September 11 attacks
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The September 11 attacks, most commonly referred to as 9/11 (pronounced "nine eleven"), were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States that occurred September 11, 2001.
- And at that point, we were taken for another round of questioning, this time related to our allegedly being members of Mossad. Nothing of the kind, the fact of the matter is, we are coming from a country that experiences terror daily. Our purpose was to document the event.
- Oded Ellner, November 2001, on Israeli talk show with Yair Lapid, confirmed 21 June 2002 by ABC News, archived 2 August 2002 by Wayback
- [Ziad] Jarrah's objective was to crash his airliner into symbols of the American Republic, the Capitol or the White House. He was defeated by the alerted, unarmed passengers of United 93.
- Like all "acts of terrorism" (easily and unsubjectively defined as organised violence against civilians), September 11 was an attack on morality: we felt a general deficit. Who, on September 10, was expecting by Christmastime to be reading unscandalised editorials in the Herald Tribune about the pros and cons of using torture on captured "enemy combatants"? Who expected Britain to renounce the doctrine of nuclear no-first-use? Terrorism undermines morality. Then, too, it undermines reason. … No, you wouldn't expect such a massive world-historical jolt, which will reverberate for centuries, to be effortlessly absorbed. But the suspicion remains that America is not behaving rationally — that America is behaving like someone still in shock.
- What happened on September 11? On September 11 — what happened? Picture this: two upended matchboxes, knocked over by the sheer force of paper-darts.
Only it was much, much worse than that. In fact, words alone cannot adduce how much worse it was than that. September 11 was an attack on words: we felt a general deficit. And with words destroyed, we had to make do, we had to bolster truth with colons and repetition: not only repetition: but repetition and: colons. This is what we adduce.
- It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment. Until then, America thought she was witnessing nothing more serious than the worst aviation disaster in history; now she had a sense of the fantastic vehemence ranged against her. … For those thousands in the south tower, the second plane meant the end of everything. For us, its glint was the worldflash of a coming future.
Terrorism is political communication by other means. The message of September 11 ran as follows: America, it is time you learned how implacably you are hated. United Airlines Flight 175 was an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile aimed at her innocence. That innocence, it was here being claimed, was a luxurious and anachronistic delusion.
- Our best destiny, as planetary cohabitants, is the development of what has been called "species consciousness" — something over and above nationalisms, blocs, religions, ethnicities. During this week of incredulous misery, I have been trying to apply such a consciousness, and such a sensibility. Thinking of the victims, the perpetrators, and the near future, I felt species grief, then species shame, then species fear.
- September 11 was a day of de-Enlightenment. Politics stood revealed as a veritable Walpurgis Night of the irrational. And such old, old stuff. The conflicts we now face or fear involve opposed geographical arenas, but also opposed centuries or even millennia. It is a landscape of ferocious anachronisms: nuclear jihad in the Indian subcontinent; the medieval agonism of Islam; the Bronze Age blunderings of the Middle East. … The champions of militant Islam are, of course, misogynists, woman-haters; they are also misologists — haters of reason. Their armed doctrine is little more than a chaotic penal code underscored by impotent dreams of genocide. And, like all religions, it is a massive agglutination of stock response, of cliches, of inherited and unexamined formulations.
- We have entered the third millennium through a gate of fire. If today, after the horror of 11 September, we see better, and we see further — we will realize that humanity is indivisible. New threats make no distinction between races, nations or regions. A new insecurity has entered every mind, regardless of wealth or status. A deeper awareness of the bonds that bind us all — in pain as in prosperity — has gripped young and old.
- [Terrorists] didn’t get that idea from my opera, don’t worry. They got the idea from Star Wars. Remember the first one? Two guys fly a plane in the middle of something and blow that up? The only difference is, in ‘Star Wars,’ they get away.
- Margaret Atwood, "Margaret Atwood Says Terrorists ‘Got the Idea’ for 9/11 Attacks From ‘Star Wars’", Zack Sharf, Indiewire, (Apr 10, 2018).
- Knowing that he was close to death at the age of 34, he asked that an autopsy be performed after his death to determine whether his pulmonary fibrosis was a result of his time at the World Trade Center site.
