Quick facts for kidsSeptember 11 attacks
From top to bottom: the World Trade Center burning; a section of The Pentagon collapses; Flight 175 crashes into 2 WTC; a fireman requests help at Ground Zero; an engine from Flight 93 is recovered; Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.
|Location||New York City; Arlington County, Virginia; and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.|
|Date||Tuesday, September 11, 2001
8:46 a.m. – 10:28 a.m. (UTC-04:00)
|Attack type||Aircraft hijacking, terrorism|
|Deaths||2,996 (2,977 victims + 19 hijackers)|
|Injured||More than 6,000|
|Perpetrator(s)||Al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden
The September 11, 2001 attacks (or September 11th, or 9/11), were four terrorist attacks. They all happened at the same time. They were done by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. They attacked the United States in New York City. The attacks took place on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
Four groups of terrorists, each with a trained pilot, captured airplanes and flew them into US landmarks. These landmarks were the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City, and the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed in an empty field in Pennsylvania before it could reach its target in Washington, D.C. After the event, the US government said the people who had done the attacks were close to the terrorist group al-Qaeda. During the events, almost 3000 people died. Most of them were from the United States, but over 300 were from other places, such as the United Kingdom, India, and Canada.
The first of the four planes to depart was American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767-200ER. It was 159 feet and two inches long, with a sixteen-foot-six-inch-wide body that allowed for two aisles. The plane made daily flights between Boston and Los Angeles, and when it took off at 7:59 a.m. on the morning of the eleventh, it carried only 81 passengers in its 158 seats. Forty-seven minutes later, it crashed into the North Tower at 440 mph, carrying 9,717 gallons of jet fuel, 14,000 gallons under capacity.
United Flight 175, also a Boeing 767-200ER, was the second. Like American Airlines 11, it was scheduled to fly between Boston and Los Angeles. When United 175 took off at 8:14 a.m., it was even lighter than the American flight: Only 56 of 168 seats were occupied. When it crashed into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m., traveling 540 mph, it had 9,118 gallons of fuel in its tanks.
American Airlines Flight 77 was the third plane to take off, a Boeing 757-200. AA77 left Washington, D.C., at 8:20 a.m. bound for Los Angeles. It was two-thirds empty, with 58 passengers in its 176 seats, and its tanks were 4,000 gallons under its 11,500-gallon capacity. It crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m., flying 530 mph.
The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was also a 757-200. It was delayed for 42 minutes past its scheduled 8 a.m. departure from Newark, New Jersey bound for San Francisco. When it finally took off, it carried only 37 passengers—its capacity was 182—and it was loaded with a little over 7,000 gallons of fuel. It crashed at 560 mph into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 10:03 a.m.
All of the 246 people on the four planes died in the crashes. 19 terrorists were also killed in the attacks. Both towers of the World Trade Center caught on fire after the crashes. The South Tower (2 WTC) burned for 56 minutes before it fell and was destroyed. The North Tower (1 WTC) burned for 102 minutes before it also fell. As the towers fell, parts of the towers hit other buildings around them. It is believed that because of this damage, a third building, 7 World Trade Center (7 WTC), fell at 5:20 p.m., but this is a debated subject. Many other buildings in the area were damaged badly and had to be demolished later. 2,602 people died at the World Trade Center.
The plane that hit the Pentagon hit the ground just as it hit the western side of the building. It then crashed through three of the five "rings" that make up the Pentagon. The crash killed 125 people in the Pentagon.
The United States government paid an average of $1.8 million to the families of the victims of the attacks.
2,996 people died in the attacks, including people such as firemen and policemen trying to save the lives of other people.
Many conspiracy theories have appeared which say that certain people in the United States government knew about the attacks beforehand, or even made them happen.
War on Terror
After the attack, the United States blamed Al-Qaeda, which the U.S. thought was a terrorist group. President George W. Bush said he would start a "War on Terror". He meant that the United States would do more things to try to stop terrorism in the future. Bush said this was meant to protect Americans and their property from terrorists. For example, the American government would be reorganized. Security and control in public places was made stronger, especially at airports. Americans were told every day whether there was a serious threat of terrorism. (This was done by giving a color for the day. Red meant there was a high risk, green meant a low risk, and there were many levels in between.)
