Today marks the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

In the early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four U.S. commercial airplanes bound for West Coast cities. Two of the planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, another plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the last plane went down near Shanksville, Pa., after passengers and crew fought back against the hijackers whose actual target was most likely either the U.S. Capitol or The White House.

A total of 2,977 people were killed in those three locations.

Several celebrities narrowly missed death that day. Another chose to work behind the scenes to help others.

Mark Wahlberg

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Actor Mark Wahlberg was supposed to be on the flight that crashed into the north tower on 9/11. Wikimedia Commons / Special to The Forum
Actor Mark Wahlberg was supposed to be on the flight that crashed into the north tower on 9/11. Wikimedia Commons / Special to The Forum

Perhaps the most well-known celebrity with a near miss on 9/11, actor and rapper Mark Wahlberg was supposed to be on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to New York that morning. However, Wahlberg had been invited to attend a film festival in Toronto and decided at the last minute to charter a jet with friends. At 8:46 a.m. Eastern time, the flight he was supposed to be on crashed into the north tower. Wahlberg says he still has nightmares about what might have been. He also got into some hot water a few years back when he claimed that had he been on the flight, he could have stopped the attack from happening. He later apologized for his insensitive comments.

Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane was supposed to be on Flight 11, but he missed the flight. Wikimedia Commons / Special to The Forum
Seth MacFarlane was supposed to be on Flight 11, but he missed the flight. Wikimedia Commons / Special to The Forum

The creator of the TV series "Family Guy," Seth MacFarlane is a talented actor, animator and singer. But he also has a history of missing flights. That's what happened on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when he was also scheduled to be on Flight 11, just like Wahlberg. MacFarlane was running late because he says he had been out drinking the night before. To make matters worse, his travel agent told him the plane's departure time was 10 minutes later than what is actually was. Bottom line: MacFarlane missed the flight and chose instead to go to an airport lounge and take a nap. He says he woke up later to the sound of commotion when people in the airport realized what was happening.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York

If Sarah Ferguson had been on time the morning of Sept. 11, 2011, she would have been in the offices of her charity in the north tower of the World Trade Center when the plane struck. Wikimedia Commons / Special to The Forum
If Sarah Ferguson had been on time the morning of Sept. 11, 2011, she would have been in the offices of her charity in the north tower of the World Trade Center when the plane struck. Wikimedia Commons / Special to The Forum

One of America's favorite members of the royal family, Fergie, was busy the morning of Sept. 11 doing interviews on early morning television to promote her charity, Chances for Children. The interviews went long, making Ferguson late for a meeting at the charity's headquarters in the north tower of the World Trade Center. Instead of being in the office when the plane struck, she was stuck in traffic a few miles away. She says that day is a constant reminder to her to live in the moment.

Rob Lowe

Actor Rob Lowe was on the hijackers' practice flight and was later asked to testify about it. Flickr / Special to The Forum
Actor Rob Lowe was on the hijackers' practice flight and was later asked to testify about it. Flickr / Special to The Forum

Popular actor Rob Lowe ("The West Wing," "Parks and Recreation") was not scheduled to be on a flight on Sept. 11, 2001, but he was on a flight with the hijackers months earlier without realizing it. Lowe told Piers Morgan of CNN that the flight that day was unremarkable, but months later he was notified that flight had been a dry run for the hijackers to practice their plot and he was asked to testify about it.

Steve Buscemi

Actor Steve Buscemi, known as one of the villains in "Fargo," was once a firefighter. Following 9/11, he pitched in to help clear rubble in Manhattan. Wikimedia Commons / Special to The Forum
Actor Steve Buscemi, known as one of the villains in "Fargo," was once a firefighter. Following 9/11, he pitched in to help clear rubble in Manhattan. Wikimedia Commons / Special to The Forum

Steve Buscemi is known for playing bad guys like he did in the movie "Fargo," where he played foul-mouthed kidnapper Carl Showalter. But Buscemi is actually a pretty great guy as evidenced by what he did following the 9/11 attacks. Before he became a successful actor, Buscemi worked as a firefighter in Manhattan. For several days after Sept. 11, Buscemi once again put on his firefighter gear and stepped in to help clear rubble. He often worked 12-hour days and later told Business Insider that it was a privilege to do so.