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9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The whole world experienced the attacks of September 11, 2001, in real time. Videos, photos, and audio captured the horror inflicted by Islamic terrorists and the heroism displayed by ordinary Americans forced onto the frontlines of a sudden new war.

To mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and to ensure that future generations never forget, Breitbart News offers this visual chronicle of the day that changed the world forever and the 20 years of war that followed. 

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From the time of its opening in 1973 to that fatal day in September 2001, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center dominated the skyline of Lower Manhattan’s Financial District, as seen in the following photograph taken just six days before the Towers fell.

 

(Jamie Squire/Allsport/Getty Images)

 

Designed by Detroit architect Minoru Yamasaki, the Twin Towers were famously disparaged by New York Times’ architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable, who offered this eerie and unintentionally prescient prediction in 1966: “The trade center towers could be the start of a new skyscraper age or the biggest tombstones in the world.”

Those words were long forgotten on that bright September morning before death rained down from cloudless skies.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A view from the Hudson River of Lower Manhattan’s Financial District, including the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. (Getty Images)

 

Betty Ong, 45, a flight attendant aboard American Airlines Flight 11, was the first person to notify authorities that a plane had been hijacked and that two of her colleagues and a first class passenger had been stabbed.

Ong and her fellow flight attendant Madeline Amy Sweeney, 35, stayed on the phone with authorities until the very end, both calmly providing crucial information that confirmed the identities of the Islamic hijackers. 

Sweeney reported the events right up to the moment of impact. Her harrowing last words were, “We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low. Oh my God, we are flying way too low.”

Among her last words, Ong reportedly said over and over again, “Pray for us. Pray for us.”

 

 

The audio of Ong’s call to the American Airlines emergency number was included in a montage released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in 2018.

 

 

The following video captured the moment of impact when the hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center’s North Tower (1 WTC) at 8:46 a.m.

 

 

The first images of the burning North Tower flashed across television screens.

The following video shows the first five minutes of cable news coverage.

 

 

Four minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, Christopher Hanley, 35, called 911 from the 106th floor of the North Tower, where he was attending a conference at the restaurant Windows on the World that morning.

This is the audio of his 911 call:

 

 

The world then watched in horror as hijackers flew a second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, into the South Tower of the World Trade Center (2 WTC) at 9:03 a.m.

The second plane removed any doubt that this was a terror attack, not pilot error. America was indeed at war. 

This video shows the ABC News coverage the moment the second plane struck:

 

A plane approaches New York's World Trade Center moments before it struck the tower at left, as seen from downtown Brooklyn, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In an unprecedented show of terrorist horror, the 110 story towers collapsed in a shower of rubble and dust after 2 hijacked airliners carrying scores of passengers slammed into them. (AP Photo/ William Kratzke)

United Airlines Flight 175 flew low over Manhattan on a direct path for the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/ William Kratzke)

** ADVANCE FOR TUESDAY, NOV. 4, 2008 AND THEREAFTER ** FILE ** In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, a jet airliner nears one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. For all of the candidates' talk about the need for change, Americans have seen plenty of it since the last time they selected a new leader - including the attack on the World trade Center in 2001. (AP Photo/Carmen Taylor/File)

Islamic hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center (2 WTC) at 9:03 a.m. (AP Photo/Carmen Taylor/File)

A fireball explodes from one of the World Trade Center towers after a jet airliner crashed into the building Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, in New York. (AP Photo/Carmen Taylor)

A fireball exploded from the South Tower. (AP Photo/Carmen Taylor)

THIRD OF A SERIES OF FOUR PHOTOS--Smoke billows from one of the towers of the World Trade Center and flames and debris explode from the second tower, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In one of the most horrifying attacks ever against the United States, terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in a deadly series of blows that brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Chao Soi Cheong)

(AP Photo/Chao Soi Cheong)

A fireball erupts from one of the World Trade Center towers as it is struck by the second of two airplanes in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In a horrific sequence of destruction, terrorists hijacked two airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center in a coordinated series of attacks that brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Todd Hollis)

(AP Photo/Todd Hollis)

A ball of fire explodes from one of the towers at the World Trade Center in New York after a plane crashed into it in this image made from television Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001. The aircraft was the second to fly into the tower Tuesday morning. (AP Photo/ABC via APTN) TV OUT CBC OUT

(AP Photo/ABC via APTN)

Plumes of smoke pour from the World Trade Center buildings in New York Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. Planes crashed into the upper floors of both World Trade Center towers minutes apart Tuesday in a horrific scene of explosions and fires that left gaping holes in the 110-story buildings. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

(AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

 

President George W. Bush was visiting an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida, that morning.

He was informed about the attacks when his chief of staff, Andy Card, whispered in his ear: “A second plane has hit the second tower. America is under attack.”

 

President Bush's Chief of Staff Andy Card whispers into the ear of the President to give him word of the plane crashes into the World Trade Center, during a visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

Andy Card tells President Bush that the second tower had been hit. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

394261 06: Smoke pours from the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Fabina Sbina/ Hugh Zareasky/Getty Images)

(Fabina Sbina/ Hugh Zareasky/Getty Images)

394273 03: Smoke billows from the World Trade Center's twin towers after they were struck by commerical airliners in a suspected terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Debris fall from one of the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after a hijacked plane crashed into the tower on September 11, 2001 in New York City.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

394261 109: Smoke pours from the World Trade Center after it was hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

(Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

 

On the streets below, New Yorkers watched in shock at the smoke billowing from the towers and the desperate people hanging from the windows or leaping to their deaths to escape the fire.

Some were seen making the Sign of the Cross before they jumped. 

 

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(Getty Images)

** FILE ** People hang out of broken windows of the North Tower of the World Trade Center after a terrorist attack in New York on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Richard Pecorella has spent years searching for an image he says will bring him peace: a photograph that proves his fiancee, whom he believes could be in this photo, jumped to her death from the burning World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

People hang out of broken windows of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

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A man leaps to his death from Tower One of the World Trade Center. (Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

(Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images)

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(Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

People in front of New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral react with horror as they look down Fifth Ave towards the World Trade Center towers after planes crashed into their upper floors in this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo. Explosions and fires collapsed the 110-story buildings. This year will mark the fifth anniversary of the attacks. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler/FILE)

People in front of New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral react with horror as they look down Fifth Ave. towards the World Trade Center towers. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)

A man jumps from the north tower of New York's World Trade Center Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 after terrorists crashed two hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

A man jumps from the North Tower. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

 

The controversy surrounding the publication of the image below of a man falling from the North Tower and the subsequent quest to identify him inspired a 2006 documentary called 9/11: The Falling Man

 

EDITORS: NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT--- A person falls headfirst from the north tower of New York's World Trade Center Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

394261 29: A woman reacts in terror as she looks up to see the World Trade Center go up in flames September 11, 2001 in New York City after two airplanes slammed into the twin towers in an alleged terrorist attack. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A woman cries watching the World Trade Center go up in flames. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

 

At 9:37 a.m., the Islamic hijackers on board American Airlines Flight 77 crashed it into the Pentagon.

