Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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September 11th
September 11, 2001
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, nineteen al-Qaeda terrorists, mostly from Saudi Arabia, hijacked four commercial jetliners and turned them into flying bombs. Two of the hijacked planes slammed into the 110-story twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Americans watched their TV screens in horror as the two skyscrapers, among the tallest in the world, collapsed. Another plane hit the Pentagon, and the fourth jet crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks, including more than 400 firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical services workers who had rushed to the World Trade Center to help survivors before the buildings fell.

Among the day’s heroes were passengers on board United Flight 93, which had left Newark International Airport for San Francisco but changed course toward Washington, D.C., after four terrorists seized control. Passengers who began making frantic calls on their cell phones learned that other airliners had been hijacked and crashed in suicide missions. Realizing their captors must be headed toward a high-profile target, a group of Flight 93 passengers resolved to stop them.

Passenger Todd Beamer told an operator that he and a few others were going to jump the hijackers. “Are you guys ready?” the operator heard him say to someone. “Let’s roll!”

Moments later, Flight 93 went down in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. All aboard were killed. The hijackers’ target was probably the U.S. Capitol building or the White House.

Congress and the president have designated September 11 as Patriot Day. The flag should be flown at half-staff, and Americans are asked to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims who perished during the worst acts of terrorism ever carried out against the United States.

American History Parade
1777
The British defeat the Patriots at Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania.

1789
Alexander Hamilton is appointed the first secretary of the treasury.

1814
During the War of 1812, an American fleet destroys a British fleet in the Battle of Lake Champlain.

1936
President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) in Nevada.

1941
A groundbreaking ceremony takes place for construction of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

2001
Terrorists hijack four airliners for suicide attacks against the United States.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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