20 Years Since 9/11

WARNING: Distressing and confronting.

The term “anniversary” feels wrong to use on a day like this. It has been 20 years since the devastating attack on the Twin Towers in New York City, known as the “9/11 Terrorist Attacks”.

The event had an international impact and still to this day, no matter who you talk to, they will have a story about where they were when they heard the news.

Over the years, celebrities have come forward and shared their stories.

Among the list are Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe, who was planning on heading up to the observation floor but forgot his camera. So he left the area to go grab his camera, and when he got back to the hotel he saw the event unfolding on TV. Missing it by 20 minutes.

Michael Jackson slept in after having a late night chat with his Mum and Sister. He was due for a meeting at the top of the World Trade Centre that morning.

Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson got stuck in New York traffic heading for the Twin Towers. She was running 20 minutes late after an interview at the near by NBC studios.

Actor Rob Lowe was on the flight used as a practice run that was used 11 days later to attack The Pentagon.

Gwyneth Paltrow saved a women’s life. When driving home from Yoga class a woman stepped out in front of her car to jaywalk, but when she noticed the car she stepped out in front was being driven by Gwyneth Paltrow, she was starstruck. Gwyneth commented saying, “We kind of both stopped at the same time and waited a really long time.” The woman was rushing to her job on the 77th floor of the South Tower. This encounter made her late for work, making her miss the plane attack.

Mark Wahlberg was due to take the American Airlines Flight 11 which terrorists crashed into the North Tower on September 11. But at the last minute, the actor and his friends decided to change plans and chartered a plane to Toronto, Canada to attend a film festival.

As the day approaches, many prepare to mourn and pay their respects to the 2,996 people who died on the 11th September 2001. Since the event, many photos have been released including a controversial picture known as “The Falling Man”.

‘The Falling Man’ taken by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. Picture: AP/Richard Drew

The picture was deemed “exploitative” as it is a picture of someone dying. However, this photograph helped bring closure to a man by the name of Richard Pecorella who lost his fiancé, 52-year-old Karen Juday, an administrative assistant for the Cantor Fitzgerald brokerage, in the attacks. He was unsure of the cause of her untimely death, and wanted to know if she jumped like many others that day.

Photographer Richard Drew sat down with Richard Pecorella and went through every photo of every person who jumped that day to find a picture of his fiancé, and they did. Richard received the closure he deserved.

Today on the 11th September 2021, US President Joe Biden will visit all three sites and will be joined at Ground Zero in New York by Barack Obama. 

Small memorial ceremonies will be held across the US, and millions are expected to tune in to coverage that will blanket the TV networks throughout the day. 

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