September 11, 2001 is a date many Americans carry close to their hearts. For those who witnessed the tragic events unfold, there is a memory permanently etched in their hearts and minds. For those who are learning about September 11th through teachers, parents, and other community members, the stark photos and vivid memories become a living story of tragedy, patriotism, and hope.
For the people of New York City, Washington, DC, and those in Pennsylvania, it was a day of unimaginable loss and fragility. For Americans across the country, it was a day that changed our lives indefinitely as millions rushed to phones and emails to check in on loved ones and friends. Amid the chaos and tragedy, September 11th was also the day the United States showed resilience. We became united in service to those who needed help the most.
Responding Heroes: Remembering September 11, 2001 offers you, the visitor, a snapshot of the events of September 11, 2001. We share with you the legacy and passion of the first responders and bystanders who answered the call that morning and who have worked to preserve the memory of the fallen ever since. Please take your time going through the exhibit. It may be an emotional experience for you and that is ok.
Thank you for helping us honor our brothers and sisters who responded that fateful morning.
When they were completed in 1971, 1 & 2 World Trade Center (dubbed the Twin Towers) were the tallest buildings in the Manhattan skyline and were a beehive of activity for business and tourists alike.
The Pentagon has stood as a symbol of the United States military and fortitude since construction began on the banks of the Potomac River in September 1941.
Both sites have been, and remain today, a symbol of the American spirit and a testament to resiliency and the enduring patriotism for many across the world.
7:59 am – American Airlines Flight 11 leaves Boston bound for Los Angeles. On board are eleven crew, seventy-six passengers and five hijackers.
8:14 am – United Airlines Flight 175 leaves Boston, bound for Los Angeles. On board are nine crew, fifty-one passengers and five hijackers.
8:20 am – American Airlines Flight 77 leaves Washington Dulles International Airport, also en-route to Los Angeles. On board are six crew, fifty-three passengers and five hijackers.
8:19 am – American Airlines Flight 11 crew member Betty Ann Ong contacts ground personnel with an inflight phone to report the plane being hijacked. The cockpit is unreachable. Shortly before the call begins, the first fatality of 9/11 occurs - Daniel M. Lewin, seated in first class, was stabbed by one of the hijackers. Lewin had served for four years in the Israeli army, and it is suggested he may have tried to stop the hijackers.
8:21 am – Two minutes into Ong’s call to ground personnel, the hijackers switch off the transponder of Flight 11 - the device that allows for air traffic control to identify and monitor the plane’s flight path from the ground. Ong is able to provide the seat numbers of the hijackers, and other vital information during her call. American Airlines authorities send this information to their operations center in Texas.
8:24 am – Hijacker Mohamed Atta makes the first of two attempts to communicate with passengers and crew on board, but accidentally transmits to air traffic control both times.
8:30 AM - Morning activities begin at the World Trade Center. The Twin Towers (1 & 2 WTC), Marriott Hotel (3 WTC), four office buildings (4, 5, 6 & 7 WTC), and a public plaza. The area is also major transportation hub for the city and is now filling quickly with people.
* Conferences begin in The North Tower and the Marriott - Hundreds of attendees start to make their way up to conference rooms for the day.
* Windows on the World Restaurant is open for breakfast, diners are enjoying their meals and staff continue to prepare for the lunch rush and evening events.
* An evening dance performance on the outdoor plaza is scheduled.
* An information session for the Peace Corps is scheduled for that evening.
8:37 AM - US Air Force’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) mobilize Air National Guard jets from Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, to find and follow Flight 11.
8:42 AM - United Airlines Flight 93 leaves Newark International Airport, behind schedule due to routine tarmac traffic. On board are seven crew, thirty-three passengers and four hijackers.
8:46 AM - Hijackers of Flight 11 crash into 1 World Trade Center (North Tower), directly hitting floors 93 through 99. All passengers, crew and hijackers aboard are killed, along with hundreds inside the North Tower, trapping hundreds more who were on floors above the impact site.
8:46:05 AM - Paramedics, firefighters, and police are dispatched to The North Tower to assist with evacuation and the injured. En-route to the scene FDNY Chief Joseph Pfeifer calls for a second, and then third alarm. The official response time reported from FDNY was 5 seconds from alarm to on scene arrival.
8:50 AM - US President George W. Bush is informed that a small plane has hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. At the time, Bush and his advisers believed this to be a much smaller scale scenario and assumed the crash to be an accident.
