Timeline of Events
- 0545 Hijackers start going through security
- 0759 First flight (11) takes off
- 0814 Second flight (175) takes off
- 0819 Flight 11 crew contacts airline; “I don’t know but I think we’re being hijacked.”
- 0820 Third flight (77) takes off
- 0824 Flight 11 transmission “We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be O.K.”
- 0837 Air traffic control contacts military
- 0842 Fourth flight (93) takes off
- 0846 Flight 11 hits The World Trade Center’s North Tower
- 0850 President Bush told about first plane
- 0855 South Tower tenants instructed to remain in the building
- 0902 South Tower told to evacuate
- 0903 Flight 175 hits South Tower
- 0905 President Bush informed of second plane crash
- 0910 NYPD and FDNY calls for everyone, over 2,000 Police and 235 Firefighters responded officially, but others where are coming on their own.
- 0930 NY City Emergency Management evacuated from 7 WTC because of Secret Service reports that more planes had been hijacked and were on the way to New York
- 0936 VP Cheney evacuated
- 0937 Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon
- 0942 FAA grounds all flights
- 0945 Evacuation of the White House and Capitol buildings begins
- 0957 People on Flight 93 decide to fight for control of the plane
- 0959 The South Tower (2nd Hit) collapses
- 1003 Flight 93 crashes in a field
- 1015 Part of the Pentagon collapses
- 1028 The North Tower comes down
- 1102 Lower Manhattan evacuation begins
- 1216 The last commercial/private plane over the US lands
- 1720 7 WTC, a 47 story building, collapses after burning for most of the day. Firefighters couldn’t get water to fight the fire because of the water pipes destroyed during the towers’ collapse
- 1830 President Bush addresses the nation and urges “…we stand together to win the war against terrorism.” The war has officially begun.
Eleven years ago, evil attacked America. Our way of life changed forever. Suddenly our borders were no longer secure and the oceans between our enemies and us no longer protected our citizens. Not just America, but the world, changed that day. Terrorism was something that only happened in little corners of the world and something people that didn’t live there could ignore. Now it was on the forefront of everyone’s mind and the most powerful nation in the world declared war against it.
At the time, none of us new what it meant, or what was going to happen. My world changed. I was already learning about terrorism in the military and law enforcement. I was called by my Platoon Sergeant and told to go home and pack. I left work about noon that day and went home, packed and waited. I waited until 2002 when my Marine unit was activated as an anti-terrorism unit.
That day, I sat and spent time with my wife to be and waited. Like most Americans, I watched the news and pictures and stories of all the people that died and all those that were missing. For once, I don’t remember the news trying to push numbers of dead in our faces, and I was guessing at tens of thousands. While 2,000 is still horrible, I’m glad that it wasn’t five or ten times that amount. Every one of those lives lost was tragic.
As more and more reports of what happened that day came out, Americans became more and more proud that they were American. Suddenly, things like which political party someone was part of didn’t matter. We were all one. Being in California at the time, the difference was huge. I could actually have an American flag without being looked at as a weirdo. In fact, people were putting flags in their cars and on their homes. Police Officers were wearing flag pins, even the news media had American flag pins on their lapels. When a couple of California cities decided that it was against some city code for their police and fire departments to display the flag on city vehicles there was almost a riot and police officers and fire fighters refused to take them down. I remember one city council being flabbergasted that their orders weren’t being followed. People, including those in the media, just laughed at them.
Today, I want you to remember the anger, the sadness, and the unity that came from that horrible day. I want you to share it with those that are too young to remember that day. And above all else, I want you to remember what it means to be an American and act like one!
PS If you aren’t an American, I want you to remember what it’s like to be a citizen of your country and have pride in that. I also want you to know that I believe we are all, first and foremost, part of the human race and all have curtain inalienable rights that should not be taken away.