TODAY the world looks back on the horror of the 911 terror attacks which saw the Twin Towers fall and nearly 3,000 people lose their lives.
So when and how did the Towers fall and what does the World Trade Center look like now in the wake of the catastrophic attacks?
When did the Twin Towers fall?
On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, nineteen Islamic terrorists hijacked four planes in a coordinated attack on US soil.
Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
The first American Airlines Boeing 767 Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8.45am at a speed of 466 mph (790 km/h).
The crash left a burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors.
The second plane – a Boeing 767 United Airlines Flight 175 – hit the south tower 18 minutes later at 590 mph (950 km/h) at 9.03am near the 60th floor.
Taking less than an hour to burn, the south tower collapsed in a massive cloud of dust and smoke.
The North Tower fell not long after.
No one who was above the impact zone in the North Tower escapes the collapse.
The falling debris caused more deaths and injury on the streets below.
8.45am – The first American Airlines plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center
9.03am – Just 18 minutes later, a second plane crashed into the South Tower
9.37am – Later, a third plane hit the Pentagon in Washington DC
10.03am – A fourth plane crashed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as passengers fought with the hijackers on the flight.
9.59am – The South Tower was the first to collapse after burning for around 56 minutes.
10.28am – The North Tower fell not long after
What was the World Trade Center?
The towers were built in 1973 and stood at a dazzling 110 stories each.
In order to build the towers, engineers needed to dig down 70 feet to reach bedrock.
At the time of construction they were the tallest buildings in the world at 1,360 feet.
They were part of a complex of seven buildings, located in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City.
The towers could accomodate 50,000 workers and 200,000 daily visitors in 10 million square feet of space.
They were the hub of the bustling Financial District, a top tourist attraction and a symbol of America.
What happened on the site after the attack?
The attack was the most devastating terror attack on US soil and would change the course of world events forever.
- 11/09/01 7pm – President George W. Bush, who was in Florida at the time of the attacks, returned to the White House
- 11/09/01 9pm – Bush delivered a televised address from the Oval Office
- 11/09/01– Hundreds of emergency service workers and firefighters comb the scene to rescue those trapped in the debris
- 07/10/01 – Operation Enduring Freedom, the American-led international effort to oust the Taliban regime in Afghanistan -began
- 02/05/01 – Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks, was finally tracked down and killed by U.S. forces at a hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan
- 11/09/02 – For the first anniversary, two bright columns of light called “Tribute in Light” were shot up into the sky from where the Twin Towers once stood
- 11/09/11 – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum opened on the former World Trade Center site
- 05/14 – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum followed
- 11/14 – The Freedom Tower opened
What does One World Trade Center look like now?
In the immediate aftermath of the destruction, the site changed its name to Ground Zero to commemorate where the World Trade Center once stood.
The term is used to describe the site of a nuclear explosion and later was used to refer to the point of any dramatic or violent event.
The 14.6-acre area in Lower Manhattan is bounded by Vesey Street to the north, the West Side Highway to the west, Liberty Street to the south, and Church Street to the east.
However the site changed its name to the World Trade Center Site after New York mayor Michael Bloomberg urged the city to rename the site.
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum opened on September 11, 2011, at the original World Trade Center site in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
The memorial “Reflecting Absence" sits outside the museum in an eight-acre park.
It consists of two reflecting pools with waterfalls rushing down where the Twin Towers once rose into the sky.
The names of all 2,996 victims are engraved on the 152 bronze panels surrounding the pools, arranged by where individuals were on the day of the attacks, so coworkers and people on the same flight are memorialized together.
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum followed, opening on the original World Trade Center site in May 2014.
The memorial features two huge, deep pools at the base of the old towers.
Around the edges of the pools, each almost an acre in size, the names of those who were killed in the attacks are embossed in bronze panels.
The Freedom Tower, also on the original World Trade Center site, opened in November 2014.
The centrepiece is One World Trade Center which now rises even higher than the Twin Towers at 1,776 feet tall.
It is the tallest building in the United States and Western Hemisphere.
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