Looking back: 17 Years Since 9/11

Story by: Julya Socoteanu, Yearbook Editor


For every generation, there is a significant event, a date, that is imprinted in their brains and they can’t forget. They remember exactly where they were, what they felt. For today’s grandparents, it was the day JFK was shot. For others, they remember the Space Shuttle explosion. But, for most Americans, it is 9/11. September 11, 2001 is a date that changed American history. It is recognized even by other countries, and we all remember it with serious regard.

17 years ago, four planes were hijacked by an Islamic terrorist group. Two were sent to the World Trade Towers, one was sent to the Pentagon outside of Washington DC, and one crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people were killed, including civilians, police officers, firefighters, and the terrorists.

The first plane to crash into the twin towers was believed to be an accident. News reporters rushed to the location, and the second plane was caught live. America then realized it was under attack. The planes left burning holes in the middle of the towers. Hundreds were killed by the impact of the initial hits, but even more died after both towers collapsed from the heat.

The Pentagon, center of the U.S. Department of Defence, was hit shortly after the towers. Fuel in the plane caused a devastating fire, which caused the structure to collapse. 189 people died, including 64 plane passengers. Military personnel also suffered losses. Interestingly, construction for the Pentagon began on September 11, 1941, exactly 60 years before the attack. Reconstruction after the attacks was completed by February 2003.

Flight 93 perhaps has the most interesting and emotional story, although many youth are unaware of it. Upon hearing about the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, the passengers of the 4th plane realized they were in danger. The passengers fought against the terrorists, taking the plane down themselves before it could reach its destination. One man, Thomas Burnett Jr, said to his wife over the phone: “I know we’re all going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey.” The passengers saved lives, crashing the plane in a field in Pennsylvania. The intended destination of the terrorists was believed to be in the capital. However, all 44 people on the plane died including the terrorists, so no one can be sure.

Every year, different tributes around the world go to 9/11. In 2016, some tributes included Joe Biden standing with survivors at an NFL game, the annual “Tribute in Light” at the 911 Monument Museum, UK firefighters moment of silence, and a New York stock exchange moment of silence. We should never forget 9/11, nor the lives that were lost. Citizens, police officers, and firefighters suffered in the attacks fighting for the better of our country. As former president Bush said “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”


Staff, History.com. “9/11 Attacks.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010,


Berenson, Tessa. “9/11: This Is How The World Is Remembering 9/11.” Time, Time, 9 Sept. 2016,