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9/11: three hours of terror and chaos that brought a nation to a halt

It sounded like a missile at first, the air above Washington filled with the terrifying roar of displaced air. Then the Pentagon was rocked by the thud of an explosion, and staff inside its fortified walls, who had been watching in horror the terrible images from New York, realised that the epicentre of US military might was also under attack.

The medium-sized jet had come in low over Arlington and the Navy Annexe, before screaming into the south-west face of the Pentagon around 9.30am.

"There was a huge noise and I got out of the car as the plane came over," said Afework Hagos, who was on his way to work but was stuck in a traffic jam near the Pentagon when the plane flew over.

"Everybody was running away in different directions. It was tilting its wings up and down like it was trying to balance. It hit some lampposts on the way in."

Omar Campo, who had been cutting the grass on the other side of the road when the plane flew over his head, said: "The whole ground shook and the whole area was full of fire. I could never imagine I would see anything like that here."

Barely 30 minutes after two other passenger jets had ploughed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, the Washington attack tipped the US into a panic-fuelled state of siege. In that moment, what initially appeared to be a catastrophic but isolated terrorist outrage was transformed into an unprecedented full-frontal assault on America and its people.

From start to finish, the terrorist operation took barely three hours. In that time, those responsible managed to hijack four US airliners inside the supposedly well-guarded confines of US airspace and use them to reduce the country's two most important cities to war zone-like scenes of carnage.

By the time most east coast Americans had turned up at their desks, the operation was already well under way. Just after 8am, the terrorists had seized control of two airliners minutes after take-off from Logan airport in Boston. Another flight was hijacked shortly after leaving Washington Dulles, while the fourth had just left Newark, New Jersey.

But even after two of the jets had ploughed into the World Trade Centre less than an hour later, Americans still had no idea of the scale of devastation that was yet to unfold upon them. President George Bush was in Florida, visiting an elementary school where he had been reading stories with some of the pupils. As the scale of the carnage in New York became apparent, he cut the visit short and in a hastily convened news conference, announced that he was returning to Washington immediately.

But just as Mr Bush was appearing before the cameras, reports were emerging that another passenger plane had been hijacked. Military officials in Washington had been informed that the aircraft was heading in their direction from New York. Minutes later, the capital was thrown into chaos.

Tim Tinnerman, a pilot, watched as the airliner - which he said was an American Airlines Boeing 757 - hit the Pentagon. "It added power on its way in," he said. "The nose hit, and the wings came forward and it went up in a fireball."

"It was a huge fireball, a huge, orange fireball," said Paul Begala, a consultant with the Democratic party. Another wit ness also claimed the blast had blown up a helicopter circling overhead.

Inside the building, there was pandemonium. Terrified civilian and military staff were screaming as a serious fire took hold.

Smoke and flames poured out of a large hole punched into the side of the Pentagon. Emergency crews rushed fire engines to the scene and ambulancemen ran towards the flames holding wooden pallets to carry bodies out. A few of the lightly injured, bleeding and covered in dust, were recovering on the lawn outside, some in civilian clothes, some in uniform. A piece of twisted aircraft fuselage lay nearby. No one knew how many people had been killed.

Red, yellow and green sectors had been established on a nearby road, prepared to handle the different degrees of casualties once victims were brought out, but rescue workers were finding it nearly impossible to get to people trapped inside, beaten back by the flames and falling debris.

"The fire was intense," Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, the Pentagon spokesman, told reporters in a makeshift briefing at a gasoline station across the street from the building.

"It's terrible in there," said one firefighter, Derek Spector, who was with one of the first units to arrive at the scene. "But we didn't come across any casualties."

The regular Pentagon helicopter pad was not usable, scattered with debris from the plane and the explosion. But helicopters were landing and taking off from a cordoned-off area nearby. Within minutes, ambulances and a busload of trauma experts arrived from the army's Walter Reed hospital in Washington.

Law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the plane that struck the Pentagon was the American Airlines jetliner that had taken off from Dulles on a scheduled flight to Los Angeles. Among the passengers was Barbara Olson, the wife of solicitor general Theodore Olson. Mrs Olson, a CNN commentator, had frantically called from her mobile phone to say her plane had been hijacked.

A spokesman for her husband later revealed she had not even been due to fly on the flight. "She flew a day early to make sure she could be at Ted's birthday," he said. "She called and said she was locked in the toilet and the plane had been hijacked. She said they had box-cutters and knives. They had rounded up the passengers at the back of the plane.

She referred to them as more than one. There was nothing she could do. She said to her husband: 'What do I do?'" The call ended seconds before the crash. Her husband, who had been George Bush's lawyer during the legal battle over the disputed presidential election, was said to be distraught.

The brunt of the impact had been taken by the third and fourth floors of the Pentagon's outer ring, which housed senior navy personnel, including three-star officers and vice admirals. There were also offices used by secretaries of the different armed services and the assistant secretaries. A Pentagon spokeswoman said the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, escaped unharmed.

High alert Across the country, America began pulling up the drawbridges within minutes of the Pentagon attack. President Bush ordered US forces worldwide on to high alert status - force protection condition Delta - and the authorities immediately began deploying troops, including a regiment of light infantry, in Washington.

As the aviation authorities worked frantically to account for the safety of all airliners in domestic air space, every airport was closed down and all flights in US airspace were ordered to land. International flights en route to the US were diverted to Canada.

In Washington, all government buildings, including the state department, the Capitol building and the White House, had been evacuated after the New York attacks and the nine top leaders of the house and senate taken into federal protection. But as fears of further attacks spread, public buildings across the country were also evacuated as the government began shutting down national landmarks, including the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty and the St Louis Gateway Arch. Even Disneyworld in Orlando closed its doors.

On the streets of Washington, panic set in. People rushed from buildings and desperately tried to get to their children in schools and daycare centres to make sure they were safe. Drivers ran red lights and sped across intersections, sending pedestrians scattering in a bid to get out of the city. Police near the White House tried to direct traffic, but a few blocks away chaos reigned, thwarting the efforts of emergency vehicles.

Wailing sirens from fire engines, police patrols and ambulances mingled with car horns, whistles and human cries.

"We are all sitting ducks here. We can't get out of the city. If they want to bomb the city we are all just waiting," one federal employee said.

"I feel like they are getting closer and closer with every minute," said Leroy Hall, a World Bank worker.

Just after 10am, the situation worsened again. Five minutes after the first World Trade Centre tower collapsed in New York, masonry started falling from the Pentagon. Then, without warning, a 40-yard section collapsed leaving a yawning gap from which flames continued to shoot. Stanley St Clair stumbled along the road away from the vast building, covered in dust. He had been working on renovations on the first floor of the section which was struck by the plane.

"It shook the whole building and hurt our ears. Papers and furniture and debris just went flying through the hallway and I thought it was a bomb or something. Then someone started shouting get out, get out."

Renovation work on the upper floors had just been completed and they had been handed back to the defence department. "This is the second Pearl Harbour. I don't think that I overstate it," Senator Chuck Hagel told reporters.

At 10.15am, another alert was sounded in Washington. "Get them out of here. We've got another threat coming," a policemen yelled, pushing survivors back from the building. Another officer said a report had come in saying another plane was on its way into Washington.

US air force F-16 fighter jets were scrambled, one of them banking steeply around the Pentagon, as the air around the defence department began to buzz with military and police helicopters.

At 10.27am in New York, the second tower of the World Trade Centre came tumbling down.

Minutes later, news broke of another crash, this time around 80 miles south-east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At 9.58am, an emergency dispatcher had answered a telephone call from a man who said he was a passenger locked in a bathroom on United Airlines flight 93. "We are being hijacked, we are being hijacked," he told the dispatcher, while repeatedly insisting that the call was not a hoax. The plane was "going down", he said. He had heard some sort of explosion and said there was white smoke coming from the aircraft. Then the dispatcher lost him.

The plane, a Boeing 757, which had left Newark, New Jersey, at 8.01am with 45 passengers and crew on board bound for San Francisco, had crashed into fields north of Somerset County airport. There were no survivors. "There's a crater gorged in the earth, the plane is pretty much disintegrated. There's nothing left but scorched trees," said one local, Mark Stahl.

There was immediate speculation that the plane had been heading for another high-profile target: Camp David, the US presidential retreat, which lies in the Maryland mountains 85 miles south-east of the crash site.

By mid-morning, the wide and normally crowded bridges across the Potomac were deserted and the scene resembled a city at war: deserted streets, billowing smoke and warplanes circling above. An elderly man, Tom O'Riordan standing in the shade of a tree near the Jefferson Memorial said he had not seen anything like it since Pearl Harbour.

A mobile secret service command center raced west on H Street, with sirens blaring, shortly after 11am as police drew a growing perimeter around the White House. Metal gates and yellow tape blocked access to streets and alleys. People scrambled to find working pay phones or reach friends or family on cell phones.

At 11.30, police cars again screamed up and down the roads around the Pentagon ordering passers-by off the street. One officer said there had been another report of an incoming plane heading down the Potomac river at high speed.

By midday, local hospitals reported receiving 40 victims of the attack, with seven patients in critical condition admitted to one facility for treatment of burns. Long lines of blood donors queued up outside area hospitals. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the city's Roman Catholic leader, said an unusually large number of worshippers, between 3,000 and 4,000, attended Mass at the downtown cathedral as the enormity of the destruction began to sink in.

By then, America had virtually ground to a halt. Almost every aspect of life, from sports occasions to family events, had been put on hold as the nation struggled to come to terms with what had happened. For several hours, the volume of people using the telephone service had made it impossible for anyone outside the US to phone in, and with international flights diverted away from the country, it had closed itself off to the outside world.

It was mid-afternoon before details of the hijacked planes started to emerge. The first announcement came from American Airlines, which confirmed that it had lost flight 11 from Boston to LA with 92 passengers and crew and flight 77 from Washington Dulles to LA with 64 people on board. Shortly after, United announced that the plane which had crashed in Pennsylvania was its flight 93, a Boeing 757 which had been en route to San Francisco from Newark, New Jersey. It had also lost another plane, flight 175, a Boeing 767 from Boston to LA.

Dismay Across the US, passengers queuing for flights and relatives waiting to meet arriving planes stood in airport lobbies staring at the arrival and departure monitors and listening with a growing sense of bewilderment and dismay to the announcements over the loudspeakers. Every major airport has had its rehearsals for disaster but not since Pearl Harbour had the country experienced such a widespread series of attacks.

Los Angeles International airport, the destination for three of the four hijacked flights, announced a suspension of operations as soon as it became clear what had happened. Worried callers were diverted to the lines of American Airlines and United, which were trying to supply information of who had been on the flights.

The airport itself was closed to the public and its operations suspended with only key staff allowed to remain. California governor Gray Davis made the National Guard available to assist.

Grief counsellors were called in by American Airlines and United to be ready to meet the friends and relatives of those on the flights. Switchboards were jammed as people tried to get information from the airport.

