Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's 12:06 PM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?


12:06 PM

US airspace is clear of aircraft except for military and emergency flights. Only a few transoceanic flights are still landing in Canada.

September 11, 2001.
Where were you?

2,996 souls were lost on that day, including 343 of New York's Bravest and New York's Finest who gave their lives trying to save others.

Oh, where was I during all of this? In a meeting. No one bothered to interrupt the meeting to mention what was happening. After the meeting, I walked out to my car, somehow managing not to talk to a single person. I got in the car and drove home for lunch, without turning on the radio. I got home, made myself a sandwich, sat down at about 12:05 PM, turned on the TV and discovered that the world had changed while I wasn't looking. Rudy Giuliani has said it best, many times (paraphrasing). "We learned on September 11, 2001 that we were at war. The other side had known they were at war for quite some time, but we didn't know it."

There's a very poignant picture on the NY Times website from 9/11/2006, with the caption "The Hole in the City's Heart"

Where were you?


And this is how the 9/11 Memorial looks today, September 11, 2012.


On September 12, we all promised ourselves that we'd never forget the events of that day. Have you kept that promise?

The times and events listed here are a very small excerpt of what's available at the Cooperative Research History Commons. The whole thing is well worth a read, if you have the time (it's extremely long). I’ve left out quite a bit, including many of the actions at the White House, Pentagon, NORAD, etc. There were many heroic decisions and actions made that day. And some less than heroic ones. Right guesses and wrong guesses; it’s all there at the link above. There’s quite a bit about Delta Flight 1989, which I didn’t cover, although I’m still unsure if that was a good idea. Delta Flight 1989? There was nothing wrong with it, but circumstances led the people on the ground to believe that it was the fifth hijacked plane. The timeline also seems to have been taken over by some 9/11 “truthers” in the last few years, so there’s more stuff to wade through than there used to be.

Too many of us seem to have forgotten what happened that day, and what it felt like to live through it and the following days. I forget myself sometimes, but the yearly exercise of doing this brings it all rushing back. Producing this is an emotionally draining exercise to say the least.

As I indicated earlier, Russia was conducting a military exercise in the North Atlantic and shut it down. Putin called Bush and told him that he knew that the U.S. was raising their military alert status and in response, Russia’s military would stand down, in order to make sure nothing bad happened in a moment of high tension. Putin also told Bush that the world must unite against terrorism and that Russia would stand by the United States.

"Freedom and Fear are at War." - U.S. President George W. Bush
"This is a battle with only one outcome: our victory, not theirs." - UK Prime Minister Tony Blair

Where were you?


It's 11:00 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

11:00 AM

Most skyscrapers and tourist attractions in the U.S. are evacuated and closed. The list includes Walt Disney World, Seattle’s Space Needle, Independence Hall, and many others.

There are still nearly 1,000 airborne flights in U.S. airspace, and every one of them is a potential weapon.

It's 10:39 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

10:39 AM

The FAA shuts down all U.S. airports.

It's 10:32 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

10:32 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the White House to inform them that the Russian military is standing down a military exercise currently in progress. This is done both as a gesture of solidarity with the United States, and to reduce the risk of something happening due the high tension currently being experienced.

At about this time, the blast doors at NORAD’s operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado are closed. Cheyenne Mountain is designed to be able resist a nuclear attack when buttoned down.

Finally, remember the Matthew Broderick movie “War Games”? At about this time, Defense Secretary Donald Rumseld orders the U.S. Armed Forces to go to DEFCON 3. This is one step below preparation for war.

It's 10:28 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

10:28 AM

The World Trade Center’s North Tower collapses. It was hit by Flight 11 at 8:46, 102 minutes earlier.





TOM BROKAW: There has been a declaration of war by terrorists on the United States.

It's 10:06 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

10:06 AM

United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into an empty field just north of the Somerset County Airport, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, 124 miles or 15 minutes from Washington, D.C.

