Who can forget the mind-numbing sights, sounds, smells and actions of this day in 2001?
Certainly not those standing at ground zero. Not even those of us watching by the television on the other side of the world. September 11 was born. The United States of America experienced the worst terrorist attack in its history.
Here are 11 facts in memory of the victims:
1) 4 US commercial jets heading west were hijacked by 19 men working for al Qaeda. They included American Airlines Flight 1, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 93.
2) The US government released a tape showing Osama bin Laden taking responsibility for the attacks.
3) 2,977 people in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania died as a result of the terror attacks, with majority of the victims (2,753 people) coming from the World Trade Center (WTC) destruction.
4) 343 New York City firefighters, New York City police officers and officers at the Port Authority sacrificed their lives at WTC.
5) 60% or 1,645 of the 2,753 WTC victims' remains were positively identified according to the medical examiner's office as of October 2019.
6) A Victims Compensation Fund was established in December 2001 to compensate families and relatives of September 11 victims until December 22, 2003. It received 7,408 death claim and personal injury claim applications. The toxic dust cloud created by the WTC towers collapsed continued to claim victims years after the attacks. President Barack Obama reopened and expanded the scope of the Victim Compensation Fund in January 2011.
7) The fall of the WTC towers generated 1.8 million tons of debris, resulting in a clean up bill of USD750 million and 3.1 million hours of labor.
8) The total estimated cost of the terror attacks on the US economy was USD247.3 billion, compared to the USD500,00 estimate cost to plan and execute the attacks. This included the infrastructure and property damages, insurance claims, aid package to bail out the airlines, emergency anti-terrorism package and economic loss during the first 2 to 4 weeks after the WTC towers collapse.
9) The Department of Homeland Security was born in response to September 11.
10) Congress approves a measure (Public Law 107-89) to allow the president to designate September 11 as "Patriot Day" on each anniversary of the attacks.
11) The most important fact is that the terror brought out the best in the American people. It sent out a clear message to everyone that lives mattered, regardless of color, culture, religion and language.
Nothing can erase the courage of the first responders. Nothing can replace the brave sacrifice of those 40 passengers and crew members on Flight 93. Not the debris, smoke, blood, bodies, sweat and tears.
Lest we forget.
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