By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
Today marks Patriot Day, a national day of service and remembrance that commemorates the catastrophic events of Sept. 11, 2001, in which terrorists took the lives of nearly 3,000 people on American soil.
The Pentagon was one of those targets. When American Airlines Flight 77 hit the west wall of the building‘s first floor, it set off a chain of events that killed 125 people inside – most of whom were Army and Navy service members and employees – along with the 64 people onboard the Boeing 757. In New York, 17 Marine reservists were among the firefighters killed as the World Trade Centers collapsed.
That day was 16 years ago, but it’s one that changed life for everyone in America, as well as many across the globe. It’s what propelled many to join the military, go into civil service or just be inspired to do more for their country.
We’ve all seen photos of the devastation from that day, but here are a few lesser-seen images. While some aren’t as iconic as others you’ve seen over the years, they’re impactful just the same:
President George W. Bush turns around to watch television coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, as he is briefed in a classroom at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida.
An aerial view of the damage at the Pentagon two days after Sept. 11, 2001. On that day, five members of al-Qaida, a group of fundamentalist Islamic Muslims, hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757-200, from Dulles International Airport just outside Washington and flew the aircraft and its 64 passengers into the side of the Pentagon.
The aftermath in Washington of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2001.
A clock, frozen at the time of impact, inside the Pentagon.
Burned and melted items sit atop an office desk inside the fifth floor of the Pentagon.
View of a damaged office on the fifth floor of the Pentagon.
President George W. Bush talks on the telephone Sept. 11, 2001, as senior staff huddle aboard Air Force One.
President George W. Bush talks with Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and other advisors during meetings at the President’s Emergency Operations Center, Sept. 11, 2001.
Vice President Dick Cheney sits with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in the President’s Emergency Operations Center during meetings on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice look on inside the President’s Emergency Operations Center during meetings on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Smoke rises from the site of the World Trade Center, Sept. 11, 2001.
New York National Guard soldiers from the 69th Infantry Division and New York City firefighters band together to remove rubble from ground zero at the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Wearing a gas mask, a New York National Guard soldier from the “Fighting” 69th Infantry Division pauses amid the rubble at ground zero.
Secretary of State Colin Powell gets briefed inside the President’s Emergency Operations Center, Sept. 11, 2001.
President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney meet in the President’s Emergency Operations Center during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
President George W. Bush greets rescue workers, firefighters and military personnel, Sept. 12, 2001, while surveying damage caused by the previous day’s terrorist attacks on the Pentagon.
The president greets firefighters, police and rescue personnel, Sept. 14, 2001, while touring the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attack in New York.
President George W. Bush grasps the hand of his father, former President George H. W. Bush, after speaking at the service for America’s National Day of Prayer and Remembrance at the National Cathedral in Washington, Sept. 14, 2001.
Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) render honors as firefighters and rescue workers unfurl a huge American flag over the side of the Pentagon while rescue and recovery efforts continued following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. The garrison flag, sent from the U.S. Army Band at nearby Fort Myer, Virginia, is the largest authorized flag for the military.
Sandra Dahl, left, is the widow of Jason Dahl, the pilot of United Airlines Flight 93, which went down in Somerset, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001. The plane was believed to have been en route to the White House. Here, she holds an American flag along with Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Low after flying in the back seat of his F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter.
Though this photo was taken Feb. 8, 2004 – not immediately during or after the attacks – it depicts the spirit and determination of all of those who carry the legacy of the men and women who sacrificed that day.
What memory stands out to you most from that day? Leave your comments and remembrances below.
Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.