by Monica Fiore (Staff Writer and Reporter)
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa.- Some people cannot remember, while others would prefer not to. Most people watched the horror of September 11, 2001 on their televisions, in New York City, and will never be able to forget that fateful day.
According to an article on Lohud.com, “September 11 started out as a normal, sunny, crisp, autumn-in-New York kind of morning.” However, by the end of the day, it would be remembered as one of the most tragic, depressing days in the history of the United States.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, four planes—American Airlines Flights 11 and 77 and United Airlines Flights 93 and 175—took flight for their scheduled destinations. They never made it.
Tragedy struck when each plane was hijacked by terrorists from the Islamic group, Al-Qaeda. At 8:46 a.m., Flight 11 hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Seven minutes later, the South Tower was hit by Flight 175. It was clear that the nation was under attack.
While Manhattan was in an uproar, the country was in chaos elsewhere. At 9:37 a.m., Flight 77 hit the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. At 10:03 a.m., Flight 93, which was believed to be headed for the White House, landed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Four brave men aboard Flight 93, Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett, and Jeremy Glick, attempted to defeat the terrorists hijacking the plane, but were unsuccessful. All passengers aboard were killed.
As the Pentagon was in flames and Flight 93 was being hijacked, Manhattan was in still in shock of what was happening to New York. At 9:59 a.m., the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. Nearly half an hour later, the North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m.
Nearly 3,000 people died that day. Family members and friends posted flyers of their missing loved ones on telephone poles, in mailboxes, and all over New York in hopes that they would be found and reunited.
Months after the Twin Towers collapsed, beams were set up at the sight of where they previously stood, standing straight up as the Towers would have. They lit up the sky, and showed that America was standing strong through this tragedy.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, a memorial museum has been set up underground where the Towers once stood, as well as a memorial for Flight 93.
In April 2016, a group of Penn State New Kensington students had the privilege of not only visiting New York City, but also visiting the 9/11 memorial. Penn State New Kensington’s Student Life Coordinator, Lauren Blum recalled what it was like for students and herself to visit the museum.
“I think going there touched a lot of heart strings,” Blum stated. “For me, personally, I remember when it all happened. It was all kind of heart wrenching to see everything that was there and hear the personal stories. I think for the students, it was good to put it all into perspective. I really hope that the students had an experience that they won’t forget.”
Penn State New Kensington currently has a 9/11 display in its library. There is also a book about Flight 93 for the First Year Summer Reading program, a reading program for incoming freshmen.
Jennifer Gilley, Penn State New Kensington’s head librarian and member of the First Year Summer Reading Program Committee, revealed why Flight 93: The Story, the Aftermath, and the Legacy of American Courage on 9/11 by Tom McMillan was chosen as the program’s book for this past summer.
“We ended up choosing that book because it’s the 15th anniversary and we realized that the incoming first year students would have been alive on 9/11, but not the age where they would have any memory yet,” said Gilley. “They probably don’t remember where they were, so we thought it might be useful for them to learn more about that event. We also chose it because of the local connection with the crash nearby.
It has been 15 years since that horrific day. The Twin Towers may no longer exist, but where they once stood has been renamed Ground Zero and a skyscraper named One World Trade Center has been built in its place. America honors those who gave their lives to save others and some may even say this was a wake-up call to value life.
“Appreciate every day and what you have,” said Blum. Although the terrorists attempted to corrupt the nation, America refused to surrender and instead became united and displayed their strength against the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001.