September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack Full Timeline: September
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Ironically, the United Nations International Day of Peace
8:45 AM EDT, American Airlines flight 11 (a Boeing 767) crashes into the north side of the northern tower of the World Trade Center, approximately between floors 96 and 103. People in the northern tower start to evacuate. Officials in the southern tower tell people shortly afterwards by megaphone and office announcements that they are safe and can return to their offices. Some people don't hear it; others ignore it and evacuate anyway.
9:03 AM EDT, United Airlines flight 175 (another Boeing 767) crashes into the south side of the southern tower, approximately between floors 87 and 93. A number of huge explosions are reported. A passenger on the plane, Peter Burton Hanson, had called his father earlier from the plane reporting that hijackers were stabbing flight attendants in order to force the crew to open the cockpit doors.
9:24 AM EDT, president Bush calls the crashes on the World Trade Center 'a national tragedy'.
?:?? AM EDT, several people, trapped by fire and smoke in the upper floors of the World Trade Center towers, jump to their deaths. One person at street level, firefighter Daniel Thomas Suhr, is hit by such a jumper and dies.
9:40 AM EDT, United States airspace is cleared. No civilian aircraft are allowed to lift off. All air traffic headed for the U.S. is redirected to Canada. Later, FAA announces that civilian flights are suspended until at least noon, September 12. This is the first time all commercial flights in the U.S. have ever been suspended. Military and medical flights continue.
9:43 AM EDT, American Airlines flight 77 (Boeing 757) crashes into the western side of the Pentagon and starts a violent fire. The section of the Pentagon hit consists mainly of newly renovated, unoccupied offices. Barbara K. Olson had called her husband, Solicitor General Theodore Olson at the Justice Department at 9:25 from the plane to tell him about the hijacking and to report that the passengers and pilots were held in the back of the plane.
9:57 AM EDT, the president is moved from Florida.
10:05 AM EDT, the southern tower of the World Trade Center collapses. It is later explained that the collapse was not directly caused by the impact; the intense heat caused by the fire fueled by the jet's fuel weakened the steel support beams of the concrete floors.
10:10 AM EDT, part of the Pentagon collapses.
10:10 AM EDT, United Airlines flight 93 (Boeing 757) crashes southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset county, Pennsylvania. The first reports from the police indicate that no one on board survived. A passenger reached officials on his cell phone from the plane's rest room, repeatedly claiming that the plane was hijacked and that the call was not a hoax. Later reports indicate that passengers speaking on cell phones had learned about the World Trade Center crashes and at least three were planning on resisting the hijackers. One passenger told his wife that one person had already been stabbed to death by the hijackers. It is likely that the resistance led to the plane crashing before it reached its intended target. An eyewitness reports seeing a white plane resembling a fighter jet circling the site minutes after the crash.
10:15 AM EDT (approximately), the Palestinian group DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) is reported to take responsibility for the crashes, but this is denied by a senior officer of the group soon after.
10:29 AM EDT, the northern tower of the World Trade Center collapses from the top down, as if being peeled apart.
10:39 AM EDT, a hijacked jumbo jet is claimed to be headed for Washington, D.C. F16s are scrambled and patrol the airspace above Washington, D.C. and above New York City with orders to shoot down any planes still in the air.
10:45 AM EDT, CNN reports that a mass evacuation of Washington and New York has been started. The UN headquarters are already empty. A few minutes later, New York's mayor orders an evacuation of lower Manhattan.
10:50 AM EDT, five stories of the Pentagon collapse due to the fire.
11:15 AM EDT (approximately), reports that the F16s over Washington had shot something down. There was no later confirmation of these reports.
11:16 AM EDT, American Airlines confirms the loss of its two airplanes.
11:26 AM EDT, United Airlines confirms the loss of its two airplanes.
11:55 AM EDT, the border between the U.S. and Mexico is on highest alert, but has not been closed.
12:00 AM EDT (approximately), President Bush arrives at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. He was on a trip in Sarasota Florida to speak about education, but is supposedly now returning to the Capital. He made a brief and informal initial statement to the effect that terrorism on U.S. soil will not be tolerated, stating that "freedom itself has been attacked and freedom will be protected."
12:15 PM EDT, San Francisco International Airport, the intended destination of United Airlines flight 93, is shut down.
1:00 PM EDT approx. At the Pentagon, fire crews are still fighting fires. The early response to the attack had been coordinated from the National Military Command Center, but that had to be evacuated when it began to fill with smoke.
