Michael Bryan

Written by Michael Bryan

Modified & Updated: 18 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

wtc, world trade center

The most devastating terrorist attacks in the U.S. are still fresh in the memories of most people. According to reports, people started to spend more time with their families after 9/11. Most Americans became more nationalistic and there was an increase in expressions of patriotism such as displaying American flags in front of their house, and church attendance has skyrocketed. Now, we will reveal to you the facts about the 9/11 attacks in detail.

  1. Another name for 9/11 is the September 11 attacks.
  2. 9/11 was a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks.
  3. This terrorist attack occurred on September 11, 2001.
  4. The 9/11 attacks started on a Tuesday morning.
  5. Almost 3,000 people died during the 9/11 attacks.

  1. The Wahhabi terrorist group Al-Qaeda is responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
  2. The Wahhabi or Wahhabism is a puritanical Muslim movement that views itself as “non-adherent to parties, defending the truth.”
  3. Al-Qaeda is a militant Sunni Islamist founded by Osama bin Laden in 1988.
  4. Al-Qaeda has numerous Arab volunteers and also co-founded by the “Father of the Global Jihad,” Abdullah Azzam.
  5. Al-Qaeda means “The Foundation” or “The Base.”
  6. The hijackers were Islamic terrorists. They were mostly from Saudi Arabia, including other Arab nations.
  7. According to reports, Osama bin Laden planned it because of retaliation. Bin Laden didn’t want the U.S. to support Israel.
  8. Some of the terrorists of 9/11 attacks moved to the United States several months before the suicide mission.
  9. The terrorists learned to fly airplanes in the U.S. They took flying lessons at American commercial flight schools.
  10. The September 11 attacks had an instant negative effect on the U.S. economy.
  1. The Twin Towers stood at 1,368 feet. It is one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers in the 2000s and the world’s tallest skyscraper from 1971 to 1973.
  2. From 2001 to 2004, more than $5 billion dollars in compensation was provided to families of the 9/11 victims.
  3. Approximately 2,990 injured people also received compensation from the U.S. government.
  4. On July 29, 2019, President Donald Trump signed the law to support the Victim Compensation Fund that will help the family victims until 2092.
  5. The United States Department of Homeland Security is created due to this attack as well, including simultaneous threats from the terrorists after 9/11.
Table of Contents

The first plane took off at 7:59 a.m.

At 7:59 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 departed from Boston Logan International Airport, heading towards Los Angeles International Airport. The flight was hijacked at 8:14 a.m., and it crashed into the 93rd to 99th floors of the World Trade Center North Tower at 8:46:40 a.m.

The American Airlines Flight 11 was a Boeing 767.

The American Airlines Flight 11 was a Boeing Boeing 767-223ER. In total, Flight 11 had 11 crew members and 81 passengers on board, and five of them were hijackers. The American Airlines Flight 11 was a domestic passenger flight.

The second plane took off at 8:14 a.m.

At 8:14 a.m., the United Airlines Flight 175 took off from Boston Logan, which was also going to Los Angeles. The hijackers seized Flight 175 at 8:42:46 a.m. At 9:03:02 a.m., Flight 175 crashed into the 77th to 85th floors of the South Tower.

Millions of viewers saw the second impact live on national TV.

Flying at 950 km/h, the second plane, Flight 175 (Boeing 767-222) had 65 people on board the aircraft who instantly died in the collision, plus several hundred in the building as well. Flight 175 had nine crews in it, 56 passengers, five of which are the hijackers. During the second attack, major media institutions, that had already interrupted their morning shows for this breaking event, were reporting updates of the first plane crash. Therefore, millions of viewers saw the second impact live on national TV.

WTC on fire, 9/11 attacks
Image from Wikimedia Commons

Marwan al-Shehhi was the leader of the hijackers in Flight 175.

According to the investigations, the hijackers of Flight 175 violently breached the cockpit and gain control over the pilot and its first officer. The leader of the hijacker, Marwan al-Shehhi who was a trained pilot, took control of the airplane.

