Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Nineteen years ago, on September 11, the world watched in stunned horror as hijacked airplanes crashed into two separate towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. The incident saw nearly 2,700 people killed while around 6000 others were injured. Since then, even as the trauma fades, things have not returned back to normal. Now in 2020, as the US wrestles with the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuilding efforts have been stalled and things seem to be stuck in a limbo of sorts.

What happened on September 11, 2001?

On the fateful day, four passenger flights that took off from California were hijacked by members of terror group, al-Qaeda. While two of the flights crashed into two 110 storey towers of the World Trade Centre, another crashed into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Department of Defence.

Aside from over $10 billion worth of property damage, thousands were killed or injured in the incident. This was not only due to the direct results of the crash -- many of those killed were firefighters and law enforcement officials. Others in the area as well as those in the ill-fated flights were affected.

Eyewitnesses would later recall people jumping futilely out of the buildings and falling to their deaths, or officials working to rescue people from the rubble. Others remember seeing the massive buildings crumble down.

Days later, they would also recall President Bush standing atop the wreckage of a firetruck and giving an impassioned seemingly impromptu speech vowing to punish the attackers.

Years later, it would seem that this promise has been fulfilled after a fashion. The US launched a war against terror and more recently, during the tenure of President Obama, al-Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden, considered the mastermind behind the attack was killed in Pakistan on May 2011 by America's special forces.

But what happened to Manhattan and the Twin Towers?

According to reports, rebuilding efforts continue to be underway, and have been stalled by the pandemic. While large swathes of the World Trade Centre Complex has been rebuilt, around $ 25 billion later, things are not yet complete.

While a a tourist attraction and business center with three skyscrapers, a transportation hub, a museum and a memorial have been readied, the contruction of a performing arts center under construction and a fourth and final skyscraper remain unfinished.

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