9/11: The Event Lost to Memory

The Herrin Fire Department raises the American flag in tribute and in remembrance of the lives lost to the 9/11 attacks.
The Herrin Fire Department raises the American flag in tribute and in remembrance of the lives lost to the 9/11 attacks.
Photography, Ryan Rash

On this day 22 years ago, at precisely 8:46 a.m., Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, just above the 91st floor. The world fell silent, everyone’s first question was, “Was this an accident? Or are we in danger?” No one truly knew. As first responders rushed to the scene, a second plane was soon to arrive. At 9:03 a.m., Flight 175 crashed into the WTC’s South Tower. At that point, the possibility of an accident was out of the question. We were under attack, and at war. Two minutes later, at 9:05, President Bush was informed about the second hit.

With the towers still in flames, hundreds of first responders, police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, all rushed into the towers, saving as many lives as they possibly could. Just a little over 30 minutes after the second tower attack, at 9:37, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. One hundred and twenty-five military personnel and civilians were killed. 


As civilians continued to stand and watch in horror as the event unfolded, at 9:59, the South Tower gave way and collapsed. Huge billows of smoke, dust, and debris cover New York for miles. Just minutes later, Flight 93 was retaken by civilians and crashed into a Pennsylvanian field, its actual target unclear. 


First responders still continued to rush in and save as many people as possible. But with the flames so high, and the smoke so thick, the higher levels became unreachable. Many civilians were seen jumping from the windows as a way to escape the inferno. 


At 10:28, the North Tower finally collapsed. 


Through all the rubble, civilians and first responders began their search for survivors. All hope seemed lost, and 2,996 people died in the 9/11 attacks. 343 of those casualties were firefighters, many and most of whom were in and around the towers when they fell.


First responders searched the debris for weeks, but only 18 people were found alive in the rubble. 


The young adults and teenagers who lived through the events of 9/11 still stand with us today. Every year, tributes and remembrances are made for those lost. But as time went on, the younger generations were not old enough, or alive yet to recall each event. It’s up to those who lived through it to pass down the memory. The attacks that took place on 9/11 impacts our socety still today. It shook the American confidence that we once had, we were vulnerable, caught off guard. 


It’s important that the younger generations, the ones who didn’t live through 9/11, learn and understand everything that has happened, the impact, the result. If we can understand the past, then we can pave the way for our future.

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  • B

    Brenda MansfieldSep 13, 2023 at 7:56 pm

    Great article Aubrey. So proud of you.

  • C

    Cassandra JeraldsSep 11, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    Fabulous job!! I got goose bumps reading it. You might not been born yet, but that was a great tribute!

    • A

      Aubrey RashSep 12, 2023 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you!!