In contrast to the first plane Flight 11 which the transponder (a radio transmitter in the cockpit that works with ground radar) was turned off, this airplane’s transponder was visible on New York Center’s radar. This allowed the air traffic controllers to have a better record of the flight’s movements.

The hijackers' leader on Flight 175, Marwan al-Shehhi, was only 23 years old.

Born on May 9, 1978, Marwan Yousef Mohamed Rashid Lekrab al-Shehhi was a student from the United Arab Emirates who later lived in Germany around 1996. Marwan al-Shehhi traveled to terrorist training camps in Afghanistan in 1999 and joined Osama bin Laden’s plan in attacking the United States.

By the year 2000, Marwan al-Shehhi arrived in the United States and devoted his time and energy to the preparations of the attack. Furthermore, he took surveillance flights and studying the details on how the hijacking could be effective and he assisted the arrival of his fellow hijackers to the suicide mission. Marwan al-Shehhi was the youngest hijacker-pilot to participate in the attacks.

Some passengers were able to make final phone calls to their family members.

Devastating 9/11 facts… Some of the passengers and crew members aboard were able to make phone calls to their family members. A few of those were goodbye and farewell messages while others and provided information about the hijackers and casualties sustained by both crew and passengers.

The third plane took off at 8:20 A.M.

The third plane, American Airlines Flight 77 took off from Washington Dulles International Airport that was also bound for Los Angeles at 8:20 a.m. Flight 77 (Boeing 757-223) had six crew members and 58 passengers and five of those were the hijackers.

Flight 77 slams into the western side of the Pentagon at 853 km/h.

Source: Pixabay

From 8:50 a.m. to 8:54 a.m. the terrorists took command of American Airlines Flight 77 and hijacked the plane. At 9:37 a.m. Flight 77 slammed into the western side of the Pentagon at 853 km/h and instantly started a strong fire, killing over 100 Pentagon personnel. The Pentagon is the United States Department of Defense’s headquarters. Pentagon also represents the U.S. military—the term ‘Pentagon’ is used as a substitute for the Department of Defense and its leadership.

Rescue efforts started right away after the crash in Pentagon.

Initially, the military and the civilian employees led the rescue within the building and saved many lives. When the firemen came to the scene, they ordered these individual rescue efforts to stop. Being well-equipped and highly trained, the firemen dealt with the hazards accordingly.

The fourth plane took off at 8:42 a.m.

At 8:42 a.m., the United Airlines Flight 93 (Boeing 757-222) took off from Newark International Airport in New Jersey, bound for San Francisco International Airport. At 9:28 a.m, the hijackers started their move and seized Flight 93 by force.

Flight 93's passengers tried to regain control of the plane.

Interestingly, Flight 93 was different compared to the first three hijacked planes. Due to the resistance of its passengers and crew who tried to regain control of the plane, it led to fighting in the cockpit. Flight 93 eventually crashed at 926 km/h in the southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. In total, Flight 93 had 44 people on board with 37 passengers, four of those were the hijackers, five flight attendants, and two pilots.

The United Airlines Flight 93 is the "United 93".

The United Airlines Flight 93 was the only plane that did not hit its target. Although it was really hard to tell for sure which was the next target, according to the investigation and the latest information in hand, it was indicated that the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. was the terrorist’s target. At the same time, the House of Representatives and the Senate were in session at the Capitol.

The United Airlines Flight 93's impact on the crash produced a crater.

The United Airlines Flight 93’s impact on the crash caused a crater in the field between 8 to 10 feet deep and up to 50 feet wide. There were no survivors. All of the dead bodies were scattered within a radius of 28 hectares. Some of the plane’s fragments went as far as 13 kilometers.

Muhammad Mihdhar was among the five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77.

The Saudi Arabian hijacker, Khalid Muhammad Abdallah al-Mihdhar was among the five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77. Around 1999, Muhammad al-Mihdhar moved to Afghanistan. As a respected jihadist, Osama bin Laden chose him to engage in the attacks.