The War on Terror also led to real wars. The leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, lived in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The United States told the government of Afghanistan, called the Taliban, to turn bin Laden over to them. The Taliban would not do this. The leader of the Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Omar, demanded to see proof from the United States government. If proof was not given, Mullah Omar said that he would not hand over bin Laden. President George W. Bush said that he did not need to provide proof. The United States then went to war against Afghanistan. The Taliban was removed from power, a new government was put in power, and a new president was chosen by the people of Afghanistan.
While this was happening, the United States government changed in a few ways. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Before 9/11, security at American airports was provided by the airlines. The TSA made it the government's job to provide airport security. New officers were hired by TSA to work at airports and to fly on planes as air marshals. The TSA also provides security on American trains and subways. A new Department of Homeland Security was also created. It became their job to protect Americans and their property inside the United States. When this department was created, the TSA moved from the DOT to Homeland Security.
After defeating the Taliban, President George W. Bush thought the US should invade Iraq. He believed that Iraq helped terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda. He said he had evidence that Iraq was also making weapons of mass destruction. He sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations to show them some of the evidence. In March, 2003, the United States began its invasion of Iraq. (Four other countries also took part, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, and Denmark.) The government of Iraq was overthrown, and the people of Iraq elected a new government. No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.
In the days immediately following the attacks, many memorials and vigils were held around the world, and photographs of the dead and missing were posted around Ground Zero. A witness described being unable to "get away from faces of innocent victims who were killed. Their pictures are everywhere, on phone booths, street lights, walls of subway stations. Everything reminded me of a huge funeral, people quiet and sad, but also very nice. Before, New York gave me a cold feeling; now people were reaching out to help each other."
One of the first memorials was the Tribute in Light, an installation of 88 searchlights at the footprints of the World Trade Center towers. In New York City, the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was held to design an appropriate memorial on the site. The winning design, Reflecting Absence, was selected in August 2006, and consists of a pair of reflecting pools in the footprints of the towers, surrounded by a list of the victims' names in an underground memorial space. The memorial was completed on September 11, 2011; a museum also opened on site on May 21, 2014.
The Sphere by the German sculptor Fritz Koenig is the world's largest bronze sculpture of modern times, and stood between the Twin Towers on the Austin J. Tobin Plaza of the World Trade Center in New York City from 1971 until the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The sculpture, weighing more than 20 tons, was the only remaining work of art to be recovered largely intact from the ruins of the collapsed Twin Towers after the attacks. Since then, the work of art, known in the USA as The Sphere, has been transformed into an important symbolic monument of 9/11 commemoration. After being dismantled and stored near a hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the sculpture was the subject of the 2001 documentary Koenig's Sphere by filmmaker Percy Adlon. On August 16, 2017, the work was reinstated, installed at the Liberty Park close to the new World Trade Center arial and the 9/11 Memorial.
In Arlington County, the Pentagon Memorial was completed and opened to the public on the seventh anniversary of the attacks in 2008. It consists of a landscaped park with 184 benches facing the Pentagon. When the Pentagon was repaired in 2001–2002, a private chapel and indoor memorial were included, located at the spot where Flight 77 crashed into the building.
In Shanksville, a concrete-and-glass visitor center was opened on September 10, 2015, situated on a hill overlooking the crash site and the white marble Wall of Names. An observation platform at the visitor center and the white marble wall are both aligned beneath the path of Flight 93. A temporary memorial is located 500 yards (457 m) from the crash site. New York City firefighters donated a cross made of steel from the World Trade Center and mounted on top of a platform shaped like the Pentagon. It was installed outside the firehouse on August 25, 2008. Many other permanent memorials are elsewhere. Scholarships and charities have been established by the victims' families and by many other organizations and private figures.
On every anniversary in New York City, the names of the victims who died there are read out against a background of somber music. The President of the United States attends a memorial service at the Pentagon, and asks Americans to observe Patriot Day with a moment of silence. Smaller services are held in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which are usually attended by the First lady.
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