The war had now reached the nation’s capital.

 

A helicopter flies over the Pentagon in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 as smoke billows over the building. The Pentagon took a direct, devastating hit from an aircraft and the enduring symbols of American power were evacuated as an apparent terrorist attack quickly spread fear and chaos in the nation's capital. (AP Photo/Heesoon Yim)

A helicopter flies over the Pentagon crash site. (AP Photo/Heesoon Yim)

A helicopter flies over the burning Pentagon Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The Washington Monument can be seen at right, through the smoke. The White House roof is visible in the trees of Washington at left. (AP Photo/Tom Horan)

A helicopter flies over the burning Pentagon. The Washington Monument can be seen at right, through the smoke. The White House roof is visible in the trees on the left. (AP Photo/Tom Horan)

Vehicles are shown traveling on Interstate 395, leaving Washington, in front of the Pentagon, following an explosion Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Tom Horan)

Vehicles are seen traveling on Interstate 395, leaving Washington, in front of the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Tom Horan)

Rescue worker look over damage at the Pentagon Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The Pentagon burst into flames and a portion of one side of the five-sided structure collapsed after the building was hit by an aircraft in an apparent terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Kamneko Pajic)

Rescue workers look over damage at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Kamneko Pajic)

 

At 9:45 a.m., the FAA shut down the United States airspace for the first time in history. No civilian flights were allowed to take off, and all aircraft in the air were ordered to land immediately at the nearest airport.

In the photograph below, a screen at the American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport showed that all flights had been canceled.

 

A sreen at the American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles Internatinal Airport shows that all flights have been canceled as the airport is shutdown, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In one of the most horrifying attacks ever against the United States, terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in a deadly series of blows that brought down the twin 110-story towers. A plane also slammed into the Pentagon as the government itself came under attack. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

(AP Photo/Nick Ut)

A board at the Los Angeles Airport announces the closing of the airport following an alleged coordinated terrorist attack to the World Trade Center twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC 11 September, 2001. Some of the hijacked planes used for the attacks were heading to Los Angeles. AFP PHOTO Gerard Buckhart (Photo credit should read GERARD BURKHART/AFP/Getty Images)

A board at the Los Angeles Airport announced the closing of the airport. (GERARD BURKHART/AFP/Getty Images)

 

At 9:58 a.m., the South Tower of the World Trade Center began to collapse.

 

The south tower of the World Trade Center, left, begins to collapse after a terrorist attack on the landmark buildings in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova)

(AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova)

THEN--The south tower of the World Trade Center begins to collapse following the terrorist attack on the New York landmark Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The Millenium Hilton hotel is in foreground. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

The Millenium Hilton hotel is seen in the foreground of this photo showing the South Tower collapsing. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

The south tower collapses as smoke billows from both towers of the World Trade Center, in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In one of the most horrifying attacks ever against the United States, terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in a deadly series of blows that brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Jim Collins)

(AP Photo/Jim Collins)

394263 01: (PUERTO RICO OUT) An explosion rocks one of the World Trade Center Towers crumbled down after a plane hit the building. (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images)

(Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images)

The south tower of New York's World Trade Center collapses Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001. In one of the most horrifying attacks ever against the United States, terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in a deadly series of blows that brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

394273 02: One of the World Trade Center's twin towers collapses after it was struck by a commerical airliner in a suspected terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

People flee the falling South Tower of the World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

People flee the falling South Tower. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

 

At 10:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Were it not for the heroism of the passengers onboard who stormed the cockpit, the Islamic hijackers would have crashed the plane into either the U.S. Capitol dome or the White House.

One of the passengers was Todd Beamer, 32. After reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm, he turned to his fellow passengers and said, “Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”

And they charged the cockpit to stop the hijackers, saving countless lives that would have been lost had the plane hit its intended target.

 

SHANKSVILLE, UNITED STATES: 7/10 US-ATTACKS-2ND YEAR ANNIVERSARY Officials examine the crater 11 Septemner 2001 at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The plane from Newark, New Jersey, and bound for San Francisco, California, was hijacked and crashed in the field killing al on board. The all-out war on terrorism unleashed by Washington after the attacks marked a turning point in US-Arab relations and nowhere more so than in once top ally Saudi Arabia. With 15 of the 19 suicide hijackers carrying Saudi nationality and mastermind Osama bin Laden being the scion of a leading Saudi family, the desert kingdom and world oil kingpin, suddenly found itself on the frontline of the war on terror prosecuted by US President George W. Bush. AFP PHOTO/David MAXWELL (Photo credit should read DAVID MAXWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

Officials examine the crater at the crash site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (DAVID MAXWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

 

At 10:28 a.m., the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, sending thousands of survivors fleeing from the smoke and debris engulfing Lower Manhattan in the wake of its destruction.  

 

This Sept. 11, 2001photo of the north tower of the World Trade Center shows the building 30 seconds before its collapse. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired engineers to study the collapse of the World Trade Center and make recommendations on how to address future disasters. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The North Tower of the World Trade Center 30 seconds before its collapse at 10:28 a.m. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

People run from the collapse of one of the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center in this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo. (AP Photo/FILE/Suzanne Plunkett)

(AP Photo/FILE/Suzanne Plunkett)

This is a view of the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, after the World Trade Center towers collapsed following being struck by airplanes. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

This is a view of the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn after the World Trade Center towers collapsed. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Smoke rises from the New York skyline 11 September 2001 after two hijacked planes crashed into the landmark World Trade Center. US military forces worldwide were on their highest state of alert after the attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Pentagon officials said. AFP PHOTO/JOHN MOTTERN (Photo credit should read JOHN MOTTERN/AFP/Getty Images)

(JOHN MOTTERN/AFP/Getty Images)

Police officers and civilians run away from New York's World Trade Center after an additional explosion rocked the buildings Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, 2001. In unprecedented show of terrorist horror, the 110-story World Trade Center towers collapsed in a shower of rubble and dust Tuesday morning after two hijacked airliners carrying scores of passengers slammed into the sides of the twin symbols of American capitalism. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

(AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

394273 10: Smoke billows from the World Trade Center's twin towers after they were struck by commerical airliners in a suspected terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Flags fly at half-staff at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. as a large cloud of smoke billows from a fire at the World Trade Center in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In one of the most devastating attacks ever against the United States, terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in a closely timed series of blows that brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)

