It is hard to believe it has been 15 years since the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack occurred in New York, Arlington, and Shanksville. Time flies fast for sure. it felt like yesterday. We all remember where we were on that awful day. Four hijacked airplanes crashed large jet airplanes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and a field near Shanksville. Once it was all over, 3,000 people lost their lives, untold numbers injured, and left the World Trade Center a smoldering wreckage and Pentagon burning. An entire nation and world was left in mourning. Many more are getting sick and dying due to dust exposure from the destroyed World Trade Center, which spewed incredible amounts of toxic and carcinogenic smoke and dust through New York.
The sky was clear and sunny on the East Coast and the rest of America. It had rained on the night of September 10 after a cold front passed by. Meanwhile, an area of disturbed weather was in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. That disturbance would later become Hurricane Gabrielle. In the Atlantic, there was Hurricane Erin, which was a fish storm and not affecting land and was east of New York on that day. The sky was blue and weather was pleasant on that Tuesday morning. Looked to be another day and biggest news at the time was Michael Jordan announcing his return to the NBA and Chandra Levy case.
All that would change at 8:46 AM when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. The unthinkable happened when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower on live television and people watched horrified. It was obvious America was attacked. People above the crash zone in the North Tower were trapped. Some jumped out of the building because they had nowhere to flee to from all the fire and smoke. Firefighters and police went inside to rescue people as people were fleeing the stricken World Trade Center.
To make matters worse, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, the center of America’s military might. It was obvious that America was attacked and all airplanes had to be grounded. For the first time, almost no airplanes were in the sky. It was an empty sky, but two airplanes were unaccounted for. If things got worse, it got much worse. The South Tower crashed to the ground with people trapped inside in a massive plume of toxic dust and smoke. People are fleeing the collapse. United Airlines Flight 93 is hijacked, but the passengers fight back and terrorists crashed it knowing they failed into a field near Shanksville. The burning North Tower which was first attacked disintegrates into a massive plume of toxic dust and smoke. Reality had set in and that many people got killed. Manhattan, Pentagon, and Shanksville looked like war zones, except it was in America. Downtown Manhattan was covered in thick dust and smoke was gushing out into the afternoon. Another building, 7 World Trade Center collapsed as the Sun was setting for the day.
The death toll was going to massive. Death toll was estimated as high as 50,000 people killed including 800 at the Pentagon. First responders report to what is know Ground Zero to rescue and survivors. From there, it becomes a recovery work to find the dead and clean up the site by removing wreckage of the World Trade Center. Once the recovery work was done, 3,000 people lost their life on that Tuesday. Many people from first responders to office workers were exposed to the toxic dust and smoke of the World Trade Center collapse and could have respiratory problems and even death.
In the past 15 years since 9/11, we have seen disasters from Indian Ocean Tsunami, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Virginia Tech Massacre, Nargis, Sichuan Earthquake, Ike, Haitian Earthquake, Macondo Well Disaster, Japan Tsunami, Alabama Tornado, Joplin Tornado, Sandy Hook Massacre, Boston Marathon, UCSB, Paris, Orlando, Nice, and Baghdad. Also, we have had two recessions, wars, and many droughts. 9/11 had the most profound impact of all the events in the past 15 years.