Detective Zadroga’s autopsy revealed that his lungs were full of ground glass and noxious chemicals. The WTC dust that he breathed in contained asbestos, benzene, jet fuel and other carcinogens. Detective Zadroga’s death was the first to be officially linked to the toxins present at the World Trade Center.
New York City firefighters and police officers who responded that day, and/or worked on the debris pile afterwards, lost an average of 12 year’s lung capacity. They were not the only ones breathing in that air. Residents, office workers, construction workers removing the debris, and students and teachers were all exposed to the same toxins.
- I fear that this is only the tip of the iceberg. There were approximately 400,000 students, teachers, residents, office workers, responders and volunteers in Lower Manhattan on 9/11, and during the eight months following the attacks, when the air was thick with carcinogens.
Unfortunately, only 80,000 have registered with the WTC Health Program, which provides free annual medical screenings and health care to those certified with 9/11-related illnesses. Should these screenings detect cancers or other illnesses, survivors are eligible for compensation and long-term health care.
- Michael Barasach, "Forgotten victims of 9/11 are developing cancer at alarming rates", The Hill, (10/07/17)
- The world that was behind me when I went into school that morning was gone forever, and the new one waiting for me that afternoon was wildly different.
- Downtown Manhattan that day looked like exactly what it was, a war zone.
- A layer of ash covered the streets and a cacophony of alarms refused to cease. I remember the 60 block walk home up the middle of 6th Avenue which was completely void of all traffic, except for sporadic rescue vehicles from neighboring counties with unfamiliar demarcations rushing downtown, their sirens piercing the eerie silence. Crowds of people gathered outside any establishment with a television, standing like statues in anesthetized silence.
- From all points in Manhattan one could look to the South and see a huge plume of smoke hovering over the rubble where two towers once stood, two majestic American symbols representing both commerce in the free world and Democracy. Buildings that transcended width and height, real estate value and a prestigious office address. These towers spelled America, they spelled your name and mine.
- The air was exceptionally thick with the smell of pungent smoke from smoldering rubble.
- ... there was no discerning morning from afternoon, day from night. Just knowing that I was there to serve, I was there to show my gratitude, I was there to say yes, I believe.
- I’ll never forget the acrid smell, the fearful and numbed look on people’s faces, the sounds and the sour taste in my mouth."
- That morning terrorists gave their lives to cause those attacks. So here we stand, six years later, prepared to give ours to prevent further ones.
- Gregory Barbaccia Combined Joint Task Force 82 9/11 Memorial Ceremony (September 11, 2007)
- I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks. Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.
I've been in regular contact with the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the national security team and my Cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high alert status, and we have taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government.
We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans.
I ask the American people to join me in saying a thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families.
- Remarks Upon Arrival at Barksdale Air Force Base (11 September 2001).
- September 11 was, and remains, above all an immense human tragedy. But September 11 also posed a momentous and deliberate challenge not just to America but to the world at large. The target of the terrorists was not only New York and Washington but the very values of freedom, tolerance and decency which underpin our way of life.
- The story of what happened in that room, and when, has never been fully told, but is arguably more important in terms of understanding America's military capabilities that day than anything happening simultaneously on Air Force One or in the Pentagon, the White House, or norad's impregnable headquarters, deep within Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado. It's a story that was intentionally obscured, some members of the 9/11 commission believe, by military higher-ups and members of the Bush administration who spoke to the press, and later the commission itself, in order to downplay the extent of the confusion and miscommunication flying through the ranks of the government.
- For the neads crew, 9/11 was not a story of four hijacked airplanes, but one of a heated chase after more than a dozen potential hijackings—some real, some phantom—that emerged from the turbulence of misinformation that spiked in the first 100 minutes of the attack and continued well into the afternoon and evening. At one point, in the span of a single mad minute, one hears Nasypany struggling to parse reports of four separate hijackings at once. What emerges from the barrage of what Nasypany dubs "bad poop" flying at his troops from all directions is a picture of remarkable composure. Snap decisions more often than not turn out to be the right ones as commanders kick-start the dormant military machine. It is the fog and friction of war live—the authentic military history of 9/11.
- Powell's question—"Is this real-world or exercise?"—is heard nearly verbatim over and over on the tapes as troops funnel onto the ops floor and are briefed about the hijacking. Powell, like almost everyone in the room, first assumes the phone call is from the simulations team on hand to send "inputs"—simulated scenarios—into play for the day's training exercise.
