18 Years after the 9/11: How the September 11 terror attack unfolded
Washington, Sep 11: On September 11, 2001, at 8:46 am, nearly 3,000 people were killed when four hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon near Washington and a field near Shanksville in Pennsylvania.
The 9/11 attack anniversary brings back haunting memories of the fateful day that "changed the world forever".
A crowd of victims' relatives is expected at ground zero on Wednesday, while President Donald Trump is scheduled to join an observance at the Pentagon. Vice President Mike Pence is to speak at the third attack site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
9/11: How it happened?
Four passenger airlines were hijacked by 19 terrorists. Two were crashed into the World Trade Centre, while a third was crashed into the Pentagon. The fourth initially flown towards Washington DC crashed into a field at Pennsylvania.
Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed. Debris and the resulting fires caused a partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures.
A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense) in Arlington County, Virginia, which led to a partial collapse of the building's west side.
The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was initially flown toward Washington, D.C. but crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers thwarted the hijackers.
9/11 is the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed, respectively.
Aftermath of the September 11 attacks
The September 11 attacks transformed the first term of President George W. Bush and led to what he has called the Global War on Terrorism.
The U S government increased military operations, economic measures and political pressure on groups which it accused of being terrorists, as well as increasing pressure on the governments and countries which was accused of sheltering them. October 2001 saw the first military action initiated by the US. Under this policy, the NATO invaded Afghanistan in order to remove the Taliban regime (which harbored al-Qaeda) and capture al-Qaeda forces.The war, however, is still ongoing.
Rescue and recovery
Recovery took years, and the economy declined drastically after the attacks.
Outside of the general hazards due to fires, falling debris, heavy machinery, broken metal, and the hazardous air conditions, there were also hidden concerns within the clean up zone.
The destruction of the World Trade Center affected the economy of Manhattan and had a significant effect on global markets.
While the cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, the Pentagon building was repaired within a year. The construction of One World Trade Center began at the World Trade Center site in 2006 and it opened to the public in 2014.
Backlash and hate crimes
In the weeks following the attacks, there was a surge in incidents of harassment and hate crimes against South Asians, Middle Easterners, and anyone thought to be "Middle Eastern-looking" people-particularly Sikhs, because Sikh males usually wear turbans, which are stereotypically and erroneously associated with Muslims by many Americans.
In many cities there were reports of vandalism against mosques and other Islamic institutions, including some cases of arson. In the year after the attack, anti-Muslim hate crimes jumped 1,600 percent and this is further aggravated by a climate of prejudice that manifests in different ways.
Eighteen years after the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, the nation is still grappling with the aftermath at ground zero.
There has been growing concern over the health effects arising from the September 11 attacks. Following the attacks, dust from the pulverized buildings continued to fill the air of the World Trade Center site. Increasing numbers of New York residents are reporting symptoms of Ground Zero respiratory illnesses.
Image Courtesy: www.defense.gov