The September 11 attacks (often referred to as September 11th or 9/11) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.
The death toll of the attacks was 2,996, including the 19 hijackers. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 70 countries. In addition, there is at least one secondary death – one person was ruled by a medical examiner to have died from lung disease due to exposure to dust from the World Trade Center’s collapse. READ MORE
Along with the 110-floor Twin Towers of the World Trade Center itself, numerous other buildings at the World Trade Center site were destroyed or badly damaged, including 7 World Trade Center, 6 World Trade Center, 5 World Trade Center, 4 World Trade Center, the Marriott World Trade Center (3 WTC), and the World Financial Center complex and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. The fall of the Twin Towers represented the only examples of total progressive collapse of steel-framed structures in history.
George W. Bush’s address to the people of the United States, September 11, 2001, 8:30pm EDT
Final resting place for WTC victims
Following the attacks, the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island was temporarily reopened to receive and process much of the debris from the destruction of the World Trade Center. The debris contained the remains of many of the victims; much of it in the form of dust and small fragments. In August 2005 17 plaintiffs, claiming to have support from 1,000 other relatives, filed a case in court to have the City of New York move nearly one million tons of material from the Fresh Kills landfill to another location where it would be sifted and placed in a cemetery. Norman Siegel, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, stated “It comes down to this: Are we prepared to leave hundreds of body parts and human remains on top of a garbage dump?” James E. Tyrrell, a lawyer representing the city, argued “You have to be able to particularize and say it’s your body part. All that’s left here is a bunch of undifferentiated dust.”
On March 26, 2010, families of 9/11 victims received notice that the city will conduct a sifting operation for World Trade Center remains at the Fresh Kills landfill. The operation is scheduled to take three months at an estimated cost of $1.4 million. Anthropologists and other trained professionals will carefully evaluate and search the material, and potential remains will be sent for further testing to the laboratories of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.