9/11 and the illusion of control: Living for what matters most


Manhattan Skyline, Sept. 15, 2001.

It’s been said that history pivots on tiny hinges. The shots fired at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on June 28, 1914. Pearl Harbor. 9/11.

At this time eighteen years ago, no one but the terrorists knew that September 11, 2001, would change history. We owe it to the victims and their loved ones to remember what happened on this horrific day

At the World Trade Center (WTC) site in Lower Manhattan, 2,753 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were flown into the north and south towers. The victims ranged in age from two to eighty-five years. 

At the Pentagon, 184 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building. Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, forty passengers and crew aboard United Airlines Flight 93 died when the airplane crashed into a field. 

As of July 2019, only 60 percent of the WTC victims’ remains have been positively identified. 

And the deaths continue. Twenty-three New York Police Department first responders were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, but 241 members of the NYPD so far have died of 9/11-related illnesses. While 343 members of the Fire Department of New York died in the attack, 202 FDNY members so far have died of illnesses related to their service on September 11 or in the immediate aftermath. 

“I actually have no control” 

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Christina Stanton could see smoke billowing from the World Trade Center after the first plane hit. The second plane then flew within five hundred feet of her twenty-fourth-floor balcony. The roar of the airplane’s engines knocked her down, rendering her temporarily deaf. She and her husband, Brian, fled their building. 

As the towers fell and debris covered everything, Christina and Brian, exhausted, stopped. She asked him, “Are we going to die?” He…

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