Boston's request for fighter jets is not as prescient as it might seem. Standard hijack protocol calls for fighters to be launched—"scrambled"—merely to establish a presence in the air. The pilots are trained to trail the hijacked plane at a distance of about five miles, out of sight, following it until, presumably, it lands. If necessary, they can show themselves, flying up close to establish visual contact, and, if the situation demands, maneuver to force the plane to land.
At this point, certainly, the notion of actually firing anything at a passenger jet hasn't crossed anyone's mind.
- Incredibly, Marr has only four armed fighters at his disposal to defend about a quarter of the continental United States. Massive cutbacks at the close of the Cold War reduced norad's arsenal of fighters from some 60 battle-ready jets to just 14 across the entire country. (Under different commands, the military generally maintains several hundred unarmed fighter jets for training in the continental U.S.) Only four of norad's planes belong to neads and are thus anywhere close to Manhattan—the two from Otis, now circling above the ocean off Long Island, and the two in Virginia at Langley.
Nasypany starts walking up and down the floor, asking all his section heads and weapons techs if they are prepared to shoot down a civilian airliner if need be, but he's jumping the gun: he doesn't have the authority to order a shootdown, nor does Marr or Arnold, or Vice President Cheney, for that matter. The order will need to come from President Bush, who has only just learned of the attack at a photo op in Florida.
- It was the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, 2003, and the hearing room in the Hart Senate Office Building, in Washington, was half empty as the group of mostly retired military brass arranged themselves at the witness table before the 9/11 commission. The story the norad officers had come to tell before the commission was a relatively humbling one, a point underscored by the questions commission chairman Thomas Kean introduced during his opening remarks: How did the hijackers defeat the system, and why couldn't we stop them? These were important questions. Nearly two years after the attack, the Internet was rife with questions and conspiracy theories about 9/11—in particular, where were the fighters? Could they have physically gotten to any of the hijacked planes? And did they shoot down the final flight, United 93, which ended up in a Pennsylvania field?
- A former senior executive at the F.A.A., speaking to me on the condition that I not identify him by name, tried to explain. "Our whole procedures prior to 9/11 were that you turned everything [regarding a hijacking] over to the F.B.I.," he said, reiterating that hijackers had never actually flown airplanes; it was expected that they'd land and make demands. "There were absolutely no shootdown protocols at all. The F.A.A. had nothing to do with whether they were going to shoot anybody down. We had no protocols or rules of engagement."
- Cheney echoed, "The significance of saying to a pilot that you are authorized to shoot down a plane full of Americans is, a, you know, it's an order that had never been given before." And it wasn't on 9/11, either.
President Bush would finally grant commanders the authority to give that order at 10:18, which—though no one knew it at the time—was 15 minutes after the attack was over.
- Michael Bronner, "9/11 LIVE: THE NORAD TAPES" Vanity Fair, (August 2006).
- I thought the brain could rule over the legs. And I thought the brain was white and the legs were yellow or brown. And I thought I could rule with my brain—and even if I cut my legs off—I would find cheap legs in other parts of the world. But now I am a mutilated body. I lost my legs in Korea. I lost my arms in Vietnam. I lost my head in Kuwait. I lost my torso in the World Trade Center.
- Unburied bodies have unsettled matters—and they stink. The bodies of Polyneices and of Polonius and of Zarathustra’s tightrope walker and of the workers in the World Trade Centers lay stinking in the starry night. They still want to be paid, and they need retribution, vengeance, grudges, memories, teeth, the grinding of teeth, and muttering of curses. We need a legion of gravediggers, architects, and engineers with good faith to build cemeteries for these bodies in the ruins of the World Trade Center. Tony Blair and George Bush declared they would create a new world order out of the ruins of the World Trade Center. But they created chaos and anarchy because instead of burying the bodies they hold grudges of the ghost of vengeance.
- Giannina Braschi, United States of Banana, AmazonCrossing, Seattle, September 2011.
- When those two towers fell, I felt a dentist had pulled out my two front teeth. I could not laugh anymore. And I have the smile of a smiling damned villain. But I also felt the hole in my mouth became a garage, and entering that garage were terrorists in trucks full of explosives and French diplomats—to fuck us more with other nations—to run over our dead bodies.
- Giannina Braschi in "United States of Banana" (AmazonCrossing 2011).
