The US marks 20 Years of 9/11 attacks, tributes pour for the innocent souls
Even after 20 years, the pain and trauma are still very raw for many survivors as 2,977 people were killed in the deadliest September 11 terrorist attacks on American soil. It was a usual morning of (9/11) September 11, 2001, when 19 hijackers identified as the members of Islamist extremist group Al-Qaeda hijacked four different passenger planes that killed and injured thousands of people in the United States of America. The attack brought in a collective shock to all Americans who believed their nation to be impregnable.
In what is known as the worst and the bloodiest terrorist attack to ever take place on American soil, the terrorists targeted symbolic American buildings, with the hijacked planes set on course to target the Pentagon, the US Capitol Building and the World Trade Center (Both North & South Towers).
THE TARGETS AND DAMAGE OF THE HATRED PLAN
The 19 terrorists hijacked four planes and deliberately crashed two of the planes into the upper floors of the New York skyscrapers World Trade Center (WTC Complex) both North and South Towers and a third plane into the Pentagon in Virginia and the fourth one in a failed bid to crash into the United States Capitol Building.
Within two hours of the suicide attacks, the Twin Towers (World Trade Center) ultimately collapsed because of the damage sustained from the impacts and the resulting fires. Since it was a busy workday, the crowd gathered outside and watched in horror as the twin towers were visible from Washington Square Park and even from New Jersey.
The third plane crashed into the Pentagon but after learning about all these attacks, passengers on the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, fought back and was crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania by air from Washington, D.C. The Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex also collapsed a few hours later due to the impact from the surrounding buildings engulfed in flames.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed from 93 different countries where most of the fatalities were from the attacks on the World Trade Center. The Pentagon lost 184 civilians and service members and 40 people were killed on Flight 93 and injuring more than 50000 people mentally and physically as it was the worst attack since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The 9/11 deadliest attacks were orchestrated by the Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who left no choice but forced the victims to decide between burning alive and jumping from the 110 storey building.
These deadliest attacks which altered the lives of U.S. troops and their families also impacted millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq in retaliation & changed the world in massive and heart-breaking ways.
THE 9/11 MEMORIAL – DEDICATED TO THE PURE SOULS
Many of you may know this but the 9/11 Memorial was opened on September 11, 2011, during the 10th anniversary of the attacks as a tribute to honouring the heroes and the pure souls who lost their lives in the attacks.
The 9/11 Memorial is built in honour of the people who died in the attacks on the western side of the New York skyscraper where the World Trade Center complex (Twin Towers) once stood.
As a tribute to the lost souls, close to 3,000 names of men, women, and kids who were killed in the attacks are inscribed surrounding the twin memorial pools set within the footprints of the Worl Trade Center (North and South Towers). Along with this, the Pentagon Memorial was also built as a tribute to the people whose lives were lost at the Pentagon that day.
There is also a 9/11 Memorial Museum which is located beneath the Memorial Plaza that showcases artefacts from the 9/11 attacks and collective stories relating to the experiences of survivors and eyewitnesses.
Every year, the nation also remembers two flight attendants Betty Ong and Madeline Amy Sweeney from American Airlines Flight 11 for heroism on 9/11 who calmly relayed all the information on the hijackers and their plans that hugely helped the FBI at the time to determine the perpetrators were Al Qaeda. The recordings and voices of Ong and Amy Sweeney were later released by the FBI and are still available on YouTube.
THE MASTERMIND OF THE SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS
Al-Qaeda is one of many Islamist extremist groups who believed violence can help achieve strict adherence to religious law as well as its cultural and social life for a country.
The 9/11 attacks were led by Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, an Islamist extremist network, planned, controlled and executed the deadly event from Afghanistan.
Osama bin Laden knew that American power was vulnerable when overextended and Americans enjoyed the exceptional privilege of national security thinking no one would dare attack THEM for fear of massive retaliation.
With the 9/11 attacks, Al-Qaeda turned ordinary American passenger planes into weapons to punish the people of the United States. In the larger sense, Bin Laden used the entire American army to destroy the foundations of the American empire by destroying two of the most recognized symbols of American financial and military power and shaking the stock market and the economy as well.
It is being said that 15 of the 19 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia including Bin Laden himself and the other two were from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the remaining two, 1 from Lebanon & 1 from Egypt.
THE INVOLVEMENT OF AFGHANISTAN & TALIBAN IN 9/11 ATTACKS & HOW DID THE UNITED STATES RESPONDED?
Al-Qaeda group was founded in Afghanistan which use to run training camps for terrorists with the support of the Taliban, an Islamist group that ruled the country for a long time.
A few days after the attacks, former President George W. Bush in a speech to a joint session of Congress warned and said, “Any nation found to continue to harbour or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime”. “The United States warns the Taliban to immediately hand over the terrorists and close the terrorists training camps or face an attack from the United States”, President George W. Bush added.
After the Taliban refused to turn over the mastermind of the attacks, Osama Bin Laden, in less than a month, then US President George W Bush led an invasion of Afghanistan to eradicate al-Qaeda and to hunt down Osama bin Laden.
OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM
Operation Enduring Freedom officially commenced on October 7, 2001, with the United States and British bombing strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. The force was able to remove the Taliban from power and Al Qaeda was seriously crippled whereas Bin Laden remained hidden for nearly 10 years.
On May 2, 2011, the U.S. Navy SEALs established a nighttime raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, killing the Al Qaeda leader along with others who were involved in the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the U.S. military operation led by (then) President Barack Obama.
Then on December 28, 2014, Operation Enduring Freedom was officially ended however the coalition forces remained on the ground to train Afghan security forces.
American troops departed Afghanistan in August 2021.
HOW THE SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS AFFECTED THE U.S. STOCK MARKET & ECONOMIC
Over $500,000 was the estimated amount of money that cost to plan and execute the 9/11 attacks.
More than $123 billion was the estimated economic loss during the first 2-4 weeks after the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York City, along with the decline in airline travel over the next few years.
$60 billion was the estimated cost of the WTC site damage, along with the damages to surrounding buildings, infrastructure and subway facilities.
$40 billion was the value of the emergency anti-terrorism package approved by the United States Congress
$15 billion was the aid package passed by Congress to bail out the airlines.
$9.3 billion was the insurance claims arising from the 9/11 attacks.
$1.3 billion was the cleanup costs
The loss of four civilian aircraft was valued at $385 million.
Lost jobs, lost taxes, heavy damage to infrastructure was calculated at over $95 billion alone in the city of New York.
$40 billion loss was suffered by the insurance industry along with the loss of air traffic revenue which was $10 billion.
Moreover, various trading, multiple stocks, along with many financial firms which had offices in the World Trade Center were unable to function due to the aftermath of the loss of life.
Counting the value of lives lost as well as property damage and lost production of goods and services, losses already exceed $100 billion and later went to $2 trillion. The fall of global markets was incalculable.
THE LEGACY OF 9/11 CONTINUES
Flight safety was highly tightened around the world in the years following 9/11.
In the United States, the Transportation Security Administration was created to beef up security at airports and on planes.
A memorial and a museum now stand on the site, and buildings have risen up again, to a different design.
The completed centrepiece – One World Trade Center, or “Freedom Tower” – stands even higher than the original fallen North Tower.
THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 ATTACKS
On Saturday, September 11, 2021, the United States President Joe Biden will be visiting all three sites of the attacks to honour and pay his respects to the people killed in the attacks.