Lieutenant Howard Whitehead of the Los Angeles police said: "We are working with all the other agencies and a total evacuation of the airport has been ordered for precautionary reasons. Right now everything is fluid."

  • September 11 2001

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Two Decades Later, the Enduring Legacy of 9/11

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Americans watched in horror as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, left nearly 3,000 people dead in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 20 years later, they watched in sorrow as the nation’s military mission in Afghanistan – which began less than a month after 9/11 – came to a bloody and chaotic conclusion.

Chart shows 9/11 a powerful memory for Americans – but only for adults old enough to remember

The enduring power of the Sept. 11 attacks is clear: An overwhelming share of Americans who are old enough to recall the day remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Yet an ever-growing number of Americans have no personal memory of that day, either because they were too young or not yet born.

A review of U.S. public opinion in the two decades since 9/11 reveals how a badly shaken nation came together, briefly, in a spirit of sadness and patriotism; how the public initially rallied behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though support waned over time; and how Americans viewed the threat of terrorism at home and the steps the government took to combat it.

As the country comes to grips with the tumultuous exit of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan, the departure has raised long-term questions about U.S. foreign policy and America’s place in the world. Yet the public’s initial judgments on that mission are clear: A majority endorses the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, even as it criticizes the Biden administration’s handling of the situation. And after a war that cost thousands of lives – including more than 2,000 American service members – and trillions of dollars in military spending, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that 69% of U.S. adults say the United States has mostly failed to achieve its goals in Afghanistan.

This examination of how the United States changed in the two decades following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is based on an analysis of past public opinion survey data from Pew Research Center, news reports and other sources.

Current data is from a Pew Research Center survey of 10,348 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 23-29, 2021. Most of the interviewing was conducted before the Aug. 26 suicide bombing at Kabul airport, and all of it was conducted before the completion of the evacuation. Everyone who took part is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the  ATP’s methodology .

Here are the questions used  for the report, along with responses, and  its methodology .

A devastating emotional toll, a lasting historical legacy

Shock, sadness, fear, anger: The 9/11 attacks inflicted a devastating emotional toll on Americans. But as horrible as the events of that day were, a 63% majority of Americans said they couldn’t stop watching news coverage of the attacks.

Chart shows days after 9/11, nearly all Americans said they felt sad; most felt depressed

Our first survey following the attacks went into the field just days after 9/11, from Sept. 13-17, 2001. A sizable majority of adults (71%) said they felt depressed, nearly half (49%) had difficulty concentrating and a third said they had trouble sleeping.

It was an era in which television was still the public’s dominant news source – 90% said they got most of their news about the attacks from television, compared with just 5% who got news online – and the televised images of death and destruction had a powerful impact. Around nine-in-ten Americans (92%) agreed with the statement, “I feel sad when watching TV coverage of the terrorist attacks.” A sizable majority (77%) also found it frightening to watch – but most did so anyway.

Americans were enraged by the attacks, too. Three weeks after 9/11 , even as the psychological stress began to ease somewhat, 87% said they felt angry about the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Fear was widespread, not just in the days immediately after the attacks, but throughout the fall of 2001. Most Americans said they were very (28%) or somewhat (45%) worried about another attack . When asked a year later to describe how their lives changed in a major way, about half of adults said they felt more afraid, more careful, more distrustful or more vulnerable as a result of the attacks.

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Even after the immediate shock of 9/11 had subsided, concerns over terrorism remained at higher levels in major cities – especially New York and Washington – than in small towns and rural areas. The personal impact of the attacks also was felt more keenly in the cities directly targeted: Nearly a year after 9/11, about six-in-ten adults in the New York (61%) and Washington (63%) areas said the attacks had changed their lives at least a little, compared with 49% nationwide. This sentiment was shared by residents of other large cities. A quarter of people who lived in large cities nationwide said their lives had changed in a major way – twice the rate found in small towns and rural areas.

The impacts of the Sept. 11 attacks were deeply felt and slow to dissipate. By the following August, half of U.S. adults said the country “had changed in a major way” – a number that actually increased , to 61%, 10 years after the event .

A year after the attacks, in an open-ended question, most Americans – 80% – cited 9/11 as the most important event that had occurred in the country during the previous year. Strikingly, a larger share also volunteered it as the most important thing that happened to them personally in the prior year (38%) than mentioned other typical life events, such as births or deaths. Again, the personal impact was much greater in New York and Washington, where 51% and 44%, respectively, pointed to the attacks as the most significant personal event over the prior year.

Chart shows in 2016 – 15 years after 9/11 – the attacks continued to be seen as one of the public’s top historical events

Just as memories of 9/11 are firmly embedded in the minds of most Americans old enough to recall the attacks, their historical importance far surpasses other events in people’s lifetimes. In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in association with A+E Networks’ HISTORY in 2016 – 15 years after 9/11 – 76% of adults named the Sept. 11 attacks as one of the 10 historical events of their lifetime that had the greatest impact on the country. The election of Barack Obama as the first Black president was a distant second, at 40%.

The importance of 9/11 transcended age, gender, geographic and even political differences. The 2016 study noted that while partisans agreed on little else that election cycle, more than seven-in-ten Republicans and Democrats named the attacks as one of their top 10 historic events.

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9/11 transformed U.S. public opinion, but many of its impacts were short-lived

It is difficult to think of an event that so profoundly transformed U.S. public opinion across so many dimensions as the 9/11 attacks. While Americans had a shared sense of anguish after Sept. 11, the months that followed also were marked by rare spirit of public unity.

Chart shows trust in government spiked following Sept. 11 terror attack

Patriotic sentiment surged in the aftermath of 9/11. After the U.S. and its allies launched airstrikes against Taliban and al-Qaida forces in early October 2001, 79% of adults said they had displayed an American flag. A year later, a 62% majority said they had often felt patriotic as a result of the 9/11 attacks.

Moreover, the public largely set aside political differences and rallied in support of the nation’s major institutions, as well as its political leadership. In October 2001, 60% of adults expressed trust in the federal government – a level not reached in the previous three decades, nor approached in the two decades since then.

George W. Bush, who had become president nine months earlier after a fiercely contested election, saw his job approval rise 35 percentage points in the space of three weeks. In late September 2001, 86% of adults – including nearly all Republicans (96%) and a sizable majority of Democrats (78%) – approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president.

Americans also turned to religion and faith in large numbers. In the days and weeks after 9/11, most Americans said they were praying more often. In November 2001, 78% said religion’s influence in American life was increasing, more than double the share who said that eight months earlier and – like public trust in the federal government – the highest level in four decades .

Public esteem rose even for some institutions that usually are not that popular with Americans. For example, in November 2001, news organizations received record-high ratings for professionalism. Around seven-in-ten adults (69%) said they “stand up for America,” while 60% said they protected democracy.

Yet in many ways, the “9/11 effect” on public opinion was short-lived. Public trust in government, as well as confidence in other institutions, declined throughout the 2000s. By 2005, following another major national tragedy – the government’s mishandling of the relief effort for victims of Hurricane Katrina – just 31% said they trusted the federal government, half the share who said so in the months after 9/11. Trust has remained relatively low for the past two decades: In April of this year, only 24% said they trusted the government just about always or most of the time.

Bush’s approval ratings, meanwhile, never again reached the lofty heights they did shortly after 9/11. By the end of his presidency, in December 2008, just 24% approved of his job performance.

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U.S. military response: Afghanistan and Iraq

With the U.S. now formally out of Afghanistan – and with the Taliban firmly in control of the country – most Americans (69%) say the U.S. failed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan.

Chart shows broad initial support for U.S. military action against 9/11 terrorists, even if it entailed thousands of U.S. casualties

But 20 years ago, in the days and weeks following 9/11, Americans overwhelmingly supported military action against those responsible for the attacks. In mid-September 2001, 77% favored U.S. military action, including the deployment of ground forces, “to retaliate against whoever is responsible for the terrorist attacks, even if that means U.S. armed forces might suffer thousands of casualties.”

Many Americans were impatient for the Bush administration to give the go-ahead for military action. In a late September 2001 survey, nearly half the public (49%) said their larger concern was that the Bush administration would not strike quickly enough against the terrorists; just 34% said they worried the administration would move too quickly.

Even in the early stages of the U.S. military response, few adults expected a military operation to produce quick results: 69% said it would take months or years to dismantle terrorist networks, including 38% who said it would take years and 31% who said it would take several months. Just 18% said it would take days or weeks.

The public’s support for military intervention was evident in other ways as well. Throughout the fall of 2001, more Americans said the best way to prevent future terrorism was to take military action abroad rather than build up defenses at home. In early October 2001, 45% prioritized military action to destroy terrorist networks around the world, while 36% said the priority should be to build terrorism defenses at home.

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Initially, the public was confident that the U.S. military effort to destroy terrorist networks would succeed. A sizable majority (76%) was confident in the success of this mission, with 39% saying they were very confident.

Support for the war in Afghanistan continued at a high level for several years to come. In a survey conducted in early 2002, a few months after the start of the war, 83% of Americans said they approved of the U.S.-led military campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan. In 2006, several years after the United States began combat operations in Afghanistan, 69% of adults said the U.S. made the right decision in using military force in Afghanistan. Only two-in-ten said it was the wrong decision.

Chart shows public support for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan increased after Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011

But as the conflict dragged on, first through Bush’s presidency and then through Obama’s administration, support wavered and a growing share of Americans favored the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. In June 2009, during Obama’s first year in office, 38% of Americans said U.S. troops should be removed from Afghanistan as soon as possible. The share favoring a speedy troop withdrawal increased over the next few years. A turning point came in May 2011, when U.S. Navy SEALs launched a risky operation against Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan and killed the al-Qaida leader.

The public reacted to bin Laden’s death with more of a sense of relief than jubilation . A month later, for the first time , a majority of Americans (56%) said that U.S. forces should be brought home as soon as possible, while 39% favored U.S. forces in the country until the situation had stabilized.

Over the next decade, U.S. forces in Afghanistan were gradually drawn down, in fits and starts, over the administrations of three presidents – Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Meanwhile, public support for the decision to use force in Afghanistan, which had been widespread at the start of the conflict, declined . Today, after the tumultuous exit of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a slim majority of adults (54%) say the decision to withdraw troops from the country was the right decision; 42% say it was the wrong decision. 

There was a similar trajectory in public attitudes toward a much more expansive conflict that was part of what Bush termed the “war on terror”: the U.S. war in Iraq. Throughout the contentious, yearlong debate before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Americans widely supported the use of military force to end Saddam Hussein’s rule in Iraq.

Importantly, most Americans thought – erroneously, as it turned out – there was a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. In October 2002, 66% said that Saddam helped the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In April 2003, during the first month of the Iraq War, 71% said the U.S. made the right decision to go to war in Iraq. On the 15th anniversary of the war in 2018, just 43% said it was the right decision. As with the case with U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, more Americans said that the U.S. had failed (53%) than succeeded (39%) in achieving its goals in Iraq.