Flags flew at half-staff at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, as a large cloud of smoke billowed from the fire at the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)

Thick smoke billows into the sky from the area behind the Statue of Liberty where the World Trade Center towers stood Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The towers collapsed after terrorists crashed two planes into them Tuesday. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)

(AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)

The Statue of Liberty stands as smoke billows from the World Trade Center in New York, Tuesday, Sept 11, 2001 after terrorists crashed two hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)

(AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)

The remains of the World Trade Center stands amid the debris following the terrorist attack on the building in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Alexandre Fuchs)

The remains of the World Trade Center stood amid the debris. (AP Photo/Alexandre Fuchs)

People run from the collapse of World Trade Center towers in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 after terrorists crashed two hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett)

People run from the debris of the collapsed towers. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett)

. **FOR USE AS DESIRED. COMPANION IMAGE NY226 FILE** THEN AND NOW. ONE IN A SERIES OF PHOTOS SHOWING IMAGES OF THE SEPT. 11, 2001, ATTACKS AND ITS AFTERMATH AND THE SAME SCENE SHOT BY THE SAME AP PHOTOGRAPHER IN JUNE 2006 Pedestrians on Beekman St. flee the area of the collapsed World Trade Center in lower Manhattan following a terrorist attack on the New York landmark in the Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 file photo. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta,FILE)

Pedestrians on Beekman St. flee the area of the collapsed World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta,FILE)

**FOR USE AS DESIRED COMPANION IMAGE NY211 FILE**THEN AND NOW. ONE IN A SERIES OF PHOTOS SHOWING IMAGES OF THE SEPT. 11, 2001, ATTACKS AND ITS AFTERMATH AND THE SAME SCENE SHOT BY THE SAME AP PHOTOGRAPHER IN JUNE 2006. Survivors of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York make their way through smoke, dust and debris on Fulton St., about a block from the collapsed towers in this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 file photo. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova,FILE)

Survivors make their way through smoke, dust, and debris on Fulton St., about a block from the collapsed towers. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova)

This 11 September 2001 file photo shows Marcy Borders covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. The woman was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Marcy Borders is covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

A police officer helps a woman to a bus after she fled the area near the World Trade Center towers 11 September, 2001, in New York. Two planes crashed into each building and the tops of each tower later collapsed AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

A police officer helps a woman to a bus after she fled the area near the World Trade Center towers. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

GettyImages-1159821

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

394261 33: ( NEWSWEEK, US NEWS, GERMANY OUT) Police escort a civilian from the scene of the collapse of a tower of the World Trade Center September 11, 2001 in New York City after two airplanes slammed into the twin towers in an alleged terrorist attack. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

394261 40: People evacuate the area around the World Trade Center after it was hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Parents and children evacuate the area around the World Trade Center. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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(Getty Images)

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(Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images)

394277 05: A car sits on its side amid rubble at the World Trade Center after two hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers September 11, 2001 in New York. (Photo by Ron Agam/Getty Images)

A car sits on its side amid rubble at the World Trade Center. (Ron Agam/Getty Images)

Cars are covered in rubble after the collapse of one of the World Trade Center Towers 11 September, 2001 in New York. US President George W. Bush is to call a meeting of his top national security aides to address terrorist attacks that levelled the World Trade Center and left part of the Pentagon in ruins. AFP PHOTO Doug KANTER (Photo credit should read DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

(DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

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(Getty Images)

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: A man walks through the rubble after the collapse of the first World Trade Center Tower 11 September, 2001 in New York. AFP PHOTO Doug KANTER (Photo credit should read DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

(DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: US-WTC-THEN AND NOW-ED FINE 1(FILES) This file photo dated 11 September 2001 shows Edward Fine covering his mouth as he walks through the debris after the collapse of one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York. Fine was on the 78th floor of 1 World Trade Center when it was hit by a hijacked plane 11 September. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Edward Fine covers his mouth as he walked through the debris after the collapse of one of the World Trade Center Towers. Fine was on the 78th floor of 1 World Trade Center when it was hit. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: A man helps evacuate a woman through rubble and debris after the collapse of one of the World Trade Center Towers 11 September 2001 in New York after two hijacked planes crashed into the landmark skyscrapers. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

(STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Deputy U.S. marshal Dominic Guadagnoli helps a women after she was injured in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova)

Deputy U.S. marshal Dominic Guadagnoli helps a women after she was injured in the attack on the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova)

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(Anthony Correia/Getty Images)

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(Anthony Correia/Getty Images)

People cover their faces as they move across the Brooklyn Bridge out of the smoke and dust in Manhattan Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001, after a terrorist attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Terrorists hijacked two airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center in a coordinated series of blows that brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Daniel Shanken)

New Yorkers  cover their faces as they move across the Brooklyn Bridge out of the smoke and dust in Manhattan. (AP Photo/Daniel Shanken)

People flee lower Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, following a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Daniel Shanken) MANDATORY CREDIT

People flee lower Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. (AP Photo/Daniel Shanken)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

(AP Photo/Daniel Shanken)

Pedestrians can be seen crossing the Brooklyn Bridge as they flee Manhattan after the collapse of the first World Trade Center Tower 11 September, 2001 in New York. AFP PHOTO Doug KANTER (Photo credit should read DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Pedestrians cross the Brooklyn Bridge, fleeing Manhattan after the collapse of the South Tower. (DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

 

In the nation’s capital, traffic was gridlocked as the city shutdown and U.S. government workers were sent home following the terror attacks in New York and at the Pentagon.

 

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: Traffic in Washington, DC, gets gridlocked 11 September, 2001, as US government workers are released and the city is shutdown following suspected terrorist attacks in Washington and New York city. The twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York were demolished after two hijacked passenger planes were crashed into the buildings. AFP PHOTO/TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Gridlocked traffic in Washington, DC, after the city is shutdown following the attacks. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

President George W. Bush, aboard Air Force One and escorted by an F-16 fighter jet, watched the news coverage and spoke by phone with New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York Gov. George Pataki.

 

President Bush watches television as he talks on the phone with New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Gov. George Pataki aboard Air Force One during a flight following a statement about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

(AP Photo/Doug Mills)

President Bush talks with Chief of Staff Andrew Card aboard Air Force One during a flight to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Neb., following the presidents' statement about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

President Bush talks with his Chief of Staff Andrew Card aboard Air Force One during a flight to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

AIR FORCE ONE,- SEPTEMBER 11: An F-16 fighter flies just off the wing of Air Force One on a flight back to Washington 11 September 2001. Bush returned to the White House where he will address the nation from the Oval Office on the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (Photo credit should read DOUG MILLS/AFP/Getty Images)

An F-16 fighter flies just off the wing of Air Force One on a flight back to Washington, DC. (DOUG MILLS/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Reports of the attack filled the front pages of the world’s newspapers.