- What we have here is a war--the war of matter and spirit... The war of banks and religion. Banks are the temples of America. This is a holy war. Our economy is our religion.
- When the World Trade towers fell on September 11, 2001, there was one refrain I heard over and over again, a common response that was both automatic and indicting: “It looked like something out of a Michael Bay movie.” More specifically, the explosions and citywide carnage resembled Armageddon, the Bay-directed action vehicle that had come out four summers prior and contained scenes of epic metropolitan mayhem that were still something of a cinematic novelty at the time. We pray that nothing on the scale of 9/11 will ever happen again, but if something actually did, we’d now have a sickening number of summer movies to compare it to. This weekend’s Man of Steel is only the latest film this year to exploit familiar 9/11 imagery in ways that are far more extreme and blatant than anything we’ve seen on the big screen before, as though Hollywood feels the need to out-9/11 itself. It’s lazy, it’s cheap, it’s deadening, and it needs to stop.
- Such knowing, referential obliteration probably began with the apocalyptic terror of 2005’s War of the Worlds, in which Steven Spielberg at least had the decency to use the entire movie as an allegory for our feelings of post-9/11 dread and hopelessness. Since then, though, the weighty underpinnings to those scenes in War of the Worlds have fallen away as city-wrecking summer movies like Transformers: Dark of the Moon seek only to up the ante from the destruction featured in whichever summer spectacular came out the year before. In last year’s The Avengers, the splintering of New York City was cause for lighthearted super-banter. Only one bittersweet nod to our post-9/11 outlook remains: Action heroes used to prevent disasters, but now, they can only avenge them.
- Kyle Buchanan, “Is It Possible to Make a Hollywood Blockbuster Without Evoking 9/11?”, Vulture, (2013/06).
- They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
- George W. Bush, address to joint session of Congress (20 September 2001).
- Now, the American people have got to go about their business. We cannot let the terrorists achieve the objective of frightening our nation to the point where we don't conduct business, where people don't shop.
- George W. Bush, press conference (11 October 2001), in Public papers of the Presidents of the United States, 2001.
- How do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is vitriolic hatred for America? I'll tell you how I respond: I'm amazed. I'm amazed that there is such misunderstanding of what our country is about, that people would hate us. I am like most Americans. I just can't believe it, because I know how good we are, and we've got to do a better job of making our case. We've got to do a better job of explaining to the people in the Middle East, for example, that we don't fight a war against Islam or Muslims. We don't hold any religion accountable. We're fighting evil.
- George W. Bush, press conference (11 October 2001), in Public papers of the Presidents of the United States, 2001.
- Ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for America. I, unfortunately, will be going back to Washington after my remarks. Secretary Rod Paige and the Lt. Governor will take the podium and discuss education. I do want to thank the folks here at Booker Elementary School for their hospitality.
Today we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. I have spoken to the Vice President, to the Governor of New York, to the Director of the FBI, and have ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.
Terrorism against our nation will not stand.
And now if you would join me in a moment of silence. May God bless the victims, their families, and America. Thank you very much.
- I can hear you! I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!
- This enemy attacked not just our people, but all freedom-loving people everywhere in the world. The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient, we will be focused, and we will be steadfast in our determination.… we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms.
- George W. Bush, remarks following a meeting with the national security team (12 September 2001), in Public papers of the Presidents of the United States, 2001.
- As to those in the World Trade Center… True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent?… They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire—the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved—and they did so both willingly and knowingly.… If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.
- Ward Churchill in Pockets of Resistance no. 27 (September 2001) "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens".
- After the World Trade Center was bombed by Islamic fundamentalists in 1993, the country quickly chalked it up to a zany one-time attack and five minutes later decided we were all safe again. We weren't. We aren't now. They will strike again. Perhaps they will wait another eight years. But perhaps not. The enemy is in this country right now. And any terrorists who are not already here are free to immigrate.
- Ann Coulter, "Future Widows of America: Write your congressman," in Jewish World Review, September 2001.
- We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now.
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.
- My last vestige of "hands-off religion" respect disappeared in the smoke and choking dust of September 11, 2001, followed by the "National Day of Prayer", when prelates and pastors did their tremulous Martin Luther King impersonation and urged people of mutually incompatible faiths to hold hands, united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place.
