Clare County Review & Marion Press

Pat’s Bits and Pieces: 911 Remembered

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Sunday marks the twenty-first anniversary of the terrible tragedy of 9-11.
Everyone over 70 remembers where they were, what they were doing and how they felt when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was truly the end of our age of innocence.
Not many are still alive, but some are still able to remember Pearl Harbor and the terrible losses we suffered there. It marked the beginning of World War II and brought people together for one purpose – to fight an attack on our way of life.
Now, everyone over the age of 30 will remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the worst terrorist attack in the history of this country.
Many believe Kennedy’s death, Pearl Harbor and 9-11, all devastating historical events, have, instead of diminishing us, changed our way of life and made us stronger for it.
Even in rural areas like mid-Michigan, the anniversary of the tragedy 21 years ago has many people remembering and thinking about how different things have become.
The September 11, 2001 attacks were a series of four coordinated suicide attacks against the United States.
On that Tuesday morning 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger jets.
Two were intentionally crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and both the towers collapsed within two hours. They took 12 seconds to fall.
The fires continued to burn for 99 days.
Sixty World Trade Center companies lost employees. In Tower One 1,402 people died. In Tower Two it was 614.
Hijackers crashed a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington Virginia.
When passengers attempted to take control of the fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, it crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania instead of its intended Washington D.C. target.
Nearly 3,000 died in all the attacks. Most were between the ages of 35 and 39 years old. According to estimates, 20 percent of Americans knew someone who died.
Officials suspected al-Qaeda, the Islamist militant group. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden initially denied their involvement, but in 2004, he claimed responsibility for the attacks, citing the U.S. support of Israel, U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and sanctions against Iraq as the motives.
The United State responded to the attacks with the launch of the War on Terror, and invasion of Afghanistan in an effort to depose the Taliban, which harbored al-Qaeda members. Within 26 days, bombing began in Afghanistan.
Anti-terrorism legislation in the U.S. and many other countries was strengthened and law enforcement powers expanded. It took nearly ten years, but in May 2011 bin Laden was finally found and killed.
In the U.S. cleanup of the World Trade Center began almost immediately. It was completed in May 2002. 1,506,124 tons of debris was removed from the site. Cleanup costs were estimated at $600 million.
The Pentagon was repaired within a year and the Pentagon Memorial opened next to the building in 2008.
Ground was broken for the Flight 93 National Memorial in November, 2009. Construction began on March 13, 2006.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014, in a ceremony led by U.S. President Barack Obama and 9/11 Memorial Chairman Michael R. Bloomberg. It opened to the public on May 21, 2014. Since then, people from all 50 states and more than 175 countries have visited the Museum and reflecting pools.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum’s permanent collection is an unparalleled repository consisting of material evidence, primary testimony, and historical records of response to February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001, and the ongoing repercussions of these terrorist events.
In May of 2019, a dedication ceremony was held for a new section of the September 11 memorial at the World Trade Center for – a Memorial Glade with a path leading to six huge sloping stone structures made of granite slabs recovered from the fallen trade centers – honoring the workers who died after digging through the smoldering ruins. Many more are fighting illness believed to have been caused by the smoke, dust and smoldering ruins even years after the rescue and recovery effort ended.
Thousands of rescue and recovery workers and many city residents were exposed to the clouds of thick dust released when the trade center’s twin towers collapsed.
For those still living, the tragedy will never be over.

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