Aftermath Of The September 11 Terrorist Attacks

Firefighter Gerard McGibbon of Engine 283 in Brownsville, Brooklyn prays after the World Trade Center buildings collapsed on September 11, 2001. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

On September 11, 2001, the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history was carried out by the extremist group al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, against the United States. The onslaught began at 8:46 A.M. Eastern time, when a Boeing 767 crashed into the side of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. In the confusion, the media and intelligence agents speculated that it was an accidental crash of a prop plane, but all such theories were quickly dispelled when another commercial airliner hit the South Tower only 17 minutes later at 9:03 A.M.

The Attacks

American Airlines Flight 77 plummeted into the Pentagon only 34 minutes later, causing an immediate collapse of a section of the building. Finally, a fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the passengers and crew heroically fought back against hijackers, forcing them to abandon their plan of striking again in Washington, D.C. Although the New York City Fire and Police Departments rescued thousands of people from the Twin Towers, both towers collapsed within two hours of the initial strike, taking the lives of everyone still trapped inside. In the end, the attacks resulted in 2,977 confirmed deaths (including 412 first responders), 25,000 injured, and several billion dollars in property damage.