- [T]he twenty-first century truly began on September 11, 2001, ten years later, when planes slammed into the World Trade Center.
- We strongly condemn the events that happened in the United States at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We share the grief of all those who have lost their nearest and dearest in these incidents. All those responsible must be brought to justice. We want them to be brought to justice, and we want America to be patient and careful in their actions.
- Embassy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Islamabad, (12 September 2001), as quoted in "The Taliban Reader: War, Islam and Politics in their Own Words" edited by Alex Strick van Linschoten, Felix Kuehn, p.235,
- The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not "cowards," as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense. They were men of faith—perfect faith, as it turns out—and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be.
- The thing about 9/11 is that it’s basically an artwork in its own right,” he told the BBC. “It was wicked, but it was devised in this way for this kind of impact. It was devised visually.
I think our visual language has been changed by what happened on September 11. An aeroplane becomes a weapon – and if they fly close to buildings, people start panicking. Our visual language is constantly changing in this way, and I think as an artist you’re constantly on the lookout for things like that.
- Damien Hirst as quoted in "From Cloverfield to Batman v Superman: how did the 9/11 terrorist attacks change cinema?" by Robbie Collin, The Telegraph, (21 March 2016).
- Watching the towers fall in New York, with civilians incinerated on the planes and in the buildings, I felt something that I couldn't analyze at first and didn't fully grasp … until the day itself was nearly over. I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that this was a feeling of exhilaration. Here we are then, I was thinking, in a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate. Fine. We will win and they will lose. A pity that we let them pick the time and place of the challenge, but we can and we will make up for that.
- Isn't the use by America and some Western governments of their fire against others in the world including, or in the forefront of whom are the Arabs and the Muslims, one of the most important reasons of the lack of stability in the world at the present time? Isn't the evil inflicted on America in the act of September 11, 2001, and nothing else, a result of this and other acts? This is the main question and this is what the American administration along with of the Western governments or the Western public opinion should answer in the first place with serenity and responsibility, without emotional reaction and without the use of the same old methods that America used against the world.
- Every Muslim, from the moment they realize the distinction in their hearts, hates Americans, hates Jews and hates Christians. For as long as I can remember, I have felt tormented and at war, and have felt hatred and animosity for Americans.
- If inciting people to do that is terrorism, and if killing those who kill our sons is terrorism, then let history be witness that we are terrorists.
- I'm fighting so I can die a martyr and go to heaven to meet God. Our fight now is against the Americans.
- I can't even think about this movie. I don't WANT to think about it because if I think about it I will have to face an ugly truth that has been gnawing through my head...
This started out as a documentary on gun violence in America, but the largest mass murder in our history was just committed — without the use of a single gun! Not a single bullet fired! No bomb was set off, no missile was fired, no weapon (i.e., a device that was solely and specifically manufactured to kill humans) was used. A boxcutter! — I can't stop thinking about this. A thousand gun control laws would not have prevented this massacre. What am I doing?
- Michael Moore, Tears Down the West Side Highway. MichaelMoore.com (22 September 2001).
- How about that McDonalds two blocks from Ground Zero? That's killed more people than the nineteen hijackers.
- This 'zeal for secrecy' I am talking about – and I have barely touched the surface – adds up to a victory for the terrorists. When they plunged those hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon three years ago this morning, they were out to hijack our Gross National Psychology. If they could fill our psyche with fear – as if the imagination of each one of us were Afghanistan and they were the Taliban – they could deprive us of the trust and confidence required for a free society to work. They could prevent us from ever again believing in a safe, decent or just world and from working to bring it about. By pillaging and plundering our peace of mind they could panic us into abandoning those unique freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of the press – that constitute the ability of democracy to self-correct and turn the ship of state before it hits the iceberg.
- Should terrorists launch new attacks, we believe their preferred targets will be U.S. Government facilities and national symbols, financial and transportation infrastructure nodes, or public gathering places. Civil aviation remains a particularly attractive target in light of the fear and publicity that the downing on an airline would evoke.
- National Intelligence Estimate (1995), contained in the 9/11 Commission Report (2004) p. 54.
- I am certain that I speak on behalf of my entire nation when I say, today we are all Americans. In grief, as in defiance.