1:04 PM EDT, President Bush puts the U.S. military on high alert worldwide. He speaks from Barksdale Air Force Base and leaves for SAC bunker in Nebraska.
2:30 PM EDT, John McCain characterizes attack as an "act of war."
5:20 PM EDT, Salomon Brothers 7, commonly referred to as "Building 7", a 47 story building which had been damaged in the fall of the twin towers and was earlier reported on fire, collapses.
6:00 PM EDT, Explosions and tracer fire being reported in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan by CNN. The BBC have also reported this. The Northern Alliance, involved in a civil war with the Taliban government, was later reported to have attacked Kabul's airport with helicopter gunships.
6:00 PM EDT Iraq announces the attacks are the fruit of "U.S. crimes against humanity" in an official announcement on state television.
7:30 PM EDT U.S. Government denies any responsibility for reported explosions in Kabul.
8:30 PM EDT, George W. Bush addresses nation from the White House.
11:00 PM EDT, There are reports of survivors buried in the rubble in New York making cell phone calls. These rumors, however, are difficult to substantiate.
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
2:30 AM EDT, CBS reports that a van packed with explosives has been stopped on George Washington Bridge. The New Jersey police claim that there were enough explosives to destroy the entire bridge. Apparently FBI has denied the report. According to a later report, three men have been arrested but there were no explosives involved. They were arrested because they had been seen celebrating the attack.
Before 3:15 AM EDT, Boston Herald reports that at least five Arab men have been identified as suspects. Two of them were brothers, and one a trained pilot. Their passports have been traced to the United Arab Emirates. A car, rented in Portland Maine, has been seized from the Logan Airport garage, containing flight training manuals in Arabic. According to CNN, FBI can neither confirm nor deny this. The men had been in a fight with a man shortly before take-off; this man later recalled the incident and called the police.
1:10 PM EDT, FBI agents storm the Westin Hotel in Boston to investigate a room rented by a passenger on one plane. They encounter and detain 3 people in the room and call in a bomb squad to investigate a supicious package.
3:58 PM EDT FBI announces that they have evidence that the White House and Air Force One were intended targets of the attacks. Later this is recanted, and blamed on administration staffers misunderstanding the security information they received.
5:00 PM EDT, John Ashcroft announces that some of the hijackers were pilots trained in the U.S.
7:00 PM EDT Candlelight vigils are held in Washington Square, Union Square, Central Park, and various other locations in New York City.
Late evening: Chicago Tribune reports that an anti-Arab rally was held by a crowd of a few hundred people near Bridgeview mosque in Chicago. Three were arrested by the over 100 policemen there, two for disorderly conduct and one for reckless driving.
Thursday, September 13, 2001
Before 1 AM EDT, German police raid an apartment in Hamburg, apparently at the behest of the FBI, believed to have been used by suspect passengers on the airline flight list. It is believed to be the first action outside the U.S. connected with the attack. Two people are taken in provisional custody, one is an airport worker. Both were later released.
The data recorder from United Airlines flight 93 is recovered.
Between 4:15 and 5:00 PM EDT, 10 people were detained at New York airports, reportedly including persons who had boarded planes under false pretenses, persons who had been trained to fly aircraft at the same place as the previous terrorists, and people who had attempted to bring knives and other weapons past airport security. Some of these persons had already been identified by the FBI as potential suspects. Three were removed from planes ready to start by police swat teams, one resists arrest. It is later found that none of them were planning a hijacking.
Friday, September 14, 2001
The United States Department of Defense (DoD)releases a revised estimate and the names of unaccounted. 125 people are missing: 74 Army, 42 Navy, 9 Defense agency. The original estimate for Defense Agencies was 10, which inadvertantly included one DoD employee on American Airlines Flight 77, Mr. Bryan C. Jack.
? AM Resumption of package deliveries from national carriers such as UPS and Federal Express.
? AM Nine of the ten detained at New York airports were released. One is still being questioned about immigration status. Authorities suspected one of them was holding a false pilot's license, but he was a pilot. He was carrying papers, including a visa, which were owned by his brother in Boston, who happened to live in the same building as three of the people suspected of involvement in the hijackings. There was no hijacking attempts at either airport on the 13th, only suspicious circumstances.
? AM The Pentagon reports recovering both black boxes from flight AA 77 which crashed into the Pentagon.
