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September 11, 2001: Terrorism Reaches The United States With Deadly Consequences

On September 11, 2001 four airliners where hijacked by terrorists and used as weapons to attack the United States. Two of the hijacked aircraft where flown by the terrorists into the "Twin Towers" of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. One was flown into the Pentagon, and the last aircraft crashed before it could reach its intended target.

The devastation caused by the attack was unheard of and completely unexpected. Two thousand nine hundred and seventy three people where killed in the attack, and twenty four where considered missing. Some companies whose offices where located in the Twin Towers lost huge percentages of their total staff. Others where totally wiped out by the attack.

Cantor Fitzgerald L.P. an investment bank lost 658 employees, while Marsh Inc. lost 295 employees. To everyone's horror the Twin Towers collapsed and 5 other buildings in the surrounding area suffered major damage including the Marriott Hotel, and two New York City subway stations. Twenty five other buildings suffered minor damage and all seven World Trade Center buildings had to be demolished.

Radio, television, and two-way radio towers where destroyed, and local infrastructure including power, water, gas, and communications suffered major interruptions. Some fires caused by the attack burned for as long as 3 months after the initial impact of the aircraft.

The effect the attack had on American society was devastating, emotionally, culturally and economically. Many schools closed for the day and it became a concern that local residents might have been exposed to hazardous fumes, and dust for a considerable period of time after the actual attack. Many of the rescue workers have since been diagnosed with health problems from the attack.

The United States has not experienced an economic setback of this magnitude since the great depression. The Federal Reserve Bank lost contact with local banks due to outages in communication. The telephone exchange that handled service for the lower Manhattan area was damaged and phone service was interrupted as a result.

Local utilities including; power, phone, gas, and water where cut off and many people were without basic services for a considerable period of time. U.S. stocks lost $1.2 trillion in value and thirty percent of lower Manhattan office space was completely destroyed.

As an international economic hub, the loss of data and critical information of all kinds had a world-wide effect. The Airline industry experienced a huge drop in traffic and had to cut capacity by twenty percent in order to survive.

Not all disasters experienced by mankind are the result of the natural elements. Some catastrophic events are caused by our own kind and have an impact that equals or in some cases surpasses those that Mother Nature may send our way. Regardless of the cause, disasters may come in many forms with varying severity; the lesson, however, remains the same. Always be prepared.

Submitted by:

Andrew Stratton

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