343_93crash2050081722-9364[1]

All four hijacked planes are now down. Thousands of planes are still airborne in U.S. airspace and several of them are suspected of being under the control of hijackers. All of these suspicions later turn out to be false.
Note that the exact timing of this crash is still unclear, and it could have been as early as 10:03. NORAD says 10:03. A seismic study says 10:06.

After the crash, people in Washington still believe the plane is headed towards them. Vice President Dick Cheney (R-USA) gives the order to shoot it down.

And this is why I’m glad I’m not President or Vice President. I am not saying that was the right decision or the wrong one. I am saying that I wouldn’t want to be the one to have to make it.

It's 9:59 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:59 AM

The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses. It was hit by United Airlines Flight 175 at 9:03 A.M., 57 minutes earlier.
TERRORIST ATTACKS

Sometime in the next hour, astronauts aboard the international space station take this picture:
NASA%20picture_2050081722-25215[1]

Video:

It's 9:58 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:58 AM

Sandy Bradshaw, aboard United Airlines Flight 93 ends her call with her husband, “Everyone’s running to first class. I’ve got to go. Bye.”

Also:
Elizabeth Wainio, another passenger on Flight 93 finishes her phone conversation with her stepmother, “They’re getting ready to break into the cockpit. I have to go. I love you. Good-bye.”

AND:
Todd Beamer, also aboard Flight 93 is still on the phone with GTE Customer Service rep Lisa Jefferson. He asks her to recite the Lord’s Prayer with him, and then he recites the 23rd Psalm. He tells her that some of the passengers are going to try to take control of the plane, “We’re going to do something. I know I’m not going to get out of this.”

The group he’s been talking to is apparently not the same as the group containing Tom Burnett, but both groups seem to make their move about now. Todd leaves the phone connected, and Jefferson hears screaming and commotion and Todd’s last recorded words, “Let's Roll.

This is followed by more screaming. Jefferson stays on the line until it goes dead, approximately 8 minutes from now.

Over the next few minutes, the cockpit voice recorder records the following:

PASSENGER: In the cockpit! In the cockpit!

HIJACKER: Allah o Akbar

ANOTHER HIJACKER: Should we finish?

ANOTHER HIJACKER: Not yet!

PASSENGER: Give it to me!

ANOTHER PASSENGER: I’m injured.

MORE PASSENGERS: Roll it up! Lift it up!

Some believe that this means that the passengers did regain control, but too late to save the plane.

It's 9:54 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:54 AM

Tom Burnett has called his wife Deena from United Airlines Flight 93 for the fourth and final time. He tells her that he and some of the other passengers are going to try to regain control of the aircraft: “We’re waiting until we’re over a rural area. We’re going to take back the airplane. If they’re going to crash this plane into the ground, we’re going to have to do something.… We can’t wait for the authorities. I don’t know what they could do anyway. It’s up to us. I think we can do it. Don’t worry. I’ll be home for dinner. I may be late, but I’ll be home. We’re going to do something,” and hangs up.

These are the last words that Deena will ever hear from her husband.

Also:
Elizabeth Wainio, also aboard Flight 93, calls her stepmother Esther Heymann in Cantonsville, MD. She greets her stepmother with, “We’re being hijacked. I’m calling to say goodbye.”

It's 9:50 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:50 AM

Sandy Bradshaw, aboard United Airlines Flight 93 calls her husband.
She says, “Have you heard what’s going on? My flight has been hijacked. My flight has been hijacked with three guys with knives.” [Boston Globe, 11/23/2001] She tells him that some passengers are in the rear galley filling pitchers with hot water to use against the hijackers.

It's 9:48 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:48 AM



The Capitol in Washington, D.C. is evacuated for the first time in United States history.

It's 9:45 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:45 AM

Ben Sliney, FAA’s National Operations Manager, orders the entire nationwide air traffic system shut down. All flights at US airports are stopped. Around 3,950 flights are still in the air. Sliney makes the decision without consulting FAA head Jane Garvey, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, or other bosses, but they quickly approve his actions. It’s Sliney’s first day on the job.

