On Sunday an entire nation and the world will mark the 15th anniversary of the most shocking attack on US soil in American history. It also marks the first year High School freshman will learn about 9/11 as a historical event they were NOT alive for.
The events of that day have shaped the direction of our lives so dramatically - airline security, border patrol, travel, immigration and questions of national security are all different now - they will always be in the back of our minds. An entire generation of children who were born in 2001 have never known a world before the attacks, and an entire generation of adults have grown up without parents, aunts, uncles - all lost to the destruction on that day.
These incredible pictures capture the moments after two planes struck the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center and one nosedived into the Pentagon in Washington. A fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, thanks to the hero passengers who diverted the plane.
Almost 3,000 innocent lives were lost when terrorists hijacked four civilian planes on September 11, 2001. We remember the civilians and the first responders who were lost, but will not be forgotten.
9/11: We Remember
The North Tower was hit first, as black smoke billows from the place of impact, a second plane bears down on the South Tower.
An explosion can bee seen as the plane rams through the upper levels of the South Tower.
Hundreds of people were trapped in the upper levels of the Twin Towers, as many as 200 people are believed to have jumped that fateful day, some of them were seen holding hands as they plummeted to the ground.
This haunting image of The Falling Man taken by Associated Press photographer, Richard Drew, became the most iconic image of the tragedy. To this day, no one knows who the man is, but his fall is heartbreaking every time we see it.
Although it was the second to be hit, the South tower of the World Trade Center was the first to fall.
The North tower was the second to fall.
125 innocent lives were lost at the Pentagon in Washington - 70 civilians and 55 military personnel.
As two of the world's highest towers collapsed, the force of their fall covered everything in ash - including the survivors.
Another iconic image of Marcy Borders, who escaped from the South tower. She passed away in 2015 from cancer thought to have been caused by inhaling the dust.
Over 400 emergency workers were killed.
Rescuers and volunteers searched may days after for survivors in the rubble.
Part of the structure, that would later become a symbol of inspiration and hope for many Christian survivors : The Ground Zero Cross
Thousands of people walked out of the city as the bridges and tunnels were closed to all but emergency vehicles.
Engineers say that the towers collapsed because the weight of the structure was carried by the exterior shell of the building. When the shell was pierced by the plane, the building was weakened and fell.
Despite the horror, the devastation and destruction of that terrible day, the American spirit would not be snuffed out. From the ashes, the people rose to stand together - unified and determined to go on.