20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks

Saturday, 11 September 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Museums, Exhibitions, New York City
Reading Time:  24 minutes

© 9/11 Memorial and Museum

© 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The September 11 attacks, often referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Wahhabi Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Four California-bound commercial airliners, which took off from three different airports across the northeastern United States, were hijacked mid-flight by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists, who carried out the attacks in three groups of five and one group of four. American Airlines Flight 11 was flown into the North tower of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan at 8:46 am; seventeen minutes later at 9:03 am, the World Trade Center’s South tower was hit by United Airlines Flight 175. Both 110-story towers collapsed within an hour and forty two minutes, leading to the collapse of the other World Trade Center structures including 7 World Trade Center, and significantly damaging surrounding buildings. A third flight, American Airlines Flight 77, flown from Dulles International Airport, was hijacked over Ohio and, at 9:37 am, was crashed into the west side of the Pentagon (the headquarters of the American military) in Arlington County, Virginia, causing a partial collapse of the building. The fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, was flown in the direction of Washington, D.C.; the plane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 am, after passengers forced their way into the cockpit and fought the hijackers over the controls. Investigators determined that Flight 93’s target was either the White House or the Capitol Building.

© FEMA - Fred the Oyster

© FEMA – Fred the Oyster

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, suspicion quickly fell onto Al-Qaeda. The United States formally responded by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had not complied with U.S. demands to expel Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and extradite their leader Osama bin Laden. Many countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded the powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent terrorist attacks. Although bin Laden initially denied any involvement, in 2004 he formally claimed responsibility for the attacks. Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives. After evading capture for almost a decade, bin Laden was located in Pakistan in 2011 and killed during a U.S. military raid.

The destruction of the World Trade Center and nearby infrastructure seriously harmed the economy of New York City and created a global economic recession. The U.S. and Canadian civilian airspaces were closed until September 13, while Wall Street trading was closed until September 17. Many closings, evacuations, and cancellations followed, out of respect or fear of further attacks. Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, and the Pentagon was repaired within a year. The attacks resulted in 2,977 fatalities, over 25,000 injuries, and substantial long-term health consequences, in addition to at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. It remains the 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 340 and 72 killed, respectively.

The construction of One World Trade Center began in November 2006, and the building opened in November 2014. Numerous memorials have been constructed, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial at the Pennsylvania crash site.

Like so many others, I still remember exactly what I did on 9 September 2001. How I sat for hours in front of the TV with a mixture of bewilderment, helplessness, but also budding anger, how tears ran down as the towers collapsed one after the other and it was clear that no one would come out alive. Even today the tears stand in my eyes when I see reports about the collapsing Twin Towers. At that time it was already clear that the consequences would be clear and severe, but it was not clear how much the terrorist attacks would change not only the USA but the whole world. How much suspicion would be fueled, not least because the terrorist attacks were not only celebrated in the extreme and terrorist parts of the Muslim world, while in America and Europe deep sadness prevailed, so that it became clear that “they are not our friends”. A short time later they had no more reason to celebrate, because even according to conservative estimates, the “War on Terror” cost at least 1 million lives and produced over 100 million refugees. Regardless of what you think of it, the fundamental decision was of course right to hold accountable those who promote terrorism and plan or carry out attacks. One only has to look to Afghanistan to see that far too many of the so-called civilian population are celebrating the return of the Taliban, including a surprising number of women. The number of “civilian victims” in the context of the “War on Terror” must therefore be viewed with great caution. After all, they are only civilian victims if they do not promote and/or celebrate Islamism. In retrospect, it is of course pointless to discuss whether it would have been better to leave Afghanistan after the globally celebrated liquidation of Osama bin Laden was successful in 2011 or not, especially since the War on Terror had thus come to a successful end for the time being, especially since the following decade was characterized by less determined, more haphazard action and finally came to an inglorious end with the hasty withdrawal, although it is not clear whether another operation to eliminate the next generation of Islamist terrorists will be necessary.

Today I humbly think of the heroic and selfless efforts of the first responders, firefighters and police officers at Ground Zero, many of whom have lost their lives or died of the aftermath and are still dying today. We owe it to them to rebuild the western world the way it was on 8 September 2001: happy, adventurous, free, open-minded and innovative. We have to overcome the despondency and fearfulness in politics and the public, which was favored by the terrorist attacks, in order to preserve our western way of life for future generations. Sure, with the corona pandemic still around, it’s not that easy, but it is feasible, especially in view of the enormous challenges that arise from the upcoming investments in the future. A revolution is just around the corner, which should be met with great confidence and openness, because the alternative, fearful despondency, would thoroughly and painfully fall on our feet.