8:59 AM - Port Authority Officials issue orders for both towers to be evacuated. A minute later, orders for evacuation extended to the whole World Trade Center complex.
9:03 AM - Flight 175 is flown into floors 75 through 85 of the South Tower (2 World Trade Center) killing all on board and hundreds in the building. People trapped above the impact site turn to the roof for evacuation.
9:08 AM - The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) grounds all flights in and out of New York airports. Flights divert to as far away as Atlanta and Newfoundland, Canada.
9:21 AM - New York Port Authority closes off access to Manhattan, including all bridges, ports and tunnels to the island. The Transit Authority suspends subway service to Manhattan.
9:24 AM - FAA notifies NEADS of the suspected hijacking of Flight 77 after passengers and crew make contact with friends and family on the ground. NEADS scrambles jets in the air to track the flight.
9:31 AM - President Bush addresses the nation calling the disaster in New York City "an apparent terrorist attack on our country"
9:37 AM - Flight 77 is flown into the western facade of the Pentagon, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, killing all on board and 127 military and civilian personnel.
9:42 AM - FAA grounds all flight in the continental United States. Over the next two hours, airplanes in US airspace were guided into airports across North America. The skies over the US went silent for the first time in aviation history.
By 9:45 AM - High profile buildings, centers of commerce, and tourist attractions across the country started evacuations as rumors of more attacks circulate nationwide.
10:28 AM - The North Tower (1 World Trade Center) collapses 102 minutes after being struck by Flight 11. Rescue personnel and survivors flee to shops, vehicles, and office building to avoid flying debris and dust.
Throughout the afternoon, Lower Manhattan is evacuated and millions are displaced from their homes and businesses. Rescue crews look for survivors among the wreckage and families waited to hear from loved ones.
5:27 PM - 7 World Trade Center collapses and is the last building to fall as a result of the attacks earlier that morning. Responders, who initially fled the collapsing building, return to the scene to continue their recovery efforts.
At each location, responders prepared to triage patients and makeshift treatment areas were constructed in the safe zone away from Ground Zero and the Pentagon.
The responders waited... and waited, but the rush of patients never came. Slowly, those responding at the scene pulled out and reported the grim reality everyone feared.
"They're all gone!"
"There is nothing left."
Over the course of the days and weeks that followed, deployment teams from across the country descended on New York City and Washington, DC to help in the recovery efforts.
For weeks the air was filled with an unknown amount of carcinogens ranging from printer ink and concrete dust to asbestos, biological matter and aerosol chemicals.
The importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) during these types of responses became evident in the years since the initial attacks.
Although some responders had masks, respirators, and Tyvek suits to protect them from the dust and debris in "The Pile" many did not...
As a result, 9/11 illness (including cancers, chronic diseases, dementia and mental illness) have been the leading causes of death for the responders who worked the site at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
NEVER FORGET Stone Carved Lithograph
Brenda Berkman is a retired FDNY Captain who responded to Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. Although Brenda has created pieces throughout her career, her passion in retirement has been to highlight and share the diversity of experiences of first responders of every background through her many projects.
Kate Bergen is a New Jersey Paramedic-Artist whose artwork features the untold story of women of EMS. In her new series Women of 9/11, Kate highlights those who responded to Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The National EMS Museum is fortunate enough to partner with Kate on this project and has collected recollections and stories from some of the women featured in her collection to give a permanent voice to the Women of 9/11.
New York Police Department
“There was this little 13-inch black and white TV sitting on a counter in the middle of the airport office...This was the first time I actually saw the Twin Towers come down, and I just started to cry. I’m a cop. I’m a New Yorker. Nothing fazes me. But this was something totally different.”
Feel Through My Eyes
by Kate Bergen
Art is up to interpretation, this was a strong emotional piece for me and I would like to share with you what I see… First, (the obvious) I see two people hugging in a real hug by how tightly they hold each other. I wonder, do they know each other or are they so overcome with emotion that this was a natural release? Second, I am drawn to this man’s eyes, I want to know his story, what has he been though, I want to say to him, tell me what hurt you, lay down your burden, and please share with me. I see anguish, I see desperation, but more than that I see an undertone of hope; hope that there can finally be change desperately needed despite a gruesome past. Third, despite all that he has been through, all of the prejudices he has endured based solely on the color of his skin, he puts that aside for the sake of unity, moving forward and understanding one another. The compassion in this man’s eyes is immeasurable. And this officer? I wonder what he has been through in his career. He has undoubtedly seen many evils out there but still continues to serve with compassion in his heart. Is his family worried he won’t come home tonight? Is he now targeted because of a uniform? Is the irony lost on him? I admire these men, I see the beginning of healing, a glimmer radiating from this man’s eyes found in the common ground of compassion for human life. My heart hurts for them both, I stand behind them both, behind good humans being good to one another.
