Monday marks the 22nd anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States when 19 men affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes resulting in the deaths of close to 3,000 people.
On the morning of 9/11, terrorists carried out four attacks on U.S. soil where two hijacked planes crashed into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Another hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia and the fourth plane, United Airlines (UA) Flight 93, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers worked together to stop the terrorists.
At 8:46 a.m. ET on that fateful day, American Airlines (AA) Flight 11 crashed into the upper floors of the North Tower. Just a few minutes later at 9:03 a.m. ET, the second plane, UA Flight 175, flew into the South Tower, striking floors 77 to 85. According to the 9/11 Memorial website, it was estimated that there were between 16,400 and 18,000 people at the World Trade Center (WTC) complex when the planes struck the buildings.
The planes destroyed both the North and the South Tower as well as five other buildings within the WTC complex after the twin towers fell. “The collapse of the buildings left the site devastated. Thousands of volunteers came to Ground Zero to help with the rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts, and on May 30, 2002, the last piece of WTC steel was ceremonially removed,” the 9/11 Memorial website states.
The terrorist’s mission, which was planned by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is still seen to this day as the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Over the past 22 years since the attack, the death toll has continued to rise, including many first responders who sustained injuries and illnesses during the recovery and rescue of people.
Newsweek has complied several photos to showcase the day that remains infamous in American history.
The Twin Towers
In the two photos below, the World Trade Center buildings are seen engulfed in flames and large clouds of smoke after they were struck by the two hijacked planes.
In another photo, a firefighter can be seen heading toward the twin towers shortly after they were hit to assist with rescue efforts.
Three other photos shown below capture reactions from people immediately after the twin towers were struck and eventually fell. The photos showcase large clouds of smoke filling the air and the streets as people attempt to evacuate.
President George W. Bush
On 9/11, then-President George W. Bush traveled to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, to meet with children. While in a classroom, Bush was informed that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, but it was believed to be an accident early on.
At around 9:05 a.m. ET, Bush was informed by then-White House chief of staff Andrew Card that a second plane had struck the World Trade Center. “America is under attack,” Card told Bush while he was still in the elementary school classroom.
The photo shown below captures the moment Bush was informed of the attack.
Another photo shown below captured the moment Bush addressed the nation following the attacks.
At around 9:37 a.m. ET, the third plane, AA Flight 77, crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia. The photos below showcased the damage the crash caused to the building.
According to the 9/11 Memorial website, passengers on UA Flight 93 learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon while on board, and decided to act against the terrorists who hijacked their flight.
“The plane was crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania about 20 minutes by air from Washington, D.C.,” the 9/11 Memorial website says.
The photo shown below captures the area where Flight 93 crashed, with investigative crews responding shortly after.