Moreover, Muhammad Mihdhar first arrived in California in January 2000, during this time, the Central Intelligence Agency or CIA was already suspecting Mihdhar as an al-Qaeda member that was involved in a bombing incident. However, the CIA did not notify the FBI because he was not yet on watchlists until August 2001.

Bin Laden chose al-Hazmi because of his affiliation with al-Qaeda and his fighting experience.

Nawaf al-Hazmi (Muhammad Mihdhar’s best friend) left his house in Saudi Arabia around 1995 to fight for Muslims in the Bosnian War. Nawaf al-Hazmi also went to Afghanistan and fought for the Taliban versus the Afghan Northern Alliance. He then returned back to Saudi Arabia in early 1999 and got his US tourist visa in April that same year.

Hazmi first came to the United States on January 15, 2000, and stayed in San Diego, at Parkwood Apartments. He later moved to Virginia in April 2001 and joined the rest of the hijackers. Hazmi also regularly met with Mohamed Atta (the squad leader of the attacks) from June until September 2001.

Mohamed Atta was the oldest of all the 9/11 terrorists.

The main terrorist leader of 9/11, Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta first met Osama bin Laden including other top al-Qaeda leaders from 1999 to 2000 in Afghanistan. By June 2000, Mohamed Atta came to the United States and learn how to pilot planes and received instrument ratings (the qualifications that a pilot must for it to fly under instrument flight rules or IFR) in November in the same year. At 33 years of age, Mohamed Atta was the oldest of the hijackers who participated in the attacks.

The North Tower of the World Trade Center burned for 102 minutes before collapsing.

The five hijackers of Flight 11 that crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center were; Mohamed Atta (Egyptian), Satam al-Suqami (Saudi Arabian), Wail al-Shehri (Saudi Arabian), Waleed al-Shehri (Saudi Arabian), and Abdulaziz al-Omari (Saudi Arabian). After the crash, the building burned for 102 minutes and finally collapsed at 10:28 a.m. Interestingly, even though it was the strong collision that caused the huge structural damage to the tower, according to the investigation, it was the consistent fire coming from the plane’s fuel that was the main reason for the structural failure of the building.

world trade center attack illustration, 9/11 attacks
Image from Wikimedia Commons

The South Tower of the World Trade Center burned for 56 minutes before collapsing.

The five hijackers of Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center were; Marwan al-Shehhi (Emirati), Fayez Banihammad (Emirati), and Hamza al-Ghamdi (Saudi Arabian), Ahmed al-Ghamdi (Saudi Arabian), and Mohand al-Shehri (Saudi Arabian). After Flight 175 glided nose-first through the South Tower, it collapsed at 9:59 a.m. after burning for 56 minutes.

Pentagon's rebuilt section has a small indoor memorial.

The five hijackers of Flight 77 that penetrated into the western side of the Pentagon were; Nawaf al-Hazmi (Saudi Arabian), Majed Moqed (Saudi Arabian), Hani Hanjour (Saudi Arabian), Khalid al-Mihdhar (Saudi Arabian), and Salem al-Hazmi (Saudi Arabian). Initial estimates revealed that the damages from Pentagon would take up to three years to finish, though the project went triple-time thus it was completed by the first anniversary of 9/11. Furthermore, Pentagon’s rebuilt section includes a small indoor memorial and chapel at the point of impact.

A temporary memorial was made right away after the crash of United 93.

The four hijackers that crashed the United 93 or Flight 93 in the southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset County, Pennsylvania were: Ziad Samir Jarrah (Lebanese), Ahmed Ibrahim A. al Haznawi (Saudi Arabian), Saeed al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabian), and Ahmed Abdullah al Nami (Saudi Arabian).

Initially, a temporary memorial was made coming from the tributes left by visitors at the crash site after the attack. Several foundations started to raise funds to support a memorial to the victims of the crash. More so, a couple of years after the 9/11 attacks, the government decided to make the area a permanent memorial.

The temporary memorial of United 93 was once only open for the victims' family members.

The temporary memorial of the United 93 was surrounded by a fence and was open only for the victims’ family members located on a hillside about 450 meters away from the crash site. To commemorate their loved ones who passed away, the memorial had a 40-foot chain-link fence which visitors can offer flowers, religious items, hats, flags, etc., and collected by the National Park Service.

