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Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon, Photograph, 11 September 2001

Context

The Pentagon located in Arlington, Virginia, is the world largest low rise office building and is home to the United States Department of Defense. Construction began in 1941 and was completed by 1943. On September 11, 2001 a terrorist group, led by Osama Bin Laden, named Al Qaeda carried out a series of attacks on the United States. The Pentagon was attacked as was The World Trade Center in New York. Members of Al Qaeda hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 and flew the plane into the first floor, west wing of the Pentagon. Upon impact all 58 passengers, crew members and hijackers died instantly. Inside the building, there was a death toll 125. The west wing was the only newly renovated wing with new blast resistant windows, structural improvements, and sprinkler systems. These renovations helped save many lives in the surrounding offices to the west wing.

A total of four flights were hijacked by 19 Al Qaeda members the morning of September 11, 2001. Each flight that was hijacked was a cross country flight from east coast to California. Flight 11 and Flight 175 struck the North and South towers of the World Trade Center where the Twin Towers fell in New York. The White House was the third target of the Al Qaeda attacks but upon hearing of the terrorists attacks, passengers of Flight 93 fought against the hijackers and crashed the plane in a field in Pennsylvania, a 20 minute flight from the White House. The attacks had a death toll of nearly 3,000 people from 93 nations.

Following the attacks, the Pentagon Renovation Program, nicked name the Phoenix Project, set a goal to complete all reconstruction within one year of the attacks. By the first anniversary, the goal was met and offices at point of impact were restored and had employees in them. Since the attacks, many memorials have been dedicated to remembering the victims of the attacks and the first responders who saved so many lives.

Citations: Pentagon—photo courtesy of Edwin C. Bearss
National September 11 Memorial & Museum. FAQ about 9/11. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.911memorial.org/
Vogel, S. The Pentagon. (2011, April 7). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Pentagon_The.

Standards

USII.1, USII.9, VUS.1, VUS.15

Suggested Questions

In Their Shoes: Imagine you work for the Red Cross. What are some ways that you can help encourage a community can come together and provide resources for disaster relief?

Analyze: What are some reasons that the Pentagon was a targert of the 9/11 attacks?

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