9/11, also known as September 11, means September 11th 2001 when Osama bin Laden’s men killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Going by the numbers killed, it was the worst day in America since the civil war over a hundred years ago. It is called “9/11” because in America that is short for the 11th day of the 9th month, the day it happened.
Osama’s men took control of four planes in the east headed for the west. They turned them back to the east and flew them into buildings in New York and Washington that represent American power: the Twin Towers, the two tallest buildings in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The fourth plane, destined for either the Capitol or the White House, never made it but went down in a field in the state of Pennsylvania.
It took America completely by surprise.
I was on my way to work on a bus headed for New York when it happened. We were across the river about to enter New York just after the second jet struck the second tower. I never saw so much smoke in all my life. They turned us back from the city. An hour or so later we heard the sickening news: the towers had fallen.
To see the twin towers no longer there five years later, still affects me. I cannot put it into words. Something between anger and awe.
America is far across the seas from most of the troubles in the world. And so when we hear the news about it, it seems unreal to us, like a fable. No longer.
Osama bin Laden wants to push America out of the Muslim world. So far 9/11 has done the opposite: in 2001 America sent its military to overthrow the government in Afghanistan and, in 2003, it did the same in Iraq.
Overthrowing governments was easy: but setting up strong, new, friendly governments in their place has proved to be very difficult. The governments America has set up are weak and many want to see them fail, Osama bin Laden and his men among them. So America is still fighting in those countries years later!
That may be just what Osama bin Laden had in mind: he fought Russia in Afghanistan 20 years ago. Not only did Russia lose the war, its rule over the Muslim countries in Central Asia was broken – countries it had ruled for over a hundred years!
It took nearly ten years to break Russia. America has been in Afghanistan only five years and in Iraq three. In Somalia Bin Laden saw how cowardly America was and how little patience it has. Not even Russia was that bad. So he still hopes to win.
The attacks were on September 11th because that is the day in 1922 when the British took over Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, the last great Muslim empire.
There has been no attacks in America since 9/11. That is a surprise. But if the purpose of the attacks were to draw America into a fight, no more were needed.
– Abagond, 2006.