 

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: A trader of the stock exchange reads the evening paper with" Terror war on USA" on the front page 11 September 2001 outside the London stock exchange, following the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in USA earlier today. (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

A trader outside the London Stock Exchange reads the evening paper with “Terror war on USA” on the front page. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

An evening newspaper billboard in London reports on the attacks. (Graham Barclay/BWP Media/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Mexican newspapers report the attacks with the simple headline “terrorism” on September 11, 2001, in Mexico City. (Susana Gonzalez/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The front pages of six major Danish newspapers on September 12, 2001. Headlines read: “the 11th of September 2001” written on black background, “Terrorist attack on the USA, thousands feared killed,” “The Nightmare of the western world” and “USA hit .. the world in Shock,” “Madness,” and “Death zone ” (JENS NOERGAARD LARSEN/SCANPIX DENMARK/AFP via Getty Images)

Newspaper vendor Carlos Mercado sells the "Extra" editon of the Chicago Sun-Times printed 11 September, 2001, after the terrorist attacks on the United States. Two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center twin towers in New York while one hijacked plane later crashed at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, with another plane crashing 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. AFP PHOTO/Scott OLSON (Photo credit should read SCOTT OLSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Newspaper vendor Carlos Mercado sells the “Extra” edition of the Chicago Sun-Times. (SCOTT OLSON/AFP/Getty Images)

 

As the debris settled, New York’s first responders began to search for survivors in the ruins of the World Trade Center.

 

A shell of what was once part of the facade of one of the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center rises above the rubble that remains after both towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The 110-story towers collapsed after two hijacked airliners carrying scores of passengers slammed into the sides of the twin symbols of American capitalism. (AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin)

A shell of what was once part of the facade of one of the Twin Towers rises above the rubble that remains after both towers collapsed. (AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin)

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(Ron Agam/Getty Images)

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(Ron Agam/Getty Images)

394277 10: New York City firefighters take a rest frm rescue operations at the World Trade Center after two hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers September 11, 2001 in New York. (Photo by Ron Agam/Getty Images)

(Ron Agam/Getty Images)

Rescue workers make their way through the rubble of the World Trade Center 11 September 2001 in New York after two hijacked planes flew into the landmark skyscrapers. AFP PHOTO/Doug KANTER (Photo credit should read DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

(DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

An exausted police officer rests on a car covered in dust near the World Trade Center 11 September 2001 in New York as people board a bus to be evacuated after two hijacked planes crashed into the landmark towers. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA / AFP / STAN HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

An exhausted police officer rests on a car covered in dust near the World Trade Center. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

As evening descended on New York City, thick smoke clouded the skies over Lower Manhattan, billowing from the ruins where the World Trade Center once stood.

 

Smoke rises in the distance before the Long Island and the Throgs Neck Bridge 11 September 2001 between the Bronx and Queens, NY, following the destruction of the the twin towers of the World Trade Center. An apparent terrorist attack leveled the two buildings. AFP PHOTO/Matt CAMPBELL (Photo credit should read MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images)

Late afternoon, smoke rises in the distance before the Long Island and the Throgs Neck Bridge between the Bronx and Queens following the destruction of the Twin Towers. (MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images)

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(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

 

That evening, Americans across the nation gathered to pray.

 

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Patricia Petrowitz falls to her knees in prayer in Seattle’s St. James Cathedral during a prayer service on September 11, 2001. The Cathedral was filled to standing room only. (Tim Matsui/Getty Images)

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Kellog Metcalf closes his eyes during the prayer service in Seattle’s St. James Cathedral. (Tim Matsui/Getty Images)

 

That evening, Republicans and Democrats stood shoulder to shoulder on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in a show of national unity.

They sang “God Bless America.”

 

** FILE ** From front left: Rep. Dick Armey, R-Texas, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Senate Majority Leader, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Rep. Richard Gephardt, House Minority Leader, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and other congressional members stand together on the steps of the Capitol to show unity, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, in Washington, after a day which saw two planes crashes into the World Trade Center in New York, and one into the Pentagon, all considered acts of terrorism. The showing of national and political unity, displayed after the Sept. 11 attacks, is missing in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and her deadly winds have subsided. (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert)

From front left: Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and other Congressional members address the public on the evening of September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert)

 

President Bush landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland late in the afternoon and prepared to address the nation.

 

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, MD - SEPTEMBER 11: US President George W. Bush walks down the steps of Air Force One as he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base 11 September 2001 in Maryland. Bush will address the nation from the Oval Office on the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (Photo credit should read DOUG MILLS/AFP/Getty Images)

(DOUG MILLS/AFP/Getty Images)

President Bush is seen through the windows of the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, as he addresses the nation about terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

(AP Photo/Doug Mills)

 

In his address from the Oval Office that evening, President Bush said, “Today, our nation saw evil — the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America.”

 

 

As the nation prayed, the search for survivors continued.

Across the nation, volunteers donated blood to help New York. Sadly, it would soon become apparent that the donations were largely unnecessary because there were so few survivors rescued from the collapsed towers.

 

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Volunteers donate blood at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, to help victims of the World Trade Center attack. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

 

In the days that followed, people returned to Ground Zero with photographs of their missing loved ones, searching for any news of their whereabouts.

Thousands of missing person flyers were posted around Ground Zero.

 

In this September 13, 2001 photograph, a woman poses with a picture of a missing loved one who was last seen at the World Trade Center when it was attacked on September 11, 2001.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

A woman holds up a picture of a missing loved one who was last seen at the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

In this September 15, 2001 photograph, a woman poses with a picture of a missing loved one who was last seen at the World Trade Center when it was attacked on September 11, 2001.(AP Photo/Charlie Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charlie Krupa)

In this September 13, 2001 photograph, a woman is comforted as she holds a picture of a missing loved one who was last seen at the World Trade Center when it was attacked on September 11, 2001.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

A woman is comforted as she holds a picture of her missing loved one who was last seen at the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

In this September 13, 2001 photograph, a man poses with a picture of a missing loved one who was last seen at the World Trade Center when it was attacked on September 11, 2001.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

In this September 13, 2001 photograph, a woman poses with a picture of a missing loved one who was last seen at the World Trade Center when it was attacked on September 11, 2001.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A woman looks at missing person posters of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 14, 2001.(AP Photo/Robert Spencer)

(AP Photo/Robert Spencer)

 

Many Americans came to see New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as “America’s mayor” in recognition of his steady leadership in the days following the attacks.

