Never Forget: The Legacy of 9/11 Remembrance

The New York skyline at night featuring the September 11 Tribute in Light installation.

It has been 21 years since one of the most tragic days in American history. The September 11 attacks left 2,977 victims dead and a further 25,000 injured in the aftermath. As a country, we have faced many hardships on that day and many days since. Despite our differences and the negativity we have faced, we joined together to stand as one in the wake of these fateful events.

May 30th, 2022 marked 20 years since the formal end of the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero, with September 11th, 2022 signifying 20 years since the 9/11 terrorist attack. Here on the Firefighter.com blog, we examine the legacy of 9/11 remembrance and why we should Never Forget the ultimate sacrifice made by first responders.

The 21st Anniversary

This year marks 21 years since that fateful day when four hijacked planes were used to carry out suicide attacks across the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, with a third targeting the Pentagon in Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. The fourth plane never reached its intended destination, crashing into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost that day.

It has also been 20 years since the formal end of the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. The efforts to clean the debris at Ground Zero cost an estimated $750 million, with damage to the World Trade Center costing roughly $60 billion.

A New York City firefighter carrying a fire hose. They are near the area known as Ground Zero following the collapse of the Twin Towers.

What Happened on that Fateful Day?

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, 19 militants hijacked four airplanes departing from Logan International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Newark International Airport. The hijackers planned to carry out suicide attacks against prominent targets in the United States. Within the space of 77 minutes, all four of the plans had crashed, though only three reached their intended destinations.

There were no survivors from any of the flights, with 33 crew, 213 passengers, and 19 hijackers perishing in the attack. The ground fatalities at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, including emergency workers, accounted for a further 2,731 deaths. An estimated 25,000 further were injured as a result of the crashes, making it one of the most significant and deadly events in American history.

September 11, 2001: Timeline of Events

  • 7:59 am - American Airlines Flight 11 departs from Logan International Airport en route to Los Angeles International Airport. 11 crew, 76 passengers, and 5 hijackers were on board.
  • 8:14 am - United Airlines Flight 175 departs from Logan International Airport en route to Los Angeles International Airport. 9 crew, 51 passengers, and 5 hijackers were on board.
  • 8:14 am - American Airlines Flight 11 is hijacked.
  • 8:20 am - American Airlines Flight 77 departs from Washington Dulles International Airport en route to Los Angeles International Airport. 6 crew, 53 passengers, and 5 hijackers were on board.
  • 8:42 am - United Airlines Flight 93 departs from Newark International Airport en route to San Francisco International Airport. 7 crew, 33 passengers, and 4 hijackers were on board.
  • 8: 42 to 8:46 am - United Airlines Flight 175 is hijacked.
  • 8:46 am - American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
  • 8:46 am - Joseph W. Pfeifer, Chief of the New York City Fire Department’s 1st Battalion, makes the first radio message from the fire department advising FDNY Manhattan of the fire and crash at the North Tower.
  • 8:50 to 8:54 am - American Airlines Flight 77 is hijacked.
  • 9:03 am - United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
  • 9:28 am - United Airlines Flight 93 is hijacked.
  • 9:37 am - American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the west wall of the Pentagon.
  • 9:42 am - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounds all civilian aircraft within the United States, ordering all civilian aircraft in flight to land immediately.
  • 9:59 am - The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
  • 10:03 am - United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the passengers attempted to gain control of the aircraft.
  • 10:28 am - The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
A firefighter kneels to pay respect at the Memorial Wall at FDNY Engine 10 Ladder 10 House. The firehouse is direct across from the World Trade Center site.

9/11 First Responders

The rapid response to the crashes meant that the emergency services were on the ground and able to offer assistance quickly. They displayed incredible bravery, putting those in danger first and entering the Twin Towers and the Pentagon to help get people out of the buildings in case of collapse. The crash and subsequent impact meant that the South Tower collapsed 56 minutes after the impact, with the North Tower collapsing less than half an hour after that.

There were a number of fatalities amongst the first responders and emergency services. 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 NYC police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers lost their lives in their efforts to rescue those trapped within the towers on the higher floors.

The Continued Legacy for Emergency Services

First responders, emergency services, and those living and working in the area near Ground Zero continue to live with the horrific events that occurred that day. NPR reports that the 9/11 attacks have had a lasting impact on mental health, with many reporting symptoms of PTSD.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was established to provide compensation to those present or with relatives at the World Trade Center, the New York City Exposure Zone, Pentagon crash site, and Shanksville crash shite. It also supports those who have been diagnosed with 9/11-related illnesses.

The toxic fumes and particles from the towers as they burned and fell had a significant impact on those living in the area. History reports that 10,000 people had been diagnosed with 9/11-related cancers by 2018. Many of those suffering were first responders on the day.

September 11 Remembrance

9/11 remains a vivid memory for many Americans and for those around the world who watched it happen through their television screens. Every September, we will see a surge in the number of American flags hanging outside of homes and businesses, proudly showing our support and remembering those who perished. No matter where in the United States you are, there will be an event taking place near you.

For those in New York, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is one of the best places to visit. You can learn more about the brave first responders, the passengers and crew, and civilians on the ground who lost their lives on this tragic day. It is a sobering experience, but one that will reignite your love for our country and all that we stand for as we unite together to remember those we have lost.

It is important that we Never Forget the events of that day. At Firefighter.com, we support four different charities working with 9/11 first responders, their families, and more across the country. You can find out more about the charities below:

The Voices of September 11th

Stephan Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation

National Fallen Firefighter Foundation

The National Historic Firefighter Foundation

Firefighter.com 9/11 Never Forget collection will help you show your patriotism for this beautiful and brave country. You can read more about our memories of September 11th on the 20th-anniversary blog.

As always, Stay safe

Jason S. & Kelly D.


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