Remembering 9/11: America’s Worst Tragedy

The Twin Towers of The World Trade Center burn in New York City on September 11, 2001.

The Twin Towers of The World Trade Center burn in New York City on September 11, 2001.

Ella McHenry, Staff Writer

September 11, 2001 was one of the most tragic attacks in our nation’s history. A terrorist group named Al-Qaeda flew planes into the twin towers of The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and one into a field at Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 lives were lost and several thousand more injured.

We, as a nation, still remember those who were lost on September 11, 2001, and this event has been implanted in United States history forever. This year, on the anniversary of the attacks, several teachers at Oak Lawn High School spent their days teaching about September 11, and sharing their own personal experiences of what they were doing on that day.
One of those teachers was our very own Mr. Patrick DiFilippo.
“I was in my second year teaching at the time,” Mr. DiFilippo said. He recalled that he was teaching when a plane hit the first tower. “Mr.McGee came and told me about it. I thought it was a horrible tragedy, that there had maybe been fog.”
However, when a plane hit the second tower, Mr. DiFilippo knew that something was wrong.

“Mr.McGee came and told me again, and that’s when I realized it wasn’t an accident,” he said.

The North tower was hit at 8:46 AM by the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11. Twenty minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South tower at 9:03 AM. American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the western face of the Pentagon at 9:37 AM. A fourth and final flight, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 AM.
Both of the towers eventually collapsed, killing nearly everyone trapped inside. Emergency personnel risked their lives to help others, running through the toxic dust to search for survivors.

The entire country was affected that day, with many remembering the event like it was yesterday. Several Americans lost loved ones in the attack, and more than 200 children lost a parent. Even nowadays, former police officers and firefighters are suffering from 9/11 related illnesses.

When asked how it impacted his life, Mr.DiFilippo stated, “I think it got rid of an idea that we’re always safe. I guess I was pretty naive up until this day, that a tragedy like that can happen, whether it be terrorism or these horrible school shootings. Now, I pay attention to my surroundings and am more aware.”

Observing September 11th is crucial to preserving our nation’s history. Now, every year, the entire country stands as Americans, united as one, as we remember those who lost their lives and those who risked their own to save others.