At the same time, one had to determine for the first time the widespread spread of conspiracy myths and what force they could develop, also benefiting from the increase in private Internet connections. Apart from the complete nonsense of these myths, one had to realize that there are quite a number of people in the world who don’t know how to help themselves but to react to complex overall contexts with the greatest possible fact free claims in order to explain events to themselves. Of course, this also cast an unfavorable picture on the education systems, especially since even the subsequent research reports and expert analyzes have often fallen on deaf ears. Since then, these improper conspiracy mystics have been moving from one inappropriate occasion to the next. It is currently the corona pandemic that has caught their attention and more are sure to follow. It is not yet clear how entire societies can be held together in this way. One has to assume that parts of societies have developed a life of its own, which sometimes takes place far away from factual realities. The political debate is characterized by conflicting views that in general ultimately lead to better solutions. But if people can no longer even agree on the basic facts, then the whole system no longer works.

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Download: 9/11 Commission Report

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Download: Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Towers

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Download: Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7

Read more on National September 11 Memorial & Museum, The Atlantic, 30 August 2021: None of My Students Remember 9/11, New York Magazine, 30 August 2021: 9/11: 20 years later: America’s Greatest Existential Threat Wasn’t Terrorism, The Washington Post, 2 September 2021: 9/11: 20 Years Later: In the shadow of the towers: Five lives and a world transformed, The New York Times, 3 September 2021: Dread, War and Ambivalence: Literature Since the Towers Fell, The Washington Post, 3 September 2021: 9/11 was a test. The books of the last two decades show how America failed., The Guardian, 4 September 2021: 9/11 attacks: Joe Biden tells FBI to release files on investigation – and possible Saudi links, Al Arabiya, 4 September 2021: Surviving 9/11 was ‘just the first piece of the journey’, The New York Times, 4 September 2021: Lower Manhattan Rebounded After 9/11, but the Pandemic Erased the Gains, New York Magazine, 5 September 2021: I Thought 9/11 Was the End-Times. Literally., The National, 5 September 2021: ‘9/11 Five’ due in Guantanamo court two decades after attacks, The Sunday Times, 5 September 2021: The conspiracies began the minute the twin towers fell, The National, 5 September 2021: ‘America is under attack this morning’: former radio host recalls 9/11, NPR, 5 September 2021: They Don’t Remember Their Parents Dying On 9/11. But They’ll Never Forget, The National, 6 September 2021: 9/11 is ancient history for British Muslims, but creating a new story is not easy, France24, 6 September 2021: September 11th: 20 years of chaos, The New Yorker, 6 September 2021: The Mastermind: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the making of 9/11., The National, 6 September 2021: Children today see 9/11 as an event in the distant past, New York Magazine, 6 September 2021: What 9/11 Did to the Democratic Party, The National, 7 September 2021: For Arab Americans, 9/11 was a double whammy, CNN, 7 September 2021: No time to grieve when you’re ‘under siege’ — US Muslims reflect on how 9/11 changed their lives, France24, 7 September 2021: Trial of accused 9/11 mastermind restarts, days before 20th anniversary, The Washington Post, 7 September 2021: The world 9/11 created: A weakened, yet enduring, al-Qaeda menace, France24, 7 September 2021: Trial of alleged mastermind of 9/11 resumes, days before 20th anniversary, The Guardian, 7 September 2021: Guantánamo Bay: Hearing for alleged 9/11 mastermind resumes after 18-month delay, The National, 7 September 2021: ‘9/11 Five’: Plot mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed appears in Guantanamo court, Arab News, 7 September 2021: 20 years after 9/11, has the Taliban severed its bonds with Al-Qaeda?, The Algemeiner, 7 September 2021: Trial of Accused 9/11 Mastermind Restarts, Days Before 20th Anniversary, BBC, 8 September 2021: Paris accused complains of conditions during trial, France24, 8 September 2021: Iconic images from the September 11 attacks and their aftermath, The Washington Post, 8 September 2021: The world 9/11 created: The sprawling, dark legacy of U.S. counterterrorism, The National, 8 September 2021: Two decades after 9/11, Arabs have stood up to be counted, Arab News, 8 September 2021: America’s 9/11 response fell into terrorists’ trap, BBC, 