Today is Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, designated in memory of the 2,977 killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A total of 411 emergency workers died as they tried to rescue people and fight fires. The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) lost 340 firefighters, a chaplain and two paramedics. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) lost 23 officers. The Port Authority Police Department lost 37 officers. Eight emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics from private emergency medical services units were killed.
In honor of those who perished we feature The Final Footprints of some of the heroes of that day:
- Todd M. Beamer – United Flight 93 Passenger. Born 24 November 1968 in Flushing, Michigan. Burial: Brainerd Cemetery in Cranbury, New Jersey. His grave is marked by an upright granite monument. After United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked, Beamer and other passengers communicated with people on the ground via airphones and cell phones, and learned that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been attacked using hijacked airplanes. Beamer tried to place a credit card call through a phone located on the back of a plane seat but was routed to a customer-service representative instead, who passed him on to GTE supervisor Lisa Jefferson. Beamer reported that one passenger was killed and, later, that a flight attendant had told him the pilot and co-pilot had been forced from the cockpit and may have been wounded. According to accounts of cell phone conversations, Beamer, along with Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick formed a plan to take the plane back from the hijackers, and led other passengers in this effort. Later, he told the operator that some of the plane’s passengers were planning to “jump on” the hijackers and fly the plane into the ground before the hijackers’ plan could be followed through. Beamer also recited 23rd Psalm with Jefferson. According to Jefferson, Beamer’s last audible words were “Are you guys ready? Okay, let’s roll.” At the National 9/11 Memorial, Beamer and other passengers from Flight 93 are memorialized at the South Pool, on Panel S-68.
- Mark K. Bingham – United Flight 93 Passenger. Born 22 May 1970. Burial: Madronia Cemetery in Saratoga, California. His grave is marked with an engraved beveled granite marker featuring an American flag and the words, Forever in Our Hearts. Bingham’s name is located on Panel S-67 of the National September 11 Memorial’s South Pool, along with those of other passengers of Flight 93.
- Thomas Edward Burnett, Jr. – United Flight 93 Passenger. Born 29 May 1963 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Burial: Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His grave is marked by an engraved upright granite VA monument featuring the words, Cadet US Air Force and Citizen Soldier. Burnett’s name is located on Panel S-68 of the National September 11 Memorial’s South Pool, along with those of other passengers of Flight 93.
- Reverend Mychal Judge – NY fire department chaplain. Upon learning that the World Trade Center had been hit by the first of two jetliners, Judge rushed to the site. He was met by the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, who asked him to pray for the city and its victims. Judge administered the Last Rites to some lying on the streets, then entered the lobby of the World Trade Center North Tower, where an emergency command post was organized. There he continued offering aid and prayers for the rescuers, the injured and dead. When the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 am, debris went flying through the North Tower lobby, killing many inside, including Judge. Born 11 May 1933. Burial: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, New Jersey. His grave is marked by an engraved flat granite marker. At the National 9/11 Memorial, Judge is memorialized at the South Pool, on Panel S-18, where other first responders are located.
These are but a few of the heroes from that day. If you know of a hero that you want included in our list please let us know.
In the days immediately following the attacks, many memorials and vigils were held around the world.
One of the first memorials was the Tribute in Light, an installation of 88 searchlights at the footprints of the World Trade Center towers. In New York, the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was held to design an appropriate memorial on the site. The winning design, Reflecting Absence, was selected in August 2006, and consists of a pair of reflecting pools in the footprints of the towers, surrounded by a list of the victims’ names in an underground memorial space.
The Pentagon Memorial was completed and opened to the public on the seventh anniversary of the attacks in 2008. It consists of a landscaped park with 184 benches facing the Pentagon. When the Pentagon was repaired in 2001–2002, a private chapel and indoor memorial were included, located at the spot where Flight 77 crashed into the building.
The Flight 93 National Memorial is located at the site of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, which was hijacked in the September 11 attacks, in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, about 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Shanksville, and 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Pittsburgh. The memorial was made to honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93, who stopped the terrorists from reaching their target. A temporary memorial to the 40 victims was established soon after the crash, and the first phase of the permanent memorial was completed, opened, and dedicated on September 10, 2011. The current design for the memorial is a modified version of the entry Crescent of Embrace by Paul and Milena Murdoch. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
On every anniversary, in New York City, the names of the victims who died there are read out against a background of somber music.