Years have passed but the memories are still fresh. So many people were affected by the 9/11 tragedy, so many tears were shed, so many hopes were ruined and buried under the rubble of the World Trade Center. To pay the tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack and reflect on America’s biggest tragedy, we collected 9/11 most powerful photos of professional and amateur photographers. Images of despair and sadness. Images of faith and hope.
Photographer Wolfgang Staehle was doing an art project: a panoramic view of the New York skyline. His camera would tick off every few seconds and the picture would be transmitted to a gallery in New York, where the image of 22×9 feet was projected on the wall. Every four seconds the photo would be refreshed. The visitors of the gallery witnessed the tragedy projected on the wall in the real time, not being able to realize whether it was just the artist’s bad joke or the actual stream of the horrifying events.
On September 11, at 8.46 a.m. 19 members of the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airlines and flew them into the World Trade Center, crashed Flight 93 in Pennsylvania and struck the side of the Pentagon. Almost 3000 people in New York City died on impact. Contrast of the photo: the cloudless blue sky, gentle warmth of early September, and black horrifying smoke represents the two sides of these shocking events. Tragedy and immeasurable evil contrasts with true humanity, bravery and compassion of those who sacrificed their lives rescuing others, those who spent countless hours looking for survivors, those who bravely fought in order to save people.
This picture looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie: one man standing amid the seemingly endless World Trade Center rubble, calling out for survivors. When everyone else is paralysed with shock, this person reaches outб hoping to make the difference. A philosophical question rises: “What one man can do in the face of such tragedy?” Shortly after this photo was taken, a police officer walked him away from this spot. A few minutes later, the second tower collapsed.
9:59 a.m. – The New Yorkers witness the collapse of the South Tower. Their faces reflect everything. Disbelief. Despair. Fear.
People flee from the collapsing buildings, streets fill with smoke and fear
When the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, President George W. Bush was at a school reading event in Sarasota, Florida. Together with students, he was reading The Pet Goat, a book by Siegfried Engelmann. When White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card informed the president that the second aircraft had hit the World Trade Center, Bush remained in the classroom for a few more minutes, trying to stay strong and cool-minded. Later he explained that keeping children calm was his most important duty at this time. However, the look on his face, his eyes reveal everything: shock, grief and firmness.
Dust filled the air, pedestrians forged through dense smoke, through the debris, rushing to a safe place, still struggling to process what had happened.
New Yorkers had to walk home due to closed bridges and tunnels: only emergency vehicles were allowed to pass. The green sign on the right says: Welcome to Manhattan.
People were trying to find comfort in each others’ hands, while the rawest, purest emotions were bursting out: the whole city was drawn in tears.
Lilliputian figures of firefighters walk amid rubble near the base of the destroyed South Tower of the World Trade Center. Small brave men against chaos – the word “heroes” is not enough to describe them.
Around 100 rescue dogs, countless emergency service workers and volunteers from the crowd searched the Ground Zero for survivors. There were so few people found alive, that many dogs got depressed, because they though that they didn’t do their job well enough. To boost animals’ morale, the rescue workers were hiding under the rubble, allowing dogs to find them.
In moments like this, you understand that something truly horrible happened, when the strongest of us break down.
A mother and her child, with smoldering ruins of the Twin Towers on the background, hours after the terroristic attacks. Amid the chaos and uncertainty, without any clue how the world is going to look like tomorrow, a mother feeds her child, protecting him from the dangers of the outer world, as much as she can. The photo suggests that the most horrendous things can happen but no matter what, the life goes on.
On 9/11, the New York City Police Department lost 23 officers. 37 died from the Port Authority Police. The FDNY’s dead numbered 343. On this picture, a firefighter Tony James cries at the funeral service for New York Fire Department chaplain. The face of James speaks to how millions of people around the world felt after the attacks: even the strongest ones couldn’t withhold the tears.
Gold Coast, Australia, September 11, 2002. One year after the tragic events, over 3,000 people gathered on Surfers Paradise Beach in Australia to form the flag of the United States in order to honour people who were killed in terrorist attacks on the September 11.
Sometimes, memories of events as abysmal as 9/11, can fade or change over time. However, it is important that we remember that day. It is important that we remember the names of the heroes who risked and even sacrificed their lives in order to save others. The amount of 9/11 victims is enormous but it could have been bigger if not for them. It is important that we keep in mind that after this dreadful event, the sky above New York is never going to be the same. Those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks will never be forgotten.