In the photograph below, Giuliani consoled Anita Deblase whose son, James, 44, was missing at the site of the World Trade Center. James Deblase was among the 658 employees of Cantor Fitzgerald who died on 9/11.

 

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani consoles Anita Deblase, of New York, whose son, James Deblase, 44, is missing, at the site of the World Trade Center disaster, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001. "He's at the bottom of the rubble," she said. James Deblase worked for Cantor Fitzgerald at the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

 

On September 12, military and first responders unfurled a large American flag on the roof of the Pentagon over the crash site.

 

Military and fire personnel get set to unfurl a large American flag on the roof of the Pentagon, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001. A hijacked airliner crashed into the structure on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Firefighters unfurl an American flag from the roof of the Pentagon Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001, as President Bush visits the area of the Pentagon where an airliner, hijacked by terrorists, crashed into the building on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

 

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a makeshift altar was assembled near the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93.

 

A makeshift altar, constructed for a worship service, overlooks the the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2001, in Shanksville, Pa. The plane was hijacked and crashed during Tuesday's terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A makeshift altar in Shanksville on September 16, 2001. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

 

A flag was raised over the rubble at Ground Zero.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

(Thomas E. Franklin/The Record via USA TODAY NETWORK)

An American flag is posted in the rubble of the World Trade Center Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001, in New York. The search for survivors and the recovery of the victims continues since Tuesday's terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)

(AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)

 

And the nation prayed.

President Bush issued a proclamation calling for a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance on Friday, September 14, 2001.

“I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with noontime memorial services, the ringing of bells at that hour, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils.”

That Friday afternoon, President Bush visited the first responders and rescue workers at Ground Zero and delivered an impromptu speech that captured the sentiment of the country:

 

 

Around the nation, Americans of all faiths gathered to pray and mourn at memorial services and evening vigils.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Rev. Billy Graham delivers the sermon during the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, on September 14, 2001. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A crowd of nearly 6,000 people gather on the steps of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, CA, for a prayer service on September 14, 2001. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Several thousand people gather in the Daley Center Plaza in downtown Chicago for the memorial service on September 14, 2001 (SCOTT OLSON/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Thousands of people gather for a prayer service on Fountain Square in Cincinnati, OH, on September 14, 2001. (Mike Simons/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

More than 5,000 people attend a prayer service on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September, 14, 2001. (GEORGE FREY/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

More than 15,000 students and faculty attend a prayer service at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, on September 14, 2001. (GEORGE FREY/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Clergy and lay people participate in a prayer service in front of the damaged side of the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on September, 14, 2001.(LUKE FRAZZA/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A woman carries a poster with a passage from the Book of Isaiah during the prayer service at the Pentagon on September 14, 2001. (EVA-LOTTA JANSSON/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Barry Love (C) from Honolulu cries as he sings “God Bless America” at the end of a service at the Hawaii State Capitol on September 14, 2001, where Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Hawaiian religious leaders spoke. (MIKE NELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

American Airlines pilot Emmanue Remy (center), technicians, and flight attendants attend an interfaith vigil on September 13, 2001, at the Boston City Hall Plaza in Massachusetts. (JOHN MOTTERN/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Tip Catalano, 54, of Hingham, Massachusetts, clutches her American flag after attending a prayer service at the Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts on September 14, 2001. (JESSICA RINALDI/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Children sing during a morning mass at St. John the Baptist Church on September 16, 2001. (Joe Raedle/Gettyimages)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

People pray at remembrance service at Seward Park High School in New York City on September 16, 2001. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

New Yorkers gather for a candlelight vigil in Manhattan’s Union Square Park on September 14, 2001. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The vigil in Union Square Park on September 14, 2001. (Gabe Palacio/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

With the skyline of New York City as a backdrop, two young men light candles at a vigil in New York City on September 14, 2001. (HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Mourners assemble at a candlelight vigil in New York City’s Washington Square Park on September 14, 2001. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Imam Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini (2nd R) lights a candle with leaders of other religions at an interfaith memorial service in Pasadena, CA, on September 13, 2001. (LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A memorial vigil in Long Beach, CA, on September 14, 2001. (LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Mourners sing patriotic songs during a candlelight vigil near a memorial for fallen firefighters in Santa Ana, CA, on September 14, 2001. (David McNew/Getty Images)

 

And the world mourned with us.

In London, Queen Elizabeth II ordered her Coldstream Guards to play the “Star Spangled Banner” during the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

This was the first time in history that a British monarch ordered the Guards to play another nation’s anthem during this traditional ceremony.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace to listen to the American National Anthem September 13, 2001. (Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

 

That Friday, the Queen and the leaders of her government attended a prayer service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. They sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

 

 

All of Britain stopped for a moment of silence that day to honor the victims of the attack in America.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Mourners fill the street before the start of the special remembrance service outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on September 14, 2001. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Thousands of mourners attend a memorial service on September 14, 2001, outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. (Jonathan Evans/BWP Media/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Queen Elizabeth II leaves St Paul’s Cathedral in London after a memorial service on September 14, 2001, for the victims of the 9/11 attack. (KIERAN DOHERTY/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Britons face “Big Ben” and observe an Europe-wide three minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m. on September 14, 2001, in Parliament Square, London in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11. (Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

 

Throughout the world, government officials and ordinary citizens grieved with Americans.

The European Union declared September 14, 2001, a day of mourning for all its member states in solidarity with America.

“In the darkest days of European history, America stood close by us, and today we stand close by America,” European Commission President Romano Prodi said.  

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A group of Taiwanese firefighters hold candles during a prayer service in Taiwan on September 14, 2001, for the victims 9/11. (SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

 

In the weeks that followed, we buried our dead.

Among the heroes we mourned were the 343 New York City firefighters who lost their lives trying to rescue people from the burning towers. 

Their numbers included New York Fire Department Chaplain Father Mychal Judge, a Franciscan friar who died while administering the last rites to a fallen firefighter in the North Tower when the South Tower collapsed. 

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The coffin of New York Fire Department Chaplain Father Mychal Judge is carried from St. Francis of Assisi Church on September 15, 2001, following his funeral mass in New York City. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Firefighter Tony James cries while attending the funeral mass for Father Mychal Judge. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Firefighters carry the flag-covered casket of fellow fireman Lt. Dennis Mojica during a funeral mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on September 21, 2001, in New York City. Mojica, who was with Rescue Company 1, was one of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attack. (Joe Raedle/Gettyimages)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Firefighters stand atop a fire engine with the flag draped casket of fellow fireman Lt. Dennis Mojica following his funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. (Joe Raedle/Gettyimages)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

New York City firefighters stand at attention as the casket of FDNY Capt. Terence Hatton is placed on a fire engine outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on October 4, 2001, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A joint service honor guard marches through the colonnade at Arlington National Cemetery with a casket containing the unidentified remains of victims of the terror attack on the Pentagon, following a funeral ceremony on September 12, 2002. Of the 184 who died in the Pentagon attack, 64 have been buried at Arlington. (MIKE THEILER/AFP via Getty Images)

 

The massive clean-up efforts at Ground Zero spanned months and even years.

