Terrorists hijack four planes, attack World Trade Center and Pentagon

September 11, 2001’A day that will go down in American history as the largest catastrophe ever brought on by incredible, vicious acts of terrorism. Just before 8 a.m. (Central Standard Time), the United States of America got an unsightly glimpse of terrorism at its worst. One after the other, New York’s World Trade Center’s twin towers fell target to mass destruction as American Airlines Flight No. 11 en route from Boston to Los Angeles and United Airlines Flight No. 175, also traveling from Boston to Los Angeles, were hijacked by terrorists and flown straight into both high-rise structures. The two 110-story buildings, under stress from the attack, gave way shortly after the planes struck the buildings and plummeted to the earth. Two other planes, one unsuccessful at reaching its destination point, were also hijacked by terrorists Tuesday morning. The third plane, American Airlines Flight No. 77, traveling from Dulles to Los Angeles, struck the Pentagon in Washington D.C., America’s hub of the military defense system. A fourth plane, United Airlines Flight No. 93, en route from Newark to San Francisco, was also taken over by terrorists. American Airlines Flight No. 11 which hit the first tower, was reported to be carrying 81 passengers and 11 crew members. United Flight, No. 175, the second plane to strike one of the twin towers, was suspected to be carrying 56 passengers and nine or more crew members. The third plane to change course, American Airlines Flight No. 77 crashed into the Pentagon with 58 passengers and nine crew members on board. The final plane, United Flight No. 93, is suspected to have been thrown off its destination point (either the White House or Air Force 1) by passengers who interfered with the terrorists’ mission. The plane came down in a desolate area some 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. The 47-story World Trade Center complex (building No. 7) collapsed in the aftermath of the explosion and destruction of the twin towers. Reports Tuesday night claimed that several other buildings near the area were capable of collapsing at any time as well. The twin towers are reported to have 50,000 people employed between the two facilities. In addition, thousands of people visit the Trade Center daily. The area surrounding Manhattan’s Trade Center was evacuated shortly after rescue workers and law enforcement personnel could reach the area. Schools in the area dismissed students early for fear of attack, bridges shut down and bomb squads poured into airport terminals across the country. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) stepped in Tuesday after the fourth plane went down and cancelled all flight patterns in the US and Canada. As of Wednesday, only a few flights, those already scheduled, had been authorized for departure. Although the death toll is expected to be the largest in American history, government officials are leery to speculate the total number of lives lost. Because offices in the Pentagon were undergoing major renovations, most of the 23,000 workers employed there were able to flee with their lives. The terrorist attack levied upon the U.S. was not a surprise to many government officials who receive a number of terrorist threats annually. The U.S. government sent a message to the American public Tuesday night’eventually there will be military retaliation. One government official stated, “Make no mistake about it, your armed forces are ready.” President George W. Bush, in his address to the nation Tuesday night, vowed to not only get the individuals responsible for Tuesday’s attack, but the country or groups harboring the terrorists. The President informed American citizens that Great Britain, Russia, China, Egypt and other countries that hope to put an end to terrorism will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States in its fight against the terrorists responsible for Tuesday’s chaos and mass destruction. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and governmental intelligence groups are combing the areas where the planes went down and are slowly gaining evidence that points to Osama bin Laden, a multi-millionaire and long-time terrorist leader linked to several attacks on American installations. Eight years ago he managed to detonate a bomb in the basement floor of one of the World Trade Center buildings. In addition, he’s been linked to two separate bombings of American Embassys in Africa. Many people have compared Tuesday’s events to the attack on Pearl Harbor, which will be 60 years ago this year. But even then, Americans knew without a doubt who was behind the attack. Now that’s not the case. While the number of casualties are expected to be alarming, rescue workers are driven by the hopes of finding loved ones, friends and coworkers. Nine individuals were pulled out alive from the debris in New York as of Wednesday morning. Texas newscasts Wednesday morning claimed that 70 Texans have departed to assist rescue workers in both Washington D.C. and New York. Even though New York and Washington aren’t neighboring states to Texas, many Texans, feeling compassion for those most affected by this tragedy, are lining up, ready to donate blood. Unfortunately for Bradyites, there won’t be another Meek Blood Service drive scheduled in Brady until Monday, Oct. 8. “We don’t have any facilities to take blood,” said Annette Deans with the Heart of Texas Memorial Hospital. Mrs. Deans recommended that donors wanting to assist should contact either the United Blood Services of San Angelo at (800) 756-0024 or the Meek Blood Service of Abilene at (915) 670-2799.

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