Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The End of Ignorance, Part 4 of 10

By now it is apparent to all viewers that something unprecedented has happened. Both towers of the World Trade Center are belching smoke. At 9:05 AM, Chief of Staff Andrew Card utters those fateful words to President Bush, "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack." In the coming moments, confusion and dismay will be the rule, rather than the exception, for those in the air traffic control system who are trying to figure out just what is going on. The hijackers had turned off the transponders, the radio beacons that transmit the planes location and status. Some of the downed planes were still believed to be in the air, and sadly, some of the planes in the air were about to meet a fiery fate. For the first time in this nation's history, the FAA halts all commercial takeoffs in the United States. However, for a while at least, those flights still in the air will be allowed to continue to their destinations, and international flights will still be allowed to come to the US. Air Traffic Controllers, used to a hectic job of tracking thousands and thousands of flights across the nation stare with wonder, awe, and fear as their radar displays slowly go dark. It is now 9:26 AM.

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