On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, 19 members of the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda carried out four separate but coordinated attacks on the United States. They hijacked four planes, crashing two into the Twin Towers in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Virginia, and the last into a field in Pennsylvania. The attack has forever changed U.S. security policies and has caused ripple effects across the world.
The World Trade Center in 1975
In the deadliest international terrorist attack in history, 2997 people were killed, and over 6000 others were injured. The attack caused the United States $3 trillion in total costs, including $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.
The North and South Towers of the World Trade Center burst into flames after being hit. http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks/pictures/911-world-trade-center/series-of-photos-of-hijacked-airliner-attacking-world-trade-center-2
WHY? The Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda sought to destroy targets that symbolized America's economic success, military power, and prosperity. They hoped to instill fear and weaken America's status, furthering their own goals in the Middle East. Other causes include al-Qaeda's anger over the United States' support for Israel, anger over the United States' military presence in the Middle East, and usage of the United States as "collateral damage in a civil war within the world of political Islam".
"Bin Laden’s followers consider themselves an island of true believers surrounded by a sea of iniquity and think that the future of religion itself, and therefore the world depends on them and their battle." - Michael Scott Doran, Middle East scholar
Aerial view of the wreckage. http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks/pictures/911-world-trade-center/aerial-view-of-manhattan-shows-smouldering-world-trade-city
The 9/11 attacks have prompted new, harsher security measures in the United States and towards those from foreign countries.
"America’s involvement in the War on Terror — prompted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks — resulted in a dramatic change in our nation’s attitudes and concerns about safety and vigilance." - Matthew Green
TSA screening at airports. http://dailysignal.com/2014/10/01/dropping-tsa-19th-airport-joins-efficient-private-screening-program/
The United States engaged in more military operations in the Middle East, spurring rebellions and warfare throughout the region.
"Any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” - President George W. Bush
- Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, allowing "necessary and appropriate force" against those involved in the attacks or those associated with the terrorists.
- Because al-Qaeda trained in Afghanistan and claimed responsibility for the attacks, the U.S. insisted that the Taliban hand over the terrorists and close training camps. The Taliban refused, prompting the War in Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history.
- The U.S. invaded Iraq due to Sadam's Hussein's support of terrorism. Iraq has become more volatile, with the onset of ISIS.
- Many countries offered condolences and solidarity to the United States. They also introduced anti-terrorism legislation and arrested suspected terrorists.
- Animosity towards Muslims has grown, accompanied with hate crimes.
United States' military forces in Afghanistan
Despite this horrific tragedy, the United States seeks to recuperate and honor the memories of the fallen. A memorial has been erected at the World Trade Center site, both commemorating the victims and offering the hope and rebirth.
“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.” - George W. Bush
"Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children." – President George W. Bush
The names of the fallen at the 9/11 Memorial