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Remembering September 11, 2001
9/11 Attack Signals Start of War on Terror

Sept. 11, 2001

8:45 a.m. - Hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston, Mass., crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

9:03 a.m. - United Airlines Flight 175, hijacked from Boston, crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

9:30 a.m. – President Bush, visiting a school in Sarasota, Fla., announces that the United States has suffered an apparent terrorist attack.

9:37 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77, hijacked from Dulles Airport in Washington, crashes into the Pentagon.

10:10 a.m. - Hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in Somerset County, Pa.

1:04 pm. -- President Bush vows that the United States will go after those responsible for the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. “Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts,” he says from Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
6:42 pm. Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld convenes a press conference to report that “the Pentagon is functioning.” The secretary says: "There is no question but that the attack today was a vicious, a well-coordinated, massive attack against the United States of America.”

8:30 p.m. President Bush issues a televised address to the nation condemning the “evil, despicable acts of terror" that have moved the country to defend itself. “America has stood down enemies before and we will do so this time," he says. "None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”

Sept. 12, 2001

* Thousands of Pentagon employees report to work as search-and-rescue teams continue combing the building for survivors. Fire still burns in the building’s roof.

* President Bush tours the Pentagon crash site and meets with defense and military leaders. “Our country will not be cowed by terrorists, by people who don't share the same values we share, by people who are willing to destroy people's lives because we embrace freedom," he says. "The nation mourns, but the government goes on, the country functions. We're on high alert for any possible activity."

* Then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sends a videotaped message to all Defense Department employees expressing regret for those killed and urging workers to "stay the course” in the challenging days ahead. “The task of vanquishing these terrible enemies and protecting the American people and the cause of human freedom will fall to you -- the men and women of the Department of Defense,” he says. “I know we are ready, I know America can continue to count on your selflessness and courage and dedication to duty.”

Sept. 13, 2001

President Bush visits the World Trade Center attack site in New York and tells leaders there he and his security team are working on a campaign to win the war on terrorists. “Now that war has been declared on us, we will lead (America) to victory," he says following the meeting.

Sept. 14, 2001

* The United States observes a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. During a noontime ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, President Bush says terrorists attacked the United States because it’s freedom’s defender. “And the commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time," he says.

* President Bush authorizes the fist call-up of National Guardsmen and reservists to active duty to support national security efforts as he issues a declaration of national emergency. “A national emergency exists by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States," he states in a proclamation.

Sept. 16, 2001

Then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld tells reporters America's battle to stamp out terrorism will take both time and allies. “It is not a matter of days or weeks,” he says. “It is years.”

Sept. 20, 2001

President Bush tells the military to "be ready" for a conflict unlike any the country has ever fought. "I've called the armed forces to alert, and there is a reason," he says during a speech before a joint session of Congress. “The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud.”

Sept. 24, 2001

President Bush fires America's first shot of the war against terrorism by announcing an immediate freeze of financial networks of global terror organizations. Twenty-seven entities identified as terrorists, sympathizers or supporters with financial holdings in the United States are affected.

Sept. 26, 2001

* Then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz says the war against terror will take more than military might. The United States and its coalition partners also must bring diplomatic, economic, humanitarian and political pressures to bear, he says at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

* Marine Gen. Peter Pace, then commander of U.S. Southern Command, tells the Senate Armed Services Committee the Defense Department must increase intelligence capabilities and work better with other federal agencies to confront asymmetrical threats. Pace speaks during his confirmation hearing as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Oct. 2, 2001

The Defense Department “is engaging and positioning its forces in various places to conduct whatever operations the president decides to direct,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke tells Pentagon reporters.

Oct. 3, 2001

Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visits the Middle East to build support build support for the war on terror. “There will be a variety of opportunities for countries to work with us in different ways, at different times, in different parts of the world -- sometimes visibly and sometimes less visibly,” he says.

Oct. 7, 2001

12: 30 p.m. – The U.S. military, with broad coalition support, launches the first attacks on al Qaeda training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The attacks are the first U.S. military response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Presidentr Bush assures servicemembers during a White House address: “Your mission is defined, your objectives are clear, your goal is just. You have my full confidence and you will have every tool you'll need to carry out your duty.”

Sept. 11, 2002
President Bush commemorates the first anniversary of the attacks at the Pentagon, noting that “the greatest tasks and the greatest dangers will fall to the armed forces of the United States” as the country continues its war on terror. “As long as terrorists and dictators plot against our lives and our liberty, they will be opposed by the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines," he says.
Sept. 11, 2003
Two years after the attacks, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, notes that America has heeded "that wake-up call to the real threat of international terrorism," and is making solid progress in the war on terrorism. In addition to denying terrorists a safe haven in Afghanistan, U.S. and coalition forces are demonstrating success against terrorists in Iraq, he says.

Sept. 11, 2004

President Bush vows during his weekly radio address to continue the fight on terrorism, noting that military people and their families have borne the heaviest burden in the fight. “Our nation is grateful to the brave men and women who are taking risks on our behalf at this hour,” the president says. “And America will never forget the ones who have fallen -- men and women last seen doing their duty, whose names we will honor forever.”

Sept. 11, 2005

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England calls the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks a time to remember those lost and to honor those who serve the country protecting the freedoms and liberties that were attacked that day. England speaks at the opening of the first America Supports You Freedom Walk in Washington, which attracted more than 15,000 participants.

Sept. 10, 2006

The second national America Supports You Freedom Walk in Washington draws thousands of participants to commemorate the Sept. 11 terror attacks and show support for veterans past and present. More than 120 local Freedom Walks take place around the country.

Sept. 11, 2006

President Bush marks the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by calling on the nation to unite in moving forward to win the war on terror. “America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it was over. So do I,” he says. “But the war is not over, and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious.”

Sept. 7, 2007

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England says the world has experienced irreversible change since terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, and salutes U.S. servicemembers and coalition partners who have “served so magnificently since 9-11 to protect our freedoms and our liberties.” England speaks at a gathering of families of victims of the Pentagon attacks and others working to complete a Pentagon Memorial to honor them by next year.

 Sept. 9, 2007

More than 8,000 participants have registered to take part in the third annual America Supports You Freedom Walk in Washington. Another 229 similar walks will be held in the days ahead in all 50 states and 10 countries around the world to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and honor those sacrificing to defend American freedoms.