To honor 9/11, I found 25 Facts about 9/11 you probably didn't know. It's important to distinguish that while there are many conspiracy theories and far-flung claims about the events that day, we stuck to verifiable facts from sites like CNN, Wikipedia, the UK Guardian, and others:
1. September 11, 2001 resulted in the largest loss of life from a foreign attack on American soil, far more than Pearl Harbor.
2. A total of 18 people were rescued alive from the rubble after the World Trade Center collapse.
3. After the first plane hit Building 1 of the World Trade Center, employees in building 2 were instructed to stay in the building – not evacuate. The New York City fire evacuation procedures called for evacuations only of those floors directly adjacent to a fire.
4. Video accounts of the World Trade Center attacks were aired on news stations all around the world almost instantly. However, video footage of the Pentagon attack wasn’t released to the public until 2006, 5 years later.
5. On the average day, about 50,000 people worked in the WTC towers and another 40,000 would come and go through the building complex.
6. Many people forget that the 9/11 wasn’t the first time terrorist target the World Trade Center. In 1993, a car bomb exploded, killing 6 people.
7. Of the casualties resulting from the WTC attacks on9/11, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 New York City police officers, and 37 officers at the Port Authority. As others ran away, these brave men and women ran into the buildings.
8. Few people realize that another World Trade Center collapsed that day, not just the Twin Towers. In fact, Building 7 of the WTC complex fell later that afternoon. It was not publicized and a lot of information was not shared with the public. It was concluded that the structure came down because of fire damage. Reportedly, never in the history of construction has steel melted to the point of collapse due to a fire. The structural failure of construction-grade steel is 90% at 800° C (1432°F).
9. Every Tuesday morning, NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had a recurring meeting on the 23rdfloor of the WTC building 7. His meeting the morning of 9/11 was cancelled just a few hours earlier.
10. Likewise, President Bush’s cousin, Jim Pierce, was slated to attend a conference that morning on the 105th floor of the South Tower. But the group was too large so the conference was moved at the last minute to the Millennium Hotel across the street.
11. There were plenty of warnings about 9/11, including that received by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who is on record saying he received a warning late Monday evening from airport security, telling him not to fly.
12. The death toll for the 9/11 attacks rose for years, even after all of the rubble was cleared and all of the bodies exhumed. That’s because there were a handful of subsequent deaths due to dust exposure, smoke inhalation, lymphoma, and other lung diseases caused by the attacks, all ruled homicides.
13. As of this date, only 1,632 victims have been identified, leaving as many as 1,121 unidentified.
14. The Victims Compensation Fund was set up almost immediately after 9/11, operating from December 2001 to 2003. The VCF received 7,408 applications for personal injury and death claims, awarding funds in 5,560 of those cases.
15. Ten years after the attack, on January 2, 2011, President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, empowering the scope and work of the original VCF to help more victims.
16. The economic loss due to the attacks is staggering. It’s estimated that the price tag comes to $123 billion, including lost wages and suspended commerce during the 2-4 weeks immediately after the attacks, decline in air travel over the next few years, etc. Other price tags from 9/11 include the $60 billion cost from WTC site damage, including damage to surrounding buildings, infrastructure and subway facilities, $40 billion to fund the emergency anti-terrorism package approved by Congress in 2001, $15 billion aid to the airlines, and $9.3 in insurance claim payouts.
17. To clean up the WTC site, it took 3.1 million man-hours and $750 million, clearing 1.8 million tons of wreckage.
18. The Homeland Security Advisory System was introduced on March 12, 2002 to monitor and caution the public to terrorism threats. The color-coded system includes (in ascending order) green, blue, yellow, orange, and red threat levels. It has never been below yellow since 2001 but it was raised to orange five times and red once, in 2006, when flights from the UK to the United States expected an imminent attack.
19. Exactly nine months after 9/11, the birthrate at New York City hospitals was 20% higher than the same month in 2000. It’s reported that alcohol consumption in New York City rose 25% the week after 9/11 compared to the previous year. Church and synagogue attendance was up 20% as well.
20. There are many stories of bravery and humanity coming out of the attack that day, but one of the most touching is that of Michael Hingson and his dog, Roselle. Hingson, who is blind, was in the North Tower that day with his guide dog, a yellow lab. When the plane hit, Roselle led her owner down 78 stories of stars, out to the street, and down to a friend’s house to safety.
21. New York City fire fighters couldn’t extinguish all the fires caused by the 9/11attack for 100 days.
22. At Princeton University, a computer-generated algorithm program called the Random Event Generator predicted a “cataclysmic event was about to unfold.” That was three hours before the attack.
23. The week after the 9/11 attacks, the top searches on Google were: 1) Osama bin Laden; 2) The World Trade Center; 3) CNN; and 4) Nostradamus.
24. Cantor Fitzgerald is a financial services firm that operated out of WTC and lost 658 employees that day. Since then, they’ve dedicated the proceeds from their efforts every September 11 to world wide charities, raising upwards of $101 million for good causes and honoring their fallen comrades.
25. There is a growing movement to make 9/11 a national holiday, serving as a day of remembrance and tribute the victims and honoring those who sacrificed their lives to save others. It is currently designated as a Day of Remembrance, not a national holiday, similar to Pearl Harbor Day on December 7.