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Our WTC Law Firm Remembers September 11

On September 11, 2001, at 8:46 am, American Airlines Flight 11, overtaken by Al Qaeda terrorists, struck the New York City World Trade Center North Tower, instantly killing hundreds in the building. Hundreds more found themselves trapped by the rolling inferno caused by the explosion, forcing many to fall or jump out of windows as bystanders looked up in horror.

Almost immediately after Flight 11 hit the tower, first responders — firefighters, police, EMTs and more — were making their way to the WTC and up the stairwells of the buildings, never anticipating the scene that was about to play out in real time before them. Eighteen minutes after the first plane crashed, United Flight 175 flew into the WTC’s South Tower, killing and trapping even more people, and propelling many to also take desperate action to avoid the enveloping smoke and barreling flames.

Within the next half hour, a third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, would crash into the Pentagon near Washington, DC, while a fourth, United Flight 93, would crash into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All four planes were hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists, who had turned the US airliners into weapons of mass destruction.

At 9:59 am — just over an hour after the first plane hit the WTC — the 110-story South Tower of the WTC collapsed. Approximately 30 minutes later, the North Tower collapsed. Everyone left inside those buildings perished — including the firefighters, police officers, and other first responders who had bravely run into the burning buildings to help others out — and the surrounding area became enveloped in a dense cloud of thick toxic debris.

Nearly 3,000 innocent people are known to have lost their lives that late summer day and at least 6,000 more suffered immediate injuries. It was the deadliest and most devastating terrorist attack in American history.

To this day, not all those who perished have been identified. The City of New York‘s medical examiner has custody of thousands of unidentified remains of those killed in the attacks. Family members of those still looking for their loved ones lost on 9/11 can speak with World Trade Center anthropologists who can answer questions about the steps they are taking to identify the remains of these 9/11 victims. There are more than 1,000 people still unaccounted for.

The tragedy of 9/11 continues. People who lived, worked and volunteered in the contamination zone for the weeks and months following the attacks — including members of our own WTC law firm — were exposed to a highly toxic environment. Over the course of the last two decades, tens if not hundreds of thousands of people have lost their health, their lives, and their loved ones to the disabilities and diseases they acquired as a direct result of their proximity to the site. New cases of disease from the toxic air that permeated the contamination zone develop every day.

Freedom Tower: One World Trade Center

Originally called Freedom Tower, One World Trade Center stands on the corner of the 16-acre site of the original World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Not only is One World Trade Center a massively large office complex with an awe-inspiring observatory — a testament to a city’s and a nation’s will to rise out of the ashes — it is the home of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the primary U.S. center dedicated to remembering and understanding the events of September 11.

The museum offers an extensive collection of media, narratives, and artifacts to educate current and future generations about the events leading up to and following both the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 WTC bombing. The 9/11 Memorial keeps the memories of all those affected alive by connecting visitors with personal stories of loss, recovery and hope shared by those who experienced these tragic events firsthand.

Additional WTC Memorials and Tributes

September 11th memorials, both large and small, can be found scattered throughout the world. Here are just a few places where people go to reflect and remember:

  • The Brooklyn Remembers Memorial, named “The Beacon,” is a 25-foot bronze memorial fashioned in the shape of a speaking trumpet, a device once used to sound the alarm by New York City’s volunteer firefighters. It is located at Veteran’s Pier at 69th Street in Bay Ridge.
  • The Postcards 9/11 Memorial and the First Responders Memorial, located on Bank Street in Staten Island, pay tribute to the 275 Staten Islanders lost in the September 11 attacks. The Postcards memorial features two soaring 40-foot high, white fiberglass walls that are reminiscent of postcards. A granite plaque honors each soul lost with their name, birth date, and place of work. Ground Zero, the site of the original twin towers, can be seen in the distance if you look between the monument’s walls.
  • The Rising, an 80-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture located in the Kensico Dam Plaza of Valhalla, Westchester County, New York is made up of 109 rods containing the names of the 109 area residents originally thought to have perished in the attacks. Since it was built, additional area victims have been identified and added to the sculpture.
  • The Empty Sky Memorials in Jersey City, New Jersey, honors the memory of the victims with twin stainless steel-clad walls that point in the direction of the World Trade Center site, which is visible across the river. The walls represent the sides of the Twin Towers and transect a sloped, grassy mound where the names of New Jersey’s 749 victims of the attacks are inscribed.
  • Pennsylvania’s official 9/11 memorial, the Garden of Reflection, is located in lower Makefield, PA. It contains a spiraling walkway and fountain bordered by glass railings that are inscribed with the names of those lost in the attacks. There are 42 lights lining the walkway, which represent the Pennsylvania children whose parents were killed in the attacks.
  • The Boston Logan International Airport 9/11 Memorial honors the passengers and crews of the two hijacked airliners that departed from the airport on September 11. The memorial consists of a cube of texture glass, with two glazed panels etched with the names of the passengers and crew on the flights. Visitors stroll through two winding walkways that recreate the paths of the two flights. The space is designed to symbolize the break between the world before and after 9/11.