September 11: Attacked on America
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists caught the U.S. by surprise when they hijacked four commercial airplanes and used them as weapons in a bold series of attacks aimed at American landmarks, including New York City's World Trade Center.
At 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 speared into the 110-story north tower. At 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175, shown here, crashed into the 84th floor of the south tower. Both towers collapsed.
Hijacked planes also crashed into the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field. Nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, which led to the U.S. declaring a war on terror that continues to this day.
A fiery blasts rocks the World Trade Center towers after being hit by two planes. The stunning aerial assaults on the huge commercial complex where more than 40,000 people worked on an ordinary day were part of a coordinated attack aimed at the nation's financial heart. They destroyed one of America's most dramatic symbols of power and financial strength and left New York -- and the rest of the country -- reeling.
Smoke billows from the Southwest E-ring of the Pentagon building Sept.11, 2001, in Arlington, Va., after it was hit by hijacked American Airlines Flight 77.
"I'm asking myself if it can happen in America," a stunned Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said as he and other lawmakers evacuated the Capitol. "Obviously it can."
President Bush is interrupted at 9:07 a.m. during a school visit in Sarasota, Fla., by Andrew Card, his chief of staff, and told that a second plane has hit the World Trade Center. Bush leaves the school session and sets off on a secretive hopscotch flight aboard Air Force One, stopping at an Air Force base in Louisiana and NORAD headquarters in Nebraska before returning to the White House in late afternoon. "Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror," Bush tells the nation during a late-night television address.
People in front of New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral react with horror as they look down Fifth Ave toward the burning World Trade Center.
A person jumps from the north tower of the World Trade Center as another clings to the outside, left center, where American Airlines Flight 11 ripped into the building, touching off an inferno that brought the tower down less than two hours later. "About five minutes before the tower fell, you could see people jumping from the upper floors. I watched six either fall or jump..." said Steve Johnson, then an msnbc.com producer who was standing about six blocks from the tower.
Two women hold each other as they watch the twin towers burn.
Smoke and debris fill the air as the south tower collapses at 9:59 a.m. "Clearly, not even the police and FBI who had flooded the area were worried about collapse," said George Hackett of Newsweek. "They wouldn't have been anywhere near to the buildings as they were. If the first building hadn't essentially fallen straight down, its crash could have killed hundreds standing, like me, a few blocks away."
Smoke and debris fill the streets as pedestrians run for cover after the collapse of the south tower. What started as a bright sunny day turned to darkness. "Suddenly the top of [the tower] just shattered into tens of thousands of pieces," said Steve Johnson, then a producer with msnbc.com. "You could see the whole thing just disappeared. Then the smoke came up. The cops started yelling, 'Get back! Run! Get Away!' I ran inside a hotel, and it went black outside because of the dust."
A woman covered in dust takes refuge in an office building after the top of one of the towers collapsed. The woman was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area.
Rescue workers move the body of the Rev. Mychal Judge, 68, away from the base of the north tower. Judge, the New York Fire Department chaplain, died in the line of duty when struck by debris from the south tower while administering last rites to a firefighter.
People flee across the Brooklyn Bridge to escape the carnage in lower Manhattan.
FBI investgators comb the crater left by the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, carrying 45 people, in Shanksville, Pa. The plane was flying from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was hijacked by al-Qaida terrorists as part of the Sept. 11 attacks. Some passengers tried to overpower the hijackers and regain control of the aircraft, but It crashed into a field near Shanksville. All on board, including the four hijackers, were killed.
A woman reacts to an explosion at the World Trade Center towers while observing from the Brooklyn Promenade.
A man standing in the rubble calls out asking if anyone needs help, after the collapse of the first World Trade Center tower. Firefighters and other rescuers worked around the clock, searching for survivors in what looked like a war zone.
Delayed Southwest Airlines flights are seen on a television monitor after the attacks, at the Oakland International Airport in California. All flights in the country regulated by the FAA were cancelled, stranding travelers nationwide.
People walk in the street in the area where the World Trade Center buildings collapsed,
A firefighter takes a break from searching in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
Firefighters raise a U.S. flag at the devastated World Trade Center.
New Yorkers stand motionless and silent aboard the first Staten Island ferry to approach Manhattan after the World Trade Center attack.
