In Aerial And Space Photos: Remembering 9-11 With A Humble Tribute

As the towers collapsed, the seeds of change in the world were sown. It was a day when the imagination of the human brain reached its ultimate destructive extreme. It was a day when planes would turn into missiles and the fragile respect’ or truce between the Western world and the Islamic world would shatter into uncountable fragments. The fragments that might never be put back together again.

In this article we aim to present a humble tribute to the victims of that day and to all the people who lost their loved ones. A mirror placed in front of civilization would reveal the truth there are many people who would happily kill themselves just to kill others in the worst way possible, due to some ill-placed notions about an all-powerful creator of the universe.

It also starkly showed the helplessness of technology. Hijackers, having only knives and box-cutters with them and a single-minded motive to cause as much destruction as possible, overcame the huge web of technologically well-equipped security on that dark day. An overdose of confusion in the American command ranks helped their cause to no end.

Here we present a brief timeline and a series of photos taken either from space or from some aerial vantage point. First, a brief time-line.


Pre-8:30: Flight 11, 175 and 93 are off in the air. All of them are Boeing-767 passenger jets.

8:30 AM: First indication that Flight 11 might have been hijacked. No serious alarm is raised. Officers think that this is a routine hijack procedure and get ready to negotiate with hijackers.

8:33 AM: Flight 11 banks sharply to the south south-east towards New York.

8: 35 AM: Authorities still not sure whether Flight 11 is hijacked or not. Confirmation comes in around this time that the flight has actually been hijacked. Boston Center realizes’ threat and calls for New York City military to scramble fighter aircraft. Nothing comes of that request.

8:40 8:43 AM: Flight 11 loses altitude drastically. Air Traffic Control thinks it will make an emergency landing. However, it is moving too fast!

8:46 AM: The First Plane Hits the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

8:50 8:52 AM: Flight 175 is suspected to be hijacked. The transponder code is changed twice and this is the first hint of trouble.

While all of this is happening, NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is undergoing a routine counter-terrorism drill. It was establish to handle the threat of something like 9/11, but is saddled with lack of information. The nearby Otis Air Base has F-16 fighters ready to engage any hostile or intruder aircraft, but the NORAD North Eastern Air Defense (NEADS) Radar picks up nothing and it has to constantly get information from the FAA about the movements of Flight 11. NEADS picks up Flight 11, only to see the blip on the radar suddenly vanish the plane had just crashed into the WTC tower.

8: 50 AM: White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleisher, riding in President Bush’s motorcade remarks Oh My God! I don’t believe it. A plane has just hit the World Trade Center. People are still thinking that this was an accident, even though a gruesome one. Flight 175 is suddenly discovered off-course.

8:57 8:59 AM: People in the South Tower are assured that nothing is the matter. An isolated fire in the North Tower is no great cause of concern for South Tower workers. They are given an open option of leaving or staying. It’s okay’. Most people leave despite the assurance.

9:03 AM: Flight 175 Hits The South Tower Of the World Trade Center.

The Second Plane Hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center

Millions watch it live around the world.

 A Photo Tribute

Manhattan After the attack, as seen from Space
When the North Tower Collapsed
Aerial Photo of Manhattan, after the North Tower Fell
Sunlight seems to remind everyone where the Twin Towers stood at Ground Zero.
Light filters through the rubble, as the Sun rises the day after. The Towers are no more.

NASA recently paid tribute to the victims of the horrific incident by sending American flag chains to outer space. It has recovered small metal fragments from Ground Zero and sent them to Mars along with the Lunar Rovers. Both Spirit and Opportunity have motors containing these metal fragments along with an American flag. Astronauts have sent their condolences from space.

Light beams indicate where the Twin Towers once stood. Photo from 9/11/2009.

Ten years down the line, the world bears the scars of that horrible day, which have only been deepened by time. However, it is what we don’t see that is the starkest reminded of the outcome of absolute fanatical madness the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

Published by

Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.