|On Sept. 11, 2001, nineteen people, using knives and boxcutters, hijacked four transcontinental airline flights and flew them toward America's financial and political capitals of New York and Washington.|
Three reached their targets: The first two struck the towers of the World Trade Center, causing their collapse within hours, and the third struck the Pentagon.
The pilot of the fourth plane crashed it into a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers rose up against the hijackers.
American air defense fighters scrambled against the threats but were ultimately misdirected and had no effect on the attacks.
In New York, where most of the nearly 3,000 fatalities took place, the dead included 343 members of the New York Fire Department, including the chief, 37 members of the Port Authority Police Department and 23 members of the New York Police Department. Of between 16,400 and 18,800 civilians in the towers on 9-11, 2,152 died; the rest were successfully evacuated. About 95 percent of the dead civilians worked in or above the floors where the planes impacted.