Everyone alive during 9/11 knows where they were when they heard about the attacks on the Twin Towers, and everyone has seen the iconic photo of the plane hitting the North Tower.
Sixteen years later, 9/11 still has a profound impact on America and its political landscape. And, while some of these impacts were immediate and obvious, others were long-term and subtle.
It’s much easier to photograph a burning building than it is to photograph a change in the way a country thinks.
These twenty five seldom-seen pictures measure 9/11’s impact on America, from the initial devastation to the social and political changes that followed.
The initial photos of 9/11 still shock us, even after sixteen years, because of their banality. Away from the blast site, people go about their day-to-day business, unaware of the tragedy happening behind them. Some of the day’s most striking shots were captured by amateur photographers, not attempting to document anything more than an ordinary day.
In the days after the tragedy, as the dust settled on New York City and the realization of the death toll settled onto its people, the predominant mood was grief and confusion. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the photographs capture shock and solidarity, and the barely-suppressed fear that the attacks were not over.
According to people living in New York at the time of the attacks, the city essentially “turned into police state,” with police officers and military standing around with guns and people having to go through checkpoints to get anywhere.
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