Chapter 1

“Who Could Have Imagined . . . ?”

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the Western world’s complacency was shattered when two hijacked commercial airliners slammed into Towers 1 and 2 of New York’s World Trade Center, soon reducing the iconic monoliths to piles of smoking rubble. Minutes later, a third hijacked airliner, American Airlines Flight 77, nosedived into the western side of the Pentagon in Alexandria, Virginia, demolishing a good section of the building’s outer ring and the Naval Command Center within.

Forty-five minutes later, a fourth jetliner, United Flight 93, also believed to have been headed for Washington, crashed in a field in Somerset County in southwest Pennsylvania after its passengers, wise to their ...

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