(Photo Credits: National Park Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

It was twenty years ago today—on September 11, 2001—when a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks  against the United States of America was carried out by the Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda. 

The September 11 attacks are now often referred to as 9/11 today and are known as “the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history.” In addition, they were also considered as the “deadliest day for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the United States.”

The aforementioned attacks reportedly resulted in the deaths of 2,977 people while the infrastructure and property damage was estimated to be $10 billion. 

Ceremonies on various sites such as in New York City, at the Pentagon, and outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania to commemorate the 9/11 are being held today and President Joe Biden made a stop in New York City and Shanksville and will make a stop at the Pentagon as well.

In New York City, at the 9/11 Memorial, a bell tolled and a moment of silence was observed at 8:46 a.m. It was the exact moment when 5 hijackers crashed Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Moments of silence were also observed for when: the South Tower was hit at 9:03 a.m., for when the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m. after burning for 56 minutes, and for when the North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m. after burning for 102 minutes.

Following the moment of silence, Mike Low, who lost his flight attendant daughter Sara Elizabeth Low on 9/11, spoke in lower Manhattan. His daughter Sara, a Batesville Arkansas native, was a stewardess on American Airlines Flight 11, the plane that struck the North Tower. He said:

At the first memorial ceremony, my wife Bobbie and I stood here with thousands of family members right in the midst of a gray and black world of destroyed buildings. Today, this is a quiet place of memory; the gleaming 9/11 museum holds a sacred repository for our loved ones’ remains, and it is filled with bright stories of all of the sons and daughters, sibling, husbands and wives, grandparents and friends.”

He added: “As we carry these 20 years forward, I find … continuing appreciation for all of those who rose to be more than ordinary people. And a father’s pride in his daughter’s selfless act in the last moments of her life, acting with heroic calm to help those in the air and those on the ground. A legacy from Sara that burns like an eternal flame.”

In attendance, according to AP News, were President Joe Biden, and former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

After the commemoration in New York City, President Biden paid his respects at the United 93 memorial in Shanksville by participating in a wreath-laying ceremony. Meanwhile, former President George W. Bush spoke at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

On September 11, 2001 at 10:03 a.m., four hijackers reportedly crashed Flight 93 into a field near the town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. There were 33 passengers and seven crew members on board. 

The passengers and crew members, who, by then, were already aware about the events that unfolded at the World Trade Center, tried to take control of the plane. It is believed that they stormed the cockpit. The plane crashed near Indian Lake and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 20 minutes after flying from Washington, D.C. 

It is said that the intended target of Flight 93 was either the U.S. Capitol Building or the White House.

The last site is the Pentagon. At 9:37 a.m. on 9/11, hijackers crashed Flight 77 into the Pentagon. As a result of the crash and the fire it caused, all 53 passengers and six crew members died, including 125 military and civilian personnel on the ground.

Meanwhile, President Biden expressed his condolences to the victims’ loved ones through a video he released ahead of 9/11. He said

But it’s so hard. Whether it’s the first year or the 20th, some have grown up without parents and parents have suffered without children. Husbands and wives had to find ways to move forward without their partners in their [lives], and so on this day, [first lady Jill Biden] and I hold you close in our hearts and send our love. We hope that 20 years later, the memory of your beloved brings a smile to your lips, even while still bringing a tear to your eye.

The president also recalled the heroism and unity of the people during that time. He added:

We also saw something all too rare: a true sense of national unity, unity and resilience, the capacity to recover and repair in the face of trauma, unity in service, and 9/11 generations stepping up to serve and protect in the face of terror to get those terrorists who were responsible, to show everyone seeking to do harm to America, that we will hunt you down and we will make you pay. That will never stop — today, tomorrow, ever — from protecting America.

Twenty years may have passed since, but we remember. You may check the timeline of that fateful 9/11 morning here. And you can take a look at what the people are saying on social media about 9/11 below:

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