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What is 9/11?

Remembering September 11, 2001.

If you notice a yellow highlight on the page, hover over it for the definition!

Americans remember September 11, 2001, as the day of a big terrorist attack. The day is also called 9/11. On that day, terrorists stole airplanes and flew them into important buildings. Early on the morning of 9/11, two planes crashed into the famous World Trade Center in New York. A third hit the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day.

Terrorist Background

Terrorists are people who use violence to get a message across – usually terrorist attacks are political. A group called al-Quaeda gave money to nineteen terrorists. It is thought they were getting revenge for US military action in the Middle East.

World Trade Center

At 8:45 a.m., the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. Eighteen minutes later, the second plane – a Boeing 767, United Airlines Flight 175 – crashed into the south tower near the 60th floor.  By 10:30 a.m., the north building of the twin towers collapsed.

In all, 2,763 people died at the World Trade Center. This includes 23 New York City police officers, 37 Port Authority police officers, and 343 firefighters and paramedics.


At 9:45 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of US Department of Defense headquarters, also called the Pentagon. There were 64 people aboard the airplane who died in the crash as well as 125 military personnel and civilians on the ground, causing a total of 189 deaths.


United Flight 93 had been delayed, and so the passengers heard on their cell phones that America was under attack. They were not surprised when the terrorists hijacked (took control of) their plane about 40 minutes after leaving the airport.

The passengers fought the four hijackers, and the plane crashed at 10:10 a.m. in a field near Shanksville in western Pennsylvania. All 44 people aboard were killed.

Not only Americans were killed on that day; people from 78 countries also died during the 9/11 attack. A total of 2,996 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

Kelli Ballard

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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