Tuesday, September 11th, 2001
The worst terrorist attack in United States history occurred as four large passenger jets were hijacked then crashed, killing nearly 3,000 persons. The attack was carried out by four separate teams of terrorists from the Middle East, all operating from inside the U.S. Each team had boarded an early-morning flight, posing as passengers, then forcibly commandeered the aircraft.
Two fully-fueled jumbo jets, American Airlines Flight 11 carrying 92 persons and United Airlines Flight 175 carrying 65 persons, had departed Boston for Los Angeles. Both jets were diverted by the hijackers to New York City where they were piloted by the terrorists themselves into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The impact and subsequent fire caused both 110-story towers to collapse, killing 2,752 persons, including hundreds of fire-rescue workers and persons employed in the towers.
United Airlines Flight 93, which had departed from Newark for San Francisco, and American Airlines Flight 77, which had departed from Dulles (Virginia) for Los Angeles, were also hijacked. Flight 77, with 64 persons on board, was diverted to Washington, D.C., then piloted by the terrorists into the Pentagon building, killing everyone on board and 125 military personnel inside the building. Flight 93, with 44 persons on board, was also diverted toward Washington but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to overpower the terrorists on board.
On Thursday, September 20th, President George W. Bush gave a much-anticipated speech before a Joint Session of Congress, outlining America’s reaction to the attack.