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September 10, 2006

Five Years Later: Fear

Four flights ended, but fear would persist, if not increase.

The two towers of the World Trade Center did not collapse immediately. No doubt, the force of two full-sized passenger jets that had near-full tanks of fuel would create a tremendous amount of force, comparable if not greater than that produced by many missiles currently used. However, the architects of the World Trade Center had done an exceptional job, and because of this, many people were still alive after each plane hit.

Still, there was a lot of work to do. The people on the lower levels had time to evacuate, but they could not wait. And some had survived on the floors near the crash and above it. The fear that these people had can only be described as unimaginable. And even then, there were brave men and women in the NYPD and the FDNY that actually entered these buildings. Forget Spider-man. Forget Superman. Only those in our armed forces can be spoken of in the same breath.

The same rang true at the Pentagon. While there was less concern that the Pentagon would collapse in its entirety, partially because Flight 77 would hit the ground before crashing into the side of the Pentagon, the danger was no less for those trapped inside. Many firefighters and policemen would be called in from surrounding areas to help, and later on from across the country to help with the recovery of survivors.

The World Trade Center would later collapse, and again thanks to amazing architecture, the towers would collapse in on themselves, the south tower a minute before 10 AM, and the north tower at 10:28 AM. Unfortunately, many would perish. A great number of them would be in the floors above the crashes, most in the collapse, some in the fires, and most shockingly, some even in jumps from the towers, hoping that there might be some better chance of survival. Also among the dead would be those who sacrificed their own lives when only a couple hours earlier, they had been on terra firma.

Fear was not exclusive on the planes, in the World Trade Center, and in the Pentagon. Across the country, people were watching the events on live TV. Pearl Harbor united a country, but no one outside of the Hawaiian islands were aware at the time. Fear spread.

My high school is located only a few short miles from the Pentagon, within the beltway. Some people were afraid because they had family working in the Pentagon or other government facilities. Others were afraid because they had family in New York City. But the rest, the rest were simply afraid. Girls were crying. Guys were quiet and solemn, but the fear was written all over their faces. And I felt like I was going to throw up. But like many, that fear subsided, and turned into fury.