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The ‘new normal’: The threat of terrorism after 9/11

There have been no terrorist attacks on the scale of 9/11 in two decades, but from the public’s perspective, the threat has never fully gone away. Defending the country from future terrorist attacks has been at or near the top of Pew Research Center’s annual survey on policy priorities since 2002.

Chart shows terrorism has consistently ranked high on Americans’ list of policy priorities

In January 2002, just months after the 2001 attacks, 83% of Americans said “defending the country from future terrorist attacks” was a top priority for the president and Congress, the highest for any issue. Since then, sizable majorities have continued to cite that as a top policy priority.

Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats have consistently ranked terrorism as a top priority over the past two decades, with some exceptions. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have remained more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to say defending the country from future attacks should be a top priority. In recent years, the partisan gap has grown larger as Democrats began to rank the issue lower relative to other domestic concerns. The public’s concerns about another attack also remained fairly steady in the years after 9/11, through near-misses and the federal government’s numerous “Orange Alerts” – the second-most serious threat level on its color-coded terrorism warning system.

A 2010 analysis of the public’s terrorism concerns found that the share of Americans who said they were very concerned about another attack had ranged from about 15% to roughly 25% since 2002. The only time when concerns were elevated was in February 2003, shortly before the start of the U.S. war in Iraq.

In recent years, the share of Americans who point to terrorism as a major national problem has declined sharply as issues such as the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and racism have emerged as more pressing problems in the public’s eyes.

Chart shows in recent years, terrorism declined as a ‘very big’ national problem

In 2016, about half of the public (53%) said terrorism was a very big national problem in the country. This declined to about four-in-ten from 2017 to 2019. Last year, only a quarter of Americans said that terrorism was a very big problem.

This year, prior to the U.S. withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban takeover of the country, a somewhat larger share of adults said domestic terrorism was a very big national problem (35%) than said the same about international terrorism . But much larger shares cited concerns such as the affordability of health care (56%) and the federal budget deficit (49%) as major problems than said that about either domestic or international terrorism.

Still, recent events in Afghanistan raise the possibility that opinion could be changing, at least in the short term. In a late August survey, 89% of Americans said the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was a threat to the security of the U.S., including 46% who said it was a major threat.

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Addressing the threat of terrorism at home and abroad

Just as Americans largely endorsed the use of U.S. military force as a response to the 9/11 attacks, they were initially open to a variety of other far-reaching measures to combat terrorism at home and abroad. In the days following the attack, for example, majorities favored a requirement that all citizens carry national ID cards, allowing the CIA to contract with criminals in pursuing suspected terrorists and permitting the CIA to conduct assassinations overseas when pursuing suspected terrorists.

Chart shows following 9/11, more Americans saw the necessity to sacrifice civil liberties in order to curb terrorism

However, most people drew the line against allowing the government to monitor their own emails and phone calls (77% opposed this). And while 29% supported the establishment of internment camps for legal immigrants from unfriendly countries during times of tension or crisis – along the lines of those in which thousands of Japanese American citizens were confined during World War II – 57% opposed such a measure.

It was clear that from the public’s perspective, the balance between protecting civil liberties and protecting the country from terrorism had shifted. In September 2001 and January 2002, 55% majorities said that, in order to curb terrorism in the U.S., it was necessary for the average citizen to give up some civil liberties. In 1997, just 29% said this would be necessary while 62% said it would not.

For most of the next two decades, more Americans said their bigger concern was that the government had not gone far enough in protecting the country from terrorism than said it went too far in restricting civil liberties.

The public also did not rule out the use of torture to extract information from terrorist suspects. In a 2015 survey of 40 nations, the U.S. was one of only 12 where a majority of the public said the use of torture against terrorists could be justified to gain information about a possible attack.

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Views of Muslims, Islam grew more partisan in years after 9/11

Concerned about a possible backlash against Muslims in the U.S. in the days after 9/11, then-President George W. Bush gave a speech to the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., in which he declared: “Islam is peace.” For a brief period, a large segment of Americans agreed. In November 2001, 59% of U.S. adults had a favorable view of Muslim Americans, up from 45% in March 2001, with comparable majorities of Democrats and Republicans expressing a favorable opinion.

Chart shows Republicans increasingly say Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence

This spirit of unity and comity was not to last. In a September 2001 survey, 28% of adults said they had grown more suspicious of people of Middle Eastern descent; that grew to 36% less than a year later.

Republicans, in particular, increasingly came to associate Muslims and Islam with violence. In 2002, just a quarter of Americans – including 32% of Republicans and 23% of Democrats – said Islam was more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers. About twice as many (51%) said it was not.

But within the next few years, most Republicans and GOP leaners said Islam was more likely than other religions to encourage violence. Today, 72% of Republicans express this view, according to an August 2021 survey.

Democrats consistently have been far less likely than Republicans to associate Islam with violence. In the Center’s latest survey, 32% of Democrats say this. Still, Democrats are somewhat more likely to say this today than they have been in recent years: In 2019, 28% of Democrats said Islam was more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers than other religions.

The partisan gap in views of Muslims and Islam in the U.S. is evident in other meaningful ways. For example, a 2017 survey found that half of U.S. adults said that “Islam is not part of mainstream American society” – a view held by nearly seven-in-ten Republicans (68%) but only 37% of Democrats. In a separate survey conducted in 2017, 56% of Republicans said there was a great deal or fair amount of extremism among U.S. Muslims, with fewer than half as many Democrats (22%) saying the same.

The rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in the aftermath of 9/11 has had a profound effect on the growing number of Muslims living in the United States. Surveys of U.S. Muslims from 2007-2017 found increasing shares saying they have personally experienced discrimination and received public expression of support.

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It has now been two decades since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93 – where only the courage of passengers and crew possibly prevented an even deadlier terror attack.

For most who are old enough to remember, it is a day that is impossible to forget. In many ways, 9/11 reshaped how Americans think of war and peace, their own personal safety and their fellow citizens. And today, the violence and chaos in a country half a world away brings with it the opening of an uncertain new chapter in the post-9/11 era.

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Three ways terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 changed our world

Even as the events of September 11, 2001, were unfolding, the questions people were asking amid the scenes of chaos were an indication that the world was about to change.

Key points:

  • Airport security ramped up and CCTV and citizen surveillance became ubiquitous
  • The 9/11 attacks fuelled the  rise of Islamic terrorism  and anti-Muslim sentiment
  • Hundreds of thousands of deaths led to the  "forever wars" of Iraq and Afghanistan , among other conflicts

"How did a plane fly into the World Trade Center in broad daylight on a Tuesday morning?"

"Twice, in 30 minutes?" 

Harrowing images of the 110-storey Twin Towers burning and trapped victims leaping from the buildings were continuously broadcast around the world.

The towers crumbled to dust and, as they fell, they damaged a dozen adjacent buildings and sent debris flying up to 5 kilometres away, across New York City.

It was later confirmed that 19 men, working in groups, had hijacked four separate flights from three different airports, within the span of 45 minutes at what was rush hour that fateful day.

Two planes were flown into the towers and a third crashed into the side of the Pentagon about 30 minutes later.

A fourth plane crashed into a field. Its target remains unclear to this day, but it is believed it was heading for the White House or the Capitol Building.

There were no survivors from any of the flights, and nearly 3,000 people were killed.

Al Qaeda, a designated terrorist group founded by Osama bin Laden, was quickly blamed for the attacks.

The US responded by launching a "war on terror" and invading Afghanistan, where terrorist training had taken place.

Now, 20 years on, impacts of that time — the war in Afghanistan, the plight of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and ongoing threats of terrorist attacks — continue to feed headlines.

Here are three ways the events of that day shaped the world we live in today.

Mass surveillance, security

CCTVs mounted in downtown Frankfurt.

Before 9/11, removing articles of clothing and electronic devices before boarding a plane — or disposing of bottles of water, cigarette lighters and shampoo — were unheard of.

While X-ray machines and security did exist, they were hardly afforded the same level of attention.

For example, the 9/11 hijackers boarded flights with box cutters and knives, which were allowed on certain flights at the time.

Passengers at a TSA security check

The fact that multiple members of Al Qaeda were able to visit America over a couple of years — even attending flight schools in some cases — and coordinate below the radar, revealed gaping, multi-faceted vulnerabilities in security.

Security and intelligence expert John Blaxland, who was in Washington DC at the time, told the ABC that, until that point, hijacks were about extortion and holding hostages for ransom.

"The idea of using the actual planes as bombs, like a weapon — no-one imagined that," he said.

"Instantly, Washington DC went from being a city relaxed, to being very, very nervous and paranoid." 

Just months after the attacks, the US launched the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a multi-billion-dollar US Homeland Security apparatus that monitors air travel and employs nearly 50,000 security officers.

It resulted in hours-long queues and pat downs now associated with US airports.

Variations of similar security measures and entities soon followed around the world, as did tens of millions of CCTV cameras  on street corners in urban areas and in small businesses.

It also led to the adoption of a raft of new security laws and counter-terrorism measures granting surveillance powers to governments.

Counter-terrorism and international policy expert Lydia Khalil said the policy outcomes from the reaction to the September 11 attacks remained with us now.

"There was a real, palpable fear and sense of insecurity that those attacks brought, and we're still living with the impacts of [surveillance powers and counter-terrorism legislation] that was put forward," Ms Khalil said.

Inside a darkened room are dozens of screens showing images from surveillance cameras.

"Some of it was necessary, certainly … but then it resulted in a lot of overreach as well.

"And, so, it kind of normalised a lot of today's perceptions around mass surveillance."

In the following years, not only did surveillance and security measures increase, but also sophisticated systems of data collection.

"These developments were inconceivable to previous generations," Professor Blaxland said.

Islamic terrorism, anti-Muslim sentiment

A turbaned Osama bin Laden, with his right hand raised, is sitting in front of a black and white Al Qaeda flag

Before 9/11, "terrorism" was not a household term and it was generally reserved for political discussions involving hardline communists or anarchists, such as Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber. 

"Terrorism had been around for a while [in isolated attacks and car bombings], but it was a manageable risk," Professor Blaxland told the ABC.

"It was the industrial scale of 9/11's international terrorism that transformed it from being something you read about in the papers, to being something of fundamental importance to everybody."

A photographic array of 11 of the 19 suspected hijackers responsible for the Sept 11 attacks

Ms Khalil was in her last year of university in Boston at the time of the 9/11 attacks, not far from the airport where two of the planes were hijacked.

She recalls watching it unfold from her dorm room thinking, "This is going to change everything".

"A few months before, I took a foreign policy class looking at conflicts not getting enough attention, and the professor asked, 'Has anyone ever heard of Al Qaeda?' And hardly anyone raised their hands," Ms Khalil said.