9/11 Ten Years Later (Part-1)
9/11 Ten Years Later (Part-2)
Aftermath of Sept.11 attacks
President George Bush visits ground zero on Sept. 14, 2001, as firefighter Bob Beckwith and other weary workers continue rescue efforts in the rubble of the World Trade Center. "The people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon," Bush said while standing atop a fire truck. The recovery task was particularly painful for New York's police and firefighters, who lost many of their own.
From left, New York Gov. George Pataki, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton tour the site of the World Trade Center disaster on Sept. 12.
American citizen Hassan Awdah, a native of Yemen, owner of the Marathon gas station in Gary, Ind., stands behind a bulletproof glass shot several times by an assailant with high-power rifle on Sept. 12, 2001. Harassment and hate crimes plagued the Muslim community and other ethnic groups following Sept. 11.
People gather for a candlelight vigil at Union Square in New York City, Sept. 14, 2001. Citizens across the nation remembered victims of the terrorist attacks with flowers, candles, flags flown at half-staff and moments of quiet reflection.
Firefighter Tony James cries during a funeral service for New York Fire Department Chaplain Rev. Mychal Judge, Sept. 15. Judge died when he was hit by debris while giving the last rites to a fireman in the collapse of the World Trade Center.
An FBI crime scene investigator points to a fingerprint as a response team gathers evidence at a Delray Beach, Fla., condominium where terrorist suspects in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon attacks lived, Sept. 16, 2001. Federal and local law enforcement issued many search and arrest warrants around the world in the week following the 9/11 attacks.
With the U.S. preparing for a strike on Afghanistan and seeking help from other countries, neighboring Pakistan quickly became a key player in the terrorist crisis. The Pakistani government's pledge to assist the U.S. spawned angry protests in the streets of Islamabad, Karachi and elsewhere. Supporters of al-Qaida leader and Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden chanted anti-American slogans and burned the U.S. flag.
Rescue workers work late Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C., sifting through piles of debris from the section of the Pentagon hit by a hijacked plane.
This video image from Portland International Jetport released by the Portland, Maine, police on Sept. 19 reportedly shows suspected hijackers Mohammed Atta, right, and Abdulaziz Alomari, center, as they pass through airport security Sept. 11, at 5:45 a.m. Authorities said the two men boarded a commuter flight to Boston before connecting to American Airlines Flight 11, one of four jetliners hijacked on Sept. 11. Flight 11 was deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center.
Miriam Horrocks, seated, with 6-year-old son Michael, is presented with the U.S. flag by a U.S. Marine Corps honor guard following a funeral Mass on Sept. 17 in Media, Pa., for her late husband. Michael Horrocks, 38, was killed when hijacked United Airlines Flight 175, which he was co-piloting, crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
A group of anti-war protesters hold signs and chant in New York's Times Square, Sep. 21, 2001.
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, center, gives a thumbs-up to traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Sept. 17, 2001, before helping ring the opening bell. "God Bless America" was sung before the bell, as the stock exchange opened for the first time since the terror attacks.
Rescue workers continue their efforts Sept. 24, 2001, at the site of the World Trade Center attack.
9/11/01... Ten Years After (Tribute to FDNY & NYPD)
Joe Caristo of Miami, who once worked at the World Trade Center, stands silently Sunday, Sept. 11, during a ceremony in New York marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Caristo says he lost friends in the 2001 attacks on the twin towers.
Cho Sok Wells, accompanied by his wife Cathy, kisses their 10-month-old son Cristian while visiting his sister's memorial bench after the 10th anniversary 9/11 ceremony at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Sunday.
U.S. flight medic Sfc David Bibb of Santa Fe, N.M., holds an American flag on top of a helicopter Sunday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at Forward Operating Base Edi in Afghanistan's Helmand province.
A young man holds his head as he sits in front of a memorial for FDNY firefighters from Ladder Company 20 who died at the World Trade Center on 9/1. New York City firefighters are commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and honoring the 343 firefighters who died in the line of duty.
Christoffer Molsins, a soldier from Denmark who is being deployed to Afghanistan, holds his dog tags while standing with thousands of others on Church Street in lower Manhattan as they listen to the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Sept. 11, 2011.