? AM The names of the suspected hijackers are released by the US government.
12:00 PM EDT approx. Service led by Rev. Billy Graham at Washington National Cathedral, with George W. Bush, the former presidents other than Reagan, Congressional leaders, other top officials in attendance. Bush gave remarks, beginning with 'We are here in the middle hour of our grief'.
2:20 PM EDT Colin Powell press briefing
3:40 PM EDT President George W. Bush arrives in New York City.
PM EDT The United Airlines flight 93 flight recorder is found at the bottom of the 25-foot deep crater.
Saturday, September 15, 2001
The Department of Defense releases a casualty update: Aerographer's Mate First Class Edward Thomas Earhart, 26, Salt Lick, Ky., is confirmed dead. Herbert W. Homer, a civilian employee of the Defense Contract Management Agency, was previously listed in error as unaccounted for at the Pentagon; he was among the passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 175. 
Before 8:00 AM EDT New York authorities end request for donations of emergency supplies.
Before 2:30 PM EDT Iran announces that it has closed its border with Afghanistan.
Before 2:30 PM EDT the official New York City missing count has risen to 4972. Over 150 bodies have been found, 92 positively identified.
Before 2:30 PM EDT the official death count at the Pentagon has risen to 189, including the 64 in the plane.
3:00 PM EDT approx. a funeral mass is held for Rev. Mychal Judge.
3:00 PM EDT approx. a funeral is held for fire chief Peter J. Ganci, Jr. in New Jersey. Afterwards mayor Rudy Giuliani breaks his policy of never making public comments after the funeral, saying "All eyes are on New York City."
Before 3:00 PM EDT The New York Stock Exchange is successfully tested for its Morning open at 9:30 AM EDT.
Before 3:00 PM EDT Colin Powell says both Pakistan and Iran have closed their borders with Afghanistan. Pakistan has agreed to act as a staging area for American air strikes or forces.
Sunday, September 16, 2001
The Department of Defense releases a casualty update: Cmdr. Dan Frederic Shanower, 40, of Naperville, Ill. is confirmed dead. The number of dead or unaccounted at the Pentagon remains 124, not including the 64 passengers on American Airlines flight 77. 88 remains have been recovered from the Pentagon and transported to Dover Air Force Base, Del. for identification. 
Lower Manhattan east of Broadway is opened to pedestrians.
Tens of thousands of Afghani refugees stream toward the closed borders with Iran and Pakistan (there are already two million refugees in each country already from twenty years of Afghani-Soviet War then Afghan Civil War). Food and other aid can no longer get in.
Monday, September 17, 2001
The U.S. had demanded that Pakistan closes its borders to Afghan refugees and Pakistan complies.
Major League Baseball games recommence.
The Department of Defense (DoD) releases a casualty update: 9 DoD employees and 2 passengers accounted for, and 124 DoD employees still unaccounted for. To date, 97 remains have been recovered and transported to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. for identification. Eleven have been identified. Search and rescue operations continue. 
6:00 AM EDT Staten Island ferry reopens. New Brooklyn ferry opens.
8:30 AM EDT approx. The US Federal Reserve cut the prime interest rate by half a percent to three percent.
11:08 AM EDT The World Bank and IMF cancel the annual meeting scheduled for September 29th and 30th at Washington D.C.
4:00 PM EDT Dow Jones Industrial Average closes down 684.81 points (7.13%) in heavy trading. NASDAQ was down 6.84%, S&P500 4.93%. Airline stocks were down over 40 percent. Insurance, financial, and travel and leisure stocks were also down heavily. Military contractor, savings and loans, telecom, and pharmaceutical stocks enjoyed gains
4:00 PM EDT Rudy Giuliani conference: 5422 missing, 201 known dead, 135 identified. For the week to date, crime in New York City has been down 34 percent over the same week last year. 40,000 tons of debris have been removed.
Conference of many Islamic leaders to meet in Afghanistan to determine their response to the U.S. ultimatum.
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, beginning a ten day period to consider the sins of the past year and do better.
12:30 PM EDT Rudy Giuliani press briefing: 49,553 tons removed to Fresh Kills in 3,788 trucks. 218 confirmed dead, 152 identified. 37 uniformed officers, 32 firefighters, 2 E.M.T.'s, 2 Port Authority Police officers and one New Jersey Fire Department firefighter. For small businesses: http://sba.gov/disaster or FEMA at 1.800.462.9029. 17,000 people took the Staten Island Ferry, 1,037 took Sunset Park Ferry, 8,200 came to Pier 11. The phone number for the Twin Towers Fund for the search and recovery effort is 1.877.870.4278. 