- Thank God for 9/11. Thank God that, five years ago, the wrath of God was poured out upon this evil nation. America, land of the sodomite damned... The deadly events of 9/11 were direct outpourings of divine retribution, the immediate visitation of God's wrath and vengeance and punishment for America's horrendous sodomite sins.
- I bow my head to the victims of terrorism. I am highly impressed of the courage of New York residents. The great city and the great American nation are to win!
- Vladimir V. Putin, inscription at the World Trade Center Memorial Wall (15 November 2001).
- What Rand Paul did today on the Senate was outrageous He is a guy that put us in hundreds of billions of dollars in debt.... And now he’s going to tell us that a billion dollars a year over 10 years is just too much for us to handle? You know, there are some things that they have no trouble putting on the credit card, but somehow when it comes to the 9/11 first responder community—the cops, the firefighters, the construction workers, the volunteers, the survivors—all of a sudden, man, we’ve got to go through this.
- Jon Stewart; as qtd. in Laura Bradley, "Jon Stewart Returns to Fox News, Slams Rand Paul for Stalling 9/11 Victim Funding", Vanity Fair, (July 18, 2019)
- Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk was on the mark... in November 2002, he wrote, “Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 11 September. If the United States invades Iraq, we should remember that.” On many psychological levels, the Bush team was able to manipulate post-9/11 emotions well beyond the phantom of Iraqi involvement in that crime against humanity. The dramatic changes in political climate after 9/11 included a drastic upward spike in the attitude—fervently stoked by the likes of Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and the president—that our military should be willing to attack potential enemies before they might attack us. Few politicians or pundits were willing to confront the reality that this was a formula for perpetual war, Solomon: Spinning 45 and for the creation of vast numbers of new foes who would see a reciprocal logic in embracing such a credo themselves. President Bush’s national security adviser “felt the administration had little choice with Hussein,” reporter Bob Woodward recounted in mid-November 2002. A quote from Condoleezza Rice summed up the approach. “Take care of threats early.” Determining exactly what constitutes a threat—and how to “take care” of it—would be up to the eye of the beholder in the Oval Office.
- Not only were the media bombarding us all the time with talk about the terrorist threat; this threat was also obviously libidinally invested — just remember the series of movies from Escape from New York to Independence Day. That is the rationale of the often-mounted association of the attacks with Hollywood disaster movies: the unthinkable which happened was the object of fantasy, so that, in a way, America got what it fantasized about, and that was the biggest surprise.
Quotations of statements made during the events of September 11th, 2001.
- We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be okay. We are returning to the airport. Nobody move, everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.
- Nobody move please, we are going back to the airport, don't try to make any stupid moves.
- Mohamed Atta, at 08:33, as quoted in Guardian Unlimited (17 October 2001).
- Hello? We're looking in... We're overlooking the Financial Center. Three of us. Two broken windows. OH GOD! OH! —
- We may have a hijack. We have some problems over here right now.
- Air traffic controller, at 08:53, as quoted in Guardian Unlimited (17 October 2001).
- Something is wrong. We are in a rapid descent... we are all over the place. … I see water. I see buildings. We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low. … Oh my God, we are way too low... Oh my God, we're —
- What do I tell the pilots to do?
- Holy shit, man. That's the other building. That's terrorists! That's terrorists, bro! That's fucking terrorists!
- Stephen Vigilante, (11 September 2001), moments after the second tower was struck.
- Are you guys ready? Let's roll.
- They're coming.
- NASYPANY: Okay, Foxy. Plug in. I want to make sure this is on tape.… This is what—this is what I foresee that we probably need to do. We need to talk to F.A.A. We need to tell 'em if this stuff's gonna keep on going, we need to take those fighters on and then put 'em over Manhattan, O.K.? That's the best thing. That's the best play right now. So, coordinate with the F.A.A. Tell 'em if there's more out there, which we don't know, let's get 'em over Manhattan. At least we got some kinda play.
- NASYPANY: My recommendation, if we have to take anybody out, large aircraft, we use AIM-9s in the face.… If need be.
- As quoted in Michael Bronner, "9/11 LIVE: THE NORAD TAPES" Vanity Fair, (August 2006).
The death of Osama bin Laden
- Remarks of Barack Obama on the death of Osama bin Laden - Whitehouse transcript and video (1 May 2011)
- It was nearly ten years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory—hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground, black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction. And yet we know the worse images were those that were unseen to the world. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of child's embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a hole in our hearts.
