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On this tragic date, United States of America was slapped with a sudden series of well organized suicide attacks by the well known al-Qaeda terrorist group. The fatal attacks surprised everyone across the world. The fact that people from different countries were affected meant that the entire globe was wounded thus worsening the situation.
According to Sites (2003), widespread confusion was evident in media houses and air traffic controllers in USA. The hopeless situation forced burning of civilian airliners from landing in the US. This took about three longest days in the History of America. Two actions were therefore taken. While some planes were turned back to where they were coming from, others were redirected to the then busy airport in Mexico and Canada.
The events of September 11, 2001
In the morning of this date, nineteen al-Qaeda terrorists managed to hijack four commercial passenger airplanes. It is worth noting that some of the hijackers had pilot training therefore knew exactly what to do at the time. The four airliners were on their way to San Francisco and Los Angeles. They were from Newark, Boston and Washington D.C., Washington Dulles International Airport to be specific. Two of them were intentionally crashed into the twin towers housing the world trade centre in New York City.
It was at exactly 8:46 in the morning when the American Airlines Flight 11 was observed crashing into the tower of the WTC. It was followed by a crash on the South Tower by the United Airlines Flight 175, 17 minutes later. Everyone who was on board perished including those who were working in the buildings. It took two hours for the two buildings to collapse and damaging others that were nearby. Just outside Washington D.C., a third airliner crashed in to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. This was at about 9:37 a.m. The airliner was the American Airlines Flight 77.
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It took courage and determination of the flight crew and the passengers of the United Airlines Flight 93 to at least crash into a field near Shanksville situated in rural Pennsylvania instead of Washington D.C. To be specific, either the White House or the Capitol was intended target. This happened at 10:03 a.m. No jet airliner had a single survivor. It is a true account that some passengers managed to make phone calls in order to provide details about the hijackers and also the state of the passengers, (Sites, 2003). Some of them had been stabbed and chemical substances used on them.
There were cases where the pilots, flight attendants and even passengers were killed. The passengers reported seeing some of the hijackers having bombs on them as much as it was not clear whether they were fake or not. However, traces of explosives were absent at the crash sites making the commission to deduce that probably the explosives were not real. The black box on United Airlines Flight 93 revealed how one of the hijackers gave orders to roll the airliner upon realizing that they were going to lose control of the plane to the aggressive passengers on board. Structural failures of three buildings lead to their collapse on that day.
The impact of the United Airlines Flight 175 resulted into a fire that made the south tower to fall after 56 minutes of burning. It took approximately 102 minutes for the North tower to fall due to burning. The North Tower's debris fell on the nearby building (7WTC) and damaged it with fierce fires. At 5:20 p.m., the East Penthouse started crumbling down. It took only one minute for it to fall completely. Unconfirmed and contradictory news were being reported through the day save for the intense confusion that filled the air.
An example of the false reports included the reporting of a detonation of a car bomb at the U.S. State Department Headquarters. The headquarters is situated in Washington D.C. A fire break out was also reported on the National Mall, (Sites, 2003). Further reports indicated of a hijacking of the Delta Air Lines Flight 1989. It later landed safely in Cleveland, Ohio. It was later discovered that Osama Bin Laden leader of the terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, was responsible for the series of attacks, (Thomann, 2004).
A total of approximately three thousand and nineteen people including the inhuman hijackers perished. As of June 2009, the New York State Health Department reported that 836 responders had passed on. This figure consists of both firefighters and the police officers.342 firefighters and 60 police officers were inclusive of the 2,752 people who died on that day. The numbers of victims killed in the Pentagon stood at 184. A huge percentage of the causalities were civilians of different nationalities. There was even a case where a victim succumbed to lung cancer due to exposure to the massive clouds of dust. This translated into secondary death.
The attacks triggered a launch of war on terror by the United States of America resulting into a fierce invasion of Afghanistan. The main purpose was to attack the Taliban group which was believed to house the Al-Qaeda. Several countries across the world worked to strengthen their anti-terrorism law and powers in anticipation of similar attacks, (Thomann, 2004). The USA PATRIOT Act was also enacted by the USA. The effects of the attacks included the closure of stock markets leading to huge losses when they were back in business after a period of one week. This situation translated into grave damage on the Lower Manhattan's economy. It took a total of one year for the Pentagon's damage to be completely cleared and a memorial erected just adjacent to the building.
Why America was attacked
A common belief is that the general attack on American soil on this fateful date is not a criminal act but rather an act of war. It follows that it will be an understatement to say that those responsible should be prosecuted or arrested. Extreme suggestions have been that the people responsible should be destroyed so as to pay for their inhuman gesture.
