9/11 in New York City

May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance. - Memorial Mission

On September 11, 2001, hijackers deliberately crashed American Airlines Flight 11, carrying 87 passengers and crew, into the North Tower, 1 World Trade Center (WTC), between floors 94 and 9816,   and United Airlines Flight 175, carrying 60 passengers and crew, into the South Tower, 2 WTC, between floors 78 and 8417.   The impact of these crashes killed all on board the planes, hundreds of people in the towers, and left hundreds trapped or in imminent danger.18

                                                                                                                                        WTC Towers

The crash of the planes into the WTC triggered the largest response operation in New York City history.19 Within 30 minutes, all local bridges, tunnels, highways and airports were closed, sensitive locations around the city were secured, and government buildings were evacuated.20 Within an hour, all U.S. flights were halted and military fighters established combat air control over New York City.21

Of the approximately 17,400 people in the North and South Towers on September 11, approximately 15,000 people evacuated safely.22  The South Tower (2 WTC) collapsed 56 minutes after being hit; the North Tower (1 WTC) fell after 102 minutes.23  All seven buildings at the World Trade Center in NYC were destroyed.24

The attacks resulted in almost 3,000 fatalities, the largest loss of life from a hostile attack by a foreign entity on American soil.25  In the largest loss of emergency responders in a single event in U.S. history, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) lost 343 members of its force, the New York Police Department (NYPD) lost 23, and the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) lost 37. 26

Immediately after the WTC towers fell, city, state, and federal officials initiated a major rescue and recovery operation at the site and at Fresh Kills Landfill, New York City’s former principle landfill that was temporarily used as a sorting ground for rubble taken from Ground Zero.27  The last survivor was found just after 12:30 pm on September 12.28  Lasting for nine months, this operation was supported by thousands of civilian volunteers.29

To identify the remains of WTC victims, the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner used DNA technology.  However, human remains have not been found for almost half of the WTC victims.30

September 11, 2001 marks a moment of profound change.31 While the voids in the NYC skyline and the destruction at the crash sites are ever-present reminders of loss, the events also inspire acts of great courage and compassion.32  The outpouring of generosity and assistance to others in response to the attacks demonstrates the triumph of the human spirit.33

Public and private sectors are partnering to support lower Manhattan’s recovery, growth and revitalization.34 Balancing the need to remember and honor the thousands of victims killed in the terrorist attacks with the need for lower Manhattan to reemerge as a strong and vibrant community, a master plan at the World Trade Center site includes the construction of a memorial and museum, as well as the development of commercial office, retail and open space, hotel and conference facilities, and a new transportation hub.35

The rebuilding of lower Manhattan continues, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center will serve as a permanent tribute to all who were killed at the WTC on February 26, 1993, and in all three sites as a direct result of the attacks of September 11, 2001.36

The Memorial Museum will offer visitors the opportunity to deepen their experience at the site.37  It will display monumental artifacts associated with the events of September 11, while presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning and recovery that are central to our collective history.38

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