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The whole world experienced the attacks of September 11, 2001, in real time. Videos, photos, and audio captured the horror inflicted by Islamic terrorists and the heroism displayed by ordinary Americans forced onto the frontlines of a sudden new war.

To mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and to ensure that future generations never forget, Breitbart News offers this visual chronicle of the day that changed the world forever and the 20 years of war that followed. 


From the time of its opening in 1973 to that fatal day in September 2001, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center dominated the skyline of Lower Manhattan’s Financial District, as seen in the following photograph taken just six days before the Towers fell.


5 Sep 2001: The view of the New York skyline with the World Trade Center at sunset taken from the US Open at the UATA National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York.Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire/Allsport

(Jamie Squire/Allsport/Getty Images)


Designed by Detroit architect Minoru Yamasaki, the Twin Towers were famously disparaged by New York Times’ architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable, who offered this eerie and unintentionally prescient prediction in 1966: “The trade center towers could be the start of a new skyscraper age or the biggest tombstones in the world.”

Those words were long forgotten on that bright September morning before death rained down from cloudless skies.


A view from the Hudson River of Lower Manhattan’s Financial District, including the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. (Getty Images)


Betty Ong, 45, a flight attendant aboard American Airlines Flight 11, was the first person to notify authorities that a plane had been hijacked and that two of her colleagues and a first class passenger had been stabbed.

Ong and her fellow flight attendant Madeline Amy Sweeney, 35, stayed on the phone with authorities until the very end, both calmly providing crucial information that confirmed the identities of the Islamic hijackers. 

Sweeney reported the events right up to the moment of impact. Her harrowing last words were, “We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low. Oh my God, we are flying way too low.”

Among her last words, Ong reportedly said over and over again, “Pray for us. Pray for us.”



The audio of Ong’s call to the American Airlines emergency number was included in a montage released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in 2018.



The following video captured the moment of impact when the hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center’s North Tower (1 WTC) at 8:46 a.m.



The first images of the burning North Tower flashed across television screens.

The following video shows the first five minutes of cable news coverage.



Four minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, Christopher Hanley, 35, called 911 from the 106th floor of the North Tower, where he was attending a conference at the restaurant Windows on the World that morning.

This is the audio of his 911 call:



The world then watched in horror as hijackers flew a second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, into the South Tower of the World Trade Center (2 WTC) at 9:03 a.m.

The second plane removed any doubt that this was a terror attack, not pilot error. America was indeed at war. 

This video shows the ABC News coverage the moment the second plane struck:


A plane approaches New York's World Trade Center moments before it struck the tower at left, as seen from downtown Brooklyn, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In an unprecedented show of terrorist horror, the 110 story towers collapsed in a shower of rubble and dust after 2 hijacked airliners carrying scores of passengers slammed into them. (AP Photo/ William Kratzke)

United Airlines Flight 175 flew low over Manhattan on a direct path for the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/ William Kratzke)

** ADVANCE FOR TUESDAY, NOV. 4, 2008 AND THEREAFTER ** FILE ** In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, a jet airliner nears one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. For all of the candidates' talk about the need for change, Americans have seen plenty of it since the last time they selected a new leader - including the attack on the World trade Center in 2001. (AP Photo/Carmen Taylor/File)

Islamic hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center (2 WTC) at 9:03 a.m. (AP Photo/Carmen Taylor/File)

A fireball explodes from one of the World Trade Center towers after a jet airliner crashed into the building Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, in New York. (AP Photo/Carmen Taylor)

A fireball exploded from the South Tower. (AP Photo/Carmen Taylor)

THIRD OF A SERIES OF FOUR PHOTOS--Smoke billows from one of the towers of the World Trade Center and flames and debris explode from the second tower, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In one of the most horrifying attacks ever against the United States, terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in a deadly series of blows that brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Chao Soi Cheong)

(AP Photo/Chao Soi Cheong)

A fireball erupts from one of the World Trade Center towers as it is struck by the second of two airplanes in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In a horrific sequence of destruction, terrorists hijacked two airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center in a coordinated series of attacks that brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Todd Hollis)

(AP Photo/Todd Hollis)

A ball of fire explodes from one of the towers at the World Trade Center in New York after a plane crashed into it in this image made from television Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001. The aircraft was the second to fly into the tower Tuesday morning. (AP Photo/ABC via APTN) TV OUT CBC OUT

(AP Photo/ABC via APTN)

Plumes of smoke pour from the World Trade Center buildings in New York Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. Planes crashed into the upper floors of both World Trade Center towers minutes apart Tuesday in a horrific scene of explosions and fires that left gaping holes in the 110-story buildings. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

(AP Photo/Patrick Sison)


President George W. Bush was visiting an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida, that morning.

He was informed about the attacks when his chief of staff, Andy Card, whispered in his ear: “A second plane has hit the second tower. America is under attack.”


President Bush's Chief of Staff Andy Card whispers into the ear of the President to give him word of the plane crashes into the World Trade Center, during a visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

Andy Card tells President Bush that the second tower had been hit. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

394261 06: Smoke pours from the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Fabina Sbina/ Hugh Zareasky/Getty Images)

(Fabina Sbina/ Hugh Zareasky/Getty Images)

394273 03: Smoke billows from the World Trade Center's twin towers after they were struck by commerical airliners in a suspected terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Debris fall from one of the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after a hijacked plane crashed into the tower on September 11, 2001 in New York City.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

394261 109: Smoke pours from the World Trade Center after it was hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

(Robert Giroux/Getty Images)


On the streets below, New Yorkers watched in shock at the smoke billowing from the towers and the desperate people hanging from the windows or leaping to their deaths to escape the fire.

Some were seen making the Sign of the Cross before they jumped. 

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