This blog will contain images from that awful day.
On September 11,1941 the construction of the Pentagon had started. Sixty year later, terrorists tried to destroy it.
An image etched forever in my mind.
After burning for 56 minutes, the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses, killing more than 800 people in and around the building.
People watch from Jersey City, N.J. as the North Tower dissolves in a cloud of dust and debris about a half hour after the South Tower collapsed. More than 1,600 people in and around the building are killed. Only 102 minutes passed between the time of the first plane crash and the collapse of the second tower.
Father Mychal Judge was designated as ‘Victim 0001’, effectively recognising him as the first official casualty of the attack.
Finishing this blog with one of the saddest stories of that day.
The attack on the World Trade Centre in New York touched Corkman Mr John Clifford’s family in a particularly cruel way.
Just hours after learning that his brother, Ronnie, who worked in the centre, had survived the disaster, Mr Clifford was told that his sister, Ruth, was on one of the planes that smashed into the trade centre’s twin towers.
Speaking at his home in Togher, Cork, about the death of his sister, Ruth McCourt, and her four-year-old daughter, Juliana, Mr Clifford said it was Ronnie who came to mind when he heard the news of the attack.
He immediately tried to get through to Ronnie’s wife in New Jersey. She told him his brother had escaped from the south tower with seconds to spare.
“She told me that Ronnie had been at a meeting and that when he stepped outside the office, which was on the ground floor, the woman immediately in front of him was met by a massive fireball.
“He tried to cover her with a cloth, but she had suffered horrific injuries already.
“Then there was another explosion and people rushed Ronnie and the woman he was helping out of the building.
“I think she died later. It seems that he was incredibly lucky to get out of there alive and he was able to ring home to say that he was alright.
“The problem was this all happened before the buildings collapsed and we had to wait another four hours to discover whether or not he was still safe.”
Mr Clifford described how news filtered through to Cork that Ruth and Juliana had boarded a flight at Logan Airport in Boston bound for Los Angeles.
Realising that a flight out of Logan had been hijacked, he asked a friend to go to the airport on his behalf.
His friend was told by a United Airlines official that Ms McCourt was on the flight. Mr. Clifford said his sister had spent most of the past 30 years in the US and was living in Connecticut with her husband, David, a retired businessman.
“They had Juliana late in life and they were both retired from business and enjoying their daughter and their lives. My mother Paula is also living in Connecticut and she used to be the nanny for Juliana.
Both David and my mother are absolutely devastated at what has happened.
“I think Ruth wanted to go to Los Angeles on the same flight as her friend, Page, but she was unable to get on that flight because it was full and so she had to wait for the second one, which was hijacked.
“United Airlines have been in touch and we are waiting for them to ring again to find out when we can go to America to be with the rest of the family.
“We are totally shocked and I think the reality is only creeping in now that we realise the extent of the tragedy after the immediate shock.”
Mr Clifford’s other brother, Mark, who runs a security firm in Cork, said the chain of events leading to the death of his sister and the near death of his brother Ronnie was “absolutely staggering”.
“No words could describe what we feel about this,” he said.
His brother Ron Clifford bravely assisted a severely injured woman at the World Trade Center on September 11, not realising his sister Ruth and niece Juliana, aboard United Flight 175, were tragically killed.
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