One decade after 9/11, an unsettling number of images from Ground Zero and its environs remain seared in our collective memory — unsurprising, perhaps, given the scope and scale of the destruction. But the fact that the deadliest, most visually arresting attacks occurred in New York City also meant that many of the world’s best photographers were, in effect, already on the scene when the terrorists struck. Here, to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and in hopes of lending coherence to our shared, turbulent recollections, LIFE.com presents the 25 most stirring, visceral photographs from that day, featuring pictures from the likes of James Nachtwey, Joe Raedle, Spencer Platt, Mario Tama, and other celebrated photojournalists (and one intrepid amateur). These are the pictures we remember: wrenching, indelible photographs that tell the tale of a still-resonant late summer day that changed everything. SEE MORE PHOTOS
On September 21, 2001, just days after the 9-11 terror attack on the U.S., Neil Young performed John Lennon’s song “Imagine” on the broadcast musical benefit telethon “America: A Tribute to Heroes”. Simulcast live from London, New York and Los Angeles on the four major TV networks and the Internet, the program was seen by an estimated 89 million viewers and netted roughly $230 million in donations.
For many, Young’s performance was emotionally wrenching and heart felt. Performing on a grand piano and accompanied by a small orchestra of violins, Young’s rendition of Lennon’s “Imagine” spoke to many of us who were suffering from the terrible tragedies in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (the Pentagon is actually located across the Potomac River from Washington, DC).
Those in the studio that night, reported that Young appeared to be on the verge of tears upon completing the song. Pulse Magazine wrote that Young’s performance of “Imagine” on the Benefit telecast was “one of those moments you never forget.”
From The New York Times article “Waiting for Our John Lennon” (September 30, 2001) by Neil Strauss:
“So it came to be that an executive at Clear Channel Communications was circulating among its more than 1,100 affiliate radio stations a list of songs deemed questionable for airplay in light of the attacks, a link to a Web site [NOTE: listen & view “Imagine” video. [WARNING: emotionally powerful stuff here.] began to circulate on the Internet grapevine. At the site, an excerpt from a song that was part of the Clear Channel graylist (it’s not quite a blacklist, since it’s voluntary) played over images from the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath, with each photograph perfectly keyed to a song lyric for maximum emotional impact.
The song was ‘Imagine,’ by John Lennon. In various guises on the Internet, remixed with quotes from President Bush or covered by unknown home-studio musicians, ‘Imagine’ quickly became the soundtrack of hope in the wake of Sept. 11. Chief among its many attractions is this verse: READ MORE
Archbishop Dolan’s office released this letter from Pope Benedict today.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!On this day my thoughts turn to the somber events of September 11, 2001, when so many innocent lives were lost in the brutal assault on the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the further attacks in Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. I join you in commending the thousands of victims to the infinite mercy of Almighty God and in asking our heavenly Father to continue to console those who mown the loss of loved ones .The tragedy of that day is compounded by the perpetrators’ claim to be acting in God’s name. Once again, it must be unequivocally stated that no circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism. Every human life is precious in God’s sight and no effort should be spared in the attempt to promote throughout the world a genuine respect for the inalienable rights and dignity of individuals and peoples everywhere. The American people are to be commended for the courage and generosity that they showed in the rescue operations and for their resilience in moving forward with hope and confidence. It is my fervent prayer that a firm commitment to justice and a global culture of solidarity will help rid the world of the grievances that so often give rise to acts of violence and will create the conditions for greater peace and prosperity, offering a brighter and more secure future.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI insisted Saturday that violence must never be carried out in God's name as he marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with a message to the United States.
In a letter to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, head of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Benedict said he was praying for the thousands of innocent victims of the “brutal assault” and said he hoped their families find some consolation.
He said the tragedy of 9/11 was compounded by the attackers’ claim to be acting in God’s name. “Once again, it must be unequivocally stated that no circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism,” Benedict wrote.
He called for a greater commitment to justice and a “global culture of solidarity” to rid the world of the types of grievances that spark such acts of violence.
Both Benedict and Pope John Paul II before him voiced such themes frequently in the months and years following Sept. 11, 2001. Benedict himself prayed at ground zero during his 2008 visit to New York and asked God to “bring your peace to our violent world.”
Benedict, however, riled the Muslim world soon after he became pope with a now-infamous speech in Regensburg, Germany, in which he quoted a Medieval text that characterized some of Muhammad’s teachings as “evil and inhuman,” particularly “his command to spread by the sword the faith.”
Benedict later said he regretted that the comments offended Muslims and he has sought to mend ties with moderate Islam ever since.
In that vein, representatives of a major Indonesian Muslim student association visited the Vatican on Saturday and were received by the Holy See’s top official in charge of interreligious dialogue, Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran.
The students of the Muslim Student Association invited Benedict to speak at an international conference on dialogue and peace in Bali in October 2012, according to Fides, the Vatican’s missionary news agency.
Benedict, meanwhile, met Friday with the founder of the Sant’Egidio Community, a Catholic lay group which starting Sunday will co-host, alongside the Munich archdiocese, a three-day conference on interreligious dialogue to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary. Cardinals, rabbis, Orthodox patriarchs, Muslim imams, Buddhist academics, and Christian ministers as well as the German chancellor are due to participate.