Also:
United Airlines orders all its flights to land at the nearest airport.

Also:
Tom Burnett makes a third call to his wife Deena.

DEENA: Tom, you’re okay?

TOM: No, I’m not.

DEENA: They just hit the Pentagon. They think five airplanes have been hijacked. One is still on the ground. They believe all of them are commercial planes. I haven’t heard them say which airline, but all of them have originated on the east coast.

TOM: What is the probability of them having a bomb on board? I don’t think they have one. I think they’re just telling us that for crowd control.

DEENA (a former flight attendant): A plane can survive a bomb if it’s in the right place.

TOM: [The hijackers are] talking about crashing this plane into the ground. We have to do something. I’m putting a plan together. There’s a group of us.

He tells her he will call back and hangs up. Deena is amazed at how calm he sounds.

And:
Meanwhile, Todd Beamer has still been unable to contact his family, but is still on the phone with GTE. He tells Lisa Jefferson the details of what’s going on, and she fills him on the details of what has happened outside his plane. Beamer tells Jefferson that the hijackers don’t seem to know how to fly. He tells her about his family and adds, “I just want to talk to somebody and just let someone know that this is happening.”

About this time, my sister-in-law lands in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and is stranded there, (yes, I know...not a terribly bad place to be stranded, all things considered) after all outbound flights are canceled.

It's 9:43 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:43 AM

Tom Beamer, aboard United Airlines Flight 93, manages to reach a GTE operator using one of the Airfones on board. Phone services across the U.S. are having overload issues, and GTE is no exception. He speaks to customer service supervisor Lisa Jefferson (left). Miraculously, this call stays connected all the way to the end.

By now, Cleveland Center is tracking Flight 93 as it heads towards its target in Washington, D.C. They know they have a hijacking, and they know what has happened so far, but are unable to do anything other than move other nearby flights out of the way.

It's 9:39 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:39 AM

Aboard United Airlines Flight 93, passenger Lauren Grandcolas calls her husband in San Rafael, CA and leaves the following message on their answering machine.

GRANDCOLAS: Honey, are you there? Jack, pick up sweetie. Okay, well I just wanted to tell you I love you. We’re having a little problem on the plane. I’m comfortable and I’m okay… for now. Just a little problem. So I just love you. Please tell my family I love them too. Bye, honey.

It's 9:37 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:37 AM

American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. Approximately 125 people on the ground are later determined killed or missing. Many key officials including Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, escape injury due to the plane hitting the wrong side of the massive building. The plane hit the wrong side of the building because of missing the Pentagon on its first pass. The joint chiefs and secretary of defense offices are above the River Entrance. The National Military Command Center is also on that side of the building. Hitting it would have essentially shut down the Defense Department.







It's 9:34 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:34 AM

American Airlines Flight 77 appears to turn away from Washington D.C., causing air traffic control to breathe a sigh of relief. The reason? The plane too high to hit its target, the Pentagon. So the pilot makes a large circle while descending rapidly to make another pass.

Also:
Tom Burnett, aboard United Airlines Flight 93, makes a second call to his wife Deena. She’s on the phone with the FBI, but switches over to Tom when he calls.

TOM: [The hijackers are] in the cockpit. The guy they knifed is dead…I tried to help him, but I couldn’t get a pulse.

DEENA: Tom, they are hijacking planes all up and down the east coast. They are taking them and hitting designated targets. They’ve already hit both towers of the World Trade Center.

TOM: [They are] talking about crashing this plane. Oh my gosh! It’s a suicide mission.

Tom then repeats what he’s been told to the person next to him.

Then…

TOM: [Have commercial airplanes been hijacked? How many? Who is doing this?] We’re turning back toward New York. We’re going back to the World Trade Center. No, wait, we’re turning back the other way. We’re going south. We’re over a rural area. It’s just fields. I’ve gotta go.

<click>

It's 9:32 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:32 AM

The New York Stock Exchange closes. It will not reopen until September 17th.