Among the rubble, a cast iron cross was found rising out of the destruction at the World Trade Center.

The cross fell intact from Tower One into nearby Building Six on September 11.

It became a source of consolation to the rescue workers. On October 4, Father Brian Jordan, a Franciscan friar, blessed the cross.

 

This undated photo of two metal beams, center, that form a cross that rises out of the destruction at the World Trade Center, was made available in New York, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2001. The cast iron "cross," which fell intact from Tower One into nearby Building Six on Sept. 11., was blessed on Thursday by Rev. Brian Jordan, a Franciscan priest, as rescue workers who have adopted it as a symbol of faith gathered around to watch. (AP Photo/Pool)

The cast iron cross found in the rubble at the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Pool)

Father Brian Jordan, second from left, blesses, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2001, a cross of steel beams found amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center by a laborer two days after the collapse of the twin towers. The cross was from World Trade tower One, and was found in World Trade building Six and moved to its present location Wednesday. Other rescue and construction workers join Jordan for the ceremony. A protective mesh hangs on the building in the background. (AP Photo/Pool, Kathy Willens)

Rescue and construction workers gathered around Father Brian Jordan, second from left, who blessed the cross of steel beams found amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Pool, Kathy Willens)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

One of the damaged connecting pedestrian walkways of the World Trade Center complex still stands at Ground Zero in New York on September 19, 2001. (AP Photo/Cameron Bloch)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A New York Fire Department Chief, firefighters from various municipalities, and other rescue workers take a break September 13, 2001, from the rescue/recovery effort at the World Trade Center site. (Andrea Booher, FEMA via AP)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A worker examines a beam of tower one of the World Trade Center, on November 2, 2001, as the cleanup and recovery effort continues. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

 

After the attacks, the America people wanted swift justice. What followed was 20 years of wars.

In an address before Congress on September 20, 2001, President Bush declared that the United States was engaged in an open-ended “war on terror.”

“Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there,” he stated. “It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.”

 

 

On October 7, 2001, the United States and Great Britain began airstrikes in Afghanistan to destroy the al Qaeda camps where the 9/11 hijackers where trained. The immediate aim was to capture al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and – in the words of President Bush – to bring him to justice “dead or alive.”

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Air Force personnel aboard the USS Enterprise move ordnance on October 7, 2001, in preparation for the strike against the al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. (U.S. Navy/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

An F/A-18C Hornet is prepared for launch from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on October 7, 2001, in preparation for strikes against al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. (US Navy/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A sailor sits at the Tactical Data Coordinator watch in the Combat Information Center aboard the USS Princeton on October 7, 2001, as part of the U.S. in Afghanistan. (David C. Mercil/US Navy/Getty Images)

 

Over the span of two decades, the war in Afghanistan would expand towards an open-ended exercise in nation-building after bin Laden’s Taliban sponsors were removed from power.

However, in early December 2001 – just three months after the 9/11 attacks – America was close to achieving a swift and decisive victory in Afghanistan during what became known as the Battle of Tora Bora.

The truth of what happened there was eventually revealed in a 2009 U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report.

From December 6 – 17, 2001, U.S. coalition forces had bin Laden and his associates pinned down in a cave complex at Tora Bora. The U.S. special forces in Afghanistan requested additional ground troops to launch an assault on the complex and block the escape routes along the mountain pass lest bin Laden get away. Their requests were denied even though there were already thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan available to fight, including soldiers trained to fight in mountainous terrain.

“The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the Army, was kept on the sidelines,” the 2009 Senate report stated. “Instead, the U.S. command chose to rely on airstrikes and untrained Afghan militias to attack bin Laden and on Pakistan’s loosely organized Frontier Corps to seal his escape routes. On or around December 16, two days after writing his will, bin Laden and an entourage of bodyguards walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan’s unregulated tribal area.”

The decision not to deploy troops to capture bin Laden or prevent his escape was made by President Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Tommy Franks because, according to the Senate report, “Rumsfeld said at the time that he was concerned that too many U.S. troops in Afghanistan would create an anti-American backlash and fuel a widespread insurgency.”

Gen. Franks’ deputy told the Senate committee that the Pentagon didn’t want to escalate the fight at Tora Bora before the U.S.-installed Afghan leader Hamid Karzai was inaugurated. “We wanted to create a stable country and that was more important than going after bin Laden at the time,” he said.

At that same time, the Bush White House was already focused on a new war.

In November 2001, just weeks before the Battle of Tora Bora, President Bush ordered Secretary Rumsfeld to assemble plans for an invasion of Iraq, despite the country’s negligible connection to the 9/11 attacks. Gen. Franks was then ordered to draft plans for a new war, while the Pentagon was still planning the Battle of Tora Bora. 

The 2009 Senate report concluded that “the shift in focus just as Franks and his senior aides were literally working on plans for the attacks on Tora Bora represents a dramatic turning point that allowed a sustained victory in Afghanistan to slip through our fingers.”

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Two anti-Taliban fighters armed with Kalashnikov and radio receivers stand lookout in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, on December 6, 2001, as the U.S. bombardment commences. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Northern Alliance soldiers walk the mountain passes along Tora Bora, Afghanistan, on December 7, 2001. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Northern Alliance soldiers drive a truck near where an American missile blast billows in the background at Tora Bora, Afghanistan, on December 8, 2001. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Anti-Taliban soldiers stand overlooking the unguarded mountain pass around Tora Bora during the U.S. bombardment on December 10, 2001. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Afghan mujahadeen inspect one of the caves in the captured Al Qaeda base at Tora Bora December 19, 2001. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Two Afghan women and their children walk towards the direction of the snow covered battle ground of Tora Bora mountain on December 23, 2001. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

General Tommy Franks (L), commander of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (R) hold a joint briefing on November 8, 2001, at the Pentagon. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

 

On March 19, 2003, U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq, defeating the Iraqi army and seizing Baghdad in less than three weeks. 

The subsequent war would successfully depose Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime but fail to find the weapons of mass destruction he was purported to have. The years that followed brought sectarian fighting, suicide bombings, regional instability, and tragedy for Iraqi civilians and the U.S. coalition. 

