Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001

That day started like most days did for me at the time. I woke quietly at 7:00 a.m. trying not to wake up Barbara. I had to be to work by 8:00 a.m., but she got to sleep a little later. She didn't have to be at school until just before 9:00 a.m. I left the house by 7:30 a.m. and went to the 7-11 to get my coffee and a newspaper. I arrived at work just before 8:00 a.m. like usual.

8:45 a.m. (all times are EDT): A hijacked passenger jet, American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston, Massachusetts, crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center, tearing a gaping hole in the building and setting it afire.
Time line:

I walked onto the production floor a few minutes later. One of the assemblers told me that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center, but that no one knew anything else. She turned up her radio, as did others that had them and we all listened intently. I listened for a few moments and then was called away for something.

9:03 a.m.: A second hijacked airliner, United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston, crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center and explodes. Both buildings are burning.

By now, everyone knew what had happened and stopped working to listen to the radios.

A short time later our president and part owner of the company came on the PA to announce what most already knew. He placed the microphone by the radio so everyone could hear what was happening. He also said that everyone should go back to work, but to listen as they worked. That was a lot easier said than done.

9:17 a.m.: The Federal Aviation Administration shuts down all New York City area airports.

9:21 a.m.: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey orders all bridges and tunnels in the New York area closed.

9:30 a.m.: President Bush, speaking in Sarasota, Florida, says the country has suffered an "apparent terrorist attack."

9:40 a.m.: The FAA halts all flight operations at U.S. airports, the first time in U.S. history that air traffic nationwide has been halted.

9:43 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, sending up a huge plume of smoke. Evacuation begins immediately.

9:45 a.m.: The White House evacuates.

9:57 a.m.: Bush departs from Florida.

10:05 a.m.: The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses, plummeting into the streets below. A massive cloud of dust and debris forms and slowly drifts away from the building.

10:08 a.m.: Secret Service agents armed with automatic rifles are deployed into Lafayette Park across from the White House.

10:10 a.m.: A portion of the Pentagon collapses.

10:10 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93, also hijacked, crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh.

10:13 a.m.: The United Nations building evacuates, including 4,700 people from the headquarters building and 7,000 total from UNICEF and U.N. development programs.

10:22 a.m.: In Washington, the State and Justice departments are evacuated, along with the World Bank.

10:24 a.m.: The FAA reports that all inbound transatlantic aircraft flying into the United States are being diverted to Canada.

10:28 a.m.: The World Trade Center's north tower collapses from the top down as if it were being peeled apart, releasing a tremendous cloud of debris and smoke.

10:45 a.m.: All federal office buildings in Washington are evacuated.

10.46 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell cuts short his trip to Latin America to return to the United States.

10.48 a.m.: Police confirm the plane crash in Pennsylvania.

10:53 a.m.: New York's primary elections, scheduled for Tuesday, are postponed.

10:54 a.m.: Israel evacuates all diplomatic missions.

10:57 a.m.: New York Gov. George Pataki says all state government offices are closed.

11:02 a.m.: New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani urges New Yorkers to stay at home and orders an evacuation of the area south of Canal Street.

11:16 a.m.: CNN reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing emergency-response teams in a precautionary move.

11:18 a.m.: American Airlines reports it has lost two aircraft. American Flight 11, a Boeing 767 flying from Boston to Los Angeles, had 81 passengers and 11 crew aboard. Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles, had 58 passengers and six crew members aboard. Flight 11 slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.

11:26 a.m.: United Airlines reports that United Flight 93, en route from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California, has crashed in Pennsylvania. The airline also says that it is "deeply concerned" about United Flight 175.

11:59 a.m.: United Airlines confirms that Flight 175, from Boston to Los Angeles, has crashed with 56 passengers and nine crew members aboard. It hit the World Trade Center's south tower.

I went to the cafeteria for lunch a little after noon. Everyone was talking about the hijackings and what happened as a result. That's about all anyone talked about.

4:10 p.m.: Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex is reported on fire.

I arrived home from work just before 5:00 p.m. and immediately turned on the television. All I knew was what I'd heard on the radio, but seeing the actual devastation was a shock. I couldn't believe my eyes. I truly was in shock.

5:20 p.m.: The 47-story Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex collapses. The evacuated building is damaged when the twin towers across the street collapse earlier in the day. Other nearby buildings in the area remains ablaze.

Until I went to bed that night, I spend every possible moment watching television, flicking from channel to channel to see if anyone had anything new to report.



There were 2,974 fatalities, not including the 19 hijackers:
  • 246 on the four planes (no one on board any of the hijacked aircraft survived)
  • 2,603 in New York City in the towers and on the ground
  • 125 at the Pentagon

Among the fatalities were:
  • 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters
  • 23 New York City Police Department officers
  • 37 Port Authority Police Department officers
  • 24 people remain listed as missing

Little did I know how much this one day would change everything. The world would never be the same.

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