The twin tower attack or 9/11 completes 20 years today. On this day, twenty years ago, terrorists crashed hijacked planes into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. The US is still reckoning with the attack that toppled the twin towers, killed nearly 3,000 people, triggered a wave of increased security and launched a war on terrorism.
President Joe Biden will commemorate the solemn anniversary today by paying his respects at the trio of sites where the hijacked planes struck, puncturing the United States’ air of invincibility and resulting in the deaths of 3,000 Americans.
One day before the 20th anniversary of the horrific 9/11 attacks on Friday, US President Joe Biden commemorated the lives of 2,977 people who lost their lives twenty years ago.
"To the families of 2,977 people from more than 90 nations killed on September 11, 2001, in New York City, Arlington, Virginia and Shanksville, Pennsylvania and a thousand more who were injured. America commemorates you and your loved ones," Biden said in a video message posted on the Twitter account of the US President.
He also said this tragedy highlights how even at our most vulnerable, unity is our greatest strength. Biden lauded forces who risked and gave their lives in and after the attacks.
"We honour the firefighters, police officers, EMTs and construction workers, doctors and nurses, faith leaders, service members, and all of the everybody people who gave their all to rescue, recover and rebuild," he added.
Earlier, the White House informed that Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
On September 11, 2001, the United States faced the deadliest terrorist attack in its history. In a span of just 102 minutes, both towers of New York's World Trade Center collapsed after planes hijacked by Al Qaeda operatives crashed into them.
What happened 20 years ago?
Islamic extremist group al Qaeda's 19 militants hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Initially, two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, after which a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
When did America realize it was under attack?
American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. This was the first plane that crashed that day. As the event was broadcasted, it seemed nothing more than an unfortunate accident. However, 18 minutes after the first plane hit, a second Boeing 767—United Airlines Flight 175—appeared out of the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center and sliced into the south tower near the 60th floor.
This is when the US realized it was the target of a terror attack.
Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the capabilities of then President George W. Bush. The first plane instantly killed hundreds of people and trapped hundreds more in higher floors.