Just a year later, such a question would become redundant.

After 9/11, there were waves of terrorist attacks targeting Western cultural centres, resulting in mass casualties: Bali in 2002 and 2005, Madrid in 2004, London in 2005, Sydney in 2014, Paris in 2015 and many, many more.

In the process, the simple utterance of the phrase "Allahu akbar" (God is great) — a religious phrase routinely said by more than a billion Muslims worldwide — would come to be interpreted by many as linked to terrorism.

Muslim protesters gather to object to Donald Trump's ban on Muslim-majority countries.

Hundreds of millions of everyday Muslims continue to feel the repercussions of the Islamic terrorist stereotype , with major international policies becoming hostile towards them, including that of former US president Donald Trump's ban on travellers from Muslim-majority countries.

'Forever wars' 

Australian Special Operations Task Group soldiers

Despite Bin Laden explicitly saying he hoped the attack would drag the US into conflict , and that war was what Al Qaeda wanted, within weeks the US invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to dislodge the Taliban from power and clear out Al Qaeda operatives.

Within 18 months, US forces had also invaded Iraq, chasing claims that former president Saddam Hussein was harbouring weapons of mass destruction.

Australia would be dragged into the same wars in support of its American ally.

Even though some protested against invading foreign countries, the rhetoric of revenge dominated discussions after the 9/11 attacks.

"I honestly can't imagine a scenario in which the United States would not have intervened militarily in some respect in Afghanistan — Iraq, I think is a different story — but certainly in Afghanistan," Ms Khalil said.

A decade after September 11, the Arab Spring exploded in the Middle East.

While it was not directly in response to the attacks, the war in Iraq had served as a catalyst for inspiring the youth in Egypt, among other places, to protest  against their own governments for supporting the war. 

Those conflicts would eventually lead to hundreds of thousands of casualties, regional instability and millions of refugees, while more than an estimated $1 trillion has been spent by the United States and its allies.

"Revenge is best served cold," Professor Blaxland said, "and if it's not cold, then you are going to make serious misjudgements." 

Despite the US declaring — just under 20 years later, on August 31, 2021 — that the war in Afghanistan was over, the troubles and headlines will continue for a new generation that likely does not recall the significance of September 11.

Professor Blaxland said these "forever wars" had now eclipsed the "unipolar moment", when the US emerged as the sole superpower following the Cold War.

"It all happened while we were distracted by chopping off heads of the hydra in the Middle East," he said.

"Even when fighting an enemy without superior technology, they outsmart us, and we stand the risk of never learning the many lessons from our experience of the 'forever wars'.

"Of the trillion dollars spent in Afghanistan and Iraq, what could the United States and the West have built in its place?

"Instead, we have the incredible primal destruction left by an incredibly hubris-struck movement that misread its place in the world, and lost opportunities."

An image of the New York Times front page with the two burning towers before they collapsed, rubble and injured woman

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How 9/11 Changed the World

Photo of two people on bikes and other bystanders looking towards the twin towers as they burn. The air is filled with ash and the photo is very hazy.

The World Trade Center buildings in New York City collapsed on September 11, 2001, after two airplanes slammed into the twin towers in a terrorist attack. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

BU faculty reflect on how that day’s events have reshaped our lives over the last 20 years

Bu today staff.

Saturday, September 11, 2021, marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the largest terrorist attack in history. On that Tuesday morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American commercial flights destined for the West Coast and intentionally crashed them. Two planes—American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175—departed from Boston and Flight 11 struck New York City’s World Trade Center North Tower at 8:46 am and Flight 175 the South Tower at 9:03 am, resulting in the collapse of both towers. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, leaving from Dulles International Airport in Virginia, crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 am, and the final plane, United Airlines Flight 93, departing from Newark, N.J., crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa., at 10:03 am, after passengers stormed the cockpit and tried to subdue the hijackers.

In the space of less than 90 minutes on a late summer morning, the world changed. Nearly 3,000 people were killed that day and the United States soon found itself mired in what would become the longest war in its history, a war that cost an estimated $8 trillion . The events of 9/11 not only reshaped the global response to terrorism, but raised new and troubling questions about security, privacy, and treatment of prisoners. It reshaped US immigration policies and led to a surge in discrimination, racial profiling, and hate crimes.

In observance of the anniversary, BU Today reached out to faculty across Boston University—experts in international relations, international security,  immigration law, global health, terrorism, and ethics—and asked each to address this question: “How has the world changed as a result of 9/11?”

Find a list of all those with ties to the BU community killed on 9/11 here.

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Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English. Statistics or facts must include a citation or a link to the citation.

There are 43 comments on How 9/11 Changed the World

this is very scary to me.

Yes this is very scary

This was a very sad moment in time but we need to remember the people that sacrificed themselves to save us and the people that died during this event. It was sad but at least it brought us closer together. I wonder what the world would be like if 9/11 never happened?..

Yes that is a good thing to rember…

We will all remember 9/11, a very important moment in our life, and we honor the ones who sacrificed their lives to save others in there.

It changed the world forever, it is infact a painful memory to remember

I feel bad for all the families that had family and friends die.

i feel bad for all the people and their family and friends that died

9/11 is tragic and it will always be remembered though I have to say that saying 9/11 changed the word is quite an overstatement. More like how it changes America in certain ways and the ones responsible for it but saying something like what you said makes it sound like it was Armageddon or something.

Whether or not those of us in other countries like it, for the last several decades and certainly still in the current time, when something changes the USA in significant ways that impact policy, legislation, education, the economy, health care, etc. (not to mention the ways in which public opinion drives the American political machine), the US’s presence on the international stage means those changes ripple outward through their foreign policy, treatment of both residents/citizens of the USA and local people where the USA has a military, economic and/or other presence around the world.

The complex web of international agreements, alliances, organizational memberships, and financial interdependency means that events that happen locally often have both direct and indirect implications, short and long term, around the world, for individuals and for entire segments of society.

As for the direct results of 20 years of military response to 9/11 on civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, it certainly changed their world.

The original BU 9/11 Memorial webpage is still up: https://www.bu.edu/remember/index.html

Reading through the remembrances from that day onward …

Omg scary .

I honor them all.

I wonder how much time people had to get out before the building collapsed

the south tower collapsed in 10 seconds.

Yes but it didnt colapse untill 56 minutes after it was hit

Shall all the people who risked their lives, never be forgotten.

am i blind or was there no mention of how it actually affected the world afterwards??

I know right?

My dad died in 9/11, He was a great pilot

Wow. I’m really sorry for your loss I hope you can still go far in life even without your dad. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and let them go.

i dont really think you understood that comment

i just read the story and im so sade for the dad that died . If i was there i wouls of creiyed and i saw someone in the chare that someone dad died and i felt so bad when i saw the comment but i dont know if that is real but if it is i feal bad for you if my dad died or my mom i woulld been so sade i would never get over it but this story changed my life when i read it.Also 1 thing i hoop not to any dads diead because i feel bad fo thos kids.

yo all the dads and moms died all of them will never get forgoten every single one of them

Never forget, always remember

everyone is talking about the twin towers but what about the pentagon.

I know, right?

it is super scary

Sorry for all the people who Lost their family

Thanks for helping me with this report, and yes so sorry for all yall who lost family

So, so sorry to all y’all who lost family

I am deeply sorry for anyone who lost family, friends, co workers, or anybody you once knew. This really was a tragedy to so many.

my dad almost died from the tower

very scary but needs too be remembered!

I have to say this is most definitely a U.S. American write up. Saying the word is an overstatement in many ways. It would be more better if you were to specifically point out you mean the US and those others involved with the attacks. Overall if we are going to be completely factual “people/individuals” are the ones who change things depending on whatever. The world changes every day since the start of time.

While I agree with your first point, I would say that the attacks did in fact change the world. At the very least, they changed the way airline security is done everywhere.

great article,

I believe that the people, who sacrificed their lives in flight 93, the one that crashed in Pennsylvania, resonated the most with me, as it could have gone anywhere, and they sacrificed themselves to save more. I am deeply sorry for all losses, but I hope we remember this crucial moment in history to learn from our mistakes in global affairs, but also honor those who sacrificed themselves in all the attacks.

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The day after 9/11: Burning buildings, bodies, bomb scares

In new york city, fear mounted on sept. 12, 2001, as people searched for hundreds missing in the world trade center attack.

This story was originally published in The Washington Post on Sept. 13, 2001. It captures the shock, grief and fear after the World Trade Center attack.

NEW YORK — Three more skyscrapers in downtown Manhattan groaned and teetered, near collapse at Liberty Plaza. A morgue at Brooks Brothers took in bodies a limb at a time, until health workers fled to safety.

Panicked families by the thousands besieged hospitals with names and photos of loved ones held aloft. And still, jagged walls of flames billowed up from molten craters where 110-story towers once soared.

Such was Manhattan on the day after.

The downtown streets called to mind Pompeii. A cloak of chalky ash covered abandoned bicycles, doughnut carts and thousands of firefighters and police officers who worked ceaselessly, dusty ghosts moving through a moonscape.

The photo of the doomed 9/11 ‘Dust Lady’ still haunts us after all these years

But danger lurked always. By evening, the Empire State Building and Penn Station were evacuated because of bomb scares. Gas leaks had workers scurrying to shut off pipes in downtown Manhattan. Burning buildings stood cheek by jowl with rescue trains, and Verizon’s already wounded telephone banks threatened to disintegrate.

State and city officials acknowledged that for most families the wait now was for thousands of bodies encased in the densest rubble. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) told reporters the best estimate of fatalities was “a few thousand” in each collapsed World Trade Center twin tower.

The city has asked the Federal government to provide 6,000 body bags, and refrigerated trucks were taken to Lower Manhattan.

Hospitals treated more than 1,500 patients and released the majority. A handful of survivors were plucked from the wreckage, including a Port Authority police officer in critical condition, and a trader.

Law firms and state agencies with offices in the twin towers reported hundreds upon hundreds of missing employees. A spokesman at St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital broke into tears as she spoke of 200 doctors on hand but no victims. It was as though the city was in a state of suspended grief.

The most iconic photos from Sept. 11 and its aftermath

Giuliani, who draws praise as a wartime mayor, spoke of his hope that surgeons might find a heavy load of work yet. “It’s very possible the hospitals will be busy today,” he said. “We’re praying they’re busy today.”

The deconstruction and clearing task ahead is, by every measure, mammoth and dangerous. Working in murky metal canyons, on shifting piles of rubble with jet fuel and leaking gas, holds no promise of safety. Many of the buildings on the land to the immediate west and south of the Trade Centers were erected on landfill, and some officials warned last night that stability could become a problem.

Anything could give way, and the towering nine-story high cranes were as often of little use, suitable only for picking up and stacking stray steel beams, like so much cord wood.