Also:
Dulles air traffic control notices a plane moving very fast (500 mph+) heading eastbound on their radar. This is American Airlines Flight 77. The plane is headed towards the prohibited airspace surrounding the White House. Over the next several minutes, this plane’s path will be tracked and various nearby facilities will be notified and will engage disaster plans. Some people are evacuated from the Pentagon.

It's 9:30 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:30 AM

Someone in the cockpit aboard United Airlines Flight 93 requests a new flight plan, with final destination Washington, D.C. It is unclear who makes this request.

It's 9:29 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:29 AM


President George W. Bush (R-USA) makes his first official statement about the unfolding events. He’s still at the school.

BUSH: Today we’ve had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.

It's 9:28 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:28 AM

United Airlines Flight 93 officially becomes the 4th hijacked plane. Cleveland flight control hears sounds of struggle and possible screaming in the cockpit, followed by people speaking in Arabic.

It's 9:27 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:27 AM.

Tom Burnett, a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93, call his wife Deena at their home in San Francisco. Despite the early hour on the west coast, Deena has already seen the television coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

She asks him if he’s ok…

TOM: No, I’m not. I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. They just knifed a guy.

DEENA: Are you in the air?

TOM: Yes, yes, just listen. Our airplane has been hijacked. It’s United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco. We are in the air. The hijackers have already knifed a guy. One of them has a gun. They’re telling us there’s a bomb on board. Please call the authorities.

Then Tom tells his wife he’ll call back and hangs up. Deena does not have time to tell him about the what’s happened already, but she does write down everything he says.

This is the first of over 30 phone calls made by passengers of Flight 93.

It's 9:21 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:21 AM

The New York City Port Authority closes all bridges and tunnels in New York City.

It's 9:20 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:20 AM

The FAA’s Indianapolis Center finally learns that there are other hijacked aircraft, and now doubts that Flight 77 crashed. They discuss this possibility with the FAA Command Center in Herndon, Virginia.

Also, at about this time, United Airlines Flight 23, bound to Los Angeles from JFK International in New York, cancels takeoff. It was scheduled to take off at 8:30, but left the gate late and has been sitting in line. Several Arab passengers become aggressive at this news and refuse to debark the plane. Security is called but before it arrives, the men will have vanished, leaving behind box-cutters, copies of the Koran, and al-Qaeda instruction sheets.

It is reasonable to conclude that Flight 23 was supposed to be the fifth plane to be hijacked. However, the target is unknown.

It's 9:15 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:15 AM

American Airlines grounds all its flights, ordering all airborne planes to land at the nearest available airport. By now, they have discussed the situation with United Airlines and doubt that the second plane to hit the World Trade Center was their missing Flight 77.

It's 9:10 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:10 AM

Flight 77 enters Washington D.C. airspace, yet flight control does not realize that this mystery plane is the hijacked American Airlines flight.

It’s also at about this time that an employee at an FAA flight service station reports that Flight 77 may have crashed near Ashland, Kentucky. No plane crashed anywhere near here, and this appears to be the result of confused radio chatter. Nevertheless, the end result is that the search for Flight 77 is disrupted.

Also:
Melodie Homer has been watching the events unfurl on TV. She is worried about her husband Leroy Homer, the co-pilot of United Airlines Flight 93. She calls the United Airlines Operation Center at JFK and asks that they send a message to him to find out if he’s ok.

They do. There is no response. A few minutes later they will send a second text message. Again, there will be no response.

It's 9:06 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

President George W. Bush (R-USA), while reading “My Pet Goat” with a second grade class in Booker Elementary, is told by his Chief of Staff, Andrew Card: “A second plane hit the other tower, and America’s under attack.”

He stays in the class room for the next seven minutes. Later the media will make a big deal of this, but their opinions are discounted by the people in the classroom.

It's 9:03 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:03 AM

United Airlines Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center (Tower Two). Seismic records pinpoint the time at six seconds before 9:03 a.m. (rounded to 9:03 a.m.). Millions watch it live on TV, and realize belatedly that the United States of America is under attack.










