On Monday, the nation paused to remember the September 11th terrorist attacks of 2001. Americans from Ground Zero to Alaska engaged in solemn tributes and moments of silence to honor those lives lost in devastating events that occurred 22 years ago.
The coordinated terror attack, involving 19 hijackers, saw four commercial flights taken over, with two of them targeting the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan, another hitting the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the fourth crashing in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The grim tally from that day stands at 2,977 victims.
The timeline of the 9/11 attacks remains chillingly vivid. American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. ET, instantly killing all on board and sealing the fate of many inside the tower. Merely 17 minutes later, at 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower. The horror intensified as both structures, icons of the Manhattan skyline, fell later that morning. American Airlines Flight 77 targeted the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m., and by 10:03 a.m., United Flight 93 met its tragic end in Pennsylvania.
The seeds for this devastating attack were sown a decade earlier, with the inception of ‘the Bojinka plot’ in the early 1990s. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a key figure in al-Qaeda and now recognized as the primary mastermind behind 9/11, initially aimed to target various sites, using 11 airliners flying from Asia to the U.S. In a precursor to the 9/11 events, his accomplice, Ramzi Yousef, responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, planted a bomb aboard Philippine Airlines Flight 434 in December 1994. The bomb detonated but failed in its objective, taking only one life.
At Ground Zero, Vice President Kamala Harris stood with other dignitaries, accompanying the victims’ families as they read aloud the names of the departed. Concurrently, ceremonies took place at the Pentagon and Shanksville.
Beyond New York, memorial ceremonies were held nationwide, from firehouses to city halls. Adding to the day’s poignancy, President Joe Biden is anticipated to address service members, first responders, and their families at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, as he returns from his trip to Vietnam, reinforcing the reality that the repercussions of 9/11 echoed in even the nation’s most distant corners.
As discussions around the attacks continue, President Biden has reportedly denied specific conditions proposed for a potential plea deal for the 9/11 attack defendants. This includes the provision of guaranteeing the men would avoid solitary confinement and receive care for the trauma endured during their time in CIA custody, as stated by an official from the White House National Security Council on Wednesday.