The 9/11 attacks were a devastating tragedy, but one that united Americans in ways we haven’t seen in decades.
The most visible symbol of this unity was the firefighters who died that day, responding to the call with courage and bravery. They are remembered as heroes who helped save lives and bring down the Twin Towers before they collapsed.
The FDNY lost 343 firefighters on September 11th, 2001. The firefighters who died were part of an elite squad known as the Special Operations Command (SOC). The SOC was created in 1992 in response to the World Trade Center bombing, and its mission is to respond to terrorist attacks and other major emergencies.
The SOC was the first to respond to the 9/11 attacks because it was based only blocks away from where they occurred. They were also the first responders who entered into the World Trade Center towers after they were hit by planes on September 11th, 2001. It’s estimated that more than 1,000 civilians were rescued from those buildings by members of the SOC before they collapsed completely at 5:21 p.m., just 56 minutes after being struck by American Airlines Flight 11.