Just before 8 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Boston’s Logan Airport. Bound nonstop for Los Angeles, the flight was just one of more than 40,000 scheduled to crisscross the country that day. The plane was partially full—81 passengers, nine crewmembers, and two pilots. Many of its passengers were traveling for work on the daily scheduled flight, including 31-year-old Internet entrepreneur Danny Lewin.
The plane headed due west and held on course for 16 minutes until it passed Worcester, Mass.* Then, instead of taking a southerly turn, it swung to the north and failed to climb to its assigned cruising altitude. Around this time, a bloody hijacking began onboard. Five terrorists, all of them wielding box cutters and knives, commandeered the plane and steered it into New York airspace. At 8:46 a.m., the Boeing 767 slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Flight 11 was the first of four planes to be hijacked the day of the attacks, killing everyone on board and hundreds more when it caused the collapse of the North Tower. But before any of the horror unfolded that day, a little-known act of heroism is likely to have taken place on Flight 11 when Lewin—an Israeli-American who served in one of the most elite counterterrorism units of the Israel Defense Force (IDF)—rose from his seat and engaged in a struggle with one of the terrorists to try to thwart the hijacking. During the struggle Lewin was killed, making him the very first victim of the 9/11 attacks.
Until now, Lewin’s story has remained untold—mainly out of respect for friends and family who closely guarded their memories of the brilliant commando-turned computer scientist. In addition, the official reports of what happened on Flight 11 were, for some time, conflicting and confusing. A memo mistakenly released by the Federal Aviation Administration stated that terrorist Satam al-Suqami shot and killed Lewin with a single bullet around 9:20 a.m. (obviously inaccurate, as the plane crashed at 8:46 a.m.). But almost as soon as the memo was leaked, FAA officials claimed it was written in error and that Lewin had been stabbed, not shot. The 9/11 Commission concurred in its final report, issued four years later, offering a more detailed summary: Based on dozens of interviews with those who spoke with two of the plane’s flight attendants during the hijacking, the commission determined that al-Suqami most likely killed Lewin by slashing his throat from behind as he attempted, single-handedly, to try to stop the hijacking.
The time of his death was reported to be somewhere between 8:15 and 8:20 a.m.
“He was the first victim of the first war of the 21st century,” says Marco Greenberg, Lewin’s best friend.
I suppose this could just be an oversight, but it strikes me as kind of a REALLY BIG OVERSIGHT…
A video has been made showing the progress of the build of One World Trade Center in New York, at the site of the 9/11 bombings. The set of photos has been taken since 2004 and shows the tower rising from the ground to completion in April 2012. The spire, added on Friday, makes the tower the tallest in western hemisphere
No comment section; this has been up since Saturday.
How will hateblogger Pam Geller spin this?
A federal judge refused to quash condominium liens against a couple accused of swindling the nonprofit that planned to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero.
Cordoba Initiative Corp. said in a 2011 complaint that its president was conned into trusting Robert Deak and his wife, Moshira Soliman, and ultimately paid nearly twice the asking price for a condo they never delivered.
Cordoba filed notices of lis pendens against both the condo it bought from the couple and the condo that Deak and Soliman bought in the same building using the money they allegedly bilked from the nonprofit.
The Malaysian-based nonprofit, which said it is “dedicated to improving relations among people of all cultures and faiths,” sparked controversy in 2010 with its plans to build an Islamic community center two blocks away from the footprint of the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
Cordoba president and principal Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said he became close friends with Deak and Soliman over the course of five years, and the couple even raised money for Cordoba.
More: Courthouse News Service
The silver spire topping One World Trade Center on Friday brought the structure to its final height of 1,776 feet. Loud applause and cries of joy erupted from construction workers as the spire was gently lowered and secured into place. (May 10)
Workers are lifting the final sections of the silver spire atop One World Trade Center, which will bring the iconic New York City structure to its full, symbolic height of 1,776 feet.
The installation is being done Friday morning.
Pieces of the spire were transported to the roof of the building last week. It weighs 758 tons.
Land surveyors working just north of the former World Trade Center site have discovered a piece of an airplane’s landing gear, apparently from one of the two planes that crashed into the twin towers more than 11 years ago, the police said on Friday.
The landing gear part was found on Wednesday in a narrow space between two buildings, 51 Park Place and 50 Murray Street, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said in a statement.
The police were treating the area as a crime scene, Mr. Browne said. It is possible that the medical examiner’s office will decide to sift through the soil there in search of human remains, he said.
11 1/2 years later, look what someone discovered tween 2 buildings in lower manhattan: landing gear from a 9-11 plane twitter.com/billritter7/st…
— Bill Ritter (@billritter7) April 26, 2013
About 60 dump trucks full of debris from the fallen World Trade Center will be sifted for victims’ remains beginning Monday. The debris was collected for the past two and a half years from construction sites in the neighborhood.
The New York Daily News reports that family members of 9/11 victims received emails from New York City officials on Friday, alerting them to the 10-week, multi-agency operation that will take place at the city forensic unit on Staten Island. A memo attached to the email was from Deputy Mayor for Operations Caswell Holloway addressed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“We will continue DNA testing until all recovered remains that can be matched with a victim are identified,” Holloway wrote in his memo.
A New York judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by a group of atheists, ruling that a pair of World Trade Center beams in the shape of a cross can be included in a memorial museum of the 9/11 terror attacks.
American Atheists filed the lawsuit in July, arguing that the “government enshrinement of the cross” was an impermissible mingling of church and state.
The World Trade Center cross, two intersecting steel beams that held up when the twin towers collapsed on September 11, 2001, is seen as iconic to some.
In 2011: Cross moved to permanent 9/11 Memorial site
The cross was moved in July from near a church to its new home at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, located at ground zero in Lower Manhattan. Father Brian Jordan, a Franciscan priest who ministered to workers clearing the area after the attacks, led a ceremonial blessing of the cross.
Plan an attack that kills over 3000 people on 9-11 and you expect sympathy for being locked up in solitary?
After 15 years in solitary confinement, the man convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing is reportedly suing for more human contact.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Ramzi Yousef wants to convince a federal judge to live out the rest of his life sentence in a more open prison environment. The judge is expected to rule in the near future whether the suit will go to trial.
Yousef, now 44, was sentenced to life plus 240 years for his role in the truck bombing that killed six people and injured more than 1,000 at the World Trade Center in February 1993. He is being held at a maximum security prison called “Supermax” in the Colorado Rockies.
The lawsuit argues Yousef is being kept isolated for 24 hours a day because of his conviction - something he cannot change.
“I request an immediate end to my solitary confinement and ask to be in a unit in an open prison environment where inmates are allowed outside their cells for no less than 14 hours a day,” he wrote the warden, according to government records obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Yousef’s U.S. attorney told the Times tgat years in solitary confinement has already taken a psychological toll on is client. Prison officials maintain he is a security threat.
And with that here’s a gift…
The Port Authority’s Cloudy Future: The transportation agency has mortgaged itself to the hilt to rebuild the World Trade Center
New York’s Port Authority has become synonymous with 9/11′s Ground Zero and the rebuilding of the land which once was home to The World Trade Center. With construction well underway the first phase of the project is nearing completion. However, the PA original mission, ‘to purchase, construct, lease, and/or operate any terminal or transportation facility’ which serves both New York and New Jersey appears to have been relegated to secondary status. The construction and managing of office buildings has become a Port Authority priority and as a consequence, funding for necessary administration of some of the nation’s largest port facilities is nowhere to be found.
And notwithstanding a lot of political and fiscal machinations, there isn’t enough money to go round.
New Yorkers have watched One World Trade Center gradually define the downtown skyline. The massive glass-and-steel building should reach its full height and be ready for tenants within 18 months. But to those tenants, One World Trade may come to symbolize not victory over terror but rather their own miserable commutes. Most of the white-collar workers who will stream into the tower depend on subways, buses, tunnels, and bridges to get to Manhattan. And over the past decade, the government agency in charge of much of the region’s transportation—the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey—has neglected that core responsibility in favor of rebuilding lower Manhattan.
The good news is that the World Trade Center project (technically, the first big phase of a larger, two-phase plan) is closer to completion than to commencement. Over the past three years, not only has the $3.9 billion One World Trade Center (known in the planning stages as the Freedom Tower) risen ever higher; other projects have taken shape downtown as well, including a $3.7 billion train hub, a vehicle security center to receive the trucks that will serve the new office towers, and a remade streetscape. Even a long-running dispute over who will run the 9/11 memorial and museum at the site has been solved.
Unfortunately, the Port Authority has barely begun to pay for all this rebuilding. Its share of the bill comes to $7.7 billion, which it has borrowed. And to repay that massive debt, the agency will have to divert toll revenue from bridges and tunnels and fee revenue from airports—money that won’t be available for the transportation projects that New York badly needs.
In the early twentieth century, editorialists, public officials, and good-government advocates fretted that New York’s port, facing competition from as far away as New Orleans, wasn’t reaching its potential. The chief culprit: bickering between New York and New Jersey. New York had the piers to receive ships, and New Jersey had the railways to move the ships’ cargo, but the two sides could never agree about how to invest in port assets. In early 1920, New York governor Al Smith urged lawmakers to do something. “Port development is critical,” he said. “It affects the cost of living; it affects the cost of doing business.” The New York Times agreed, arguing that “the port is a national interest, and it is economically wicked to divide it between New York and New Jersey.”