8 September 2021: The heroes of the forgotten 9/11 rescue mission, The National, 9 September 2021: 9/11 conspiracy theories an early form of online misinformation, France24, 8 September 2021: Twenty years on, scars of 9/11 still raw for Arab and Muslim New Yorkers, Arab News, 8 September 2021: How 9/11 and the war on terror changed the world, CNN, 8 September 2021: The strangers who fell in love when 9/11 diverted their flight, Al Arabiya, 8 September 2021: 9/11 artifacts share ‘pieces of truth’ in victims’ stories, The Atlantic, 8 September 2021: After 9/11, the U.S. Got Almost Everything Wrong, Arab News, 8 September 2021: Saudi Arabia issues statement on US release of classified 9/11 documents, Jerusalem Post, 8 September 2021: 20 years on, 9/11 responders are still sick and dying, The National, 9 September 2021: Seventh Guantanamo Bay judge tries to break deadlock in case against ‘9/11 Five’, France24, 9 September 2021: Across the Brooklyn Bridge and back: Remembering 9/11, the day that changed everything, The Times, 9 September 2021: I leant over and whispered to Bush: ‘America is under attack’, The Wall Street Journal, 9 September 2021: 9/11 Timeline: How the Day Unfolded, The National, 9 September 2021: Saudi Arabia welcomes release of classified 9/11 documents, Haaretz, 9 September 2021: 20 Years on From 9/11, Western Democracy Is Still Winning, The Times, 9 September 2021: We have learnt the wrong lessons from 9/11, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 September 2021: After the planes hit: How The Chronicle covered the week after Sept. 11, 2001, BBC, 9 September 2021: 9/11 anniversary: How the world reacted to terror attacks, The National, 9 September 2021: How 9/11 drove American democracy to the brink, The New York Times, 9 September 2021: How 9/11 Turned America Into a Half-Crazed, Fading Power, Haaretz, 9 September 2021: 9/11, 20 Years On | No Country in the World Changed More Than Pakistan, The National, 9 September 2021: Six degrees of Osama bin Laden, Al Arabiya, 9 September 2021: Taliban deliberating on inaugurating their government on 9/11 anniversary: Report, Times of Israel, 10 September 2021: When ash fell like snow: 20 years on, a fire warden’s 9/11 memories still haunt, The Guardian, 10 September 2021: ‘Anything goes’ How 9/11 led to a global security clampdown, The National, 10 September 2021: London’s new 9/11 exhibitions mark 20th anniversary, Arab News, 10 September 2021: US ‘must acknowledge post-9/11 backlash against Arabs’: Legal expert, France24, 10 September 2021: A ‘turbocharged’ security state: How 9/11 fueled America’s border crackdown, Los Angeles Times, 10 September 2021: Photos: A look back at scenes from the 9/11 attacks, The Guardian, 10 September 2021: 9/11: 20 years later: How mass killings by US forces boosted support for the Taliban, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 September 2021: They were born after 9/11. But their lives were still shaped by it, Los Angeles Times, 10 September 2021: How 9/11 changed the way we watch TV news, France24, 10 September 2021: 9/11: The day that never ended, The New York Times, 10 September 2021: To Be Young, American and Muslim After 9/11, The New Yorker, 10 September 2021: Honoring United Flight 93, Tampa Bay Tims, 10 September 2021: On each 9/11, they bring cookies to every Pinellas firefighter, Los Angeles Times, 10 September 2021: I was 8 in New York during 9/11. How did it change me — and my generation?, CNN, 10 September 2021: Some of the most iconic 9/11 news coverage is lost. Blame Adobe Flash, The New Yorker, 10 September 2021: What the 9/11 Museum Remembers, and What It Forgets, Curbed, 10 September 2021: The World Trade Center, Before, During, and After, The New York Magazine, 10 September 2021: 9/11: 20 years later: The Woman in White, The Hill, 10 September 2021: Biden marks 9/11 anniversary with message recognizing the lives lost, The Times, 10 September 2021: 20 years on from 9/11, families who grieved plead: Don’t ever forget, Politico.com, 10 September 2021: They Created Our Post-9/11 World. Here’s What They Think They Got Wrong., DW, 10 September 2021: September 11: The Hamburg terrorist cell, The New York Times, 10 September 2021: The newspaper of Sept. 11, 2001, is a document of America before the terror attacks and a memory of a vanished era., Los Angeles Times, 10 September 2021: Photos: A look back at scenes from the 9/11 attacks, Politico.com, 10 September 2021: Biden emphasizes unity, hope in 9/11 remarks, The National, 11 September 2021: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth leads prayers for victims and survivors of 9/11, Gulf Times, 11 September 2021: US honors 9/11 dead on 20th anniversary of attacks, Arab News, 11 September 2021: September 11, 2001: The terrorist attack that changed America, The National, 11 September 2021: US commemorates 20 