At this point on a clear, sunny day 14 years ago, the terrorist plot that would kill nearly 3,000 Americans had already begun. Three of the four planes were in the air, and American 11 had already been hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorist Mohammed Atta and his team of Islamic extremists. Five minutes from the time of this post, the terrorist would slam the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Seventeen minutes later, United 175 would crash into the South Tower. The effect of both attacks would shortly destroy both buildings and kill thousands. At 9:37 am, American 77 would be piloted into the Pentagon, killing more than a hundred people on the ground as well as everyone on the plane.

Almost as the South Tower collapses, American civilians strike back. After terrorists hijacked United 93, passengers found out what was happening and decided to attack the terrorists and take back control of the flight. Cockpit tapes later suggest they nearly succeeded in the latter, but in the end gave their lives to prevent the terrorists from accomplishing their final objective. It would be America’s only victory on that day, the first day that Americans realized that they were in a war.

The History Channel has the timeline in video form:

Patriot Day was born to honor them, and to honor those who died without ever knowing why. It honors those who ran into the flames and smoke to help their fellow Americans, and who never emerged from the darkness. It honors those who did emerge, who persevered and helped rebuild. Patriots Day reminds us to never forget the horror of fourteen years ago, and to never again become complacent about the threats to American security.

In remembrance of the heroes.

Here is the coverage from the NBC affiliate in New York, unedited for the first two hours of their all-day coverage:

To end on an up note: Not long afterward, George W. Bush captured the mood of the nation with this statement:

 

Update: I was remiss in not including a link to Allahpundit’s Twitter-stream recollection of his experiences on 9/11 in Manhattan, posted four years ago in our Green Room by Andy Levy.