2:30 PM EDT Ari Fleischer press briefing. The U.S. intends to go after terrorism whenever it threatens the United States, not all terrorism.
2:50 PM EDT US Attorney General John Ashcroft press briefing: 96,000 tips. There may have been more than four planes targeted for hijacking. INS will have 48 hours (or unlimited under emergencies) instead of the previous 24 in which to decide whether to charge detained individuals. This will allow them to detain the 75 individuals held in connection with the investigation indefinitely. Permanent anti-terrorism task forces under the US Attorney General and FBI will be established to blur the lines between local and federal law enforcement and the federal intelligence agencies.
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
The Department of Defense order over 100 combat aircraft, including fighters, bombers, and support aircraft to military bases in the Persian Gulf. Three aircraft carrier groups will soon be within operational distance of west Asia.
2:20 PM EDT approx. Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki press briefing: two lanes of Brooklyn Bridge into city to open Thursday. That morning, there were 1000 people on the Brooklyn ferry and 10000 people on Pier 11 ferry. The government is opening up 5.5 million sq. feet of real estate for business. Individual family grants of up to $14000 are availabe from the Dept. of Labor (1.800.462.9029). Unemployment assistance is also available at (1.888.209.8124). The State Dept. of Health is giving $60 million to NYC hospitals. The business assistance center at 633 Third Ave. has received 5000 calls and 700 visitors (1.800.ILOVENY). The city is hoping to get Battery Park North and South open in the next two days. The prayer service Sunday 9/23 at Yankee Stadium will be by ticket for families and the uniformed services (fire, police, etc.), and simulcase at Jumbotrons at Staten Island Brooklyn baseball stadiums. The city has determined it would be too early for the Central Park memorial service originally planned.
4:00 PM EDT Dow Jones Industrial Average closes down 144.27 (1.62%) to 8759.13. Other indexes are down similarly. At its lowest point, the Dow Jones was down over 420 points.
Thursday, September 20, 2001
Stock markets continue dramatic slide.
Pakistan general/president Musharraf gives speech asking country to go along with government decision to support United States -- allowing flights over airspace, supplying intelligence, etc.
40 Senators visit New York City to see the rescue and recovery effort firsthand.
The official number of missing persons at the WTC rises dramatically to 6333, due to reports coming in from foreign countries.
President Bush gives speech to joint session of Congress, with Tony Blair, Giuliani, and Pataki in attendance. Demands countries choose to be "with us or with the terrorists." Limits the enemy to terrorist groups with "global reach." Creates new cabinet-level office, for Homeland Security (Night Watch anyone? :-).
Conference of Afghani Islamic clerics advise Taliban leader Mohammad Shah to invite Osama bin Laden to leave Afghanistan by his own choice.
New York Philharmonic memorial concert of the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem in Avery Fisher Hall. The concert was led off by the national anthem, and on the stage was a flag which appeared on stage during all Philharmonic World War II concerts. All proceeds going to disaster relief. At the request of the Philharmonic director, all applause was held, and the audience filed out in silence.
Friday, September 21, 2001
4 AM EDT: Final version of airline assistance bill is written.
In the morning hours, the Congress approve a bill to prop up the airline industry and establish a federal fund for victims. The cost of the mostly open-ended fund may reach about $15 billion. Victims of earlier terrorist attacks, including those linked to al-Qaida, were not included in the fund.
Afganistan press conference announces willingness to forcibly turn Osama bin Laden over only with evidence. United States reiterates, no negotiation on demands.
Tens of thousands demonstrate in Pakistan against the government's support of United States.
The official number of missing persons at the WTC continues to fluctuate, 6300s to 6500s. They come from over 60 countries.
A two-hour live telethon entitled "America: A Tribute to Heroes", with musical performances and spoken tributes by top American performers, is simultaneously broadcast on nearly every single network.
Saturday, September 22, 2001
Hundreds of millions of dollars of donations have been raised for American relief agencies.
Sunday, September 23, 2001
The official count of bodies found at the site of the World Trade Center is 261; 194 have been identified. The official missing count at the World Trade Center is 6,453.
Taliban claim they cannot find Osama bin Laden to deliver request that he leave the country of his own will.
