Rare, Controversial Photos From September 11, 2001

For Americans, there is no single event in modern history as sobering as 9/11. It was an event so horrific, it redefined the world we live in. If you lived through September 11th, whether from New York or Namibia, you'll always remember exactly where you were when you heard the news that a passenger plane struck one of the towers, and then the other. These images are a reminder to us all that we shall never forget.

View from a Nearby Apartment, Early in the Attack

The dichotomy of the beautiful sunny September day in New York juxtaposed with the horrible image through the window is devastating. The Department of Homeland Security was created in response to 9/11 it combined 22 government agencies into one.

Desperate Americans Jump from the Towers

Tragically only 14 people escaped from the impact zone of the south tower (floors 77-85), and only four people total from all of the floors above it. After the towers collapsed, only 23 people in all were able to escape from the debris, including 15 rescue workers. The last survivor was found 27 hours after the collapse.

The Second Plane, Moments Before Collision

At approximately 9:03 EST, another passenger plane, United Airlines Flight 175, struck the South Tower. Both planes involved with the New York City attacks were scheduled to fly from Boston to Los Angeles.

The FDNY Fights Its Way Through the Wreckage

It took firefighters just over 100 days to put out all the fires ignited by the 9/11 attacks on New York.

Toxic Dust and Debris Fills Manhattan

On May 24th, 2007, Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, Chief Medical Examiner in New York, ruled that the 2002 death of Felicia Dunn-Jones in was due to dust exposure, irrefutably linked to the 9/11 attack. It was, therefore, a homicide that raised the 9/11 death toll to 2,750.

Rescue Workers Using Dogs to Help Them Find Survivors

Dogs were a key asset in finding those buried in layers of debris. Literally tens of thousands of people were lost for days, well trained canines helped all they could.

The Second Plane Impacting Tower 2

Of the 19 Hijackers total, 15 were from Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Lebanon, and one was from Egypt.

A Man Falls From One of the Collapsing World Trade Center Towers

Nineteen men hijacked four fuel-loaded commercial airlines on September 11th. The terrorist attack was orchestrated by Al Queda leader Osama Bin Laden. By day's end, 2,977 Americans had been killed in attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, PA.

Panoramic Photo of the First Plane Impacting the Tower

After the first tower was hit, they began evacuating the towers immediately, thinking it was some horrible freak accident. Then just 18 minutes later, a second Boeing 767 appeared (flight 175) and then turned sharply, diving into the second tower around the 60th floor. The second building stood for just under an hour before it collapsed.

Smoke Pours Through NYC

Many victims have fallen years later due to the poisonous smoke and dust that enveloped the area as the towers fell. Many residents and first responders developed mouth, throath, and lung cancer as well as other respiratory problems after September 11th. The death count from the attack continues to grow to this day.

The September 11th Memorial at the Pentagon

On September 11th, 2008, the seventh anniversary of the attacks, the Pentagon memorial was completed. It's a landscaped park with 184 benches facing the Pentagon. When the building itself was repaired in 2001-2002, an indoor chapel and memorial was added to the building.

The View from a Nearby Window Near the Point of First Impact

At 8:46 AM EST, a passenger airliner, American Airlines Flight 11, struck the North Tower. The plane was scheduled to fly from Boston to Los Angeles, and was therefore chosen because it would be full of fuel for the cross country flight.

Destruction All the Way Down to the Tracks Under the WTC

Clean up at and around Ground Zero didn't officially end until May 30th, 2002. It took 3.1 million hours of labor to clean 1.8 millions tons of debris at a total cost of about $750 million.

The Second Tower Collapsed in on Itself

Less than an hour after it was hit, the South Tower collapsed and imploded in on itself. The steel structure was built to withstand 200 mph winds and standard fires, but could not hope to survive the combination of the impact and the sheer heat generated by the burning jet fuel.

A Different Perspective of the Firefighters Hoisting the Flag at Ground Zero

Later in 2001, Congress approved a measure making September 11th a National Holiday to honor those fallen, and those who served on that day. "Patriots Day" is observed every year on the anniversary of the attacks.

