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9/11: The Day of the Attacks

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Ten years ago, 19 men trained by al-Qaeda carried out a coordinated terrorist attack on the United States that had been planned for years. The attackers simultaneously hijacked four large passenger aircraft with the intention of crashing them into major landmarks in the United States, inflicting as much death and destruction as possible. Three of the planes struck their targets; the fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. In a single day, these deliberate acts of mass murder killed nearly 3,000 human beings from 57 countries. More than 400 of the dead were first responders, including New York City firefighters, police officers, and EMTs. It was one of the most-covered media events of all time, and after a decade, the images are still difficult to view. These attacks and the global reaction to them have profoundly shaped the world we live in, so it remains important to see the images and remember just what happened on that dark day. This entry is part two of a three-part series on the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks -- (see also Part 1: The Week Before and Part 3: The Decade Since). [50 photos]

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The Statue of Liberty, seen from a vantage point in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the lower Manhattan skyline is shrouded in smoke following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Photo taken on September 15, 2001. (AP Photo/Dan Loh)
The Statue of Liberty, seen from a vantage point in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the lower Manhattan skyline is shrouded in smoke following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Photo taken on September 15, 2001. (AP Photo/Dan Loh)
Smoke pours from a gaping hole and the upper floors of the World Trade Center's North Tower, shortly after hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the building on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) #
United Airlines Flight 175 flies low toward the South Tower of the World Trade Center, shortly before slamming into the structure. The north tower burns after an earlier attack by a hijacked airliner in New York City, on September 11, 2001. (Reuters/Sean Adair) #
Flames erupt from the South Tower of the World Trade Center, after it was struck by hijacked United Airlines Flight 175, in New York City, on September 11, 2001. The aircraft crashed into the tower traveling at a speed of approximately 586 miles per hour. (Reuters/Sean Adair) #
Moments after United Airlines Flight 175, with 56 passengers (including the 5 hijackers) and 9 crew members, struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center between floors 77 and 85 on September 11, 2001, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #
Some of the estimated 10,000 gallons of jet fuel aboard United Airlines Flight 175 erupts in a fiery blast from the side of the South Tower of the World Trade Center after the plane crashed into it on September 11, 2001, in New York City. (AP Photo/Ernesto Mora) #
Two women hold each other as they watch the World Trade Center burn following a terrorist attack on the twin skyscrapers in New York City on September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Ernesto Mora) #
The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building in New York, on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler) #
Smoke billows from the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan in this image taken by a U.S. Geological Survey satellite that flew over the region at about 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/USGS) #
People hang from the windows of the North Tower of the World Trade Center after a hijacked airliner hit the building September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images) #
A man leaps to his death from a fire and smoke filled North Tower of the World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001 in New York City after terrorists crashed two hijacked passenger planes into the twin towers. (Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images) #
A man jumps from the upper floors of the burning North Tower of New York's World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) #
A man jumps from the North Tower of New York's World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) #
This photo from a Pentagon surveillance camera shows the fireball that resulted when the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, with 58 passengers and 6 crew members aboard, slammed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. (AP Photo) #
Flames and smoke pour from the Pentagon building, on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, after a direct, devastating hit from an aircraft. (AP Photo/Will Morris) #
The Pentagon building burns after American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into it on September 11, 2001. (Reuters/Hyungwon Kang) #
Medical personnel and volunteers help injured people outside the Pentagon after a hijacked commercial airliner crashed into the southwest corner of the building, on September 11, 2001. (Reuters/U.S. Navy Photo/Journalist 1st Class Mark D. Faram) #
One side of the Pentagon building is exposed after a hijacked aircraft crashed into it, on September 11, 2001. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) #
Smoke pours from a tower of the World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001 after two hijacked airplanes hit the twin towers in a terrorist attack on New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #
At 9:59 a.m., after burning for 56 minutes, the South Tower of New York's World Trade Center begins to collapse after a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova) #
Debris rains down on the street as the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses after hijacked planes crashed into the towers on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) #
Police and pedestrians run for cover during the collapse of the World Trade Center South Tower, on September 11, 2001 in New York. (Doug Kanter/AFP/Getty Images) #
People covered in dust walk over debris near the World Trade Center in New York City, on September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova) #
