Images from September 11, 2001, including the Pentagon attack, are seared into the minds of many Americans, and photos and videos capture the urgency and raw emotion from the time.
Few will ever forget the image of the smoldering World Trade Center Tower 1 or the shock felt by the nation as a second plane smashed into the World Trade Center Tower 2, caught live on newscasts.
Those attacks left 2,606 people dead. That huge death toll sometimes overshadows the horrifying attacks at the Pentagon, and the heroic stories of those killed in Flight 93 as passengers and crew members fought back against the terrorists. The crash left a crater in a field of rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the southwestern part of the state. The field now holds the Flight 93 Memorial, which includes a memorial to each of the 40 passengers and crew members who thwarted an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Between the time of the attacks on the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m., and the Flight 93 crash at 10:03 a.m., radio transmissions alerted that American Airlines Flight 77 was headed toward the White House. The plane crashed into the western facade of the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m., killing 184 people.
Here’s what you need to know:
CBS News Journalists Express Shock as Smoke Emanates From the Pentagon
Reporters from CBS News struggled to fathom what they were seeing as dark plumes of smoke tumbled from a gaping hole in the Pentagon the morning of September 11, 2001.
“Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness,” reporter Bryant Gumbel said as a live picture of the Pentagon was displayed on the air. “We’re looking at a live picture from Washington and there is smoke pouring out of the Pentagon. It would appear that there has been another major explosion, this one in the nation’s capital.”
Security Video Shows the Plane Hitting the Pentagon
According to History.com, 125 people died inside the Pentagon plus all 64 passengers onboard the hijacked airplane, including the five hijackers.
The design of the building was credited with preventing an even higher death toll. The attack on the Pentagon created a life-and-death struggle for some of the workers trapped in the wreckage, and it ended the lives of the plane’s passengers.
First Responders & Air Traffic Controllers Deal With Flight 77
Another video, which you can watch here, includes audio from first responders and air traffic control as Flight 77 diverted from its path to California and headed toward Washington, DC
“We’re tracking a fast-moving primary heading towards the White House. The White House has been advised,” a man said on the video.
“It looks like it went into the Pentagon,” another man said.
A Priest Who Witnessed the Attack Describes What He Saw
A priest who witnessed the 9/11 crash into the Pentagon spoke to the Smithsonian Channel about what he saw. You can watch the video here.
Father Stephan McGraw was sitting on the freeway stuck in traffic when he felt the vibrations and rush of air as the plane flew low over his car.
“There was the overwhelming sense of something coming over the tops of our cars,” he said.
The plane was flying so low that it clipped a light pole, he said. He turned right, and saw the plane crash into the Pentagon.
“There were these two huge billows of fire that came out of the two top windows of the Pentagon and the fireballs just kind of billowed out,” he said.
He rushed to the wreckage and prayed with a badly wounded man.
Photos of the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 Show Gaping Hole In The Pentagon & First Responders Rushing to Help
The 9/11 attack on the Pentagon left a 90-foot hole in the Pentagon’s western facade and caused a huge fire.
With the building evacuated, Pentagon survivors stood in a field and watched in horror as crews treated the injured and worked to extinguish a fire.
The September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon sent dark plumes of smoke drifting into the sky, which could be seen throughout the nation’s capital.
First responders, along with members of the Pentagon, tended to the injured after the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon.