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7 lesser-known facts about the September 11 attacks

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, also known as 9/11 or the World Trade Center attacks, which took place in New York, Washington DC’s Pentagon and just outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. That’s why, as the world remembers the lives of the 9/11 victims, we gathered seven lesser-known facts about what happened that awful day.

20 people survived the World Trade Center crash

Only 20 people were able to survive the crash of the World Trade Center. Several people were rescued by the authorities after more than 20 hours after the attack. The 2006 movie World Trade Center is based on the 20 survivors who were pulled out of the rubble.

One person escaped seconds before the building collapsed

Canadian citizen Ron DiFrancesco escaped from the World Trade Center a few seconds before the building collapsed. As DiFrancesco escaped from the building, it completely collapsed and he was engulfed in fire and debris. He woke up a few days later in hospital.

Deathly attacks

According to US officials, the total number of US citizens who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks was the highest number of Americans to die by violence in a single day since the US Civil War.

⅔ of a company’s employees lives were lost

The September 11 attacks also claimed the lives of two-third of the financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald’s employees. The firm used to operate on the 101st and 105th floors at One World Trade Centre and lost more than 650 of its employees in the 9/11 attack.

The fire of the attacks continued for 99 days

The fire of the attacks at the World Trade Center continued for 99 days and the New York City authorities were only able to extinguish the fire on 19 December.

Victims were mostly men

Of those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the two towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority. The victims ranged in age from two to 85 years. Approximately 75 to 80 per cent of the victims were men.

Some victims remain unidentified

As of October 2019, 1,645 (so about 60 per cent) of the 2,753 World Trade Center victims’ remains have been positively identified, according to the medical examiner’s office.

This year’s 9/11 ceremony will look very different, but even without a stage, the day will be remembered no less. Family members have pre-recorded the names of the victims, which will be streamed online this morning so that only families can gather in person at the memorial to hear the names of their loved ones read aloud.

Anti-vaxxers need to be called out for their movement to be stopped

Anti-vaxxers, also known as people who are opposed to vaccination, typically a parent who refuses to vaccinate their child, must be stopped. The anti-vaccination movement, which continues to grow, is a main source of worry for scientists who are sure vaccines work, but it should also be one for the rest of us. Measles (among other diseases) is on the rise once again, and reviews found that there is a correlation between the two problems. Here’s what is wrong with anti-vaxxers and what needs to be done.

The anti-vaccination movement comes from the idea that there’s a connection between vaccination and autism, as well as other brain disorders. This idea rests upon no scientific evidence, but as you’ve probably realised by now, the same can be said about many other beliefs in our increasingly disbelieving world.


Measles is a disease more contagious than Tuberculosis or Ebola, yet it is easily preventable with a vaccine that barely costs anything. When measles was declared to be eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, everyone thought—rightly so—that it was thanks to vaccines. And yet here we are, in 2019, with parents knowingly withholding their children from something that could save them from potential brain damage and death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2018 measles cases in the U.S. went up six-fold while they tripled across Europe.

The situation is so bad that even Trump, who only a year ago ‘flirted’ with notorious anti-vaxxers and repeatedly linked vaccinations to autism, declared that people “have to get their shots”. In other words, if even Trump takes these outbreaks seriously, this is not something to disregard. This entirely preventable emergency that started in March this year should be a lesson to everyone about how unfortunate a world without vaccines would be.

A few months after the outbreak, anti-vaxxers are still going strong, lowering herd immunity quickly. In the U.K., Prince Charles’ mission to save homeopathy is reenforcing the public’s distrust in medical science. How? By promoting homeopathy as a miracle remedy, one that hasn’t been provided by the NHS since 2017 and has been described by its chief executive Simon Stevens as “at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds”.

The anti-vaccination movement comes exactly from the growing public distrust of vaccines, but also in science, in the government, and in the pharmaceutical industry more broadly. So what can we do, really, apart from making vaccines mandatory for everyone? Tackling fake news and misinformation, especially fake medical news on social media, would be a first step.

In March 2016, even Robert De Niro dabbled in this affair by promoting the anti-vaccination documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe and pushing for the film to be featured in the Tribeca Film Festival. A few days after, De Niro decided not to include the film, most likely realising the larger-scale impact that this could have on the country’s already declining health.

Lastly, it shouldn’t be forgotten that more people are involved in the whole vaccination drama and therefore should be held accountable. Health professionals have to take accountability or be made to do so in this matter as well. We need to ensure that doctors giving shots are equipped with concrete information and available to talk to those who have concerns, so that parents can feel like they’re making well-informed decisions.

Conspiracy theories are fine and should be left alone to thrive on Reddit as long as they’re not hurting people in the process. People that don’t make the effort to promote vaccination are unknowingly allowing anti-vaxxers to do their damage. Anti-vaxxers should be called out—by the government, by doctors, by you, me—so that putting kids’ vaccination ‘on hold’ becomes shocking and taboo again. It’s a matter of life and death.