‘A New Day of Infamy’

Day 1 (September 11th, 2001)

Not since Pearl Harbor have Americans experienced a direct act of war against our nation. This morning, in a series of horrific events, 2 American Airlines jets and 2 United Airlines jets were hijacked by terrorists believed to be commanded by Anti-American leader Osama Bin Laden and possibly aided by various Middle Eastern nations.

At about 8:46am the first strike came by American Airlines Flight # 11 as it pierced the first World Trade Center towers. The second strike was followed at about 9:09 as United Airlines #175 slammed into the South tower of the WTC. Both planes were bound for Los Angeles from Boston, filled to capacity with fuel. Both Trade Center towers, contained close to 50,000 people. Dozens of people jumped to there deaths from the buildings, unable to stand the blazing flames. One after the other they fell. The heat and force was so powerful it melted mail trucks and emergency vehicles at the base of the destruction.

Soon after, another kamikaze-like attack hit the Pentagon which smoldered on fire for hours. A fourth jet bound for San Francisco out of Newark was believed to be headed for Camp David, but never made it. A phone call was received from a man on the plane who had barricaded himself in the bathroom in order to warn authorities. A few moments later the plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

Within minutes after these events all airplanes were commanded to be grounded by the FAA and all international flights to be directed to Canada. The country is on Delta alert, the highest state of alert our country has. The borders are closed and the country sits in a stance for war. Mayor Giuliani from ground zero had this to say: "The city of New York and the United States of America is much stronger than any group of barbaric terrorists –that our Democracy, that our rule of law, that our strength, and our willingness to defend ourselves will ultimately prevail." Many government officials, including Governor Davis of California, declare these attacks as "an act of war."

President Bush at the time of the attacks was talking to children in Florida about education and spoke briefly about the attacks. Soon he would be flying to a secure location in Shreveport, Louisiana flanked by U.S. fighter jets. From here he made his 2nd statement condemning the attacks. Finally from the Oval Office, the President stood firm: "for those who are behind these evil acts… We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them… we stand together to win the war against terrorism."

International response has been severe condemnation of the attacks and strong support of the U.S. British Prime Minister Tony Blair. offered his "deepest condolences to the American people" saying ‘we have to come together to eradicate the evil completely from our world.’ The state of Israel declared a day of mourning for those who lost their lives.

Unusually these attacks come at the anniversary of the the Camp David Peace Accords of 1978. The official Arab response is the denial of any responsibility, however many are celebrating in the Middle East at this American tragedy, with dancing, shouts of joy and the distributing of celebratory candy to children.

The Boston Herald Reports that law enforcement officials in Massachusetts identified at least five Arab men as suspects; their passports were from the United Arab Emirates. At the Logan International Airport they found a car that contained Arabic-language flight training manuals. 1 of the suspects is known to be a trained pilot. The Herald paints a horrific scene of one air siege, where flight attendants were murdered with razor-edged tooth brushes in order to lure the captain out of the cabin.

Rescuers are working through the night, pulling survivors out of the rubble and transferring them to hospitals. As of 5:00a.m. on September 12 a firefighter, a woman, and two police officers have been saved. Many people who are still buried have been able to contact rescue teams with their cells phones and are awaiting help. News anchors, such as Dan Rather, call this the "21st Century Pearl Harbor" and Chuck Hagel, Senator of Nebraska said, "these attacks will be awakening the sleeping giant". The country waits as the president decides how we should respond.

Photo Credit: WirePix & AP