Even the hundreds of backhoes and steam shovels often stood idle, as hundreds of firefighters, construction workers and rescue teams had at the wreckage with pick axes and sledgehammers. As they dislodged pieces, they picked up each one and carefully carried it over for inspection by law enforcement and building inspectors.

“Nothing is sturdy in there,” said Pat Cornell, a Jersey City fireman. “The buildings want to come down.”

The FBI has carted some of the of the rubble on boats to a Staten Island garbage dump, where it's examined for evidence.

Doctors and nurses treated more than 300 rescue workers for eye and respiratory injuries. Nurses hung bags of saline solution from a broomstick and used it to rinse workers' eyes. Doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital predicted lasting respiratory problems for some of the rescuers who have worked, eaten and slept in the murk these past 48 hours.

Nor was it clear where one takes the vast piles of rubble. Trucks lined West Street on the Hudson River, stretching miles and miles to the north. Giuliani said that 120 dump trucks had already rumbled out, some carrying piles of crumpled and broken police cars and firetrucks, looking like so many broken toys.

Federal emergency officials predicted it could take 30 to 60 days to clear the land, depending on the ability of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to locate a place to put the debris.

In fact, the very sturdiness of the buildings poses a problem, say building inspectors. Unlike flimsier structures in Turkey or India, where rescue workers could quickly dig for the buried, Manhattan's buildings are tough and tightly wound, and not easily disassembled.

The air itself is a menace, the dust filled with the chrysotile asbestos that once lined the guts of the World Trade Center. Now the stuff is airborne and the Environmental Protection Agency today took measurements at Ground Zero and found four times the acceptable level.

“We slept on a pile of asbestos,” said fireman Frank Turner.

Currently, “the city is removing it to existing landfills and disposal sites,” said Bruce Baughman, operations director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “The existing landfill space will be eaten up very quickly.”

Still, and through it all, few of the firefighters would forgo hope for rescues. Officials estimated that as many as 300 firefighters died in the collapse of the twin towers, and in a department where seemingly every man and woman has a cousin or brother in another firehouse, the loss is grievous.

So early this morning, a few dozen firefighters strapped on oxygen masks and at great risk crawled across the pyre that was one of the towers, marking bodies with each step.

“There were intestines and bodies everywhere,” said Parrish Kelley, a Massachusetts firefighter who drove down the first day. “The wreckage is so dense and concentrated, it’s going to be a miracle …”

He left the rest unsaid.

The atmosphere today was most peculiar. The day dawned, again, with the spectacular dry radiance of September. And the view from subways rolling across bridges in Brooklyn no longer was of two steel towers shrouded in ugly black smoke (satellite photos would show a stream miles and miles long, rising high over the ocean south of Long Island).

The light was soft now, illuminating white clouds that rose from the gaping skyline hole where the Trade Center towers once stood. The rush hour streets were near empty, as schools and many thousands of businesses closed. Schools will open Thursday. Giuliani has asked New Yorkers to return again to normalcy.

“Let’s not give in to the cowards who committed this despicable act,” he said.

Still, the day was pregnant with waiting — to see which other parts of the skyline might disappear, and, more to the point, how many must be buried.

Downtown Manhattan was simply a war zone. National Guard troops tramped in formation, hundreds of trucks of every kind lined the streets. Exhausted firefighters and police officers curled in building vestibules and in seats at McDonald's, trying to get an hour or two of sleep.

The effort during the past 40 hours has often turned hellish. Electricity went out early this morning and trucks lost power as they ran their generators. Gasoline trucks trooped in and the lights were fired up once again. The sense was of a grand improvisation in the face of circumstances more terrible than could be imagined.

And everywhere in the city there was a pervasive sense of loss.

Giuliani dodged death himself that first day as he walked the street in the shadow of the towers as the first tower started to collapse. He saw many close aides die, among them the city’s fire chief. He has since talked to dozens of families, never quite sure what to articulate. “You don’t know what to say, to give them hope or not,” Giuliani said. “You know there will be survivors, you just don’t know who or how many.”

At Firefighter Company No. 1 on Manhattan's West Side, George Diaz manned the station house, hoping for good news. Half the company had rushed to the fire site that first morning; so far, none returned. Neighbors brought flowers and poetry and food by the firehouse all morning.

“As the guys went into the Trade Center yesterday morning, we heard them communicating on our radios,” Diaz said. “They were trying to stay together. Now, now they’re buried under 20 stories of debris.”

At Bellevue Hospital, Steve Irgeny and Kristen Ladner showed up. She's petite and the fiancee of Steve's brother, who was now missing. She carried a black plastic bag from which she pulled some photos. In one they're smiling; in another they're deep in an embrace.

“He was, is, a beautiful person,” Ladner said. “He called at 10 minutes to 9 a.m. yesterday and said he was okay.”

That was the last anyone heard from him. Which floor did he work on? The 104th, Ladner said, and began to weep.

Through it all, the city somehow remained a remarkably civil place, as though the magnitude of this tragedy has everyone on best behavior. Nerves were on edge, certainly. The United Nations got a bomb threat, closed and reopened. People still craned their necks nervously at the sky when the roar of jets was heard overhead.

But strangers loaned strangers cellphones and money; bread and water trucks showed up, unasked, at the Canal Street barricades, bringing help to weary searchers. Corporate chieftains from General Electric and Cisco donated $14 million for the families of fallen cops and firefighters. Hundreds of people lined Canal Street and Christopher Street near Lower Manhattan this afternoon, applauding and cheering every emergency vehicle that went by.

Some local restaurants stopped passersby to tell them they were serving free food, pass the word.

At Chambers and Greenwich Street stands Lloyd Frazier’s McDonald’s franchise. He was there when the centers got hit. He watched the people jumping from the high floors as “though they were floating in the air.”

He turned his place into a free rest house for weary rescuers. Tuesday night, he ordered 20,000 bottles of water shipped in. He was chief cook and dishwasher, and all he wanted to talk about were the firefighters who crawled in there after the towers collapsed, entombing so many of their colleagues.

“They were caked in ash and I washed their faces and they were crying. They crawled in crying.”

Read more Retropolis:

‘Take it out’: On 9/11, Cheney’s harrowing orders to shoot down U.S. airliners

On 9/11, as the Pentagon burned, the White House couldn’t find Donald Rumsfeld

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National Archives News

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Remembering 9/11

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Smoke rises from the site of the World Trade Center in New York City, September 11, 2001. (Photo by Paul Morse;  National Archives Catalog ID 5997250 )

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Map of four flights and timeline of events on September 11, 2001. ( National Archives Catalog ID 5899988 )

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President George W. Bush and White House staff at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, FL, watch news coverage of Flight 175 striking the South Tower of the World Trade Center. (Photo by Eric Draper;  National Archives Catalog ID 204326996 ) 

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Onboard the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower , U.S. Navy sailors watch televised news reports, showing the World Trade Center, during the terrorist attacks. (Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin K. Thomas, USN;  National Archives Catalog ID 6610647 )

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A sign states "All Crossings to New York Closed" after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York City. (Photo by Paul Morse;  National Archives Catalog ID 205206239 )

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President George W. Bush visits New York City on September 14, 2001. (Photo by Eric Draper;  National Archives Catalog ID 5997294 )

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President George W. Bush waves to rescue workers while touring the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attack in New York City. (Photo by Eric Draper;  National Archives Catalog ID 5997292 )

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A helmet and flowers sit atop a rack at New York City's Engine Co. 55 firehouse in New York City. (Photo by Eric Draper;  National Archives Catalog ID 5997366 )

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Firefighters try to contain the fire after the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Jim Varhegyi;  National Archives Catalog ID 6523862 )

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An aerial view of the Pentagon two days after September 11 shows the impact point where the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building. (U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Cedric H. Rudisill;  National Archives Catalog ID 6523869 )

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Firefighters gather outside the Pentagon hours after American Airlines Fight 77 was piloted by terrorists into the building. (Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jim Watson;  National Archives Catalog ID 6610676 )

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As rescue and recovery operations continued, family members gathered at the Pentagon on September 15 to view the area where their loved ones perished. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. John Valceanu;  National Archives Catalog ID 6519375 )

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Near Shanksville, PA, a chain-link fence bearing flags, hats, rosaries, and other items served as a temporary memorial honoring the passengers and crew of Flight 93. ( National Archives Catalog ID 5616340 )

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A marker at the temporary memorial, near Shanksville, PA, honors the passengers and crew of Flight 93, hijacked on September 11, 2001. ( National Archives Catalog ID 5616321 ) 

Large US flag on Pentagon after 9/11

The National Archives safeguards many records related to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, including those of the 9/11 Commission , the 9/11 Federal Aviation Administration records, and the records of the George W. Bush Presidential Library .

Most of us remember where we were and how life changed that day. As an agency with facilities in Washington, DC, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California, the immediacy of the events felt that much closer to our homes and workplaces.

Left: Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry render honors as firefighters and rescue workers unfurl an American flag at the Pentagon. (Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Pendergrass) View in National Archives Catalog

Child's letter to Red Cross after 9/11 attacks

Video: A Life of Selfless Service, Sacrifice, and Civic Engagement: Cyril "Rick" Rescorla

Bullhorn used by President George W Bush at Ground Zero

  • Teaching Activities for all grade levels focused on Rick Rescorla, who helped thousands of people to safety in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
  • More primary sources  

Blogs and Social Media

First pitch showcased in all american exhibit demonstrates how sports helped unite nation after 9/11.

President George W Bush throwing out first pitch at World Series

The photo of President Bush throwing out the first pitch of the World Series remains a symbol of a step toward a return to normalcy following the attacks, both for New York City and the United States. More

‘In our New York office: A day like no other’

World Trade Center after plane crash on September 11, 2001

On the anniversary of the attacks, we reprint the firsthand account from staff at the National Archives at New York City. (National Archives News) More

  • AOTUS:  We Remember: 20th Anniversary of 9/11
  • NARAtions: Remembering 9/11: Photos from the George W. Bush Library on Flickr
  • National Archives News:  9/11 Fireman’s Son Sees Dad on National Archives Instagram
  • Pieces of History:  9/11: An Address to the Nation
  • Pieces of History: Ten Years Later: Handling 9/11 Commission Records
  • Pieces of History: 9/11: The World Series and a President’s Pitch
  • Pieces of History: The Patriot Act
  • Pieces of History: 9/11: An Address to the Nation
  • The Text Message: Shutting Down the Sky: The Federal Aviation Administration on 9/11
  • The Text Message: Rusty the Comfort Dog
  • The Text Message: The Zone
  • The Text Message: September 11 Through the Eyes of Children
  • The Text Message: The Best Prophet of the Future is the Past: September 11—1970, 1981, and 2001
  • Transforming Classification: PIDB Recommends the Prioritized Declassification of 9/11 Records
  • Today’s Document: The Twin Towers
  • Unwritten Record:  Remembering 9/11
  • Facebook: Reflections on a 9/11 Anniversary

Images from 9/11

Worker at Ground Zero, New York City

9/11 Flickr Collection from the George W. Bush Presidential Library

  • 9/11: A Presidential Reaction
  • 9/11: A National Resolve
  • 9/11: A Day of Remembrance
  • 9/11: A Global Response
  • 9/11: A Spirit Renewed

Selection of photographs in the National Archives Catalog

9/11 Commission Records at the National Archives

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, aka the 9/11 Commission, was an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress to provide a "full and complete accounting" of the 9/11 attacks. The Commission operated from 2003 to 2004 and held hearings, conducted interviews, and issued a final report. 

