On Sept. 11, 2013, President Obama held a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., remembering those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. First lady Michelle Obama accompanied the president while a bugle player ushered the solemn moment with a solo rendition of taps. The moment of silence occurred at the same time that American Airlines Flight 11 was steered off course by terrorist hijackers and crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center between the 93rd and 99th floors. You may watch live, streaming coverage of President Obama’s remembrance of those who lost their lives and continue to live with lives permanently changed due to the events that transpired on 9/11 here.
While the nation, rescue workers, first responders and citizens, struggled to make sense of of the horrific inferno unfolding in the streets of New York City, staggering scenes of victims trapped between burning floors jumping to their deaths left the nation in shock and awe. Reports say more than 100 people jumped to their deaths as the smoke was too great for rescue workers to save people from the burning building.
Less than 10 minutes after the harrowing crash of American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77 and United 175 would be hijacked. Meanwhile a silently stunned president George W. Bush was reading books to children at Sarasota, Florida’s Emma E. Booker elementary school. By 9:03 a.m., on Sept. 11, 2001, United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, making impact between floors 77 and 85. With sheer pandemonium occurring in the building, some mistakenly ran to the rooftop due to smoke filling the airways; they would perish in the quickly-growing count of lost lives. After President Bush finished reading to children, he returned to his duties as commander-in-chief and at 9:14 a.m., began addressing the terrorist attack with his personnel.
At 9:29 a.m., president Bush addressed the nation, “Today, we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.” Little did he know that United Airlines Flight 93 was also hijacked. As United Flight 93 was en route to Pennsylvania (it was later believed to be headed to Washington D.C.), American Airlines Flight 77 was headed for Washington D.C. At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon, sparking a massive fire.
By 9:57 a.m., passengers on the remaining hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 93, revolted. At 10:03 a.m., passengers fought valiantly for their lives and the safety of the nation and their actions forced the hijackers to crash the plane in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Two minutes later, the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. At 10:28 a.m., the North Tower of the World Trade Center would collapse.
In total, on that fateful Tuesday morning that began like any other but would end up as the beginning of a new age of terrorism, war and deep loss, 2,996 U.S. citizens died and more than 6,000 people were injured. Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda would quickly be named the culprits and America’s mission to rid the world of terrorists would officially begin; a cause birthed in crumbling, burning buildings that turned the dead to ashes in the midst of New York city.