Monday, April 04, 2016

Remembering Historical Events

On the morning of September 11, 2001 at 5:45 am., the hijackers would go throughout security screening in Portland, Maine. 19 hijackers in total would hijack four California bound commercial airplanes shortly after their departures from airports in Boston, Massachusetts, Newark, New Jersey, and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al-Omari passed through security at Portland International Jetport in Maine at 5:45 a.m. Atta and al-Omari board a commuter flight to Boston Logan International Airport, where they connect to American Airlines Flight 11. Three other hijackers will join Atta and al-Omari aboard Flight 11. Before 9/11, airports were not required to videotape security checkpoints. At that time, knives were allowed on planes if the blade was less than four inches in length. By 6:00 am, the New York City polling stations are opened. September 11, 2001 was the time of a primary election day in New York City. Primary elections were held for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, and other city offices. On 7:59 am., Flight 11 (or American Airlines Flight 11) took off from Boston. 11 crew members, 76 passengers, and five hijackers are on board. It has 76,400 pounds of fuel for its transcontinental run to Los Angeles. By 8:15 am, United Airlines Flight 175 took off from Boston for Los Angeles. It had 9 crew members, 51 passengers, and five hijackers on board. The flight had 76,000 pounds of fuel. ON 8:19 am, Flight 11 crew members contact ground personnel. One flight attendant named Betty Ann Ong alerted the American Airlines ground personnel that a hijacking was taking place. She said that the cockpit was unreachable. She used an inflight phone. The phone call last for about 25 minutes. Shortly before Ong’s call, a hijacker, likely Satam al-Suqami, had stabbed the passenger seated directly in front of him in first class. Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al-Omari are seated in close proximity as well. The passenger, identified as Daniel M. Lewin by the flight crew, had served four years in the Israeli army. The Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States speculated that he may have tried to stop the hijackers. Lewin was likely the first person killed in the 9/11 attacks. 8:20 am was the time when American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Washington Dulles International Airport. It has six crew members, 53 passengers, and five hijackers are on board. The flight has 49,900 pounds of fuel. At 8:21 a.m., two minutes into Ong’s call, the hijackers turn off the plane’s transponder—a device that allows air traffic control to identify and monitor an airplane’s flight path. Meanwhile, American Airlines authorities relay details from Ong to their operations center in Texas. Five minutes later, Ong provides the hijackers’ seat numbers to American Airlines. On 8:24 am., the hijacker Mohamed Atta presses the wrong button (in trying to communicate with the passengers and crew in the Flight 11 cabin). He alerted the air traffic control and unwittingly alerting controllers to the attacks. Minutes later, Atta again makes an unintended transmission to ground control. At least one of Atta’s transmissions is picked up by the pilot of Flight 175, Victor J. Saracini, who will inform the Federal Aviation Administration of what he has heard minutes before his own plane is hijacked.

At 8:30 am, 80 people gather to attend the Risk Waters Group financial technology conference on the 106th floor of the North Tower. Other special events at the World Trade Center planned for September 11 include the annual National Association for Business Economics (NABE) conference, already underway in the Marriott hotel, which was an evening dance performance on the World Trade Center’s outdoor plaza. There was a Peace Corps information session scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in 6 World Trade Center. On 8:37 am, Boston Air Traffic Control Center alerts the military (or the U.S. Air Force’s Northeast Air Defense Sector being the NEADS). This comes after they heard the transmissions from hijackers Mohamed Atta. The NEADS is headquartered in Rome, New York. Then, the NEADS mobilized the Air National Guard jets at Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, MA to identify and follow the hijacked Flight 11. In 8:42 am, Flight 93 took off. It is scheduled to leave Newark International Airport within minutes of the other hijacked flights. United Airlines Flight 93 delayed its takeoff because of routine traffic. It has seven crew members, 33 passengers, and four hijackers. It is bound to San Francisco. It has 48,700 pounds of fuel. On 8:46 am, the North Tower is attacked with the use of Flight 11. Five hijackers crash American Airlines Flight 11 into floors 93 through 99 of the North Tower (of 1 World Trade Center). The 76 passengers and 11 crew members on board including hundreds in the building are killed instantly. The crash severs all three emergency stairwells and trapped hundreds of people above the 91st floor. Responders mobilize to help save lives. They include New York City emergency dispatchers, police, paramedics, and firefighters come to the North Towers. Immediately after witnessing the crash from 14 blocks north of the World Trade Center, Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer directs New York City Fire Department (FDNY) dispatch to issue a second alarm. En route to the scene, he signals a third alarm, which calls for 23 engine and ladder companies, 12 chiefs, and 10 specialized units to respond to a plane crash at “Box 8087,” the FDNY’s shorthand reference for the World Trade Center. Vehicle drivers are instructed to park adjacent to the North Tower. The Port Authority Police Department (PAPD), responsible for the safety and security of the World Trade Center in addition to regional bridges, tunnels, airports, and the Port of New York and New Jersey, mobilizes in response to the attack. Additional PAPD units from other posts dispatch to the World Trade Center to aid in evacuation and rescue. At 8:50 am., U.S. President George W. Bush was alerted of the events by his advisers. Bush was visiting an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida. PAPD Sergeant Al DaVona orders to evacuate both Twin Towers in 8:59 am. One minute later, PAPD Captain Anthony Whitaker expanded the order to include all civilians in the World Trade Center complex. In 9:00 am, a report about the hijacking of Flight 175 existed. In 9:03 am, the South Toward was attacked by the United Airlines Flight 175 (with five hijackers in the plane) into floors between 77 and 85 of the South Tower (or 2 World Trade Center). All 51 passengers and the rest of the people in the plane were killed. An unknown amount of people in the building was killed instantly too. Above the impact zone, people were trapped. 2 emergency stairwells were impassable. Most of the elevator cables in the place were severed. Some people fell to their death from the North and South Towers by jumping out of the windows of the Twin Towers.

