It was a sunny September day starting in New York. Yet in just a few minutes it would become one of the darkest pages in American history. Twenty years later, September 11, 2001 still marks the minds of Americans, but also of the whole world.

Like every morning, at rush hour, many Americans went to the Wall Street district, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) overlooked the city. Without knowing that several kilometers away, 19 jihadists (17 Saudis, a Lebanese and an Egyptian) passed through the security checks of the airports of Boston, Washington and Newark. They were equipped with knives and cutters, still allowed in the cabin at the time.

They were going to board four planes heading for California. With the sole objective of deflecting them and hitting the heart of the United States .. Begins a day of chaos in America.

Flight AA11, an American Airlines Boeing 767, departed Boston for Los Angeles. On board, 92 passengers including five terrorists. It was then 8:46 a.m. in New York and 2:46 p.m. in Paris when it struck the north tower of the World Trade Center. A huge breach opens in the upper floors which soon ignite.

From there, a chain of events would sway the world’s leading power. Less than twenty minutes later, at 9:03 am, it was United Airlines flight number 175’s turn to crash into the upper floors of the WTC south tower. On board this Boeing 767, 65 people including five hijackers.

At the same time, then-President George W. Bush is at a school in Sarasota, Florida. While reading a story, his chief of staff warns him that a “second plane has hit the second tower. America is under attack.”

Very quickly, decisions are made. As of 9:25 am, the Federal Aviation Administration (civil aviation authorities) announces the closure of the airspace. It also prohibits any take-off. The Head of State, meanwhile, leaves school in Florida to join Washington in an emergency, due to an “apparent terrorist attack”.

While two attacks have already taken place, the nightmare continues in the United States. This time, a Boeing 757 with 64 passengers, including five terrorists, crashes in Arlington, hitting the southwest wing of the Pentagon in Washington at 9:37 a.m. A large breach then opens in the west facade of the Department of Defense: Given the gravity of the situation, the Federal Aviation Administration is ordering all airplanes in the air to land as soon as possible. At the same time, at 9:59 a.m., the south tower of the WTC collapsed. The deluge is extremely violent, mixing fire, dust and steel.

The fourth and last plane, with four terrorists and 40 other passengers on board, crashed at 10:03 a.m. While it was bound for San Francisco, it ended its race in Shanksville, in a wooded area of ​​Pennsylvania. Some passengers who had boarded the plane were informed by cell phone of what was happening in New York. Thus allowing them to resist terrorists. At the same time, at 10:28 am, the north tower of the WTC, which had been hit the first 120 minutes earlier, collapsed in turn. Causing a huge cloud of ash and debris that covered the entire southern tip of Manhattan. While the state of emergency in Washington is declared at 1:27 pm by the city’s mayor, Anthony Williams, President George W. Bush addresses the Americans at 8:30 pm to denounce “deliberate terrorist acts” . Promising to track down those responsible and making “no distinction” between terrorists and those who harbor them.

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