Many lessons were learned the hard way on 9/11, but one of the biggest was just how unprepared our defenses were for an internal attack. While the Federal Aviation Administration did an incredible job landing all planes, the problems with communications and decision making and lack of flexibility in procedures when it came to intercepting aerial threats inside the country were disastrous.

The film is 9/11: The Lost Tapes, made by the UK’s Channel 4. These days it’s pretty widely available online. This outstanding documentary takes you on a moment by moment recap of the chaos on the East Coast on that historic day. Since then, the USAF has totally revised its alert posture and how it deals with potentially hostile aircraft.

Additionally, the Washington D.C. area has been outfitted with layers of surface to air missiles and the most advanced radar systems in the world in an attempt to ensure that such an attack does not happen again.

Even with all these enhancements, there are struggles to keep up with emerging threats, but they are still not as blatant or potentially dangerous as the threat posed by hijackers turning commercial airliners into guided missiles and ramming them into buildings.

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Art credit: USAF/Public Domain

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