The Smoke Rising from the Towers was Visible for Miles

The fourth flight (Flight 93) could've ended in even more tragedy if not for its brave passengers. They're flight was delayed and they were able to hear about the attack in NYC. Thomas Burnett Jr., one of the passengers, said in a phone call to his wife “I know we’re all going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey.” Another passenger, Todd Beamer, was heard saying “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll” over an open line. Sandy Bradshaw, a flight attendant, called her husband and explained that she had slipped into a galley and was filling pitchers with boiling water. Her last words to him were “Everyone’s running to first class. I’ve got to go. Bye.”

The Remains at Ground Zero

Ground Zero was the term quickly used by every media outlet around the world to describe the area where the two towers were hit. The term Ground Zero was originally used to refer to the site of the Hiroshima attack in 1945.

Freedom Tower in NYC

Also known as One World Trade Center or 1WTC is the tallest skyscraper in the entire Western Hemisphere! (The fifth tallest in the world). It's 1776 feet tall, a reference to the USA's founding. The building officially opened November 3rd 2014.

Firefighters Rally Together

Of the 2,753 lost during the World Trade Center attacks, 343 were New York City firefighters, another 23 were New York City police officers, and 37 were officers at the Port Authority.

The North Tower Just Before Collapse

The North Tower was struck first, but collapsed after the south had already fallen. The total time between the first plane's impact, and both buildings' final collapse was only 102 minutes. An hour and a half that changed the world forever.

Less Than an Hour After the First Plane Hit in NYC, the Pentagon was Attacked

American Airlines flight 77, traveling from Virginia to Los Angeles, hit the Pentagon in Washington. It was only 51 minutes after the first attack in NYC.

The Destruction in Washington D.C.

A third attack (a fourth flight) had been planned and nearly executed. United Airlines Flight 93 traveling from Newark to San Fransisco crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The passengers on that flight were able to overcome their hijackers and prevent a larger catastrophe.

The Point of Impact at the Pentagon

While not as devastating as New York, the attack at the Pentagon in Washington claimed 184 American lives.

Nearby Buildings Were Also Devestated By the Fallout

In addition to WTC towers one and two, WTC 7 also collapsed. Nearby buildings were assaulted with falling debris and shrapnel, causing injuries and millions in damages. By 2006, WTC 7 was rebuilt and reopened, as were the rest of the surrounding buildings.

The North Tower Engulfed in Flame

The American Boeing 767 was loaded with over 20,000 gallons of jet fuel (as it was flying coast to coast) when it hit the north tower. It left a gaping hole near the 80th floor of the 110 story building, killing hundreds on impact, and trapping even more on the floors above.

NYC Honors the Towers at Ground Zero

Before they officially established a memorial there was the Tribute in Light. Which consisted of 88 searchlights in the footprints of the towers.

September 11th Memorial at Ground Zero

Since it opened in 2011 more than 21 million people have already visited the memorial, and more than 3 million have attended the museum since it opened in May of 2014. The memorial has many educational programs throughout the day, and the museum has over 12,500 artifacts and 23,000 pictures to commemorate those we lost in 2001.

The Hijackers

Nineteen men hijacked four fuel-loaded US commercial airplanes bound for west coast destinations. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.


At the World Trade Center (WTC) site in Lower Manhattan, 2,753 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were intentionally crashed into the north and south towers or as a result of the crashes.


The US government releases a tape in which Osama bin Laden takes responsibility for the attacks.

Patriot Day

Congress approves a measure to allow the president to designate September 11th as "Patriot Day" on each anniversary of the attacks.


Estimated amount of money it cost to plan and execute the 9/11 attacks.

$123 billion

Estimated economic loss during the first 2-4 weeks after the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York City, as well as decline in airline travel over next few years.

$60 billion

Estimated cost of the WTC site damage, including damage to surrounding buildings, infrastructure and subway facilities.

Clean Up

May 30, 2002 - Cleanup at Ground Zero officially ends.

Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security was created in response to September 11.

World Wide Security

he Department of Homeland Security placed 130 US inspectors at ports in major European, Asian and Muslim nations, as well as strategically-located ports, to inspect cargo for nuclear, chemical or biological weapons being smuggled into the US.

Advisory System

March 12, 2002 - The Homeland Security Advisory System is introduced. People were still grieving for their loss.

Final Revision

April 26, 2011 - The National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) replaces the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS).

Final Revision

There were warnings of the impending attacks from at least eleven other countries. Also prior to 9/11, insiders such as John Ashcroft, top military officers, and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown were warned not to fly.