Death and destruction came from the sky on what was a beautiful cloudless day as four hijacked jetliners were used as missiles. Over 3,000 people were killed when nineteen Islamic terrorists struck the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
The World Trade Center towers were mortally wounded when two airliners struck. Horrified onlookers watched as people began leaping to their deaths as the fire and smoke raged in the towers. An hour later the tragedy worsened as both towers collapsed.
The fourth flight that was hijacked was taken down in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers revolted.
The first signs of trouble happened when some of the hijackers were flagged by a routine security check at boarding time. Some of these terrorist also carried box cutters although this was not against the airlines regulations.
The four flights were headed to California and carried fully loaded fuel tanks for the cross country journey.
As the flights were being hijacked air traffic controllers received messages from the cockpits. “We have some planes” said one terrorist over the radio. These devilishly clever hijackers also turned off the transponders, this way they would be harder to track.
Flight attendants bravely called their airlines main offices to alert them of the situation. Passengers called home desperate to speak with loved ones, some of the passengers told of bomb threats and stabbings aboard the airliners.
“Don’t worry dad, it will be quick” said a son to his father as the Pennsylvania flight went down.
President George W. Bush was in Florida at the time and did not initially return to the White House.
Fighter jets scrambled as orders to shoot down the airlines came from President Bush.
Mace was used during the terrorist takeover causing people to choke and vomit. During these agonizing moments President Bush remained seated in a Florida classroom.
Federal Aviation Administration officials were unprepared for this type of unprecedented attack. “This is a new type of war” said a commander at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).