The worst terrorist attack in U.S. history occurred 15 years ago as four large passenger jets were hijacked then crashed, killing nearly 3,000 persons with over 6,000 injured. Four separate teams of Middle East terrorists, operating from inside the U.S., boarded the morning flights posing as passengers, then forcibly commandeered the aircraft.
Two fully-fueled jumbo jets, American Airlines Flight 11 carrying 92 people and United Airlines Flight 175 carrying 65 people, had departed Boston for Los Angeles. Both jets were diverted by the hijackers to New York City where they were piloted into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The impact and subsequent fire caused both 110-story towers to collapse, killing 2,752 persons including hundreds of rescue workers and people employed in the towers. A rough estimate of the number of people in both Towers on such a September morning would be about 14,154 people.
In addition, United Airlines Flight 93, which had departed Newark, NJ for San Francisco, and American Airlines Flight 77, which had departed Dulles (in Virginia) for Los Angeles, were hijacked. Flight 77 with 64 people on board was diverted to Washington, D.C., then piloted into the Pentagon building, killing everyone on board and 125 military personnel inside the building. Flight 93 with 44 people on board was also diverted toward Washington, D. C., but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers attempted to overpower the terrorists on board.
No one who lived then, anywhere in the world, will forget where they were 15 years ago. Everyone suddenly found themselves watching every news broadcast they could to learn more. Unfortunately, with several of these hijackings it seemed like it would never end. The horror of the events captured everyone for weeks and years to come.
On the United Airlines Flight 175 that struck the Second Tower was a name I recognized weeks later while looking at the list of names. It was the same family surname and from the same area of Massachusetts as my father’s family. I was able to find a family contact person for the person on that Flight 175. Communicating with them over the coming months, we realized we were not directly related but they had no idea beyond 2 generations about their family lineage. To assist them, I did the research and did locate a great deal of family information (names, hometowns, immigration, occupations, etc). They were very grateful and as a remembrance to the family member killed Sept. 11th, members of the family later visited their family homeland in England.
So review the list of names and see if any look familiar. List of those killed in the towers, in the planes and on the ground.
Photo: Twin Towers, south tower about to be hit by the second plane – Flight 175.
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