September 11 2001 Tribute: Before and After 9/11

9/11 was one of the most devastating days for the United States in recent memory. The years leading up to that day were filled with conflict from Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization Al Qaeda, and even prior to that day the U.S. had been struck on home soil. However, few could have anticipated something of this magnitude. Nineteen hijackers took over planes in American airspace and forever transformed the way the world lived. What followed was a War on Terror, the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction, in addition to changes in air travel, world finances and attitudes. In this video, takes a look back at September 11, and the events that followed.

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9/11 Tribute: Before and After

George W. Bush called this event the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century. Welcome to, and today we’ll be learning more about the 9/11 attacks.

Osama bin Laden

The September 11th attacks on American soil were the result of years of bad blood between the Western world and Al-Qaeda. This militant terrorist group was founded in the late 1980s by Osama bin Laden in an attempt to rid the Muslim world of Western influence.


The group then carried out numerous attacks: they first attempted to kill American soldiers in Yemen in 1992. Al-Qaeda hit on American soil in 1993 with the bombing of New York City’s World Trade Center. More attacks followed, but none was as devastating as what happened in September 2001.

Airplanes hit the World Trade Center

At 8:46am on Tuesday, September 11th, hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of Manhattan’s World Trade Center. At 9:02, United Airlines flight 175 flew into its South Tower, and this was witnessed on live television by millions.

The Pentagon and Collapse of the WTC

35 minutes later, American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia. Not long after, the Word Trade Center began to collapse, and many people remained trapped or struggling to escape.


At 10:03, another hijacked flight crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. It was later discovered that United Flight 93 was likely downed by a fight between the hijackers and passengers. The plane’s potential targets were the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

American Airspace Closed

By 10:30am, both World Trade Center towers had collapsed. American airspace was closed, and high-profile buildings throughout the country were evacuated.

Almost Three Thousand Dead

In total, almost three thousand people died in these attacks, including the 19 hijackers. Many buildings near Ground Zero were destroyed or condemned. New York’s fire and police departments were commended for their actions, and both teams lost a number of members.

American Patriotism

Patriotism soared following the attacks. Americans nationwide rallied to donate blood and help with rescue efforts. Friendly nations also helped and expressed solidarity with the United States.

Suspect: Al-Qaeda

As people scrambled for answers, Osama bin Laden surfaced as a suspect. Al-Qaeda’s connection to the crime resulted in a rise in hate crimes towards Middle Eastern people throughout the world immediately following these attacks.

War on Terror

President George W. Bush and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani both received high praise for their initial management of the situation. Just weeks after the attack, Bush declared a War on Terror, with the proposed goal of eliminating the Al-Qaeda threat throughout the world.

Operation Enduring Freedom and Weapons of Mass Destruction

This prompted the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7th, 2001, when the United States first went to war in Afghanistan. This was based on the assumption that Al-Qaeda used that country as a base of operations. Two years later, the U.S. invaded Iraq looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction. These controversial conflicts continued as Americans marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11.


At home, the Bush administration introduced the PATRIOT Act in October 2001. This facilitated intelligence gathering on those suspected of terrorist ties, and was criticized in the years after its enactment.

Problems in Finance and Airline Industry

9/11’s pervasive consequences spread to the financial markets: when the New York Stock Exchange finally reopened a week after the attacks, the Dow Jones had dropped drastically. Also, the struggling airline industry saw increased regulations and security promote a climate of fear.

Health Effects

Meanwhile, numerous health problems plagued rescue workers and others who had inhaled toxic substances during the attacks. The U.S. government eventually okayed a bill in December 2010 that allocated funds to treat these issues.

Rebuilding Ground Zero

And, slowly but surely, the Ground Zero site was rebuilt. A memorial and museum were erected on-site. However, controversy arose in 2009 surrounding a proposed Muslim community center two blocks from the site. This was nicknamed the Ground Zero Mosque, despite the fact it was neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque. The debate suggested that although years had passed, wounds regarding 9/11 had not yet healed.

Osama bin Laden Killed

That healing process was aided by President Barack Obama’s May 1st, 2011 announcement that Osama bin Laden had been captured and killed by American forces while hiding in Pakistan. The news prompted celebrations, and helped close a painful chapter in the history of the United States.

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