“The nation was unprepared.” So wrote the authors of the The 9/11 Commission Report. And so might many witnesses remember feeling as they helplessly watched so many terrifying events unfold on Sept. 11, 2001.
Who among us could prepare to watch a commercial airplane fly into the North Tower of the World Trade Center? Or for a second to strike the South Tower minutes later? Or for yet another, at the Pentagon? Or for what would play out on Flight 93, when passengers tried to fight back?
No one could prepare for any of it — including seeing the towers fall or losing so many firefighters, police officers, and first responders, who had rushed in to help the people trapped inside.
No one was prepared to watch, in seconds, skyscrapers turn to dust.
The deadly, coordinated terror attacks against the U.S. stole nearly 3,000 lives and left behind permanent scars for countless others.
They also spurred lasting conspiracy theories and rumors that readers search on our site to this day.
What follows are some of those our fact-checkers have debunked.