Watch this, if you can. If the embed doesn’t work, see it at YouTube.

It's 9:00 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

9:00 AM

Peter Hanson makes a second phone call to his father from United Airlines Flight 175.

HANSON: It’s getting bad, Dad—A stewardess was stabbed—They seem to have knives and Mace—They said they have a bomb—It’s getting very bad on the plane—Passengers are throwing up and getting sick—The plane is making jerky movements—I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane—I think we are going down—I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building—don’t worry, Dad—If it happens, it’ll be very fast—My God, my God.

It's 8:58 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:58 AM

United Airlines Flight 175 makes a power dive, descending at a rate near 10,000 feet per minute over the next few minutes, having yet another near mid-air collision with flight Midwest Airlines Flight 7.

Also:
Brian Sweeney, aboard Flight 175, calls his wife. He doesn’t reach her but leaves a message saying “We’ve been hijacked, and it doesn’t look too good.”
He then calls his mother, telling her the same, and that the hijackers are Middle Eastern. He also says that he loves her, and that the passengers are going to try “to do something about this.” Apparently the passengers are planning to storm the cockpit.

However, they run out of time before they can.

After the phone call, his mom turns on the television…

It's 8:56 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:56 AM

American Airlines Flight 77 disappears from Indianapolis Center Radar.

It's 8:55 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:55 AM

Flight 175 nearly has another mid-air collision, this time with Delta Flight 2315. The radar blips overlap. Moments later, Flight 175 again nearly hits another plane, US Airways Flight 542. Within the next two minutes, it will make its final turn towards New York City.

Also:
President George W. Bush (R-USA) arrives at Booker Elementary School. He is told by Karl Rove that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. Bush says that it is a horrible accident and speculates that the pilot may have had a heart attack.

It's 8:52 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:52 AM
Two passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 175 attempt to call relatives. One is successful. Garnet Bailey, scout for the Los Angeles Kings makes four attempts to call his wife. None get through.






Meanwhile, businessman Peter Hanson does manage to get hold of his father.
HANSON: Oh, my God! They just stabbed the airline hostess. I think the airline is being hijacked.

It's 8:51 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:51 AM

The last radio contact with American Airlines Flight 77 out of Dulles occurs. Sometime in the next three minutes it will become the third hijacked plane.

Flight 175 is now reported as being hijacked, and in the next few minutes Mike McCormick, head of the FAA’s New York Center will connect the dots. He sees the coverage on CNN, and knows that Flight 175 is heading in the same direction.
Probably one of the most difficult moments of my life was the 11 minutes from the point I watched that aircraft, when we first lost communications until the point that aircraft hit the World Trade Center. For those 11 minutes, I knew, we knew, what was going to happen, and that was difficult.

It's 8:50 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:50 AM

Flight 175, believed to have been hijacked sometime in the last 8 minutes, now deviates from its assigned flight plan. It turns and heads southeast towards New York City, and climbs to 33,500 feet.

It's 8:46 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:46 AM

American Airlines Flight 11 Hits the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

In two minutes, CNN will break off a commercial with live news. Carol Lin says, “This just in. You are looking at ... obviously a very disturbing live shot there—that is the World Trade Center, and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.” CNN then switches to Sean Murtagh, the network’s vice president of finance, who says in a live telephone interview, “I just witnessed a plane that appeared to be cruising at a slightly lower than normal altitude over New York City. And it appears to have crashed into—I don’t know which tower it is—but it hit directly in the middle of one of the World Trade Center towers. It was a jet, maybe a two-engine jet, maybe a 737 ... a large passenger commercial jet ... It was teetering back and forth, wing-tip to wing-tip, and it looks like it has crashed into—probably, twenty stories from the top of the World Trade Center—maybe the eightieth to eighty-fifth floor. There is smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center.”

It's 8:44 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:44 AM

Flight attendant Amy Sweeney of Flight 11 has been on the phone with her friend and American Airlines flight services manager Michael Woodward, describing what’s been going on. She was the second of the attendants on the flight to make a call, and has been on the phone since 8:25 AM. Her phone call ends with the following exchange.