I don’t have any magic words to heal, I don’t know the answers and I won’t pretend to. I do know that many uncomfortable conversations are necessary to move forward as a nation. It may not be much, but I chose painting as a way to share my voice, to share the love I feel towards others and encourage much needed healing.
There is so much hurt and anger, so much that needs to be said, and so much that needs to change. I can only hope that a step forward together, one embrace at a time is the new beginning that this country needs. Stay safe and God Bless.
Those we lost 9/11/2001
Paramedic Keith Fairben, NY Presbyterian Hospital EMS *
Paramedic Carlos Lillo, FDNY EMS *
Paramedic Yamel Merino, Montefiore Medical Center EMS *
EMT Richard Pearlman, Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps *
Paramedic Ricardo Quinn, FDNY EMS
Paramedic Mario Santoro, NY Presbyterian Hospital EMS
Mark Schwartz, Hunter Ambulance EMS (Mutual Aid Response System)
EMT Marc Sullins, Cabrini Medical Center EMS
Those we have lost since 2001
EMT Andre Lahens, FDNY
Lieutenant Brendan Pearson, FDNY EMS
Paramedic David Restuccio, Staten Island University Hospital
EMT Yadira Arroyo, FDNY
EMT-Firefighter Brian Belcher, FDNY
EMT Roisin Coohill, Midwood Ambulance
EMT-Firefighter James Coyle, FDNY
EMT-Firefighter Andre Fletcher, FDNY
EMT Thomas Jurgens
EMT-Firefighter Michael Kiefer, FDNY
Paramedic Charles Laurencin, US Air Force
Paramedic David Lemange, PAPD
EMT Joe Lovero, Jersey City FD
EMT Cynthia Mahoney
Paramedic Kathy Mazza, PAPD
EMT Ryan McCormick, UMDNJ EMS
EMT Jean Peterson, Madison Ambulance Squad
Paramedic, Kevin Pfeifer FDNY
EMT Richard Rodriguez, PAPD
EMT Jeff Simpson, Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad (VA)
Paramedic John Skala, PAPD, Clifton, NJ
EMT Frank Spinelli, Short Hill, NJ Volunteer Ambulance Corps
Paramedic Daniel Stewart, FDNY EMS
EMT Kenneth Swenson, Chatham Emergency Squad
EMT-Firefighter Sean Tallon, FDNY
EMT Clive Thompson. Summit, NJ Volunteer Ambulance Corps
EMT- Firefighter Hector Tirado, FDNY
EMT Mitchel Wallace, Bayside Volunteer Ambulance Corps
EMT Glenn Winuk Jericho Fire Department
EMT Zhe Zeng, Rochester, NY Brighton Volunteer Ambulance
Timothy Patrick Keller, FDNY EMS
Harold McNeil, FDNY EMS
Norman Valle, FDNY EMS
Edith Torres, FDNY EMS
Rose Scott, FDNY EMS
Mario Bastidas, FDNY EMS
Mark Harris, FDNY EMS
Dr. Michael G. Guttenberg, Director, Northwell Health Center for EMS
Joeddy E. Friszell, FDNY
William Ryan, Bay Community Volunteer Ambulance Corps
Martha Stewart, FDNY
Joseph A. Rodriguez, FDNY
Felipe A. Torre, FDNY
EMT Donnell Ben-Levy Ford, Brookdale Hospital EMT
Thank you to the Sponsors & Exhibition Partners
Dr. Richard A. Clinchy * Scot Phelps * Brenda Berkman * Kate Bergen * Freedom Flag Foundation * The Van Scott Family * Joe Pisano * George Contreras * Bonnie Giebfried * Paul Roman * NEMSM Volunteer Team: Deb, Stephanie, Mike & Fred *
Founded in 2006, The National EMS Museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy and story of the Emergency Medical Services and first responders through engaging exhibits and programs that highlight 300 years of innovation and care.
The Museum is fully funded by private support and through the support of their members. Visit emsmuseum.org to learn more or to join The National EMS Museum Crew.