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On Wednesday, September 11th, Americans and people all around the world will commemorate the 2,977 innocent lives that were lost in what will go down in history, as one of the most daring and unusual terrorist attacks ever. The tragedy not only changed the lives of the people directly affected by the attacks but also that of future, yet-to-be born generations.
That fateful Tuesday morning began like any normal day for most people living in the United States. Then at 8.46 EST came the first inkling that it was anything but, when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed right into the North Tower of New York City's World Trade Center. As the world debated about what had just happened, United Airlines Flight 175 zoomed in and this time, crashed into the South Tower of the world famous high-rise. By now it was obvious that this was no pilot error, but a daring attack upon the United States of America.
However before anybody could react, there was more bad news, this time from Arlington County, Virginia, where American Airlines Flight 77 had just plunged into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States military. Shortly after, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in an empty field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It was later discovered that the flight had been hijacked and re-directed to cause similar damage to either the Capitol or White House. But the brave passengers had somehow managed to derail the plan and help save thousands of lives, while sacrificing their own. All in all, 2,977 innocent people lost their lives that day, the effects of which rippled through to thousands of families, who even after twelve years are trying to make sense of this unnecessary act of violence.
The brazen attacks planned by Osama bin Laden, the leader of a terrorist group called Al Qaeda had involved 19 terrorists who split into four groups, each with an expert pilot and hijacked four commercial flights - United Flight 93 from New Jersey, American Flight 77 from Washington D.C., United Flight 175 and American Flight 11, both from Boston. The airplanes were selected because they were heading across the country either to Los Angeles or San Francisco and therefore, loaded with fuel.
For those who were at the scene or watched the entire chain of events unfold on live television, it is a memory that will forever be etched in their minds. However, for kids that were too young or not even born yet, it is hard to imagine what someone who was present at the scene may have experienced, which is the reason historical fiction writer Lauren Tarshis decided to write I Survived: The Attacks of September 11, 2001.
As usual, the author pens a heart-stopping tale, weaving in the salient facts of the tragic day as seen through the eyes of young protagonist - 11- year-old Lucas Calley. The son of a New York City firefighter, the young boy's morning begins with what he believes is the worst thing that could ever happen in his life - Being banned from playing football due to recurring concussions.
In a quest to get some help in convincing his parents otherwise, Lucas decides to play truant and catch the subway to Lower Manhattan to visit the only person he believes can help - His dad's best friend and fellow firefighter Uncle Benny who happens to work at Ladder 177, a firehouse that was a stone's throw away from the World Trade Center.
Sensing that Lucas is really upset, Uncle Benny excuses himself from the firehouse and takes the young boy outside for a quick chat. That's when it happens - An airplane flying so low that Lucas can even read 'AA' on its tail, zooms by. As the young boy watches hypnotized, the plane suddenly picks up speed and with one ferocious roar, slams right into the side of one of the towers - The beautiful blue skies are suddenly filled with smoke and fire, and people all around are screaming in horror. As for Uncle Benny? He has only one thing in mind - To save the people trapped inside the tower.
As he and Lucas rush back to the firehouse, the entire staff from Ladder 177 - those that had just arrived for duty and the ones that had been on the night shift - are aboard the Seagrave raring to go rescue the victims. Uncle Benny quickly picks up his gear and instructs Lucas to wait inside the firehouse for his dad, who had been informed about his whereabouts. There the young boy watches in horror as another airplane hits the second tower. Unable to get in touch with either of his parents, Lucas decides to step out of the firehouse to look for his dad and Uncle Benny.
Will Lucas find them in the chaos or will the young boy get trapped in the rubble of the twin towers? What will be the fate of his dad, Uncle Benny and the rest of the brave New York City firemen that rushed to rescue the people trapped inside the twin towers? To see how it all unfolds read Laura Tarshis's gripping tale of tragedy and heroism - I Survived: The Attacks of September 11.
Resources: I Survived The Attacks of September 11th, 2001, wikipedia.org