The Final Moments of Flight 93 Premieres 9/11 at 8/7c | History.” YouTube, 4 Sept. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv1HPrKtdYI.

House, The White. “Background Press Call by a Senior Administration Official on a U.S. Counterterrorism Operation.” The White House, 2 Aug. 2022, www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2022/08/01/background-press-call-by-a-senior-administration-official-on-a-u-s-counterterrorism-operation/#:~:text=Zawahiri%20was%20Osama%20bin%20Laden. Accessed 27 Sept. 2023.

“How Many People Were Killed in the September 11 Attacks? | Britannica.” Www.britannica.com, www.britannica.com/question/How-many-people-were-killed-in-the-September-11-attacks.

National Archives. “Global War on Terror | George W. Bush Library.” Www.georgewbushlibrary.gov, 3 Jan. 2003, www.georgewbushlibrary.gov/research/topic-guides/global-war-terror.

Shanksville, Mailing Address: P. O. Box 911, and PA 15560 Phone: 814 893-6322 Contact Us. “Call to Action - Flight 93 National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service).” Www.nps.gov, www.nps.gov/flni/learn/historyculture/flight93story.htm#:~:text=The%20passengers%20and%20crew%20were.

“Toxins and Health Impacts: Health Effects of 9/11 - WTC Health Program.” Www.cdc.gov, www.cdc.gov/wtc/exhibition/toxins-and-health-impacts.html.

“Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror | Netflix Official Site.” Www.netflix.com, 2021, www.netflix.com/title/81315804.

“Watch Live: 9/11 Memorial Events Mark 22 Years since the Attacks and Remember Those Who Died - CBS News.” Www.cbsnews.com, 11 Sept. 2023, www.cbsnews.com/news/9-11-memorial-events-22-years-since-attack-remember-those-who-died/.


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