SWEENEY: Something is wrong. We are in a rapid descent… we are all over the place.

WOODWARD: Look out the window. Can you see where you are? [paraphrase]

SWEENEY: I see the water. I see the buildings. I see buildings.

SWEENEY: Oh my God!

SWEENEY: We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low.

SWEENEY: Oh my God, we are way too low.

<static>
These are Sweeney’s last words.

Also:

Betty Ong is still on the phone with Nydia Gonzalez. Her call also ends at this time.

ONG: Pray for us. Pray for us.
<line goes dead>

GONZALES: I think we might have lost her.

Still nothing in the media. Four more minutes.

It's 8:42 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:42 AM

The flight crew of United Airlines Flight 175 makes their last transmission to air traffic control. At some point in the next four minutes, the hijackers get their second plane. We know little about the takeover of the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11, but the hijacking of Flight 175 was bloody and violent. Both pilots are killed.

At around this time, Flight 11 and Flight 175 nearly have a mid-air collision, 55 miles north of New York City.

Also at this time, United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark International, bound for San Francisco. The flight is 41 minutes late getting off the ground.

So far, nothing has been reported in the media. In six minutes, that will change.

It's 8:38 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:38 AM

The pilot of Flight 11 stops activating the talkback button. He has been doing this since approximately 8:24, turning it off and on, allowing flight control to hear some of what’s been going on in the cockpit.
It’s reasonable to conclude that he’s now been replaced in the pilot’s seat by a hijacker.

It's 8:26 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:26 AM

Flight 11 makes a series of turns over the next few minutes, eventually ending up heading south-southeast, towards Manhattan.

It's 8:25 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:25 AM

Twelve minutes after losing contact with Flight 11, Boston flight control begins notifying the chain of command that a suspected hijacking is in progress. This includes the FAA’s New England Regional Operations Center, and the FAA Command Center in Herndon, Virginia.

It's 8:24 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:24 AM

The pilot of Flight 11, apparently trying to signal flight control, has been intermittently turning on the talkback button in the cockpit. Boston Center hears a hijacker for the first time, talking to the passengers:
“We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you’ll be OK. We are returning to the airport.”
The transmission is unclear and there’s confusion about what flight this transmission originated from, and from whom. Boston Center gets to work trying to find out more.

It's 8:20 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:20 AM

Several things happen at or around this time. Flight 11 veers off course, now heading towards Albany, New York. It also stops transmitting its IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) beacon signal. Flight control decides at this time that the plane has likely been hijacked.

In addition, American Airlines Flight 77 takes off at this time from Washington Dulles International Airport. Like American Flight 11 and United Flight 175, it is bound for Los Angeles, and like the other two, will never arrive.

At around this time, Daniel Lewin (above), a passenger aboard Flight 11, and former Israeli Special-Ops member is killed, becoming the first 9/11 fatality.

It's 8:19 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:19 AM

Flight attendant Betty Ong, onboard Flight 11, calls Vanessa Minter of American Airlines and informs her that the plane has been hijacked. She speaks to Minter, associate Winston Sadler, & supervisor Nydia Gonzalez.

ONG: The cockpit’s not answering. Somebody’s stabbed in business class and… I think there’s mace… that we can’t breathe. I don’t know, I think we’re getting hijacked.

Later:

ONG: I think the guys are up there [in the cockpit]. They might have gone there—jammed the way up there, or something. Nobody can call the cockpit. We can’t even get inside.

This is the first of independent calls made by flight attendants reporting the hijacking, but officials doubt their validity.

It's 8:14 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:14 AM

United Airlines Flight 175, bound for Los Angeles, takes off from Boston’s Logan Airport. Scheduled for 7:58, the flight takes off 16 minutes late.

