Today marks 18 years since the attacks on September 11, 2001, a day which saw airplanes flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the course of American history altered forever. As the years go on, a new generation is raised with their knowledge of the attacks confined to a distant memory or a section of a textbook, not completely understanding the true impact of the event and how things changed so quickly in the aftermath. In memory of those who were lost, below are some of the most tragic photos from the day, as well as some from the events that followed, showing an American psyche that was tested unlike ever before and the true strength exhibited in the wake of such tragedy. The Inquisitr has also compiled some of the most powerful quotes surrounding the 9/11 tragedy.
In this photo taken in the period after the South Tower of the World Trade Center was struck and in the final minutes that the two tallest buildings in New York City would stand, smoke is seen billowing out of the buildings. Captured with an American flag in the foreground, this is a fitting symbol of the eyes of all Americans watching the event unfold.
While the rest of the world was watching, some of New York City's bravest men ran toward the flames of the burning towers. As they faced death and impossible odds, the Fire Department of New York bravely fought to rescue as many of those trapped as possible. On that day, 343 firefighters died during their efforts.
This photo was taken in the aftermath of the collapse of one of the towers of the World Trade Center, as the chaos of the day's events only increased. Civilians in the area were forced to flee from dust and debris without the knowledge of what was happening or whether their friends and loved ones were safe.
The two photos above come hours after rescue efforts began, as the firefighters on the scene valiantly attempted a mission that was above and beyond any emergency that could have been imagined at the time. In these images, the emotional toll is evident, as the reality of the death and destruction they are facing is realized by each subject.
This photo, shot in Guatemala City, shows the rest of the world as they were forced to take in the events of 9/11 through a television screen. Before that day, attacks of that nature and magnitude in the United States were considered unthinkable. Now the world watched one of the country's most well-known buildings burn and crumble, with thousands dead.In the face of such tragedy, Americans came together like never before. It started with this iconic image, taken on the evening of September 11, showing firefighters on the scene raising an American flag. A symbol of the country's resilience and a vow not to bend to such terror.
This image was taken on September 14, 2001. President George W. Bush made his first appearance at the sight of the attack and spoke to the rescue teams assembled. Bush gave a speech that combined a thankfulness for the sacrifice of those who sought to save those buried in the rubble of the towers and defiance against the terrorists who had perpetrated the attacks.
As the years have gone by, Americans have lived up to their vow to "Never Forget" the attacks and its aftermath. Taken in 2017, this photo shows the "Tribute in Light" appearing above the Manhattan skyline that was once dominated by the towers. The art installation is a beautiful reminder of what once stood and what was lost.
This photo was taken on the 10th anniversary of the attacks as a member of the New York Police Department salutes at the North Pool at the 9/11 Memorial, located at the former site of the World Trade Center. The memorial pays tribute to those lost on that fateful day, as well as houses a museum that is open to the public.