When the 9/11 Commission closed on August 21, 2004, it transferred legal custody of its records (approximately 570 cubic feet of textual records alone) to the National Archives. As part of the Legislative Branch, the Commission’s records are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. 

Due to the collection’s volume and the large percentage of national security classified files, the National Archives staff continues to process these materials.

9/11 Commission Resources Online

  • 9/11 Commission records : Introductory page
  • 9/11 Commission records FAQs : Answers to frequently asked questions about access to the records.
  • 9/11 Commission's website preserved as it appeared on August 21, 2004 (the Commission's closing day). Includes staff monographs, staff biographies and statements, the final report, hearing transcripts and video, lists of witnesses, and press releases.
  • 9/11 Commission Memoranda for the Record (MFRs): Commission staff conducted and summarized more than 1,200 interviews.

9/11 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Records

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) compiled records to support internal and external investigations of the events. This collection consists of 126 cubic feet of textual, audio, and electronic files.

  • 9/11 FAA Records web page and FAQs 
  • Finding aid to 9/11 FAA records
  • 9/11 FAA Open Files 
  • 9/11 FAA Glossary and Vocabulary
  • 9/11 FAA File Inventory and Corrected File Names

At the Presidential Libraries

William J. Clinton Library

  • USS Cole and September 11, 2001

George W. Bush Library

  • September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks
  • Video: Address to Nation on Terrorist Attacks, 9/11/2001
  • Video: Remarks from Emma E. Booker Elementary School, 9/11/2001
  • Video: Remarks at Barksdale Air Force Base, LA, 9/11/2001
  • Video: President Bush Visits Ground Zero, remarks to First Responders, 9/14/2001
  • President George Signs the Patriot Act, 10/26/2001
  • Archived website from the George W. Bush White House: Remembering 9/11

Barack Obama Library

  • President Obama Speaks at 9/11 Museum Dedication, 5/14/2014
  • Proclamation—Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, 9/9/2011
  • Vice President Joe Biden on Remembering 9/11: "We are a Nation about Possibilities"
  • Presidential Address: Death of Osama Bin Laden, 5/2/2011

Donald J. Trump Library

  • What the World Learned on September 11, 2001
  • Continuation of National Emergency Re: Persons who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism
  • Presidential Proclamation on National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2019

Building the World Trade Center

"Constructing the World Trade Center" - VISION USA, No. 06, 1972 ( National Archives Identifier 58975 )

World Trade Center Photographs from the DOCUMERICA Project

World Trace Center Twin Towers in 1970s

'AMERICA'S DARKEST DAY': See newspaper headlines from around the world 24 hours after 9/11

  • Monday is the 22nd anniversary of the September 11 , 2001, terrorist attacks.
  • The day after, newspapers around the world captured the sadness, shock, and horror people felt.
  • We compiled international front pages to show what people woke up to on September 12, 2001.

Insider Today

The September 11 , 2001, terrorist attacks happened 22 years ago on Monday.

For many people, the attacks were the biggest news story of their lifetime. Almost all who experienced it can remember where they were when they heard of the attacks.

Many people who remember that day also recall the following morning, when newspapers around the world captured the horror, shock, and sadness people felt.

The Newseum, a museum in Washington, DC, that chronicled the history of media, archived more than 100 newspapers from September 12, 2001, the day after the attacks. The front pages of these newspapers, bearing headlines like "ACT OF WAR" and "AMERICA'S DARKEST DAY," underscored the impact the attacks had on the American psyche.

Here is what newspapers looked like on September 12, 2001.

The New York Times

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Source: Newseum

New York Post

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New York Daily News

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The Washington Post

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The Atlanta Constitution

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The Los Angeles Times

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Detroit Free Press

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The San Francisco Examiner

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Chicago Tribune

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Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Canada's The Globe and Mail

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London's The Daily Telegraph

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London's The Times

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Melbourne's Herald Sun

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What did Trump say about NATO funding and what is Article 5?

Former U.S. President Trump attends the National Rifle Association (NRA) Presidential Forum in Harrisburg


Which countries are in nato, what did trump say about nato, how is nato funded, how many nato members meet the defence spending target, what is nato's article 5.

Reporting by Andrew Gray and Sabine Siebold; editing by Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. , opens new tab

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Thomson Reuters

Andrew Gray is Reuters' European Affairs Editor. Based in Brussels, he covers NATO and the European Union and leads a pan-European team of reporters focused on diplomacy, defence and security. A journalist for almost 30 years, he has previously been based in the UK, Germany, Geneva, the Balkans, West Africa and Washington, where he reported on the Pentagon. He covered the Iraq war in 2003 and contributed a chapter to a Reuters book on the conflict. He has also worked at Politico Europe as a senior editor and podcast host, served as the main editor for a fellowship programme for journalists from the Balkans, and contributed to the BBC's From Our Own Correspondent radio show.

Palestinians carry bags of flour they grabbed from an aid truck near an Israeli checkpoint in Gaza City

Dutch nationalist Wilders lashes out against Ukrainian refugees

Dutch far right leader Geert Wilders, who won the most seats in an election three months ago but has so far failed to form a new coalition government, said on Monday the Netherlands was "Europe's fool" for accepting too many Ukrainian refugees.

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What we know about the Minnesota shooting that killed 2 officers and a firefighter

Two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed early Sunday and a third officer was injured in a Burnsville, Minneapolis home in an exchange of gunfire while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family. Officials say the suspect in the shooting also died. The shooting claimed the lives of two 27-year-old officers and a 40-year-old first responder. Seven children were in the home, but officials say the family was able to leave safely. A Burnsville police official said a sergeant was hospitalized with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. (Feb. 19)

Crasto Cruz Reyes of Austin, Minn., places flowers at one of the three memorial vehicles in front of the Burnsville Police Department in Burnsville, Minn., Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Two police officers and a firefighter who responded to a domestic situation at a suburban Minneapolis home were killed early Sunday during a standoff by a heavily armed man who shot at police from the home where seven children were also inside. (Craig Lassig/Pioneer Press via AP)

Crasto Cruz Reyes of Austin, Minn., places flowers at one of the three memorial vehicles in front of the Burnsville Police Department in Burnsville, Minn., Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Two police officers and a firefighter who responded to a domestic situation at a suburban Minneapolis home were killed early Sunday during a standoff by a heavily armed man who shot at police from the home where seven children were also inside. (Craig Lassig/Pioneer Press via AP)

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Members of the Burnsville Police Department gathered outside memorials in front of the Burnsville Police Department in Burnsville, Minn., Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed early Sunday and a third officer was injured at a suburban Minneapolis home in an exchange of gunfire while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

Zach Osterberg, of the Savage Fire Department, hugs his son Lincoln as they paid their respect at three memorials in front of the Burnsville Police Department in Burnsville, Minn., Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed early Sunday and a third officer was injured at a suburban Minneapolis home in an exchange of gunfire while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

This undated photo released by the City of Burnsville shows Burnsville firefighter and paramedic Adam Finseth. Two police officers and Finseth were shot and killed early Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, and a third officer was injured at a suburban Minneapolis home while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family. (City of Burnsville via AP)

This undated photo released by the City of Burnsville shows Burnsville police officer Paul Elmstrand. Two police officers, including Elmstrand, and a first responder were shot and killed early Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, and a third officer was injured at a suburban Minneapolis home while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family. (City of Burnsville via AP)

This undated photo released by the City of Burnsville shows Burnsville police officer Matthew Ruge. Two police officers, including Ruge, and a first responder were shot and killed early Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, and a third officer was injured at a suburban Minneapolis home while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family. (City of Burnsville via AP)

A health care worker weeps near a memorial in front of the Burnsville Police Department in Burnsville, Minn., Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed early Sunday and a third officer was injured at a suburban Minneapolis home in an exchange of gunfire while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

The hearse bearing the body of Burnsville firefighter and paramedic Adam Finseth leaves the Hennepin County Medical Examiner in Minnetonka, Minn., Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Finseth and two police officers were shot and killed early Sunday and a third officer was injured at a suburban Minneapolis home in an exchange of gunfire while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

Flags fly at half staff in front of the Burnsville Police Department in Burnsville, Minn., Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Two police officers and a firefighter who responded to a domestic situation at a suburban Minneapolis home were killed early Sunday during a standoff by a heavily armed man who shot at police from the home where seven children were also inside. (Craig Lassig/Pioneer Press via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Two police officers and a firefighter who responded to a domestic situation at a suburban Minneapolis home were killed early Sunday during a standoff by a heavily armed man who shot at police from the home where seven children were also inside.

The suspect is dead, and another police officer was injured in the shooting in a neighborhood in Burnsville, Minnesota, a city of about 64,000 people near Minneapolis.


Investigators are still putting together details of the shooting , which unfolded from a domestic call.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said late Monday that Burnsville Police Officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both 27, and Adam Finseth, 40, a firefighter and paramedic who was assigned to the city’s SWAT team, died of gunshot wounds in the emergency room at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis shortly after 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

Zach Osterberg, of the Savage Fire Department, hugs his son Lincoln as they paid their respect at three memorials in front of the Burnsville Police Department in Burnsville, Minn., Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed early Sunday and a third officer was injured at a suburban Minneapolis home in an exchange of gunfire while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

The suspect was identified by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Monday as Shannon Gooden, 38, of Burnsville. Officials had said the suspect was armed with multiple guns and large amounts of ammunition. He had barricaded himself inside the home with his family, who included seven children ages 2 to 15.

Court records show Gooden wasn’t legally allowed to have guns and had been entangled in a yearslong dispute over the custody and financial support of his three oldest children. The bureau said the medical examiner will release his cause and manner of death at a later date.

According to court records, the state barred Gooden from possessing guns after he pleaded guilty in 2008, aged 22, to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Prosecutors said he threw rocks and pulled a knife on a man in a Burnsville shopping mall parking lot.

An attorney representing Gooden in the custody dispute, Robert Manson, did not return a telephone message Monday seeking comment.

BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said negotiations lasted for hours before the suspect opened fire. He wasn’t specific on the exact amount of time, but the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said the standoff lasted four hours before a SWAT team entered the home.

The man shot at officers from multiple positions in the home, including the upper and lower floors, Evans said. At least one officer was shot inside. A police armored vehicle sustained bullet damage to its windshield.