A judo champion and a rugby player were among the heroes of United Flight 93.

Several cities in the United States wanted to preserve the memory of the heroes of United Flight 93. In Marshall, Texas, for instance, they named a street United Flight Ninety Three St by order of the City Commission in 2002. Considered heroes, those passengers would not have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives if they have not fought against the terrorists. Jeremy Glick, a judo champion, and Mark Bingham, a 6’5” rugby player, were among those heroes.

The small volume of passengers made it easier for the hijackers.

The small volume of passengers in the plane made it easier and manageable for the hijackers to operate. Flight 11 had a seating capacity of 158, but only had 81 passengers on that flight. Flight 175 had 56 passengers with a seating capacity of 168. Meanwhile, Flight 77 can serve 176 passengers but there were only 58 passengers. Finally, the United 93 only carried 37 passengers where it can cater to up to 182 passengers.

Osama bin Laden had a $25 million bounty.

The founder of the pan-Islamic (a political ideology advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic country) militant organization al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. After what bin Laden did, he experienced a decade-long international manhunt and had a $25 million bounty, dead or alive. From 2001 until 2011, he became the primary target of the United States.

Osama bin Laden, 9/11 attacks
Image from Wikimedia Commons

Osama bin Laden could spread terror to anyone.

After the September 11 attacks, the United States saw Osama bin Laden as a threat not just to the U.S. but also to the world. The U.S. war in Afghanistan or the United States invasion of Afghanistan started after the September 11 attacks to take down al-Qaeda. The United Kingdom became the primary ally of the United States who provided support to the military to launch the preparations for the invasion. This event could have been prevented if only Afghanistan surrendered Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks.

The U.S. launch Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7, 2001.

After 9/11, the United States demanded the Taliban (a political movement and military organization in Afghanistan) to surrender Osama bin Laden as well as abolishing al-Qaeda. Moreover, the U.S. FBI wanted Osama bin Laden since 1998. However, the Taliban refused to give him up, unless the U.S. admits that bin Laden has nothing to do with 9/11. The Taliban also rejected the demand to close its terrorist bases and surrender other terrorist suspects aside from Osama bin Laden.

The U.S. knew that those were simple delaying tactics, thus they launched Operation Enduring Freedom nearly a month after 9/11 which lasted until Dec 17, 2001. As a result, the U.S. successfully eliminated the Taliban from power and built military bases near the large cities across Afghanistan. However, the primary target, Osama bin Laden was nowhere to be found. It took close to 10 years to track him down.

Osama bin Laden died on May 2, 2011.

osama bin laden
Source: Unsplash

On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden died in Abbottabad, Pakistan, under the hands of the United States military special operations unit at 1 a.m. local time. Ordered by then U.S. President Barack Obama, Operation Neptune Spear, a precision strike operation executed by the United States Navy Seals of capturing bin Laden dead or alive, was a success. According to reports, the former United States Navy Seal, Robert J. O’Neill is the one who shot Osama bin Laden. Robert J. O’Neill is now a motivational speaker and Fox News contributor.

The economy of the entire world was also affected due to 9/11.

The September 11 attacks spread fear and terror around the world including to the economy. Interestingly, not only the U.S. Stock Market plummeted in late 2001, but also the global stock market. Furthermore, 9/11 is one of the biggest losses in the insurance industry’s history—approximately $60 billion in today’s money.

Over 80,000 individuals lost their jobs after 9/11.

The loss of the four commercial airplanes was valued at $390 million, while the loss of major buildings in the World Trade Center, and its replacement cost was nearly $5 billion. The damages in the Pentagon were around $1 billion.

Furthermore, property and infrastructure damages cost up to $13 billion, direct job losses amounted to 80,000 individuals, with at least $15 billion in lost wages. The overall losses to the city of New York alone (lost taxes, other infrastructure, etc, and clean up cost) was over $95 billion, and the amount of damaged or unrecoverable property was over $20 billion.

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