years since worst attacks in country’s history, Arab News, 11 September 2021: America pauses to commemorate 20th anniversary of 9/11, Al Arabiya, 11 September 2021: Twenty years later, 9/11 commemoration event takes place at ground zero in New York, Jerusalem Post, 11 September 2021: George W. Bush calls out domestic terrorism threat on 9/11 anniversary, The Times, 11 September 2021: 9/11 united a nation. Now Bush fears it is being torn apart, Politico.com, 11 September 2021: How 9/11 shaped Joe Biden’s approach to the politics of national tragedy, CNN, 11 September 2021: Watch George W. Bush’s 9/11 memorial speech, Irish Times, 11 September 2021: ‘Unbearable sorrow’: US commemorates 20th anniversary of 9/11, The Times, 11 September 2021: The man who photographed New York’s apocalypse, CNN, 11 September 2021: Bush alludes to the Capitol rioters when condemning violent extremists behind 9/11, France24, 11 September 2021: ‘The Little Chapel That Stood’: a hub for 9/11 relief, twenty years later, The Guardian, 11 September 2021: I’ll never forget being in New York on 9/11 – the day I learned there are no guarantees in life, France24, 11 September 2021: A day of mourning across the US for lives lost in the 9/11 attacks, The Guardian, 11 September 2021: Dismissed and derided when they stood, it’s time to reassess the twin towers, BBC, 11 September 2021: Emotional tributes paid to 9/11 lives lost, France24, 11 September 2021: Two decades on, the enduring legacy of 9/11, The Guardian, 11 September 2021: Live: 9/11 anniversary: Biden, Bush and Harris urge unity as US marks 20 years since attacks, Tampa Bay Times, 11 September 2021: ‘Don’t focus on hate.’ U.S., world mark 20th anniversary of 9/11, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 September 2021: Bay Area marks 20th anniversary of 9/11, The Hill, 11 September 2021: Harris in Shanksville honors heroism, courage of Flight 93 passengers, Los Angeles Times, 11 September 2021: Remembrance and reflection: U.S. marks 20 years since 9/11, The Hill, 11 September 2021: Schumer remembers 9/11: ‘Oh my God, this is World War III’, Tampa Bay Times, 11 September 2021: On 9/11 anniversary, Tampa Bay remembers the dead and those still suffering, The Hill, 11 September 2021: Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary, New York Magazine, 11 September 2021: Escape From New York: The great maritime rescue of lower Manhattan on 9/11., The New York Times, 11 September 2021: With Bowed Heads, Americans Reflect on 9/11 and Its Aftermath, The Hill, 11 September 2021: Families of 9/11 victims hope for answers about Saudi involvement in attacks, The New York Times, 11 September 2021: At 9/11 Ceremonies, Moments of Silence, Tributes and Tears, NPR, 11 September 2021: A Day Of Remembrances And Reflection: 20 Years After The 9/11 Attacks, The New York Times, 11 September 2021: In Shanksville, Preserving the Memory of 9/11 and the Wars That Followed, The Washington Post, 11 September 2021: An elegy for what the nation lost that day — and in the 20 years since, DW, 11 September 2021: 9/11 through African eyes, Miami Herald, 11 September 2021: On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Miami-Dade honors the heroes in remembrance ceremonies, The New York Times, 11 September 2021: Amid Painful Year, Tearful Tributes Mark 20th Anniversary of 9/11, The Washington Post, 11 September 2021: George W. Bush compares ‘violent extremists at home’ to 9/11 terrorists in speech, DW, 11 September 2021: World marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks, CNN, 11 September 2021: FBI releases first 9/11 document after Biden order, The New York Times, 11 September 2021: The F.B.I. released a newly declassified document related to the Sept. 11 attacks., Times of Israel, 12 September 2021: Al-Qaeda’s leader, rumored dead, appears in video for 9/11 anniversary, Tampa Bay Times, 12 September 2021: Florida’s 9/11 terror cell: 20 years later, questions linger about Saudi connection, The Guardian, 12 September 2021: 9/11: 20 years later: FBI document holds no evidence Saudi government was involved, NPR, 12 September 2021: Biden Declassifies Secret FBI Report Detailing Saudi Nationals’ Connections To 9/11, The Washington Post, 12 September 2021: FBI releases 9/11 investigation document that scrutinized Saudis, Al Arabiya, 12 September 2021: Declassified Sept. 11 documents show Saudi Arabia was not involved in attacks: FM, Arab News, 12 September 2021: EIC of Arab News Faisal Abbas recollects his memories of 9/11, The National, 13 September 2021: Afghan terror training camps ‘could cause wave of attacks in Europe in five years’, DW, 17 September 2021: US: Nancy Pelosi likens Capitol attack to 9/11, Wikipedia War on Terror and Wikipedia September 11 attacks (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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