Mark Stahl of Somerset, Pennsylvania displays a photo he took early on September 11, 2001 after United Airlines Flight 93 crashed just outside of Shanskville. Stahl heard the crash and wandered up to the site where he took the photo before the area was cordoned off by rescue workers. The plane crashed shortly after two hijacked commercial planes slammed into the twin towers of the New York's World Trade Center, causing both 110-story landmarks to collapse. (Reuters/Jason Cohn) #
An FBI aerial photograph shows the crash site of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 2001. The Boeing 757 was headed from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco when it made an abrupt turn near Cleveland and veered back east across Pennsylvania before crashing in Shanksville, killing all 44 aboard. Flight 93 was the fourth plane to crash in a coordinated terrorist attack that included New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the only one that didn't take lives on the ground. (AP Photo/FBI) #
Firefighters and emergency personnel investigate the scene of the fatal crash of United Airlines Flight 93, on Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Tribune-Democrat/David Lloyd) #
At 10:28 a.m., after burning for 102 minutes, the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) #
One of the World Trade Center Towers crumbles as it collapses on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images) #
This photo taken September 11, 2001 by the New York City Police Department shows smoke and ash engulfing the area around the World Trade Center as the North Tower collapses in New York. (AP Photo/NYPD, Det. Greg Semendinger) #
Dust, smoke and debris fill the air as one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City collapses in this September 11, 2001 photo. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton) #
Dust, smoke and ash engulf buildings around the World Trade Center in New York City, after the collapse of both towers on September 11, 2001. Photo taken by the New York City Police Department. (AP Photo/NYPD, Det. Greg Semendinger) #
People run from the collapse of World Trade Center towers in New York, on September 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) #
The North Tower of the World Trade Center dissolves in a cloud of dust and debris about a half hour after the first twin tower collapsed, on September 11, 2001. The photo was taken from across the Hudson River in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Reuters/Ray Stubblebine) #
People make their way amid debris near the World Trade Center in New York, on Tuesday September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova) #
A priest aids people making their way through debris just outside a churchyard near the World Trade Center in New York City, on September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova) #
People cover their faces as they cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot, escaping the smoke and dust in Manhattan, on September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Daniel Shanken) #
People walk in the street in the area where the World Trade Center buildings collapsed September 11, 2001 after two airplanes slammed into the twin towers. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #
A U.S. marshal helps a woman after she was injured in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, in this Sept. 11, 2001, photo. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samiolava) #
A man cries on September 11, 2001 after witnessing the collapse of the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. (AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin) #
A firefighter pauses on a bench as he works in lower Manhattan at the scene of the World Trade Center terrorist attack, on September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Matt Moyer) #
Rubble and ash fill lower Manhattan streets in an apocalyptic scene after two hijacked airliners were crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York, collapsing them and killing thousands. (AP Photo/Boudicon One) #
A New York City fireman calls for more rescue workers to make their way into the rubble of the World Trade Center. Photo taken on September 15, 2001. (Reuters/U.S. Navy/Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres) #
A tire from one of the hijacked planes lies in the street near the destroyed World Trade Center in New York City, on September 11, 2001. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton) #
Firemen search for survivors after the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center on on September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Matt Moyer) #
Light streams through the smoke and dust amid the debris at ground zero on September 12, 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Baldwin) #
New York City firefighters pour water on the wreckage of 7 World Trade Center in New York City early on September 12, 2001. 7 World Trade Center was destroyed along with both the landmark World Trade Center towers after being struck by planes in a terrorist attack on September 11. (Reuters/Mike Segar) #
A group of firefighters walk amid rubble near the base of the destroyed south tower of the World Trade Center in New York, on September 11, 2001. (Reuters/Peter Morgan) #
Rubble covers the tracks of the New York City Subway #1 and #9 lines in the Cortland Street station under the World Trade Center, in this photo taken shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001. According to the New York Times, New York City Transit officials determined that the damage was so extensive, that more than one mile of the line would have to be rebuilt. (AP Photo/New York City Transit) #
Rescue workers conduct search and rescue attempts, descending deep into the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York on Friday September 14, 2001. (Reuters/U.S. Navy/Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jim Watson) #
A man stands in the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York City, calling out, asking if anyone needs help, after the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001. (Doug Kanter/AFP/Getty Images) #

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