9 / 11 – 10 Years On


(It may not be the same but the new World Trade Center will bring a closure and sense of new hopes for New Yorkers and with a memorial in between, keeping the thoughts of those who perished in the tragedy forever in our hearts. Image source: Wikipedia)

It has been 10 years and even now as we watched the 911 documentaries such as the award winning “102 Minutes that Changed America” last Sunday, seeing the planes hitting the Twin Towers, innocent office workers jumping down to the death to avoid the burning inferno in the inside and many more perish (some without any trace) when the towers collapsed.

The tragedy caused 2,996 deaths – innocent people from more than 90 countries (including Malaysia) and which included 343 brave firefighters from the New York City Fire Department who despite the dangers of fire, building collapsing and continued terrorists attack, continued to walk up the staircase to rescue the trapped ones and fight the blazing fire. The total deaths also included 292 people were killed at street level by burning debris and falling bodies of those who had jumped from the World Trade Center’s windows.

What a tragedy!

I still remember the day when I first heard about the tragedy 10 years ago – I was at the motorcycle parking bay, just parking my bike when a colleague of mine asked me whether I heard of the tragedy and then passed me the newspaper that showed the plane crashing into the building. As many Americans who were stood dumb-struck after the first plane struck the North Tower, I too stood dumb-struck seeing the photo on the front page. I could not believe it.

Conspiracy theories aside and no matter what the reasons that the hijackers may have had in crashing 4 planes down, it does not justify the killing of almost 3,000 innocent people. And now in place of the old World Trade Center, the new World Trade Center is being built. It is built to last another disaster and to ensure fatality kept to the minimum:-

  • New safety features will include 3 feet (91 cm) thick reinforced concrete walls for all stairwells, elevator shafts, risers, and sprinkler systems; extremely wide “emergency stairs”; a dedicated set of stairwells exclusively for the use of firefighters; and biological and chemical filters throughout its ventilation system.
  • At its closest point, West Street will be 65 feet (20 m) away. The windows on the side of the building facing in this direction will be equipped with specially tempered blast-resistant plastic, which will look nearly the same as the glass used in the other sides of the building
  • In addition to the protection offered by the reinforced, window-less base, a number of other design and security features are planned for the building. For example, all vehicles will be screened before they enter the site via the underground roadway, including for radioactive materials.
  • Visitors to the September 11 memorial will undergo an airport-style screening. 400 closed-circuit surveillance cameras will be placed in and around the trade center site.
  • Live feeds will be monitored around the clock by the NYPD, and a computer system will use “video analytic” computer software designed to detect potential threats like unattended bags and retrieve images based on descriptions of terror or other criminal suspects. New York City and Port Authority police will patrol the site
  • These skyscrapers have steel connections capable of redirecting the path of the upper floors’ load downward through other structural members if one should fail. And sprinkler supply lines have been located within an impact-resistant core–a major difference from the Twin Towers
  • In addition to designing wider staircases and building separate stairs for firefighters (a strategy borrowed from the British, who have long practiced this), architects at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is pioneering an elevator-assisted exit system that would help people on the highest floors get out faster

(Facts sources: Wikipedia & Fast Company)

The 911 tragedy will remain one of the greatest human made tragedies in recent times and one that propelled the fall of Saddam Hussein and the Islamic extremist regime in Afghanistan and probably propelled events leading to the people’s uprising in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.

America as Government may have its fault – who doesn’t? Which country has perfect, good natured, forward thinking politicians in recent times? And its close relationship with Israel and its commitment and policies in the Middle East may be questionable by those working and living in the region but terrorist attacks in the name of religion remains evil and uncalled for – whether it is on an office tower in New York, USA or a fun bustling night club in Bali, Indonesia.

11 September 2001 will always be remembered…

Read Also

Names – 911 Memorial

What 9/11 Taught Us about Designing Skyscrapers