Monday, September 24, 2001
The official count of bodies found at the site of the World Trade Center is 276; 206 have been identified. The official missing count at the World Trade Center remains 6,453.
week of Monday, September 24, 2001
United States freezes assets of a list of terrorist groups included in this "war" (not the same as the existing 30-country list of terrorist organizations). The list: Al-Qaida/Islamic Army, Abu Sayyaf Group, Armed Islamic Group (GIA), Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), Al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Asbat al-Ansar, Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI), Islamic Army of Aden, Usama bin Laden, Muhammad Atif (aka, Subhi Abu Sitta, Abu Hafs Al Masri) Sayf al-Adl, Shaykh Sai'id (aka, Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad), Abu Hafs the Mauritanian (aka, Mahfouz Ould al-Walid, Khalid Al-Shanqiti), Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi, Abu Zubaydah (aka, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, Tariq), Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi (aka, Abu Abdallah), Ayman al-Zawahiri, Thirwat Salah Shihata, Tariq Anwar al-Sayyid Ahmad (aka, Fathi, Amr al-Fatih), Muhammad Salah (aka, Nasr Fahmi Nasr Hasanayn), Makhtab Al-Khidamat/Al Kifah, Wafa Humanitarian Organization, Al Rashid Trust, Mamoun Darkazanli Import-Export Company
Taliban shoot down an unnmanned United States spy plane.
U.S. stock markets rebound somewhat.
Over 100,000 tons of debris have been removed from the World Trade Center site. It is clear that no remains will be found for a significant number of people.
United States to present evidence of Osama bin Laden's connection secretly to some coalition governments.
Hundreds of people, mostly in the United States and European Union, have been arrested or detained in the ongoing investigation.
Legislation granting intelligence operations more latitude (in wiretapping, working with known criminals, etc.) is debated in Washington, D. C. Many are concerned about damaging civil liberties and the general atmosphere of American openness, which are, after all, the whole point.
United Nations warns of humanitarian disaster if 1.5 million expected Afghan refugees have nowhere to go, or in any case in two-three weeks when food relief supplies run out. All borders have been closed, Pakistan may accept more refugees although there are already 2 million from the previous 23 years of war.
Jesse Jackson reports receiving an invitation from the Taliban to come to Afghanistan as part of a peace delegation. They deny making the invitation, but welcome him to come. The United States government frowns on it, but will not stand in the way.
United States reveals that special forces are now, and/or have been recently, operating in Afghanistan already or in recent days.
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
The official count of bodies found at the site of the World Trade Center is 279; 209 have been identified. The official missing count at the World Trade Center is 6,398.
Wednesday, September 26, 2001
The official count of bodies found at the site of the World Trade Center is 300; 232 have been identified. The official missing count at the World Trade Center is 6,347.
Thursday, September 27, 2001
The official count of bodies found at the site of the World Trade Center is 305; 238 have been identified. The official missing count at the World Trade Center is 5,960.
Friday, September 28, 2001
The official count of bodies found at the site of the World Trade Center is 306; no new identifications are made. The official missing count at the World Trade Center remains 5,960.
Saturday, September 29, 2001
The official count of bodies found at the site of the World Trade Center is 309; 248 have been identified. The official missing count at the World Trade Center is 5,641.
Sunday, September 30, 2001
The official count of bodies found at the site of the World Trade Center is 314; 255 have been identified. The official missing count at the World Trade Center is 5,657.
The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, admits that the Taliban is protecting Osama bin Laden in an unknown location in Afghanistan, that he had been given the ulema recommendation that he leave the country voluntarily, and that the Taliban would be open to negotiation given evidence of bin Laden's culpability. John Ashcroft explains the US position of skepticism and refusal to negotiate.
September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack - Full Timeline - Background history
Casualties - Missing Persons - Survivors - Give Blood - Personal experiences - Donations
Closings and Cancellations - Memorials and Services - US Governmental Response
Responsibility - Hijackers - World political effects - World economic effects - Airport security
See also: World Trade Center -- Pentagon -- New York City -- Washington, D.C. -- AA Flight 11 -- UA Flight 75 -- AA Flight 77 -- UA Flight 93 -- U.S. Department of Defense -- terrorism -- domestic terrorism -- Osama Bin Laden -- al-Qaeda-- Taliban -- Northern Alliance -- Afghanistan -- collective trauma -- racism -- imperialism -- September 11