This date is always one which makes me pause and reflect – and I know in the USA it’s a huge fundraising day as well as a commemoration of those who lost their lives when several planes – hijacked by terrorists – crashed killing 1000s of people.
What made this so terrible and traumatising for many was the fact that it all happened in real time on tv and was transmitted across the world – which was, of course, what the terrorists wanted. It was truly a day the western world stood still.
I shudder to think of it and it’s often worth considering what happened afterwards.
After initially rallying and pulling together as a nation, the US public were behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though that support waned over time. The biggest thing for Americans was recognising that they could be under attack at home. The country that always seemed invincible, suddenly wasn’t. It could be the victim of a huge attack and be helpless while it was taking place.
Also, since then a number of incredible conspiracy theories about the attacks surfaced, in fact, they started to appear on the internet only a few hours after the attacks. With the rise of social media, these have grown in scale ever since. For so many people, so disrespectful of those who lost their lives and their loved ones.
- Followers of QAnon and other conspiracy movements believe that a US ‘deep state’ were responsible for the attacks. The groups claim that the US government staged the attacks or knew of them in advance. These add to recent online beliefs that global elites plan to curtail civil liberties, because of the attacks, and set up an authoritarian world government. No real evidence of this has been produced.
- An online claim that is widely shared, is that ‘jet fuel cannot melt steel beams’, and suggests the Twin Towers were demolished by explosives. Again where’s the evidence.
- Another theory is that US missiles were fired at the Pentagon as part of a government plot, because the hole left by the attack, was ‘far too small to have been caused by a passenger plane’. The reason for the small hole, was that the Boeing 757 hit the ground with one wing, and the other was severed on impact with the building.
- The plane where the passengers tried to take control, United Airlines Flight 93, in Pennsylvania, according to conspiracists, was actually shot down by a white business jet flying into a nearby airport. Again no evidence.
- Another bizarre theory claims that no Jewish people were killed in the attacks, because 4,000 Jewish employees at the World Trade Centre had received advance warning, not to turn up to work. These believers, think that the Israeli government mounted the attacks, to push the US into attacking its regional enemies. Or an alternative is that the responsibility lies with powerful Jewish elites who control world events from the shadows. This is all rubbish. There were in fact, 119 Jewish victims, and at least a further 72 were believed to be victims.
Similar conspiracy theories surround other countries too, but no evidence of any direct involvement has been found, although we now know it was Al-Qaeda. America launched the air strikes against Afghanistan only a month after the attacks, which turned into a 20 year war.
I’m sure you remember where you were on that day. I think most adults remember seeing those terrible images on TV – once seen they can’t be forgotten.
Personally, I was filming in a house in Somerset for a tv programme I was making for ITV around bargain hunting. I was heavily pregnant with Georgia who was born later that year and she’s now 21.
However, earlier that year we’d been away to New York and we visited the Twin Towers and ambled through them, marvelling at their size and height. They were a masterpiece of architecture and made us feel very small. To think that a few months later the whole lot would fall in front of our eyes is just appalling.