The September 11 attacks targeted locations in the United States, but their impact was felt across the world. That day in 2001, terrorists hijacked four American airplanes, flying two of them into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and crashing the fourth in a rural Pennsylvania field. The combined strikes were immediately called one of the deadliest terror attacks on American soil in the history of the United States. Hundreds of first responders, firefighters, and citizens risked their lives attempting to handle and clean up the aftermath.
The US experienced waves of outrage, sadness, and patriotism after the tragic events of 9/11, and much of the global community shared the same sentiments. International front pages and magazine covers from around the world published headlines and photos declaring everything from shock to pseudo-declarations of war. While the ensuing quest for justice led America into extended conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, journalist Dan Rather theorized the 9/11 tragedy may have, in a way, reminded Americans what is truly important and how to protect those values: “As a country, I think we’ve become more focused on what is important and on the challenges we face.”