We Remember: 20th Anniversary of 9/11

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The National Archives and the National Archives Foundation remembers this event with a series of virtual programs accessible live to viewers across the country. Learn more about the live programming, as well as featured documents and educational resources on the National Archives Foundation website.

Firefighters unfurl a large American flag over the scarred stone of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on September 12, 2001. Photographer: Paul Morse, National Archives Identifier 5997275

Additionally, as the nation’s record keeper, the National Archives safeguards many records related to the events of September 11, including the 9/11 Commission Records, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, as well as many White House photographs documenting the days and weeks surrounding the event. 

Firefighters await the arrival of President George W. Bush to Port Authority in New York City. Photographer: Paul Morse. National Archives Identifier 5997307

9/11 Commission Records
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, was an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress. The Commission’s mandate was to provide a “full and complete accounting” of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and to provide recommendations as to how to prevent such attacks in the future. When the 9/11 Commission closed on August 21, 2004, it transferred legal custody of its records to the National Archives. The Commission encouraged the release of its records to the fullest extent possible in January 2009. A large percentage of the Commission’s records are national security classified files. NARA maintains a list of documents released since the records were opened in 2009. Learn more about the 9/11 Commission Records.

September 11, 2003 – Temporary memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania honoring the passengers and crew of Flight 93, hijacked on September 11, 2001. National Archives Identifier 5616340
A worker stands at Ground Zero in New York City. National Archives Identifier 5997364 Photographer: Paul Morse

9/11 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Records
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Record Group 237) compiled records from its staff and aviation facilities to support internal and external investigations of the events. The records consist of 126 cubic feet of textual, audio, and electronic files relating to the actual terrorist attacks, the FAA’s involvement in the monitoring of United Airlines Flights 175 and 93 and American Airlines Flights 11 and 77, and the Federal Government’s subsequent actions in the aftermath of the attacks. Learn more about the 9/11 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Records and view the Finding Aid.

Firefighters brave the thick smoke as they search for survivors through the rubble and debris of the World Trade Centers in New York City in the area known as Ground Zero, after the 9/11 terrorists attacks, 9/14/2001. National Archives Identifier 6640973 Scene Camera Operator: PH2 Jim Watson, USN

9/11 Photograph Collection
In the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks, White House photographers took over 50,000 photographs capturing the horror and heroism, the courage and compassion surrounding the attacks. View the collection of 9/11 photographs from the George W. Bush Presidential Library on Flickr.

President George W. Bush embraces a firefighter at the site of the World Trade Center during his visit to New York City. National Archives Identifier 5997299 Photographer: Paul Morse
Staff members wave American flags as they gather on the South Lawn of the White House as President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush depart for Camp David aboard Marine One. National Archives Identifier 5997343 Photographer: Paul Morse

We invite you to join us for our virtual programming this week as we reflect on the legacy of 9/11, remember the heroism, and honor the individuals and families impacted. Learn more on archives.gov.