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History Book - Remembering 9/11


WORLD Radio - History Book - Remembering 9/11

A timeline of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001

Smoke billows across the New York City skyline after two hijacked planes crashed into the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001 Patrick Sison/Associated Press Photo

NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything In It: The WORLD History Book.

Now, a change from our typical format as we remember the events of September 11th, 2001—20 years ago this coming Saturday.

Here’s senior correspondent Katie Gaultney with a vivid remembrance of that dark day.

KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Primary election day in New York City, with several important races at stake—including the Democratic and Republican primaries for mayor.

BLOOMBERG: Morning, Mike Bloomberg, nice to see you…

But by the time polling stations opened at 6 a.m., hijackers—hellbent on creating terror—had already boarded a flight.

More terrorists waited at airports for their flights, preparing to rain death and destruction over the United States. What follows is an account of many of the tragic—and heroic—events that unfolded two decades ago.

8:14 a.m.—United Airlines Flight 175 takes off from Boston for Los Angeles. Nine crew members, 51 passengers, and five hijackers are on board.

8:19 a.m.—Another Boston to LA flight, American Airlines Flight 11, has already been airborne for 20 minutes. Crew members call in a hijacking in progress.

SOUND: American 11, are you trying to call?/ The cockpit is not answering their phone…

A passenger who likely tried to stop the attack has been stabbed to death. Aboard are 76 passengers, 11 crewmembers, and 5 hijackers.

8:20 a.m.—Just one minute after the distress call from Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77, en route to Los Angeles, takes off from Washington, D.C.

SOUND: American 77, climb and maintain flight level three-five-zero./ Three-three to oh-five, American 77.

Six crew members, 53 passengers, and five hijackers are on board.

8:24 a.m.—A hijacker intending to communicate with passengers mistakenly contacts air traffic control.

SOUND: Is that American 11 trying to call?/ We have some planes. Just stay quiet and we’ll be okay…

Minutes later, air traffic controllers in Boston alert the military.

8:42 a.m.—After a delay, San Francisco-bound United Airlines Flight 93 takes off at Newark, New Jersey. On board are 33 passengers, seven crew, and four hijackers.

8:46 a.m.—Flight 11 crashes into the World Trade Center’s North Tower, between floors 93 and 99.

SOUND: North Tower hit

Minutes later, terrorists hijack Flight 77.

8:50 a.m.—President George W. Bush is visiting a Sarasota, Fla. elementary school when an aide alerts him of the crash. They assume this is a tragic accident.

9 a.m.—Port Authority police order the evacuation of the entire World Trade Center complex. At the same time, a flight attendant aboard Flight 175 reports to ground personnel that a hijacking is underway.

SOUND: United 175 here. We have some problems over here right now. We may have a hijack over here, two of ‘em…

9:03 a.m.—Flight 175 crashes into the World Trade Center’s South Tower, making impact between floors 77 and 85.

SOUND: South Tower hit

9:05 a.m.—President Bush learns that a second plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.

9:28 a.m.—Terrorists hijack Flight 93.

9:30 a.m.—From that elementary school in Florida, President Bush addresses the nation.

BUSH: Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. Terrorism against our nation will not stand.

9:36 a.m.—Vice President Dick Cheney evacuates to a bunker beneath the White House.

9:37 a.m.—Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. The crash and subsequent blaze kill all 64 on the plane and 125 on the ground.

SOUND: This is Gofer zero-six, it looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon, sir (sirens)...

The crash marks the first significant foreign attack on Washington's government facilities since the British burned the city during the War of 1812.

9:42 a.m.—The FAA grounds all flights.

9:45 a.m.—Officials evacuate the White House and U.S. Capitol.

REPORTER: You can see the two towers, a huge explosion now, raining debris on all of us, we better get out of the way!

9:59 a.m.—After burning for nearly an hour, the South Tower collapses in just 10 seconds. More than 600 people in and around the building perish.

Meanwhile, aboard United Flight 93, passengers have decided to fight back, overpowering the terrorists in the cockpit. Some passengers are able to make calls in-flight to loved ones.

SOUND: Jules, this is Brian. On an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I absolutely love you…

10:03 a.m.—Flight 93 crashes in a field near Shanksville, Penn. All 44 on board die.

10:15 a.m.—The Pentagon's outer ring collapses. Those who built the Pentagon broke ground on the facility 60 years to the day before the 2001 attacks.

10:28 a.m.—The North Tower collapses after burning for just over 100 minutes.

SOUND: Screams as North Tower collapses

More than 1,600 die in and around the building.

11:02 a.m.—New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani orders the evacuation of Lower Manhattan.

The next few hours bring small glimmers of hope for rescuers: A group of 16 survivors emerged from a North Tower stairwell. First responders find precious few survivors in the rubble.

Then, at 5:20 p.m., 7 World Trade Center collapses—with no casualties—after burning for hours.

SOUND: 7 World Trade Center collapses

At 8:30 p.m., President Bush addresses the nation again, this time from the White House …

BUSH: These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.

BUSH: None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world. Thank you. Good night. And God bless America.

That’s this week’s History Book. I’m Katie Gaultney.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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