Today, of course, marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. In a series of four coordinated attacks, 19 men from al-Qaeda fundamentally altered the course of American history and killed 2,977 in New York, Shanksville, Pennsylvania and Arlington, Virginia. Some of the pictures taken on that day have become symbols of the horror caused by the attacks and the resilance of the American people in times of crisis. Here are 10 of those images.
1. The Falling Man (Richard Drew): One of the most controversial pictures taken that day came from the camera of Richard Drew, who pulled out his camera and started taking pictures as soon as he arrived at the World Trade Center. This picture captures the human toll and evokes a wide range of emotions. It pushed a reporter at Esquire magazine to identify the man and also inspired a documentary of the same name. See an interview with Drew here.
2. Firefighter in World Trade Center Stairwell (John Labriola): Independent contractor and amateur photograph John Labriola was in the World Trade Center at the time of the attack and descended the stairwell to escape. In the process, he pulled out his camera and snapped pictures. The firefighter in this picture, Mike Kehoe, survived the attacks, but six people in his squad did not.
3. American Pieta (Unidentified): Chaplain of the Fire Department of New York Mychal Judge was tending to the injured and offering the last rites from the Command Center in the World Trade Center when the South Tower collapsed. He was struck by falling debris and killed instantly. A wire photographer happened to capture the scene of rescue workers carrying him out. Father Judge was later declared the first official victim of the attacks.
4. Fear (Patrick Witty): Freelancer photographer Patrick Witty captured the scene in lower Manhattan with this image. What I find so remarkable about it is the incredible diversity of people in the shot. It symbolizes how America reacted together with shock to the attacks, no matter what our backgrounds were.
5. Woman Covered in Dust (Stan Honda): When one of the towers came down, Marcy Borders was out on the street and fled into a nearby office building to escape the dust. In the decade since, she battled severe depression, became addicted to crack and lost custody of her children. Finally, though, she’s clean and sober.
6. Businessman (Stan Honda): Ed Fine was about to leave the World Trade Center for another meeting uptown when he missed an elevator. The time was 8:46 a.m. Flight 11 struck the North Tower. Fine worked his way down the stairs and made his way out just as the South Tower collapsed. This image was captured as he walked away.
7. Firefighters Raise the Flag (Tom Franklin): It was a picture taken from far away and it seemed little different than the 1,000 others that Tom Franklin took that day. He didn’t realize that he was carrying a bit of history on his memory card, but he was. Billy Eisengrein, George Johnson and Danny McWilliams were the three firefighters in the picture. All three have maintained lower profiles since 9/11.
8. Cloud of Dust (Suzanne Plunkett): AP photographer Suzanne Plunkett was supposed to be taking pictures for fashion week when she received the message that the Twin Towers had been attacked. After emerging from the subway, she had jut a couple of minutes before the towers came down. This picture showed the terror in people’s minds as the cloud of dust enveloped lower Manhattan. Recently, the man in the backpack contacted Plunkett.
9. Bush Told of Attacks (Win McNamee): Inside a Florida classroom, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card informed President Bush that the United States of America was under attack. He whispered, “A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack.” Bush’s face is a direct reaction to that information.
10. United 175 Approaches Second Tower (Sean Adair): As the world watches in horror, a second plane approaches the south tower of the World Trade Center. Seconds later, United 175 crashed into the building. Just an hour later, the second tower would collapse and thousands would die.