- On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
- Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then, we've lived in sunshine and in shadow, and although we can never unsee what happened here, we can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost.
- Never before in our history has America asked so much over such a sustained period of an all-volunteer force. So I can say without fear of contradiction or being accused of exaggeration, the 9/11 generation ranks among the greatest our nation has ever produced, and it was born — it was born — it was born right here on 9/11.
- These past 10 years underscore the bonds between all Americans. We have not succumbed to suspicion and mistrust. It will be said of us that we kept that faith; that we took a painful blow, and emerged stronger.
- America has always been very visible... I'm still proud to be from the country that I'm from, I still love the country that I'm from. I'm still able to achieve great things here and I'm doing my best to do so. But, it's amazing. When we came together like that, when we put our differences aside and we declared war on the people that harmed us... When we got together to help the people and the families of the people that died on 9/11 it made me feel amazing. It made me feel patriotic, it made me feel strong, it made me love this country in a way that in all my years I'd never really loved it. You know? Because that's the America we all dream of. That's the America that we all want, this America that's strong, and powerful and strikes back when necessary. The sleeping giant that we were taught about in our history books, ready to just to just be the super-power that we need to be and having the best army in the world and wow. Wow. A congress and a president that'll work together, and what have we become? Eleven years later? Eleven years later we don't have those answers that we wanted from 9/11. We have most. We know who did it, we know why they did it. We know how they did it. There's conspiracy theories abound; the proof is pretty much there. But, we've done so much to gut ourselves. We've done so much to gut our freedoms... At the end of the day, the America that we could have been had we stayed on that path, the America that we could have been had we stayed together, had we worked hard to rebuild, to be better to be stronger, is a dream again. You know, and that's really sad... We're more divided than we've ever been, and that? That breaks my heart... You? If you're under the age of eighteen, you've never lived in an America like ours. You know? You've lived in a good country, don't get me wrong. You've lived in a fantastic country, one that's ailing right now, there's no arguing that. But, so close and yet? So far... I remember that American dream, and I just wonder. I wonder if America can ever be the same again. We'll see.
- Steven Williams, "Story Time With Boogie: September 11th, 2001" (September 2012), YouTube
- Characters in blockbusters these days rarely ever comment on the titanic amounts of destruction they (and we) are witnessing. We’ve seen buildings smashed onscreen since Godzilla trampled on Tokyo in 1954 (and I have no doubt we will again when the Godzilla reboot is released next year), but now there’s a coldly pornographic attention to detail that implies that the only lessons imparted by 9/11 were technical ones. It’s as if more time and effort were spent on simulating a toppled skyscraper than in telling you why you should care about the people trapped in it.
It’s not until the very end of Man of Steel’s third-act battle, where the stakes grow smaller and much more intimate, that Superman truly seems to become emotional about the lives in danger, and that’s a moment that blockbuster filmmakers could learn a lot from: There’s no need to robotically kill faceless millions when a single character in jeopardy will always prove more galvanizing. Instead of trying to top the mayhem in Man of Steel next year — instead of continuing to mine one of the worst days in American history for a series of wowser trailer moments — can we give the pummeled buildings a break and find creative new obstacles for our heroes to overcome? Please, let’s have a summer-movie spectacle we don’t have to wince at.
- Kyle Buchanan, “Is It Possible to Make a Hollywood Blockbuster Without Evoking 9/11?”, Vulture, (2013/06).
- The two-year period immediately following 9/11 was an era in which the media was defined both by its jingoism and patriotism and also by its aversion to images of violence and destruction. The images of gleeful destruction the ’90s had reveled in (think Independence Day and Armageddon) disappeared almost overnight, and the few stragglers that crept by (like 2003’s The Core, which destroys both Rome and San Francisco) were quietly buried.
War movies were essentially nonexistent, with most offerings at the multiplex leaning toward fantasy and family-friendly fare. Until Steven Spielberg pioneered the 9/11 visual parable through heavily codified imagery with 2005’s War of the Worlds, scenes of realistic mass destruction temporarily all but disappeared from the media landscape, a far cry from the explosion-riddled works of Michael Bay, Zack Snyder, and their disciples that we enjoy today.
