On Sept. 11, 2001, 189 casualties occurred at the Pentagon’s Defense Department at Arlington, Virginia. As we embark on the 10th anniversary of this tragic event, we remember the lives lost.
Hijackers of the plane American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. shortly after two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.
This deliberate crash hit the western part of the Pentagon, killing all 64 passengers and 115 workers at the Pentagon.
The Pentagon is a five story building made up of five pentagonal structures. The hijacked plane crashed and penetrated three out of the five rings. The intense impact of the plane caused structural damage in the Pentagon. The impact led to a partial collapse on the western side of the building.
“About 30 minutes after the crash, a cross-section of the building collapsed, but only after enough time had elapsed for rescue workers to evacuate all injured employees,” reported Patriot Resource.
The crash alone did not cause the majority of the damage. Due to the leaking gasoline in the Flight 77, the plane instantly blew up in flames. “The jet fuel exploded, which sent a fireball outward from the impact point. The fire was so hot that firefighters could not approach the impact point itself until approximately 1 p.m. The collapse and roof fires left the inner courtyard visible from outside through a gaping hole,” reported Patriot Resource.
During the attack, the Pentagon was under construction. Because of this, the causalities were minimal. According to the CNN News Report, “The conventional wisdom of the past 10 years has been it could have been a lot worse. The plane hit a just-renovated portion of the building that was stronger than the rest of the Pentagon. And there were many vacant offices.”
The offices under construction were actually meant to improve security at the Pentagon.
Unfortunately, not being finished before the attack, the impact did cause a small portion of structural damage. According to the Pentagon’s History website, “Part of the pre-attack renovation had involved adding improved security features, including walls and windows with greater blast resistance.”
“The fire burned at the Pentagon for about two days,” said Paul Hall, who was present in Washington, DC on 9/11. “I lived just across the river. I could see the smoke—real black smoke.”
As the Pentagon went up into flames, all could see clouds of smoke from the local Arlington Cemetery, where deceased members of the tragedy are now put to rest.