Remembering 9/11

Pam Rattan reflects on the historic day

by Amanda Nguyen, Staff Writer

15 years ago, on the early morning of September 11, 2001, almost 25,000 people departed flights in the United States. 19 men part of the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda, directed by Osama bin Laden, attempted to hijack four planes and use them to destroy American landmarks.

“I was on my way to school and as I pulled into the parking lot, my phone rang and it was my husband,” Child development teacher, Pam Rattan said. “He told me that there was a plane that hit the towers in New York. I asked him if he was sure and by the sound of his voice, I could tell he was not kidding.”

American Airlines flight 11 had 76 passengers, two pilots, and nine flight attendants. After the plane’s takeoff, the plane was taken over by five of the hijackers, who stabbed two flight attendants and a passenger.

Two other flight attendants made calls to report hijacking to American Airlines officials. As they tried to calm the passengers down, the plane went South and at 8:46 a.m, flight 11 had crashed into the north tower of the World trade Center, instantly killing hundreds of people in the building and everyone on the flight.

At first we thought it was a freak thing,” Rattan said. “But then we saw the second one crash on TV and then we were like ‘this is not a freak thing.”

— Pam Rattan

“I remember how quiet Austin, Texas got,” Rattan said. “No more planes were allowed to fly, there was just a dead silence, it was almost like we were just in shock. Everyone was just walking the hallways in shock, no one believed something like this could happen in the U.S.”

United Airlines flight 175 left to Los Angeles with 54 passengers, and five hijackers. Two passengers and a flight attendant reported the hijacking and shortly after 9 a.m, the plane crashed into the South tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds in the building.

“My husband’s cousin was working in the Trade Center that day,” Rattan said. “We lost him to this horrible tragedy, and that is why I will never forget that day.”

In an attempt by the passengers to regain control, at 10:03 a.m all 44 passengers on United Airlines flight 93 were killed including four hijackers in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers helped bring down the plane.

“The attacks make you appreciate this country more,” Rattan said. “Being raised in a military family, my dad always raised me to respect and love this country.”

American Airlines flight 77 was hijacked by five men. They crashed the plane into the Pentagon near Washington,D.C. 64 people were killed as well as 125 people inside the building. Constructor’s said it would take 3 years to repair the part of the Pentagon that was ruined, but the plans moved forward and was completed exactly one year after the attack.

“I will always be thankful for where I live in the United States,” Rattan said. “I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to live anywhere else.”