FLASHBACK: Video, Photos That Defined 9/11, The People In Them – 20 Years Later 

Paul Mbagwu
5 Min Read

Twenty years ago, the US and the world watched transfixed as planes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

The events of that day forever transformed the country.

Nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the attacks, including the 19 hijackers from Islamic extremist group, al-Qaida. It remains the deadliest foreign attack on U.S. soil.  

The Fire Department of New York also lost 343 firefighters dispatched to rescue survivors from the crumbling World Trade Center towers. Today, more than 13,300 9/11 first responders enrolled in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 9/11 World Trade Center Program are being treated for cancer.

The attacks prompted then-President George W. Bush to deploy U.S. troops to Afghanistan to hunt for culpable al-Qaida militants sheltered by another Islamic militant group, the Taliban. The 20-year war that followed ended on Aug. 31, the day the Biden administration completed withdrawal of all military personnel from the region.

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Here are some of the most memorable images from that fateful day:

People run from the collapse of one of the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center in this Sept. 11, 2001
In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, the south side of the Pentagon burns after a plane crash in Washington. Newly released Pentagon documents show that Air Force officers debated briefly about burial at sea before concluding that 1,321 unidentifiable fragments of remains from the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon should be treated as medical waste and incinerated.
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.
Emergency workers stand on a girder at the site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers, which still smoked in this photo taken 10 days after the 9/11 terror attack.
In this file photo investigative personnel search the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 looking for debris and evidence, including the plane’s flight recorder, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 12, 2001.
Early morning fog surrounds the marking the impact point of Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania on 9/11.
President George W. Bush has his early morning school reading event interrupted by his Chief of Staff Andrew Card on Sept. 11, 2001, shortly after news of the New York City airplane crashes was available in Sarasota, Florida.
A monitor reads all flights cancelled departing Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport on September 12, 2001. Airplanes were grounded around the country.
Emergency crews survey the damage after the fall of the twin towers on September 11, 2001 in New York City.
Ash covers a street in downtown New York City after the collapse of the World Trade Center following a terrorist attack Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.
Rescue crews congregate near a U.S. flag amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York in this September 13, 2001 file photo. September 11th marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks where nearly 3,000 people died when four hijacked airliners were used in coordinated strikes on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers. The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.



In this September 13, 2001 photograph, people gather around missing person posters on a telephone booth after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.










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