Sept. 11 - 15: This week in history

The World Trade Center lights in New York City in memory of the Twin Towers that were destroyed by al-Queda Sept. 11, 2001. (Scott Hudson/Flickr Creative Commons) 

The World Trade Center lights in New York City in memory of the Twin Towers that were destroyed by al-Queda Sept. 11, 2001. (Scott Hudson/Flickr Creative Commons) 

The week of Sept. 11 to Sept. 15 in American history is filled with important events, catastrophes and memories that will be fixed in history books forever. This is a little recap of “this week” in history.

Sixteen years ago today, four passenger planes were hijacked by 19 Islamic terrorists belonging to the group al-Qaeda, with the intention of using them as weapons against important American landmarks. Two of the planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, ending with both towers eventually collapsing and the death of nearly three thousand American citizens.

One plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia, which resulted in massive structural damage to the building. The fourth plane was originally steered towards Washington D.C. However, the passengers on board prevented this by attacking the hijackers and the plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania.

This catastrophic event would lead President George W. Bush to launch the War on Terror and invade Afghanistan, as well as enact new safety laws and regulations regarding travel and air security. Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden would officially claim responsibility for the attacks in 2004, and after nearly a decade of evading American forces, he was located and killed by Seal Team Six in Pakistan in May 2011.

On Sept. 14 in 1814, Francis Scott Key would find himself held as a civilian prisoner aboard a truce vessel in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. He watched as British forces attacked and bombarded Fort McHenry overnight but in the morning saw a large American flag flying over the fort, meaning the Americans had won and successfully defended the attack.

This sight would inspire him to write a poem titled “The Defense of Fort McHenry” to commemorate the victory. His words would later be set to music and retitled “The Star Spangled Banner.” This song was eventually adopted as the country’s national anthem and made official by President Woodrow Wilson in 1931 through a congressional resolution.

On the same day in 1901, President William McKinley would die from two gunshot wounds he received on Sept. 6 while attending an event in Buffalo, New York. He was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz twice in the abdomen while they were shaking hands. McKinley would be rushed to a nearby hospital to receive medical attention and it was initially thought that he would survive the attack.

In the following days, he would begin to develop gangrene and his condition worsened dramatically. Early morning on Sept. 14, McKinley would die from his wounds and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn into office. Roosevelt served as president until 1909 and came to be regarded as one of the best presidents this country ever had. McKinley is the third president in American history to be assassinated, after Abraham Lincoln and James Garfield. In 1963, John F. Kennedy was the last president killed in office.


Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at seamus.mckeever@uconn.edu.