Sixteen years ago today, Islamic terrorist organisation al-Qaeda flew two planes into New York City’s Twin Towers, killing 2,996 people and injuring thousands more. The majority of victims were civilians, yet the attacks also remain the deadliest incident for law enforcement officers and firefighters in United States history. 343 firefighters and 732 law enforcement officers were killed.
The first hijacked plane hit the North tower of the World Trade Center complex in central New York at 8.45am. Eighteen minutes later, a second plane crashed into the South tower. Enormous fires led to the collapse of both 110-story buildings within 102 minutes, and numerous structures around the area were also destroyed.
At the same time, a third hijacked plane was flown into the Pentagon in Virginia, and a fourth, enroute to Washington DC, crashed in Pennsylvania when passengers attempted to overcome the hijackers.
The September 11, 2001 attacks shook the world, generating extreme fear and resulting in the War on Terror in Afghanistan. The attacks stand not just as a dark memory in United States history, but as a testament to the bravery, love and dedication of Americans in times of trial.
Today a beautiful memorial stands in the former location of the Twin Towers, providing a powerful setting to remember those who passed away in the tragic attacks.