By Savannah Owens
On September 11th, 2001, members of the terrorists group al-Qaeda hijacked four flights: American 11, United 175, American 77 and United 93. Two planes- American 11 and United 175- hit the World Trade Centers in New York; Flight 77 collided into the Pentagon in Virginia, and the last plane, United 93, crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers regained control and diverted it from the White House.
A total of almost 3,000 people were killed from the 9/11 attacks.
There were 2,763 casualties at the World Trade Center, where the two planes hit the twin towers. 343 of those casualties were firefighters and paramedics, 23 were NYC police officers, and there were also 37 Port Authority Police Officers. These first responders were trying to evacuate the buildings, help those trapped on higher floors, and save people buried in the rubble. The Pentagon attack had 189 deaths including the 64 passengers and crew members on Flight 77 that struck the building. 44 people died from Flight 93 when the passengers crash landed in Pennsylvania.
Sixteen years later, Americans gather at memorials to remember and honor their loved ones. At Ground Zero, many read names of those lost, share memories, and give speeches to commemorate the sacrifice of many rescuers, officials, and civilians who lost their lives. For some attendees “it was an occasion to thank first responders and members of the military, to express concern for those affected by Hurricane Irma as it continued its destructive path as a tropical storm, or to plead for a return to the sense of unity they felt after the attacks.”(Peltz & Matthews-AP)
On Sunday, Sept 10th 2017, in Pennsylvania, ground was broken on the newest portion of the Flight 93 Memorial.
“This undated artist rendering provided by bioLINIA and Paul Murdoch Architects via that National Park Service shows a depiction of the completed Tower of Voices that will be part of the Flight 93 National Memorial. The 16th anniversary of United Flight 93’s crash into a Pennsylvania field during the 9/11 terrorist attacks will mark the beginning of the end of a $46 million effort to transform the rural Pennsylvania crash site into a national memorial park. The tower to be built near the park’s entrance will feature 40 tubular metal wind chimes, one each for the 33 passengers and seven crew members who died.” (bioLINIA and Paul Murdoch Architects via AP)
The Tower of Voices will be the final section of the memorial.
Sulphur Springs Marine Corps League lowered the flags on the square to half-staff in honor of those who lost their lives in the attacks. This day brings forth mixed emotions for those that remember the day: those who were present at ground zero, those who lost loved ones, and the rest of us who felt the impact of this devastating attack on our country. While there are currently many tensions threatening to divide our country, today is a sobering but hopeful reminder that we are all Americans and that we must all be united with each other in order to stand up for our freedom.