Capt. Erik Schutz, 26, of Medina, Minn., right, and Capt. Matt Schachman, 28, of Wilmette, Ill., raise a new American flag to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as Capt. Ron Hopkins, 27, left, of Honolulu, Hawaii, looks on Sept. 11, 2011 at Forward Operating Base Bostick in Kunar province, Afghanistan.
Helen Jordan of London reads ribbons of remembrance on a fence at St. Pauls Church in Lower Manhattan during events marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Sept. 11, 2011.
Fire fighters and other first responders receive applause as they wind their way through the seats at Parkview Field baseball stadium in Fort Wayne, Ind., Sept 11, 2011. The 9/11 Stair Climb memorial walk started at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. About 400 people attended the event.
People react during ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, in New York, Sept. 11, 2011.
Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza in the attacks at the World Trade Center, pauses on Sunday, Sept. 11, at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial before the 10th anniversary ceremony.
Family members arrive Sunday at the check-in area before the ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
President Barack Obama, right; first lady Michelle Obama; former President George W. Bush; and former first lady Laura Bush look out at the North Pool of the 9/11 memorial.
A man walks among nearly 3,000 flags set up as part of a remembrance in St. Louis, Mo., on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
People arrive Sunday for the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Three small stones are placed over a name on one of the plaques in the '9/11 Memorial' outside Jerusalem on Sept. 11, 2011, during a 10th anniversary memorial ceremony marking the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people, including five Israelis. It is customary at Jewish cemeteries to place stones on the graves of loved ones. The memorial here contains a large American flag made of bronze that appears to be billowing in the wind, and has plaques containing all of the nearly 3,000 names of the victims, the only site to do so outside the one at the World Trade Center in New York City.
Peace activists release white doves during a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks in Berlin, Germany, on September 11, 2011.
Members of Clerkenwell Fire Station's Green Watch observe a minute of silence in London, England, on Sunday, remembering their fellow firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.
High school students pose for a photo by a damaged replica of the Statue of Liberty in Ishinomaki, Japan, Sunday. As the world commemorated the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, Sunday was doubly significant for Japan. It marked six months since the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
The Tribute in Light shines above lower Manhattan, the Statue of Libertyand One World Trade Center, left, on Saturday.
Family and friends of those aboard Flight 93 gather on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, at the boulder that marks the crash site outside Shanksville, Pa. They were there the day before the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks after the dedication of the first phase of the permanent Flight 93 National Memorial.
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and former first lady Laura Bush bow their heads during ceremonies in Shanksville, Pa.
A family member of one of the victims of the crash of United Flight 93 walks along a part of the Flight 93 National Memorial following its dedication. The names of the 40 victims of the crash are inscribed on the marble panels.
People look out at the World Trade Center site on Sept. 10 in New York City.
Workers scrub a waterfall pool at the National September 11 Memorial on Sept. 10 in New York.
A tribute to Sept. 11 is seen at Bryant Park on Sept. 10 in New York. There are 2,753 empty chairs -- one for each life lost in New York during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Flags are carried into St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York during a ceremony Sept. 10 to honor New York firefighters killed in the attacks.
A visitor takes pictures of flags erected at Battery Park in Manhattan, on Sept. 10 as a part of a project called "One Flag One Life" to marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
The Score family hugs after participating in the "Hand In Hand, Remembering 9/11" event in Battery Park in New York Sept. 10.
A woman writes a message on the wall of remembrance memorial near the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 10.
In Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., on Sept. 10, a man looks at names on the wall of the newly opened Empty Sky memorial to victims of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The memorial consists of two 30-foot-tall concrete and steel structures, inscribed with the names of the 746 people from New Jersey who died in the attacks.
Dr. Madeline Borquist of Carmel Valley, Calif., uses charcoal to outline the name of her niece, Alison Marie Wildman, during the memorial dedication of the Empty Sky memorial at Liberty State Park on Sept. 10 in Jersey City, N.J. Wildman was killed in the terrorist attacks.
President Barack Obama hugs a visitor during a visit to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington on Sept. 10.
Judy and Bob Poore place a flag at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Georgia on Sept. 10 to help commemorate the 10th anniversary and remember their friend Ann Ransom, one of nearly 3,000 people who died in the attacks. A flag was placed on the battlefield for each victim; the flags will remain flying through Sept. 16.
In the Arms of the Angels: A September 11 Memorial