America is Under Attack by Don Brown.
America is Under Attack begins on a beautiful September morning. Mr. Brown writes of four planes crossing the sky on a deadly mission. The date is September 11, 2001.
Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City; one crashed into the Pentagon building in Washington, D. C.; and the last plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. On September 11, 2001 beginning at 8:00 am the events of that morning changed the world forever.
These four jets were no longer airplanes, they became weapons. A flight attendant managed to alert on-the-ground authorities to the hijacking. She said, “Something is wrong … We are flying very, very low.”
At 8:46 am, the plane slammed into the North Tower. The plane was flying at 450 miles per hour, the jet exploded through floors 93 to 99. The ground shook and debris and flames hurled from the building.
Fire Chief Joseph Pfiefer was in lower Manhattan when he heard the plane approach. He saw the jet smash into the tower. He hollered at his men to get the rigs, so they could start the rescue.
Among the rescue workers arriving at the North Tower was Chief Pfiefer’s brother Kevin, a lieutenant in the fire department. The two men turned to their duties after sharing a few moments together. The chief remained in the lobby directing the firefighters. His brother headed for the crash site in the tower.
Without the use of elevators it would take the firefighters over an hour to reach their destination carrying 80 pounds of equipment. The fire department’s plan was not to fight the fire, but to evacuate the building. A plan of this multitude had never been executed.
At this point, people knew it wasn’t a horrific accident, but a deliberate attack on America. It had been 17 minutes between the first and second plane attacks.
The third target was hit at 9:37 am 200 miles away from the first two attacks. This attack was in Washington, D. C. the military headquarters, the Pentagon.
Hundreds of miles away, another kind of desperate action took place. The fourth hijacked plane was in the air, creasing the Pennsylvania sky. The passengers on this jet understood America was under attack through cell phone calls from family and friends. The passengers decided they must fight back. The passengers aboard this last plane banded together and stormed the cockpit. The jet rolled onto its back and smashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. There were no survivors.
It took 102 minutes for hijackers to destroy the World Trade Center, cripple the Pentagon, and doomed four jet liners. 2,973 people were dead, more than the number of Americans killed at Pearl Harbor or on D-Day. As a result of hostile attack it was the largest loss of life on American soil.
Chief Joseph Pfeifer survived, but not his fireman brother. They last spoke in the North Tower lobby, moments before Lieutenant Kevin Pfeifer led his men up. Kevin was recovered from the wreckage in February. The chief was there when they recovered his body. “Not only did I see him going into the towers, but I also brought him out,” said the chief.
~ Booktalk by Gail Goldberg