On August 30, 2010, President Barack Obama declared an end to U.S. combat operations in Iraq, essentially ending the U.S. war there. But, as would soon become apparent, the U.S. withdrawal left an even greater power vacuum that would be exploited by Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, which in turn would lead to the ethnic cleansing of Christians and other religious minorities in the region, a migrant crisis in Europe, and ISIS-inspired terror attacks throughout the world.

As many as 306,000 civilians and troops died in the Iraq War, including 4,598 American service members.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet launches from the flight deck of the USS Constellation shortly after President George Bush declared that war against Iraq had begun March 20, 2003. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

An explosion is seen in Baghdad on March 20, 2003, as the U.S. began its war on Iraq with air strikes on the capital. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Smoke billows as a U.S. missile hits the planning ministry in Baghdad March 20, 2003. (RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Smoke and fire covers Baghdad following a massive U.S. missile attack on March 20, 2003. (KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Smoke rises from explosions during the first few minutes of a U.S. air attack on March 21, 2003, in Baghdad. (Wathiq Khuzaie /Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The presidential palace compound burns in Baghdad on March 21, 2003, during the massive U.S. air strike on the Iraqi capital. (RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Marines from the 2nd Battalion 8th Regiment run for cover on March 23, 2003, during combat with Iraqi troops in the southern city of Nasiriyah. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Division pass a sign pointing the way to Baghdad as they continue their march to the Iraqi capital on March 25, 2003, in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Majed Najaf (R) carries wounded Hafez Abu Haidar, an employee at the al-Salhiya telecomunications center, after it was hit by a U.S. missile during a coalition air raid on Baghdad on March 30, 2003. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Iraqi families continue to leave Basra in southern Iraq, across one of the town’s bridges manned by British soldiers, on March 30, 2003. (DAN CHUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Smoke billowing from burning oil trenches covers Baghdad on April 2, 2003. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Marines are seen near the statue of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein at al-Fardous square in Baghdad, after the U.S. coalition forces captured the Iraqi capital on April 9, 2003. (Wathiq Khuzaie /Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Iraqis watch as U.S. forces topple a statue of Saddam Hussein after seizing Baghdad on April 9, 2003. The statue was briefly covered with a U.S. flag before being brought down. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Iraqis flee Baghdad on April 11, 2003, as the Iraqi capital descended into chaos with widespread looting and lawlessness, two days after U.S. troops captured the city and ousted Saddam Hussein’s regime. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Iraqi Jews Jakob Yusef, 70, and his niece Khalda Salih, 38, stand in their home in the tiny remaining Baghdad Jewish community on Passover April 17, 2003, in Baghdad. The community members did not formally celebrating the holiday that year due to a lack of electricity, food, and other problems associated with the war. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Members of the Fort Drum Honor Guard carry a casket of U.S. Army Spc. Mathew Boule, 22, into the St. Francis Church during his funeral on April 15, 2003, in Dracut, Massachusetts. Boule was killed when his Blackhawk helicopter crashed during a firefight south of Baghdad. (Jacob Silberberg/Getty Images)

 

In February 2009, President Obama announced a surge of the war in Afghanistan, ordering an additional 17,000 U.S. troops to the country. The U.S. nation-building mission there would expand beyond anything having to do with 9/11. Official reports and interviews uncovered in the “Afghanistan Papers” revealed that after two decades of mission creep, the U.S. military knew it was fighting an un-ending and un-winnable war. 

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A U.S. Marine with G Company 2nd battalion 2nd Marine Division stands guard as a fellow Marine who became sick while on patrol is picked up by a MEDEVAC helicopter on December 17, 2009 near Delhi, Afghanistan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Flight medic Sgt. Aaron Burrows (C) of Amarillo, TX, with C Company Dustoff 3rd Battalion of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade 82nd Airborne Division leads a U.S. Marine (R) and a soldier with the Afghan National Army to a MEDEVAC helicopter on December 20, 2009, near Delhi, Afghanistan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Marine Corporal Joel Perlez (C), 22, receives aid from his comrades from 1st Battalion 5th Marines after receiving a gunshot wound to the arm during a firefight with insurgents in central Sangin district, Helmand province, on June 6, 2011. (CLAIRE TRUSCOTT/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Army soldiers carry a critically wounded American soldier on a stretcher to an awaiting MEDEVAC helicopter on June 24, 2010, near Kandahar, Afghanistan. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Army Captain Robin Fine from Charlie Co. Sixth Battalion, 101st Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Shadow, runs towards her MEDEVAC helicopter for an emergency call on June 26, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Army soldiers carry a wounded American soldier to a U.S. Army MEDEVAC helicopter on June 28, 2010 near Kandahar, Afghanistan. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Army mortar men from the 2-27th Infantry Regiment fire mortars at a Taliban position on September 2, 2011, at Observation Post Mustang in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. (John Moore/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Seen through a haze of fine dust kicked up by a helicopter’s rotor blades, U.S. Marines carry a wounded comrade who was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to a Medevac helicopter in Helmand province, on November 2, 2011. The Marine lost his right leg from the knee in the blast. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)

 

On February 29, 2020, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo negotiated an agreement with the Taliban to withdrawal U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, thus ending the war there. 

In April 2021, President Joe Biden announced that he would ignore the agreed-upon May 1 deadline and instead withdrawal all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by August 31, 2021, in time for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a signing ceremony of the U.S.-Taliban agreement in the Qatari capital Doha on February 29, 2020. The landmark deal with the Taliban established a timetable for a full troop withdrawal to end the war in Afghanistan. (KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on April 14, 2021, announcing his intention to extend the Afghanistan withdrawal deadline established by President Trump and Secretary Pompeo. (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

 

On July 5, 2021, U.S. forces vacated Bagram Airfield in the middle of the night. The heavily equipped air base — located about an hour from the capital of Kabul — had been the epicenter of America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan. Within weeks, the Afghan army surrendered the base and all of its U.S. military equipment to the advancing Taliban forces. 

On August 15, 2021, Taliban forces seized the capital of Kabul and solidified their control over the country. The Afghan government collapsed, and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country with a reported $165 million in cash of unclear origin.

In the chaos and panic that followed the fall of Kabul, U.S. forces scrambled to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies by President Biden’s August 31 deadline.

During the evacuation at Kabul airport on August 26, two suicide bombers killed at least 60 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. troops.

The majority of the 13 American service members killed that day were babies when 9/11 happened.

They were the last of the 2,324 U.S. troops killed during America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Marine Corps carry team transfers the remains of Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee of Sacramento, California, on August 29, 2021, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Gee was among the last 13 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan. (Jason Minto/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images)

 

Before midnight on August 30, 2021, the U.S. military departed Afghanistan. Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, was the last American soldier to leave the country. 

