[PeterPaul.ca] — Americans marked seventeen years since the September 11th terror attacks as mourners gathered around the country to mark one of the darkest days in their history. More than 1,000 people attended the commemoration ceremony at Ground Zero in New York Tuesday, where the bulk of the casualties were reported.
Simultaneous memorials were also held at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA, where one of the hijacked airliners crashed. U.S. President Donald Trump attended the commemoration ceremony for United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville with the First Lady, two days before a “Tower of Voices” memorial was unveiled for the first time. The tower has 40 unique wind chimes, one for each of the victims who died when flight 93 crashed.
Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech at the Pentagon—the U.S. Department of Defense headquarters–where another hijacked airliner made a direct hit on 9/11. He was joined by Defense Secretary James Mattis in honouring the 184 people who perished in the building and on board American Airlines flight 77. The memorial was opened on the seventh anniversary of the attacks and features 184, inscribed memorial benches.
Firefighters from around the country climbed the height of the World Trade Centre in full gear Tuesday followed by 343 pushups to remember those lost, just as they did one year ago.
The 9/11 attacks began at 8:46 AM on September 11, 2001, when 19 hijackers crashed three jetliners filled with passengers and fuel into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. A fourth jetliner crashed in Shanksville after passengers attacked the four hijackers after learning what happened in New York. This action altered the course of history considering the target of flight 93 was either the U.S. Capitol or the White House.
Ultimately, the Twin Towers would collapse killing almost 3,000 people—2,192 civilians, 343 members of the New York Fire Department [FDNY] and 23 members of the New York Police Department [NYPD].
The deaths and health issues didn’t end on 9/11
Toxic dust from Ground Zero has caused nearly 10,000 cancer cases and of those, 1,700 responders have died since 9/11, 420 of them from cancer, the New York Post reported.
The World Trade Centre Health Program, which offers compassionate healthcare to those affected by 9/11, have enrolled another 80,000 members since 2010. Over 16,000 enrolled members are from the FDNY. The NYPD has lost 156 members since 9/11, all related to work at Ground Zero, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said via Twitter.
Effects still being felt, almost two decades later
Since the attacks, the United States has spent $1.5 trillion on the collective wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, CNBC reported. The report added that homeland security missions in the U.S. and Canada are $185.5 billion of that sum.
Canada lost 159 soldiers during their military deployment after 9/11.
New York is still rebuilding around Ground Zero including the World Trade Centre subway station, which reopened to cheers as the first train passed through on Saturday. The rebuilding was delayed until construction of the surrounding towers began.
Sadly, it is unclear what the future holds despite the killing and capture of many of the terrorists who were linked to that day. Security will remain tight all over the world out of fear of another attack as terror groups gain momentum, making it seem like we haven’t really been fighting at all.
A recent report from the Los Angeles Times said the group responsible for 9/11 was stronger than ever, even 17 years later.