It's 8:13 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:13 AM

Pilot John Ogonowski of American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston acknowledges the instruction from Boston Center air traffic controller Pete Zalewski to turn 20 degrees to the right. Seconds later he fails to respond to a command to climb to 35,000 feet. This is the last communication from the crew of Flight 11. Within the next 10 minutes or so, the plane’s transponder is turned off, and flight control suspects a possible hijacking in progress.

It's 8:01 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

8:01 AM

United Airlines Flight 93 is supposed to be taking off now, however it has been delayed after leaving the gate. This delay will prove pivotal later on.

It's 7:59 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

7:59 AM

American Airlines Flight 11 takes off from Boston’s Logan Airport, bound for Los Angeles. It’s 14 minutes later than the scheduled 7:45 departure time.

437_map_allflights2050081722-9024-1[1]

It's 7:40 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

7:40 AM
By now most of us on the east coast are awake, and probably headed to work. Early birds like me are probably already at work. I have an 8:00 am meeting on the other side of town, though, and I’m stuck in traffic. I’m going to be a few minutes late.

American Airlines Flight 11 leaves the gate at Boston Logan Airport. A few minutes later, Mohamed Atta calls Marwan Alshehhi aboard Flight 175 using an AirFone.

(curious as to how this was done—had to require assistance from flight crews)

It's 7:15 AM September 11, 2001-Where Are You?

7:15 AM

Between now and 7:36 the hijackers for American Airlines Flight 77 will all check in and make it through security.

It's 7:03 AM September 11, 2001-Where Are You?

7:03 AM

Between now and 7:48, the four hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 will check in and board their plane.

It's 6:45 AM September 11, 2001 - Where Are You?

6:45 AM
Mohammed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari’s flight from Portland arrives on time to Boston Logan Airport.

ALSO:
American Airlines Flight 11 hijackers Wlaeed Alshehri, Wail Alshehri, and Satam Al Suqami arrive at Logan in their rental car.

AND:
United Airlines Flight 93 hijacker Ziad Jarrah calls his girlfriend, Aysel Senguen, in Germany:
Senguen will later recount, “[H]e was very brief. He said he loved me three times. I asked what was up. He hung up shortly afterwards.… It was so short and rather strange him saying that repeatedly.”

It's 6:20 AM September 11, 2001-Where Are You?

6:20 AM
Two of the United Airlines Flight 175 hijackers check in. These are likely Ahmed and Hamza Alghamdi.
The two appear unaccustomed to traveling. One tells the representative, Gail Jawahir, that he needs a ticket, though upon examining his documents she finds he already has one. Both men have problems answering standard security questions, which Jawahir has to repeat very slowly until they give the routine, reassuring answers.

It's 6:00 AM September 11, 2001-Where Are You?

6:00 AM
A van arrives at the Colony Beach Resort, in FL, where President George W. Bush (R-USA) has spent the night. The occupants, men of Middle Eastern descent, claim that they have a poolside interview with the President. They do not have such an appointment and are turned away. Many speculate that this was an assassination attempt in conjunction with the later events of the day.

It's 5:43 AM September 11, 2001-Where Are You?

5:43 AM
Mohammed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari check in at Portland International for their flight to Boston.
Ticket agent Michael Tuohey (left) is disturbed by their appearance.
Noting that their flight is soon due to leave, the ticket agent who checks them in, Michael Tuohey, says, “You’re cutting it close.” [PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, 3/6/2005] Tuohey thinks the pair seems unusual. He notices they both have $2,500 first-class, one-way tickets. He later comments, “You don’t see many of those.” Atta looks “like a walking corpse. He looked so angry.” In contrast, Tuohey says, Alomari can barely speak English and has “a goofy smile, I can’t believe he knew he was going to die that day.”

It's 5:33 AM September 11, 2001-Where Are You?

I still remember it like it was yesterday.

5:33 AM.

Most of us are still asleep, but not Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari. Having spent the night in Portland, ME, they need to get up early to get back to Boston on time. They check out of their hotel and drive to Portland International Jetport Airport.

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Well, I really have missed doing my September 11 timeline. My daughters have asked about that, and I want them to understand it a little bet...

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