“We still don’t know the exact exchange of gunfire that occurred,” Evans said. “Certainly several officers did return fire.”

Around 8 a.m. Sunday, Gooden was found dead. The family and children were released. None of them were hurt.

Evans said “there have not been many calls for service at all” at the home in the past.

People gather at a candlelight vigil after two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, in Burnsville, Minn. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

People gather at a candlelight vigil after two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, in Burnsville, Minn. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)


Elmstrand joined the police department in 2017, and was a member of its mobile command staff. His wife, Cindy Elmstrand-Castruita, told WCCO-TV they began dating in high school after attending the same schools since kindergarten. They were married five years and had two children, a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old.

Elmstrand was a levelheaded person who loved his job and didn’t complain, despite horrible things he saw as part of his job, she said.

“I think he just had to be the hero. He had to do what he thought was right to protect those little lives even if it meant putting his (life) at risk and it breaks my heart because now he’s gone. But I know that he thought what he did was right,” she told the station.

Ruge, hired in 2020, was on the department’s crisis negotiations team and was a physical evidence officer.

People attend a candlelight vigil after two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, in Burnsville, Minn. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

People attend a candlelight vigil after two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, in Burnsville, Minn. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Another police officer, Sgt. Adam Medlicott, was released from a hospital Monday after suffering injuries that were not life-threatening, officials said.

“We’re hurting,” said Police Chief Tanya Schwartz. “Today, three members of our team made the ultimate sacrifice for this community. They are heroes.”


The Minnesota House and Senate observed moments of silence Monday as Burnsville-area lawmakers paid tributes to the fallen officers and firefighter.

Flags in Minnesota have been lowered to half-staff in honor of those killed. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz urged people walking past them to remember the fallen first responders.

“Minnesota mourns with you,” he said. “The state stands ready to assist in any way possible.”

Hundreds of people, including officers from other departments, gathered Sunday night outside Burnsville City Hall for a candlelight vigil for the victims.

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig said, “I can’t imagine the pain that you’re all going through, but what I can say is that to all our officers out there, the paramedics, our firefighters, thank you for what you do.”

Area resident Kris Martin said, “It’s an important community, and we feel very saddened by what happened.”

Dura reported from Bismarck, North Dakota. Associated Press writers John Hanna in Wichita, Kansas; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Rob Jagodzinski and Bobby Caina Calvan in New York City; Maysoon Khan in Albany, New York; and Jesse Bedayn in Denver contributed to this report.

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Watch CBS News

This week on "Sunday Morning" (February 18)

By David Morgan

Updated on: February 18, 2024 / 8:44 AM EST / CBS News

The Emmy Award-winning "CBS News Sunday Morning" is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET.  "Sunday Morning" also  streams on the CBS News app  beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET. ( Download it here .) 

Hosted by Jane Pauley


        COVER STORY: Redefining old age | Watch Video This isn't your grandfather's old age. CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jonathan LaPook talks with experts about the distinctions between normal and abnormal aging as it affects memory issues, a workforce continuing beyond traditional retirement age, and the testing of surgeons who currently work without age limits.

For more info:

  • Louise Aronson, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University
  • "Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life" by Louise Aronson (Bloomsbury), in Hardcover, Trade Paperback, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon , Barnes & Noble and Bookshop.org
  • Mark Katlic, chief of surgery, LifeBridge Health Systems , Baltimore
  • The Aging Surgeon Program

        COVER STORY: The age-old question: How old is too old for Washington, D.C.? | Watch Video With the two oldest candidates in U.S. history leading the race for the presidency, and Congress dominated by politicians who are decades older than the average citizen, the question of age has come to dominate much of the conversation this election year. But should it? CBS News chief election & campaign correspondent Robert Costa talks with the Washington Post's Dan Balz (considered one of the deans of the Washington press corps) and California Representative Sara Jacobs (one of the youngest members of Congress) about the generational divide.

  • Dan Balz, The Washington Post
  • Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.)

        ALMANAC: February 18 (Video) "Sunday Morning" looks back at historical events on this date.  


ARTS: Artist Michael Deas on earning the stamp of approval | Watch Video Michael Deas may be one of the most famous painters you've never heard of – in fact, much of his work can be bought for pennies. The New Orleans artist is responsible for more than two dozen postage stamps, of such luminaries as Marilyn Monroe, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and playwright Tennessee Williams. Correspondent Conor Knighton talked with Deas about the process of painting portraits for the U.S. Postal Service; creating covers for Time magazine; and redesigning the female figure holding a torch who introduces films from Columbia Pictures.

  • Michael J. Deas (Official site)
  • Stamps & Postcards from the U.S. Postal Service


THEATER: LaChanze on expanding diversity behind Broadway's curtains | Watch Video The Broadway star LaChanze has spent most of her life on stage, appearing in such shows as "Once on This Island," "Ragtime," "Summer," and "The Color Purple," for which she won a Tony Award. But throughout her career she did not see much diversity behind the scenes. And so, after 40 years as a performer, LaChanze took on a new role as a Broadway producer – and won two more Tonys, for best musical ("Kimberly Akimbo") and best revival of a play ("Top Dog/Underdog"). She talks with correspondent David Pogue about the strides for inclusivity made by her advocacy organization, Black Theater United.

  • LaChanze (Official site)
  • Black Theater United

      PASSAGE: In memoriam (Video) "Sunday Morning" remembers some of the notable figures who left us this week, including William Post, who helped invent a familiar staple of toasters: Pop-Tarts.

SUNDAY JOURNAL: The death of Alexey Navalny, Putin's most vocal critic (Video) Officials said Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny collapsed and died Friday inside a high-security penal colony above the Arctic Circle, where he'd been serving a 19-year sentence for "extremism." Correspondent Seth Doane reports on the life of a fierce crusader against corruption who'd staged massive protests against President Vladimir Putin, and who'd already survived notorious attempts to silence him.

SUNDAY JOURNAL: Donald Trump: From fraud judgment to hawking sneakers (Video) Found to have illegally profited from habitually inflating the value of his real estate holdings in order to obtain loans at reduced interest rates, former President Donald Trump was ordered Friday to pay nearly $355 million, and was barred from running a business in New York for three years. Correspondent Martha Teichner reports on what it means, and how Trump responded with an unusual fundraising tactic.  

  • Eric Talley, professor of corporate law, Columbia University
  • Patrick Egan, associate professor politics & public policy, New York University

       COMMENTARY: Jason Carter on Jimmy Carter's strength of spirit | Watch Video The former president's grandson says his grandfather, who has witnessed massive transformations in the world during the past century, maintains his spirit thanks to his unwavering adherence to principles of faith and respect for others.  

For more info: 

  • The Carter Center


MOVIES: Hilary Swank on "Ordinary Angels" and miracles | Watch Video After winning two Academy Awards, actress Hilary Swank put her career on hold for three years to care for her father, who had a lung transplant. Now she stars in a movie that hits close to home: "Ordinary Angels," about a woman who tries to accomplish the impossible to help a young girl in need of a life-saving transplant. Swank talks with correspondent Tracy Smith about struggling to build her career, and what she gained from stepping away to spend time with her dad.

To watch a trailer for "Ordinary Angels" click on the video player below:

  • "Ordinary Angels" opens in theaters February 23
  • healthybaby.com

        WORLD: Ukrainians' fight for survival entering its third year | Watch Video When Russian forces bombarded the Ukrainian city of Mariupol nearly two years ago, journalist Mstyslav Chernov and his colleagues with the Associated Press stayed in the besieged city to document the horrendous humanitarian crisis. The footage they managed to transmit to the world opened eyes to the horrors of the Russian attack, and is now the basis of his Oscar-nominated documentary, "20 Days in Mariupol." CBS News national security correspondent David Martin talks with Chernov about the suffering he witnessed. He also talks with Ukrainian soldiers wounded during last year's counter-offensive; and with Senator Angus King, who says ending American aid for Ukraine's war will be "the greatest geopolitical mistake this country has made in generations."

To watch a trailer for "20 Days in Mariupol," click on the video player below:

  • "20 Days in Mariupol"  will be presented on the PBS series "Frontline" February 22, and can be streamed on  pbs.org
  • Future for Ukraine


MUSIC: The authentic Ashley McBryde | Watch Video Country artist Ashley McBryde is unafraid to write lyrics that struck a chord, and maybe a few nerves, with the release of her introspective fourth studio album, "The Devil I Know." What makes her success all the sweeter is that almost all of it came after McBryde took on one of her demons: alcohol. She's now celebrating almost two years sober. Correspondent Lee Cowan talks with McBryde, and her mom, about Ashley's journey from child songwriter to Grammy-winner and Grand Ole Opry star.

You can stream Ashley McBryde's album "The Devil I Know" by clicking on the embed below (Free Spotify registration required to hear the tracks in full):

  • ashleymcbryde.com
  • "The Devil I Know" by Ashley McBryde
  • The Rusty Nail , Hermitage, Tenn.

      NATURE: Eagles in Nebraska (Extended Video) We leave you this Sunday before Presidents Day with our national bird, bald eagles, wintering along the Missouri River near Crofton, Nebraska. Videographer: Kevin Kjergaard. 



THE BOOK REPORT: Recommendations from Washington Post book critic Ron Charles (Feb. 18)  | Watch Video The "Sunday Morning" book reviewer offers his picks from this month's new fiction and non-fiction titles, including "Come and Get It," the latest by bestselling author Kiley Reid.

READ AN EXCERPT:  "True North" by Andrew J. Graff The author of "Raft of Stars" returns with a family drama about a schoolteacher's scheme to save his marriage by buying a run-down rafting company and uprooting his family to Wisconsin's Northwoods.

READ AN EXCERPT: "Come and Get It" by Kiley Reid The author of the bestseller "Such a Fun Age" is back with a wry novel about young women at college.

READ AN EXCERPT: "My Friends" by Hisham Matar The latest novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Return" imagines the life of a student wounded during a protest against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi 40 years ago.

  • Ron Charles, The Washington Post
  • Subscribe to the free  Washington Post Book World Newsletter
  • Ron Charles' Totally Hip Video Book Review
  • Bookshop.org  (for ordering from independent booksellers)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Toby Keith (YouTube Video) Country singer-songwriter Toby Keith, who garnered chart-topping success with such hits as "Should've Been a Cowboy" and "How Do You Like Me Now?!", died February 5, 2024 at the age of 62. In this "Sunday Morning" profile that originally aired September 10, 2006, Keith talked with correspondent Cynthia Bowers about his songs, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" and "American Soldier," written in the aftermath of 9/11, and said that, despite his patriotic hits, he's "not a real political guy."   