To understand the attacks on 9/11, we have to understand events of the past as well. The first terror attack in the World Trade Center occurred in February 26, 1993. It was over 20 years ago and I was in the fourth grade of elementary school when it happened. I remembered it. The bomb was a 1,336 pound urea nitrate-hydrogen gas enhanced device. The people involved in the evil action wanted both Twin Towers to fall. It failed. Also, 6 people were murdered and more than 1,000 people were injured in the blast. The attack was planned by a group of terrorists including Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammad Salameh, Nidal A. Ayyad, Abdul Rahman Yasin and Ahmed Ajaj. They received financing from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, Yousef's uncle. In March 1994, four men were convicted of carrying out the bombing: Abouhalima, Ajaj, Ayyad and Salameh. The charges included conspiracy, explosive destruction of property, and interstate transportation of explosives. In November 1997, two more were convicted: Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the bombings, and Eyad Ismoil, who drove the truck carrying the bomb. Ramzi Yousef was born in Kuwait and he spent time in an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Khalid Sheikh Muhammad Ali Fadden gave Yousef advice and tips over the phone. He funded the co-conspirator Mohammed Salameh with a US$660 wire transfer. Yousef came into America illegally on September 1, 1992. Yousef would live in Jersey City, New Jersey and he traveled around New York plus New Jersey. Yousef assembling the gas enhanced device to deliver it to the WTC. On Friday, February 26, 1993, Ramzi Yousef and a Jordanian friend, Eyad Ismoil, drove a yellow Ryder van into Lower Manhattan, and pulled into the public parking garage beneath the World Trade Center around noon. They parked on the underground B-2 level. Yousef ignited the 20-foot fuse, and fled. Twelve minutes later, at 12:17:37 pm, the bomb exploded in the underground garage, generating an estimated pressure of 150,000 psi. The bomb exploded in the basement. The World Trade Center’s main electrical power line was knocked out. Smoke rose up to the 93rd floor of both towers. In the course of the trial it was revealed that the FBI had an informant, a former Egyptian army officer named Emad Salem. Salem claims to have informed the FBI of the plot to build a bomb that would eventually be used in the World Trade Center towers as early as February 6, 1992. Salem's role as informant allowed the FBI to quickly pinpoint the conspirators out of hundreds of possible suspects. The transcripts do not make clear the extent to which Federal Authorities knew that there was a plan to bomb the World Trade Center, merely that a bombing of some sort was being discussed. Salem said that the FBI plan was for Salem to give the conspirators with a harmless powder instead of an actual exploitive. The FBI allowed him to do other actions. Also, the Salem secretly recorded hundreds of hours of telephone conversations with his FBI handlers. So, the FBI knew about such terrorism. A granite memorial fountain honoring the victims of the bombing was designed by Elyn Zimmerman and dedicated in 1995 on Austin J. Tobin Plaza, directly above the site of the explosion. It contained the names of the six adults who were killed in the attack as well as an inscription.