At least 200 Americans and an unknown number of America’s Afghan allies were left behind.

In total, the U.S. wars since 9/11 cost an estimated $6.4 trillion and as many as 929,000 lives.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. service members with 82nd Airborne Division prepare to board a C-17 aircraft out of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 30, 2021, ending the 20-year war. (Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. service members with the 82nd Airborne Division board a C-17 cargo plane to depart from Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 30, 2021. (Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, boards a C-17 cargo plane on August 30, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the last American service member to depart the country. (U.S. Central Command via Getty Images)

 

In time, the United Stated did bring to justice the men who were directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Nearly two years after the attacks, the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed who planned and organized the attacks was captured in Pakistan on March 1, 2003.

After 20 years, his pre-trial is now underway at Camp Justice, Guantanamo Bay.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handout photos of suspected al Qaeda commander Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were marked with the word “Located” after his arrest on March 1, 2003 in Pakistan. (FBI/Getty Images)

 

Ten years after the attacks, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was brought to justice. 

On May 2, 2011, President Barrack Obama announced to the nation that bin Laden was killed by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he had been hiding since his escape from Tora Bora.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A large, jubilant crowd at the corner of Church and Vesey Streets, adjacent to Ground Zero, reacts to the news of Osama bin Laden’s death on May 2, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A crowd in New York’s Times Square reacts to the news of Osama bin Laden’s death. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

 

Over the years, the country rebuilt, the memorials arose, and each year we remembered.

 

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

More than 500 Marines and Sailors with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and USS Belleau Wood commemorate the one-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks on September 6, 2002, by spelling out the now famous quote from Todd Beamer on the flight deck of the ship. Beamer was one of the passengers on United Flight 93, which crashed in a western Pennsylvania field after he and several other passengers attempted to regain control of the plane from terrorist hijackers. (Mate Steven L. Cooke/U.S. Navy/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Father Brian Jordan blesses the Ground Zero Cross at ceremony with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in attendance, on July 23, 2011, before the Cross was moved to its permanent home at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial pause at The Wall of Names, containing the names of the 40 passengers and crew who died in the crash of United Flight 93 following a memorial service in Shanksville, PA, on September 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

President Barack Obama delivered an address at the dedication ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York on May 15, 2014. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

At the dedication ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York, President Barack Obama tells the story of Welles Crowther, pictured on the screen with his mother Alison. Welles, who died in the World Trade Center, became known as the “man in red bandana” because he covered his face with a red banana to protect from smoke, while he calmly helped get others to safety. He is credited with saving some 12 lives on 9/11. (Chang W. Lee-Pool/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The South reflecting pool is viewed at the Ground Zero memorial site during the dedication ceremony of the National September 11 Memorial Museum on May 15, 2014. The museum spans seven stories, mostly underground, and contains artifacts from the attack on the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001, that include the 80 ft. high tridents, the Ground Zero Cross, the destroyed remains of Company 21’s New York Fire Department Engine, as well as smaller items like a letter that fell from a hijacked plane and posters of missing loved ones projected onto the wall of the museum. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

On May 15, 2014, a rose is placed on a name engraved along the South reflecting pool at the Ground Zero memorial site during the dedication ceremony. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A quote from Virgil fills a wall of the museum prior to the dedication ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum on May 15, 2014. (John Munson-Pool/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

On May 21, 2015, the National 9/11 Flag is displayed for the first time at the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The flag was recovered nearly destroyed from Ground Zero and was restored in “stitching ceremonies” held across the country. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The view of One Word Trade Center as seen from the 9/11 Memorial grounds where the fallen towers once stood, on October 29, 2014. (Diane Bondareff/Invision/AP Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

On September 11, 2016, people visit the Pentagon’s 9/11 Memorial Park in Arlington, Virginia. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

On September 9, 2018, people attend the dedication of the 93-foot tall Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The tower contains 40 wind chimes representing the 40 people that perished in the crash of Flight 93. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The Tower of Voices display at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 2018, the day before thousands of victims’ relatives, survivors, rescuers, and others joined President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a commemoration ceremony on the 17th anniversary of 9/11. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Thousands of flags representing each of the 9/11 victims wave on a lawn overlooking the Pacific at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, on September 8, 2019, in a display that is now an annual tradition commemorating the fallen. (AP Photo/John Antczak)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

People walk by a memorial to fallen firefighters near the World Trade Center Memorial in lower Manhattan on September 9, 2019. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

An exact replica of the wall of the compound that Osama bin Laden was hiding in is displayed at the new exhibition “Revealed: The Hunt for Bin Laden” at the 9/11 Memorial Museum on November 7, 2019, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A poster and picture used to identify Osama Bin Laden is displayed at the 9/11 Memorial Museum on November 7, 2019 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The Tribute in Light to commemorate the 18th anniversary of 9/11 is seen next to the One World Trade Center on September 10, 2019, in New York City. (Johannes EISELE / AFP/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Firefighters and police participate in the start of ceremonies at the National September 11 Memorial on September 11, 2019, in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

Alexandra Hamatie, whose cousin Robert Horohoe was killed in the 9/11 attacks, pauses at the National September 11 Memorial during a morning commemoration ceremony on September 11, 2019, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

People gather at one of the pools at the National September 11 Memorial following a morning commemoration ceremony on September 11, 2019, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) take part in a moment of silence on September 11, 2019, on the Capitol Steps with members of the House of Representatives. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and his wife Leah Esper, lay a wreath during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, on September 11, 2019, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

President Donald Trump presents the Presidential Citizens Medal to Susan Rescorla, the wife of Richard Cyril Rescorla, during an East Room event at the White House on November 7, 2019. Richard Cyril Rescorla, the former director of security for Morgan Stanley, was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal posthumously for his implementation of evacuation plans that help to save thousands of lives during the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joins his Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America in a ceremony for the resumption of construction on the new Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center on August 3, 2020, in New York City. On September 11, 2001, St. Nicholas was the only other building besides the Twin Towers to be completely destroyed during the terrorist attack. Saint Nicholas Church, which began services in 1922, was named after Agios Nikolaos, the Patron Saint of Sailors. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images).

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joins his Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America in a ceremony for the resumption of construction on the new Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center on August 3, 2020, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

A piper plays in front of the boulder that marks the impact site of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, PA, on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, as the nation prepares to mark the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

9/11: A Visual History of 20 Years of War

The 9/11 Tribute in Light shines above the lower Manhattan skyline on September 10, 2020, in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

 

For the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, EarthCam released a time-lapse video the two decade transformation of Ground Zero from destruction to rebirth.

 

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