Today is a different day here at mayhemcleveland.com. Instead of the normal recap for the Indians, we want to take a moment to remember a piece of history that shaped the world.
Today is the 15th anniversary of September 11th.
Fifteen years ago 19 Middle Eastern extremists boarded four different planes destined for cross-country flight. The surrounding fellow passengers, completely unaware of the intentions of these individuals.
At 8:46am, hijackers aboard American Airlines flight 11 crash the plane into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.
As President George Bush enters an elementary school in Sarasota, FL, he is notified of a small plane that has accidentally made contact with one of the Twin Towers in New York. Over the next several minutes, Advisors to the president begin to understand the size of the plane.
Seventeen minutes after flight 11, at 9:03am, hijackers on United Airlines flight 175 crashed the plane into the south tower of the World Trade Center. It was at this time, that President Bush, learns that this was not an accident.
President Bush was spending time with an elementary school class, reading with them, when his advisors made him aware of the second plane. Attempting to stay calm, Bush continued to participate with the class. Afterwards, he held a press conference from the school, telling Americans that this will not be tolerated in our country.
As Bush and his crew departed the school en route to Air Force One, an advisor ran from another vehicle to give him some devastating news.
At 9:37am, hijackers aboard American Airlines flight 77 crashed a plane into the Western facade of the Pentagon in Washington DC. Fifty-nine people aboard the plane parrished, along with 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.
By now, the FAA is weary about any flight over the US. Deputy Ben Sliney makes the call to ground every plane in United States air space. This is the first and only time in history that this decision has ever been made.
Shortly before the grounding decision was made, an air traffic controller in Cleveland OH, made contact with United Airlines flight 93. Shortly after contact is made, the pilot seemingly turns off his transponder. The Cleveland controller attempts to contact him to find out why as he notices a different voice giving alarming instructions to the passengers.
At 9:59, the south tower in New York City, collapsed, burying thousands in rubble. Many Americans hang their heads, some cry, and others are just stunned as they watch the tower crumble on live television.
As the horrors continued in New York, the controller in Cleveland was still attempting to contact United 93 as it made a dramatic “U turn” over Northeast Ohio. It’s new destination? Washington DC.
Fighter Pilots scramble, as passengers on flight 93 contact their loved ones and learn about the past hours events. Banding together, the passengers fought against the hijackers to take control of the plane. A lone F-15 pilot, running low on fuel watched the plane from several miles away.
At 10:07am, the passengers overpowered the hijackers as United flight 97 plummeted into a field in Shanksville, PA. The fighter pilot, to far away to have intervened, watched in stunned silence as a plume of black smoke rose into the sky.
Then, at 10:28am, the North Tower of the World Trade Center, buckled under the pressure and collapsed. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani called for the evacuation of lower Manhattan.
Over the next 48 hours firefighters, police officers, medics, and even military personnel were able to rescue 20 individuals from the rubble.
Thousands of Americans lost their lives in one of the most devastating tragedies in US history. It has been 15 years, and the pain still lingers as husbands, wives, friends, and loved ones were lost. September 11th made history that Americans will never forget. So, take a moment to remember the heroic men and women who did everything they could to save lives that day. Remember those who we lost that day. And above all, remember that even in the face of tragedy, this country will always stand strong.