The Boston Tea Party happened in December 16, 1773 in Boston, Massachusetts. It was a political protest done by the Sons of Liberty organization. The Sons of Liberty wanted political independence from the British Empire. It had members from all thirteen colonies and it opposed the taxation from the British government. They fought the Stamp Act of 1765 as well. Controversy between Great Britain and the colonies arose in the 1760s when Parliament sought, for the first time, to impose a direct tax on the colonies for the purpose of raising revenue. Some colonists, known in the colonies as Whigs, objected to the new tax program, arguing that it was a violation of the British Constitution  (as no colonies could be taxed without consent from colonial assemblies).This protest was against the Tea Act of May 10, 1773. The Tea Act came from Parliament. It was created to help the British East India Company, which faced economic problems. It also wanted to prevent illegal tea that was smuggled into the North American colonies. Tea smugglers continued to work in New York and Philadelphia. Whigs in the colonies opposed the Tea Party. They resisted the consignees who were assigned to enforce the Tea Act too. The Boston Tea Party involved colonists (some of them disguised themselves as Native Americans) to board tea ships anchored in the harbor. Later, they dumped the tea cargo overboard. The British Parliament and King George were furious, so they enacted the Coercive Acts. These acts were used to punish Massachusetts for its resistance and it established the appointment of George Thomas Gage as royal governor of Massachusetts. The actions by the Parliament from British further increased tensions. The colonists have said that they were experiencing “taxation without representation” as the colonists had virtual no representation in the British Parliament to really have a say in policies politically. The North Ministry failed to make the colonists and the Parliament to reconcile amicably. Samuel Adams defended the Boston Tea Party. Other people involved in support of the action were Paul Revere, William Molineux, and other Sons of Liberty.  Many meetings of the Sons of Liberty took place in the Green Dragon Tavern. This place had a downstairs area of the tavern. Upstairs had the St. Andrews Lodge of Massachusetts (Ancients). It was filled with Freemasons who would later be involved in the American Revolution. Many Freemasons were involved in the American Revolutions from Generals to regular colonists. The Sons of Liberty held secret sessions in the Green Dragon Tavern. Joseph Warren and Paul Revere were well known Freemasons. The Boston Tea Party was one of the last acts of rebellion by the American colonists before the American War of Independence took place in April 1775.

The American Revolutionary War lasted from 1775 to 1783. It was one of the most serious wars in human history. The war was between Great Britain and the thirteen of the North American colonies who had declared themselves the independent United States of America. The conflict expanded into the Caribbean, India, and other places. America had allies in France, Spain, and the Netherlands. The war started in 1775. As early as February of 1775, Parliament declared Massachusetts as in a state of rebellion. Lieutenant General Thomas Gage was the British North American commander in chief. He commanded four regiments of British regulars (or about 4,000 men) from his headquarters in Boston. The countryside was controlled by the revolutionaries. On April 14, Gage was ordered to disarm the rebels and arrest their leaders. It was during the night of April 18, 1775 that things would change forever in America. On that date, General Gage sent 700 men to seize munitions sorted by the colonial militia in Concord, Massachusetts. Riders including Paul Revere alerted the countryside, and when British troops entered Lexington on the morning of April 19, they found 77 Minutemen formed up on the village green. Shots were exchanged, killing several Minutemen. The British moved on to Concord, where a detachment of three companies was engaged and routed at the North Bridge by a force of 500 minutemen. As the British retreated back to Boston, thousands of militiamen attacked them along the roads, inflicting many casualties before timely British reinforcements prevented a total disaster. With the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the war had begun. The militia from the Americans came into Boston. They bottled the British in the city. About 4,500 British soldiers came to Boston by sea. By June 17, 1775, British forces under General William Howe seized the Charlestown peninsula at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The British mounted a costly frontal attack. The Americans fell back, but British losses totaled over 1,000 men. The siege was not broken, and Gage was soon replaced by Howe as the British commander-in-chief. General Gage admitted in a letter to the Secretary at War in London that the Americans showed strong spirit in their fighting. In July of 1775, newly appointed General George Washington came into Boston. He took charge of the colonial forces and organized the Continental Army. Washington wanted the army to have more gunpowder since there was a shortage. So, he asked for new sources. Arsenals were aided. Manufacturing was attempted. 90% of the supply (2 million pounds) was imported by the end of 1776, mostly from France. Patriots in New Hampshire had seized powder, muskets and cannons from Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth Harbor in late 1774. Some of the munitions were used in the Boston campaign. The standoff continued throughout the fall and winter. During this time Washington was astounded by the failure of Howe to attack his shrinking, poorly armed force. In early March 1776, heavy cannons that the patriots had captured at Fort Ticonderoga were brought to Boston by Colonel Henry Knox, and placed on Dorchester Heights. Since the artillery now overlooked the British positions, Howe's situation was untenable, and the British fled on March 17, 1776, sailing to their naval base at Halifax, Nova Scotia, an event now celebrated in Massachusetts as Evacuation Day. Washington then moved most of the Continental Army to fortify New York City. In 1775, the American forces invaded Canada and especially Quebec.

By Timothy

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