The fact that some people suggest that it should not be referred to as a criminal act is because there is no criminal motive, (Goldberger, 2004). They relate the idea of training of the hijackers and the resources that were organized for the day, to an act of war directed towards the American people. It is believed that the governments in the Middle East have for a long time provided support to enhance attack on America. The types of support could be political, economic, moral and religious. It therefore means that America was attacked because the above mentioned governments wish (wished) to destroy America.
They envied America because of its achievements, reasons, integrity, freedom, trade values and most of all superiority. It was therefore a war on America. Goldberger (2004) thinks that this situation results into a journey of history to recall the events of attack of Japan by the United States. Japan was destroyed in place of being given punishment and the same treatment is recommended for the governments that were behind the September 11 attacks. The result of this destruction was formation of a government that has since worked its way through various levels of achievement in all sectors.
It has been revealed that the governments which support terrorism are well known to a point that there is no need for research, (Caraley, 2002). This grave situation has forced America to prioritize the issue of self protection.
Some people believe that the attacks were as a result of the belief that the Islamic Jihad (Holy war) is one segment of an intensive raid on values of the western world. This relates to Americas desire and reason for life. The situation is worsened by the fact that the enemies of America live amongst the American people.
Caraley (2002) points out that on a general scale, the attacks on America have been cultivated because 'they' hate America. The hatred is brought about by the fact that America has always prospered. Another reason for the attacks on America could be because they compare their countries which have never had revolutions to fight for people's rights to America, a country that has seen the rights of people being represented and even respected. They should therefore learn from American principles instead of organizing military coups. The attackers embrace Nihilism. This is the desire to cause destruction, (Goldberger, 2004).
America going on
On the day of the attacks there were several proclamations about rebuilding America. One memorable one was by the then New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. They promised to be strong enough to save themselves out of the aftermath of the attacks. In less than two weeks after the series of attacks on American soil, the rebuilding had already begun. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the police officers were given more powers to fish out terrorists.
The airport personnel became extra careful as they checked luggage belonging to the many passengers coming from all directions of the world. The sight of chain link fencing and armies of casual laborers was the order of the day. Public spaces were used for private absences and grieving as lit candles, collection of flowers and notes were seen everywhere from kiosks and sub-ways. There were many suggestions that were brought forward relating to the rebuilding of America, (Cooper and Vargas, 2008). Opinions were aired through the various editorials.
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There were suggestions of memorial gardens, peace parks, exact replacement of the already fallen buildings and even towers. People held different opinions as to whether to build taller buildings or not. There were suggestions to build houses that would accommodate the displaced workers. It is worth noting that the falling of the buildings ate up a lot of valuable space for instance 15 million square feet that is enough office space for close to 50,000 workers and a daily visit of 80,000 visitors.
All these efforts were geared towards helping New York recover its economical strength. In two weeks time after the attack it was reported that some businesses were applying survival tactics like moving to New Jersey in search for temporary habitation. Architects were not of the idea of ignoring zoning regulations. They were to be adhered to despite suggestions of transforming New York from what it originally looked like before the attacks.
Cooper & Vargas (2008) reported that it was observed that people rushed to offer solutions without putting into consideration the input of those who were affected directly. It was a good sign to show an effort of helping with the situation but also the opinions of those affected were equally important. It was later agreed to involve the general public as the professionals joined forces to help come up with better and economical solutions as their respective professions dictated. The professionals who were directly involved in the rebuilding included: urban planners, real estate developers, architects and engineers. A pair of architects came up with designs of towers of laser lights. The shining of the light was meant to pay tribute to the departed.
The rebuilding of the World Trade Centre site was assigned to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The corporation was later criticized for their slow progress despite a lot of money that was set aside for the rebuilding. The building of the site for the World Trade Centre was delayed due to challenges, (Cooper and Vargas, 2008). It happened that Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder and the Port authority for New Jersey and New York, came to an agreement on finances later on.
The erection of the World Trade Centre was completed in the year 2006. The path station was also completed and later reopened towards the end of 2003. The 1 World Trade Centre that is still under construction is expected to be ready for use in 2011. It is expected to be among the tallest buildings in the North region of America. There towers are yet to be constructed between 2007 and 2012.
Their strategic location will be one block on the eastern side of the site. November 8, 2009 marked the day when the ground was broken for the purposes of constructing the Flight 98 National Memorial. By September 11, 2011, it is expected that its first phase will have been completed. It took only one year to complete the reconstruction of the Pentagon.
As much as the rebuilding of America was met with several debates, Americans were able to come together for the purpose of making their nation in general a better place to live in even for the generations to come. New Yorkers assembled each and every day irrespective of their social and religious affiliations, status or class, gender and race to help America recover from the crisis. As a result, New York has been able to exploit its hidden potential and eventually contributing to growth of America's economy.