On 11 September 2001 (between 8 and 9 am US EDT), four US passenger jets bound for California from the east coast were hijacked and redirected by 19 Islamic terrorists – subsequently found to be operatives of Sunni Islamic terror group, al-Qaeda (“The Base”), led by Osama bin Laden, and harboured by the Islamist Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Two of the jets were flown into each of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre, New York, and another was flown into the Pentagon building (headquarters of the US Department of Defense, Virginia – just across the Potomac River from Washington DC).
The fourth jet landed in a field in Pennsylvania after some of its brave passengers, having heard of the previous hijackings and crashes via mobile phone calls, wrested back control of the redirected jet, preventing its Washington DC target (possibly an iconic building like the White House, Capitol Hill or the Washington Monument) from being hit with more lives taken.
Total loss of life in the attacks was almost 3,000, which included:
- all the jet airliner passengers and their crews,
- those in the buildings struck at the time (and several impacted nearby),
- first-responders (343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers) and
- innocent bystanders.
- Ten Australians lost their lives in the attack.
The US, under Republican President, George W Bush, responded by launching the “War on Terror” to avenge the audacious attack. Within two months, Coalition forces (including Australia) had occupied Afghanistan and bin Laden and al-Qaeda had fled to the mountains near the country’s border with Pakistan.
Australia’s conservative PM at the time, John Howard, was in Washington DC the day the Pentagon was struck. (He could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon from his hotel room.) PM Howard was in the US for his first official meeting with then US President, George W Bush (which occurred the day before) and for the 50th anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty (of which the Australia-US security Alliance is the key limb of three).
PM Howard responded to this Islamic terror attack to formally invoke the ANZUS Treaty and Australia-US Alliance for the first time in its 50 year history and join with the US in its War on Terror.
The attack set the direction of the first decade of the 21st century in the West. It also marked a fundamental turning point in the dynamics of the Australia-US relationship, bringing our two nations closer, and deepening our security alliance with the mass terror-attacked leader of the free world.
Mark this day of tragedy and audacious attack by Islamic terrorists on iconic US sites by:
- viewing these montages of the events of that day,
- watching this embedded clip of John Howard reflecting on the 9-11 attacks 10 years later, and reading the commentary around the great speech he gave to the Australian Parliament soon after the attack,
- watching this recollection of events by the US President’s then chief of staff,
- calling talkback radio, writing a letter to the editor or taking a moment to recall with friends where you were when you head about the attacks, remembering the significance of this day in history for you and your fellow Australians,
- [if you are in/near Canberra] visiting the Australian War Memorial or the National Museum of Australia to see their 9-11 and other displays, and/or
- sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends, conservatives and those that believe in Western civilisation and cherishes the freedoms, values and prosperity it upholds.
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