At 8:46 a.m., on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11, traveling from Boston to Los Angeles, struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the Trade Center. At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The tragic events began the international military campaign, the War on Terror; and now, 20 years later, the nation honors the day with American flags lowered halfway, and a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.
On September 11, 2021, the Town of Winthrop honored the 2,977 lives lost because of that tragic act with a solemn ceremony on City Hall lawn. Government officials, residents, and veterans gathered with the Police and Fire Departments to remember not only the despair and grief, but the heroes who rushed to New York to help.
First responder, fireman, Chuck Flanagan, of the Massachusetts Task Force Urban Search & Rescue, recalled when he heard the horrifying news – he was teaching a class in Texas. Since all the planes in North America were grounded, many of his fellow members drove 30 hours straight to New York.
“When I got to the site that night, it was clear that there was probably no way to survive this. Most of the rescue victims had been evacuated in the first four hours. The most eerie thing that hit me was when the heavy dust settled, and I could hear beeping from a devise when firefighters are motionless,” Flanagan explained. “It’s an excruciating sound. Because it was an attack on America, as responders, we took risks that were beyond the scope of what we are supposed to. We were trying to recover respectfully the remains of those who perished in the incident. It was a difficult task, and took a long time.”