TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history and a day that changed the world forever.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, along with hundreds of first responders who have since perished from medical problems related to working Ground Zero.
This week, the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund announced that it believes more people have now died from various diseases and illnesses from the rubble than were lost on that day.
It is a day that must be remembered and the following is a timeline of the horror of September 11, 2001 (all times Eastern):
5:45 a.m.: Al-Qaeda members Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al-Omari take off from Portland International Airport in Maine, en route to Boston where they will board American Airlines Flight 11. Atta is considered the ringleader of the highjackers.
7:49 a.m.: Flight 11 takes off from Boston en route to Los Angeles. Including the highjackers, there are 92 people on board.
8:15 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 takes off from Boston, also flying to Los Angeles. There are 65 people on the plane, including five highjackers.
8:20 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Washington Dulles International Airport, bound for Los Angeles. There were 58 passengers on board, including the highjackers. It is believed that near the same time, Flight 11 was being highjacked.
8:24 a.m.: Atta broadcasts this message from the cockpit, which it is believed he meant only for the passengers to hear: “We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be okay.” The captain of Flight 175, Victor Saracini, hears the transmission and informs the FAA.
8:37 a.m.: Air National Guard Jets are scrambled to search for Flight 11. However, they would not take off until after the North Tower was hit.
8:42 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark International Airport with 37 people on board, including four highjackers. It was delayed nearly a half-hour at Newark Airport due to congestion. This would play a key role in the passengers’ revolt later.
8:46 a.m.: Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower, slicing through floors 93-99. None of the three stairwells above the impact zone survive, permanently trapping the nearly 1,000 people still on the upper floors. New York City Firefighters respond within five seconds to the disaster. It is believed that Flight 175 was being hijacked at this moment.
8:50 a.m.: President George W. Bush is notified of the attacks while at an elementary school in Florida. He later writes that he believed it to be an accident or the pilot having a heart attack.
8:52 a.m.: A flight attendant aboard United 175 informs the airlines that the flight has been hijacked.
9:03 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into floors 77-85 of the South Tower, killing hundreds instantly. Millions watched the second impact live on television. Only one stairwell above the impact zone remains intact.
9:05 a.m.: Bush is informed of the second plane by Chief of Staff Andrew Card. He said: “Mr. President, a second plane hit the second tower. American is under attack.”
9:12 a.m.: Passengers onboard American Flight 77 call their loved ones to say their plane has been hijacked.
9:28 a.m.: After nearly an hour in the air, highjackers finally storm the cockpit on United 93. It is unknown why they chose to wait so long.
9:37 a.m.: Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. East Texan Dr. Bryan C. Jack, of Tyler, was on board the flight, but he also worked in the building. Had he been in his office that day, he might have survived. The plane crashed over 200 feet from his office. Tyler ISD school Dr. Bryan C. Jack Elementary is named after him.
9:42 a.m.: National Operations Manager Ben Sliney orders all flights in America to land, regardless of their destination. 9/11 was his first day on the job.
9:45 .am.: The White House and Capitol are evacuated. Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert are secured to ensure the continuity of government. It is believed that Flight 93 is being hijacked around this time.
9:58 a.m.: Flight 93 passenger Edward P Felt uses his cell phone to dial 9-1-1 about the hijacking. New York City Firefighter, Battalion Chief Orio Palmer, reaches the impact zone of the south tower and reports there are people still alive, but gravely injured. He is just one of two firefighters who made it this high.
9:59 a.m.: The South Tower collapses after just 56 minutes. Palmer and hundreds of others are killed.
10:03 a.m.: Passengers on Flight 93 fight the hijackers for control of the plane after loved ones tell them of the attacks in New York and D.C. The terrorists crash the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
10:15 a.m.: The Pentagon’s E-ring collapses.
10:28 a.m.: The North Tower collapses, killing nearly 1,000 people. Amazingly, there was a group of firefighters in Stairwell B who survived the collapse.
11:02 a.m.: New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani orders the evacuation of Lower Manhattan.
12:16 p.m.: All flights in the country have landed, marking the first and only time in American history where United States airspace was closed.
12:30 p.m.: The trapped firefighters in stairwell B of the North Tower are located. Rescue operations take hours.
5:20 p.m.: The 7 World Trade Center building collapses.
8:30 p.m.: President Bush addresses the nation from the White House. He says: “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.”
All told, roughly 2,977 people were killed (excluding the highjackers) the day of the attacks. However, medical authorities have said that more than 1,000 first responders have been diagnosed with cancers relating to the toxic fumes and smoke from the disaster site.
For a complete list of the victims, click here.