It was once said that life in America could be divided into two distinct eras separated by the Civil War. A third
epoch could be added to the history of our great nation as events unfolded on one calm fall morning. The tragedy that
befell our great nation on September 11,2001 began at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Time as American Airlines flight 92 was
hijacked by Islamic fundamentalists and slammed into World Trade Center 2, the second tallest building in the United
States. Twenty minutes later, another airplane hit World Trade Center 1. Over the next hour, hundreds of firefighters
raced up the stairwells to fight the raging fires now burning a thousand feet above the southern tip of Manhattan.
Millions across the nation became fixed on their radios and television sets watching the horror in New York
unfold, word came that a third plane had struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing more than 180 people.
Shortly after that, a fourth plane that was hijacked crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after brave passengers on board
fought with the terrorists for control of the plane, and prevented it from harming any civilians on the ground,. Just
when it seemed things couldn't get any worse, Tower 1, and then Tower 2 collapsed in ruins, killing about 2,830 people
from over 80 countries around the world.
The immediate aftermath of these terrorist attacks was a cornucopia of fear, anger, hatred, and utter disbelief.
American life was turned upside down in a heartbeat, and as night fell over the remains of the World Trade Center,
The World Trade Center...
Before September 11th, two towers stood proudly against New York City's skyline. The ruins of the World Trade Center, commonly referred to
as "Ground Zero," became hollowed ground where thousands of civilians from more than eighty nations perished.
Photo by Steven R. Lewis
God Bless America
Drivers speed under a decorated overpass on Interstate-10. After the September 11th terrorist attacks the country became united in its grief for the overwhelming tragedy of
the destruction of the World Trade Center. Flags flew proudly in front yards and in front of businesses throughout the city as Americans mourned the loss and longed for
Photo by Max Lacayo
many were still watching TV, thirsty for any information they could get. All air travel across the nation was suspended for the next week, as the FAA struggled to implement tougher security at the nation's airports.
The world rallied to the side of the United States, and Americans were touched in the following days by the
condolences of other nations, and the playing of the Star Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace in Great Britain,
the Eiffel Tower in France, and the Brandenburg Gate in Germany. Flags flew at half mast for several weeks following the tragedy, and they were everywhere. Many stores and websites reported six to eight week backlogs on flag
orders, as demand for "All-American" merchandise skyrocketed.
The city of Houston was no exception, as flags waived proudly in front of businesses and bumper stickers
appeared on cars proclaiming proud slogans such as "These Colors Don't Run." Houston's Bush Intercontinental
Airport was hailed as one of the safest airports in the country.
Americans were indivisible in the pursuit of justice for the perpetrators of the terrible tragedy of September
1 lth as they have never been before. This atrocity has established itself as one of the most defining moments in
our nations history, and from America's saddest moment came America's finest hour: when we united in the face of
overwhelming horror to eradicate the evil of terrorism from the world forever.
Story by Matthew E. Caster
September 11, 2001 <551>