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Note that the timeline used here comes from the Cooperative Research History Commons.

Some people may consider this post to be too long and will complain about it.  To all of you I say, "Get a life."

It's the morning of September 11, 2001. Take a moment to think about where you are.  It's now (all times EDT):

8:46 AM

American Airlines Flight 11 Hits the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Two minutes later CNN would break off a commercial with live news on this.  Carol Lin says, “This just in. You are looking at ... obviously a very disturbing live shot there—that is the World Trade Center, and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.” CNN then switches to Sean Murtagh, the network’s vice president of finance, who says in a live telephone interview, “I just witnessed a plane that appeared to be cruising at a slightly lower than normal altitude over New York City. And it appears to have crashed into—I don’t know which tower it is—but it hit directly in the middle of one of the World Trade Center towers. It was a jet, maybe a two-engine jet, maybe a 737 ... a large passenger commercial jet ... It was teetering back and forth, wing-tip to wing-tip, and it looks like it has crashed into—probably, twenty stories from the top of the World Trade Center—maybe the eightieth to eighty-fifth floor. There is smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center.”

Video (requires Windows Media Player)

9:03 AM

United Airlines Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center (Tower Two). Seismic records pinpoint the time at six seconds before 9:03 a.m. (rounded to 9:03 a.m.).

 

9:37 AM

American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. Approximately 125 people on the ground are later determined killed or missing.

9:45 AM

Ben Sliney, FAA’s National Operations Manager, orders the entire nationwide air traffic system shut down. All flights at US airports are stopped. Around 3,950 flights are still in the air. Sliney makes the decision without consulting FAA head Jane Garvey, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, or other bosses, but they quickly approve his actions. It’s Sliney’s first day on the job.

My sister-in-law is stranded in Ft. Lauderdale, FL (yes, I know...not a terribly bad place to be stranded, all things considered) after her flight lands safely there, but all outbound flights are canceled.

9:57 AM

Two groups of passengers (one containing Tom Burnett who has been on the phone with his wife, and one containing Todd Beamer who has been on the phone with a Verizon representative) apparently working independently attempt to to regain control of United Airlines Flight 93.  Todd Beamer leaves his phone connected and at about this time is heard to say "Let's Roll."

9:59 AM

The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses. It was hit by Flight 175 at 9:03 A.M., 57 minutes earlier.

10:06 AM

United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into an empty field just north of the Somerset County Airport, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, 124 miles or 15 minutes from Washington, D.C.

10:28 AM

The World Trade Center’s North Tower collapses. It was hit by Flight 11 at 8:46, 102 minutes earlier.

12:16 PM

US airspace is clear of aircraft except for military and emergency flights. Only a few transoceanic flights are still landing in Canada.

Where were you?

2,996 souls were lost on that day, including 343 of New York's Bravest and New York's Finest who gave their lives trying to save others.  Paul A. Strzypek was among these souls, as I've already mentioned.

Oh, where was I during all of this?  In a meeting.  No one bothered to interrupt the meeting to mention what was happening.  After the meeting, I walked out to my car, somehow managing not to talk to a single person.  I got in the car and drove home for lunch, without turning on the radio.  I got home, made myself a sandwich, sat down at about 12:05 PM, turned on the TV and discovered that the world had changed while I wasn't looking.  Rudy Giuliani has said it best, many times (paraphrasing). "We learned on September 11, 2001 that we were at war.  The other side had known they were at war for quite some time, but we didn't know it."

There's a very poignant picture on the NY Times website today, with the caption "The Hole in the City's Heart"

Where were you?

On September 12, we all promised ourselves that we'd never forget the events of that day.  Have you kept that promise?

The times and events listed here are a very small excerpt of what's available at the Cooperative Research History Commons.  The whole thing is well worth a read, if you have the time (it's very long).

Where were you?

"Freedom and Fear are at War." - George W. Bush

"This is a battle with only one outcome: our victory, not theirs." - Tony Blair

Posted on Monday, September 11, 2006 5:47 AM General | Back to top


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