- But although most pop culture reactions to 9/11 were passive, there were a few that actively addressed the tragedy. The October 3, 2001, episode of The West Wing titled "Isaac and Ishmael," written and shot within two weeks of the attacks, takes a "why can’t we all just get along?" approach to terrorism, with the wise and pithy main cast explaining to a bunch of high school kids how terrorists are bad but Muslims aren’t.
The South Park episode "Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants," which originally aired November 7, 2001, treated Osama bin Laden as a harmless buffoon. Despite being critical of American foreign policy, it ultimately avows loyalty to the USA, ending with Stan gently planting a small American flag in Afghan soil and saluting it with a soft, sincere, "Go, America," followed by, "Go, Broncos."
Marvel Comics presented its take on the attacks in Spider-Man Vol. 2, issue No. 36, called "The Black Issue," which presents the tragedy as something that brings not only the heroes together but the villains as well. Yes, this act of terrorism was so heinous it even made Dr. Doom cry.
Spike Lee's 25th Hour (2002) may be the only one of these early depictions that doesn’t bother trying to find some meaning in the tragedy; rather, it simply tries to move on. It is, for that reason, one of the strongest of any cinematic attempt to deal with the aftermath.
- Lindsay Ellis, "Movies, patriotism, and cultural amnesia: tracing pop culture’s relationship to 9/11", Vox, (updated Sep 11, 2017).
- 9/11 was undeniably a paradigm shift. Its effects would ripple throughout the next decade and continues to impact the world today. The superhero industry’s response to the unjust tragedy was felt immediately. Those who went to the movies to escape the ubiquitous news coverage on Sept. 11, 2001 would have seen a trailer for “Spider-Man,” which would be released in the following May. The trailer, which featured Spider-Man trapping a helicopter of bank robbers in a web strung up between the Twin Towers, was quickly pulled out of circulation along with posters featuring the towers reflected in his eyes.
The nation, still reeling from the horrors of 9/11, flooded the theaters the following year, hitting a record high for U.S. admissions—1.64 billion moviegoers—in 2002, according to the 2006 U.S. Theatrical Market Statistics.
Spider-Man raked in the highest domestic growth of 2002, beating well-established franchises “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” (“All Time Worldwide Opening”). The nation clearly hungered for a figure who could save the country—or, in this case, at least defend New York.
- Cassandra Hsiao, "Post-9/11 world: What caused the rise of superhero movies", HS Insider, Los Angeles Times(June 16, 2016).
- 9-11Commission.gov - 'National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States' (Official Website – archived)
- 911DigitalArchive.org - 'September 11 Digital Archive: Saving the Histories of September 11th, 2001' (in partnership with the Library of Congress)
- 911 Investigations - Repository of documents relating to the 9/11 attacks and War on Terrorism
- BBC News - 'America's Day of Terror'
- Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding 9/11
- Memory.loc.gov - 'September 11, 2001, Documentary Project', The Library of Congress
- TheMemoryHole.org - New York Fire Department audio tapes from September 11 2001.
- WCBS-TV September 11th Remembered
- NY1.com - New York One News Television, 'World Trade Center Special Section' (June 7, 2005)
- September 11, 2001 Newspaper Articles Archive - More than 15,000 free newspaper articles related to the 9/11/2001 attacks.
- Washington Post - 'Terrorists Unleash Assault on US'
- Open Directory - September 11, 2001
- "Attacks remembered: In quotes" at BBC News (11 September 2002)
- Plane Hits Pentagon
- 9/11 Timeline - Chronology of events according to 9/11 Commission Report presented in 4-way split screen.
- CNN.com - Video archive, including the first and second planes.
- Inside 9/11 - National Geographic
- Defense Department Releases Two Videos of Flight 77 Crashing Into Pentagon. Retrieved on 2006-07-30.
- New York 1 channel coverage
- Time.com - 'Shattered: a remarkable collection photographs', James Nachtwey
- Various TV news coverage on Putfile.com
- Memories of the attack (see flashbulb memory)
- Slate's The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón
- CNN September 11 memorial - List of victims, and photos.
- CNN.com - 'In-Depth Special: War Against Terror Damage report from the city of New York'
- MemoryArchive - 9/11 Memoirs
- NewYorkMetro.com - 9/11 by the Numbers: Death, destruction, charity, salvation, war, money, real estate, spouses, babies, and other September 11 statistics', New York Times