HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, September 11 attacks, also called the 9/11 attacks, were a series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks committed in 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda against targets in the United States, the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history.
The attacks against New York City and Washington, D.C., caused extensive death and destruction and triggered an enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism. Some 2,750 people were killed in New York, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Pennsylvania (where one of the hijacked planes crashed after the passengers attempted to retake the plane); all 19 terrorists died.
Police and fire departments in New York were especially hard-hit: hundreds had rushed to the scene of the attacks, and more than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed.
Local first responders here in The Valley; Huntsville Fire & Rescue (HFR), Huntsville Police Department and HEMSI, hosted their annual 9/11 Day of Remembrance ceremony.
At 7:46 am, all emergency vehicles turned on their lights, sirens and air horns for 30 seconds, followed by a flag lowering to half-staff and the pledge of allegiance... all in remembrance of 9/11.
7:46 am is the exact time the first plane hit the World Trade Center's Twin Towers all those years ago.
"We have a big federal presence but more than that we're a part of this whole country, and this whole country was attacked on 9/11. This is our day when we stand firm that we're gonna stand with America," said the City of Huntsville's Mayor, Tommy Battle.
Those attacks on the united states caused a lot of pain for Americans 21 years ago. Pain that still lingers with many today.
"This was a day when our ideals as a country were attacked. The freedom that we provide for people was attacked. A lot of ideals that set up this country, that made this country, were attacked and this is a day that we reaffirm those," said Battle.
Local first responders lined up this morning, knowing fellow first responders, just like them, weren't able to go home to their families on September 11th, 2001.
"It shows that we all work together and we work together every day to make sure that our community is safe. Today is a very special day because many of their forces did not go home on the day of 9/11," said Battle.