/ 10 September 2021

20 years since the world changed

Image source: New York Daily News
Image source: New York Daily News

Tomorrow marks 2 decades since the 9/11 terror attacks – the deadliest on American soil in their history. The world was stunned when 19 al-Qaeda terrorists took control of 4 US passenger jets and crashed them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon outside of Washington D.C. The 4th plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers thwarted the militants’ plan to crash into another building in the capital. The tragedy left 2,977 people dead from 77 countries, including 10 Aussies. Twenty years on, the victims are still being identified. The consequences of what happened on 11 September 2001 are still being felt across the globe.


It is. And we’ll likely see a lot about it in the coming few days, so here are 3 things we found that we wanted to show you.

• This interactive timeline of the day that’s been produced by the 9/11 Memorial. The little snippets of how the chaos of the day unfolded from the passengers on the planes calling loved ones to finding trapped first responders alive that night, it puts you in that day.

• At the time of the attacks, President George W Bush was in Florida visiting a school. They needed to get him to safety, and so his staff and the travelling press piled onto Air Force One. For the next 8 hours, they flew around America’s east. This account is from those there at the time. Our then PM John Howard has also talked to ABC’s Conversations program about being in Washington DC at the time of the attack.

• The newspaper front pages from the day after – worth a look. And this one comes with a warning: one of the most searing photos from the day was ‘the falling man’. Here, the photographer talks about taking the shot and the reaction to it.

Family members of the World Trade Centre victims will gather at the memorial in Manhattan to read the names of those killed in the attacks. US President Joe Biden will be there – he’s also attending services at the sites of the other crashes. Former President Bush will attend the service at the Pennsylvania memorial. Not far from people’s minds: the end of America’s nearly 20-year engagement in Afghanistan that resulted from the attacks. Overnight, 113 people were reportedly flown out of Kabul in the first civilian flight since US forces left the country. President Biden says the US had accomplished its goals “to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11”. Not everyone agrees… Still, the hope is that the anniversary reminds Americans “what binds them rather than divides them”. But for many, it’s a painful reminder of loved ones who were killed that day. 

This week’s Squiz Shortcut is on the 9/11 terror attacks – look no further for a quick rundown on what happened, what it meant and what changed.

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