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Bob's Red Mill founder Bob Moore (Video) Bob's Red Mill founder Bob Moore died on February 11, 2024, at 94 years old. In this "Sunday Morning" profile that originally aired February 23, 2020, Moore talked with correspondent Luke Burbank about finding unexpected fame as the face of his company. He also shared his recipe for success.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Conductor Seiji Ozawa (Video) Acclaimed orchestra conductor Seiji Ozawa died February 6, 2024 at age 88. In this profile that originally aired February 8, 1998, Ozawa talked with "Sunday Morning" host Charles Osgood about straddling East and West, his passion for sports, and the challenge of conducting choruses on five continents in a satellite-connected performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to open the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. 

The Emmy Award-winning "CBS News Sunday Morning" is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET. Executive producer is Rand Morrison.

DVR Alert! Find out when "Sunday Morning" airs in your city  

"Sunday Morning" also  streams on the CBS News app  beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET. ( Download it here .) 

Full episodes of "Sunday Morning" are now available to watch on demand on CBSNews.com, CBS.com and  Paramount+ , including via Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon FireTV/FireTV stick and Xbox. 

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You can also download the free  "Sunday Morning" audio podcast  at  iTunes  and at  Play.it . Now you'll never miss the trumpet!

David Morgan is senior producer for CBSNews.com and the Emmy Award-winning "CBS News Sunday Morning." He writes about film, music and the arts. He is author of the books "Monty Python Speaks" and "Knowing the Score."

More from CBS News

The age-old question: How old is too old for Washington, D.C.?

Redefining old age

The Book Report: Washington Post critic Ron Charles (February 18)

Ukrainians' fight for survival entering its third year


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On Capitol Hill, Republicans Use Bigoted Attacks Against Political Foes

House and Senate Republicans have denigrated fellow lawmakers, Biden administration officials and witnesses in racist ways, both in casual comments and in official settings.

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Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene in a dark clothing. She is looking to the side.

By Annie Karni

Reporting from the Capitol

When Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, stood on the House floor this month to announce her proposal to censure the only Somali-born member of Congress, she said she was seeking punishment for “Representative Ilhan Omar of Somalia — I mean Minnesota.”

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Earlier that same week, Representative Troy Nehls, Republican of Texas, called the Black husband of another Democratic woman of color, Representative Cori Bush of Missouri, a “thug.” He then said Ms. Bush, who is also Black, had received so many death threats because she was “so loud all the time.”

At a hearing across the Capitol, Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, grilled the chief executive of TikTok, Shou Chew, about his nation of origin. Mr. Cotton repeatedly demanded to know whether Mr. Chew — who is from Singapore and of Chinese descent — was Chinese, held a Chinese passport or was a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

“No, senator — again, I’m Singaporean,” Mr. Chew responded with agitation after saying several times that he was not Chinese.

Around the same time, House Republicans released their report on impeachment charges against Alejandro N. Mayorkas , the Cuban-born homeland security secretary who is the first Latino to lead his department. Using unusually loaded language for a committee report, the panel described its action as “deporting Secretary Mayorkas from his position.”

In private, the language was uglier. During a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, Representative Mark E. Green, Republican of Tennessee and the panel’s chairman, referred to Mr. Mayorkas as a “reptile with no balls” because of his refusal to resign from his post, according to Politico . A White House official condemned the statement, noting that Mr. Mayorkas is Jewish and that the comment echoed an antisemitic trope .

And that was all in the span of a week.

The racist discourse by Republican members of Congress, both in casual comments and in official statements, has become so commonplace that it now often slips by without any real condemnation from the G.O.P. Democrats frequently call for apologies but no longer expect any response, and those futile denunciations quickly disappear into a morass of polarized content on social media.

The pattern is playing out as the Republican Party once again coalesces behind former President Donald J. Trump, who routinely made bigoted statements during his first campaign for the White House and his presidency. His approach has encouraged some Republicans to freely use rhetoric that denigrates people based on ethnicity, religion or nationality.

“The nature of Trumpism is to embolden extremism,” said Representative Ritchie Torres, a Black Democrat from New York. “Whether it’s badgering an Asian witness about his ethnic loyalties, or dehumanizing a cabinet secretary, or accusing a Muslim woman of treason, or describing a Black man as a thug, Republican members of Congress are crossing lines that should never be crossed.”

Mr. Torres said the sad reality was that “the extreme elements have concluded that racism might be bad morals but it’s good politics.”

“Instead of representing what is best about America,” he said, “Congress increasingly represents what is worst.”

If Republicans on Capitol Hill have similar concerns, they rarely air them publicly. The office of Speaker Mike Johnson had no comment on the recent incidents.

The Republican Party, which for decades has relied primarily on white voters, has long exploited fear and prejudice to energize its base, whether it was Barry Goldwater vocally opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or George H.W. Bush’s use of the Black convict Willie Horton in a 1988 presidential ad.

Mr. Trump supercharged that strategy, entering the national political conversation by pushing the racist lie that President Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president, was not born in the United States.

As president, Mr. Trump routinely made racist remarks that transcended the dog whistle, calling African nations “shithole countries,” saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and telling the four Democratic congresswomen of color known as “the Squad” to “go back” to where they came from. (Of the four, only Ms. Omar was born outside the United States.)

Mr. Trump recently referred to Nikki Haley, a rival for the Republican nomination who is the daughter of Indian immigrants, as “Nimrada,” misspelling her first name, Nimarata. He also amplified social media posts falsely claiming that she was not born in the United States.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump’s campaign, Steve Cheung, made no apologies for Mr. Trump’s language, saying, “President Trump is a truth teller, and the more people who follow his lead and speak their mind, the better.”

The race-baiting comments resonate with Mr. Trump’s political coalition, which is 85 percent white in a country that is 59 percent white and becoming less so every day. Republicans in Congress have also sought to capitalize on the grievances of their base.

Ms. Greene has been fund-raising off her proposed censure of Ms. Omar, which was written relying on a mistranslation of her remarks in Somali that spread virally on right-wing social media, and she has fed the loop by amplifying the hate and misinformation online.

“Ilhan Omar embodies the biggest threat America faces: Migrant hordes invading our country with no real desire to assimilate or embrace what it means to be an American,” Ms. Greene wrote in a fund-raising appeal to small donors. That language embraces the core tenets of a conspiracy theory known as replacement theory , which explains demographic changes as a plot by Western elites, including Jews, to replace and disempower white people.

Stuart P. Stevens, a former Republican strategist who has described the G.O.P. as “a white grievance party,” pinned the recent spate of racist language directly on Mr. Trump.

“You don’t have to argue that Trump made people more racist, but I don’t think you can argue against the fact that he did give people permission to express their racist views,” Mr. Stevens said in an interview.

“You have someone who is running for the Republican nomination for president, who is mocking the ethnic heritage of his opponent,” he said, referring to Mr. Trump’s misuse of Ms. Haley’s first name . “There is no element of the Republican Party that punishes this.”

Condemnations by Democrats appear to have only emboldened Republicans.

In her censure resolution, Ms. Greene accused Ms. Omar of making “treasonous statements” and acting as a foreign agent of the Somalian government. She was reacting to a video of Ms. Omar speaking in Somali, which circulated on right-wing social media accounts that misquoted her as saying she was “Somalian first” and would dictate U.S. policy toward Somalia.

That translation has since been debunked by multiple independent news outlets . In fact, Ms. Omar’s comments were in line with the administration’s official position on Somalia.

“As long as I’m in Congress, no one will take Somalia’s sea,” she said. “And the United States will not support other people to rob us.”

But that did nothing to stop Ms. Greene from continuing to forge ahead with her measure, which quotes the mistranslation . While some Republicans said they were unlikely to support it, Ms. Greene insisted that she was “not rescinding it, not backing off.”

Her actions prompted a denunciation from Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, which set off a social media feud. After Ms. Greene mocked Mr. McGovern’s bathroom habits, he responded, “Aren’t you late for a klan meeting?”

Democrats, meanwhile, said the “reptile” comment about Mr. Mayorkas was proof that the impeachment process itself was motivated by racism.

“Chair Green’s comments are plain bigotry,” said Representative Delia Ramirez, Democrat of Illinois. “This whole impeachment process has been a bigoted, prejudiced spectacle.”

Republicans did not provide any proof of high crimes and misdemeanors in their drive to make Mr. Mayorkas the first sitting cabinet secretary in American history to be impeached. Instead, they accused him of deliberately encouraging an “invasion” of immigrants and impeached him on a second vote on Tuesday, after their first attempt failed.

The AAPI Victory Fund, a political action committee supporting Asian American candidates, condemned Mr. Cotton’s questioning of Mr. Chew as “disgraceful, blatantly racist and deeply dangerous.” But the senator defended it in an interview with Fox News.

“It’s entirely reasonable to pursue a line of questioning about whether he himself, like his company, is subject to the influence of the Chinese Communist Party,” Mr. Cotton said.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said Mr. Nehls’s “thug” comment was “shameful” and “clearly peddled in racially inflammatory language.” He demanded an apology.

Audio produced by Tally Abecassis .

Annie Karni is a congressional correspondent for The Times. She writes features and profiles, with a recent focus on House Republican leadership. More about Annie Karni

A Divided Congress: Latest News and Analysis

A Stern Warning: The head of the I.R.S. told the House Ways and Means Committee that proposed cuts to his agency’s budget would add to the national deficit in the long run  and pushed back against Republican claims that he had not been following the law.

Calling Republicans’ Bluf: Senator Chuck Schumer was wary of tying immigration policy to Ukraine aid, but he saw an opening to address a political liability for Democrats by flipping the border issue on Republicans .

Mark Green: The Republican chairman of the Homeland Security Committee announced that he would not run for re-election , just a day after the Tennessee congressman oversaw the impeachment of Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary.

Racist Attacks: Republican members of Congress are increasingly using rhetoric that denigrates people based on ethnicity, religion or nationality. And their remarks often slip by without any real condemnation from their party .

Ukraine-Israel Aid Bill: Thanks in part to a forceful push by Senator Mitch McConnell , the Senate passed a $95 billion emergency aid bill  for Ukraine and Israel. But its fate in the House remains uncertain amid stiff Republican opposition .

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Toby Keith's 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue' lives on in MAGA country

Danielle Kurtzleben - square 2015

Danielle Kurtzleben

news articles 911

Toby Keith performs during a 2014 "Salute to the Troops" concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ACM hide caption

Toby Keith performs during a 2014 "Salute to the Troops" concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.

While the crowd waited for former President Donald Trump to take the stage at a recent rally in South Carolina , "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" played three times.

The song was written in response to 9/11, but today, that's not all it signifies.

"It didn't have as much meaning to me, I mean, because that was right after the Twin Towers. But then now it's got more of a meaning to me because our country just sucks right now," said Tonya Helm, who pumped her fist while the song played. "Biden needs to go, and you know, what better song to do it to than to Toby Keith's 'Red, White and Blue'?"

Toby Keith, one of country music's biggest stars, dies at 62

Toby Keith, one of country music's biggest stars, dies at 62

Keith's death last week brought renewed attention to his music, but "Courtesy" had already found a new life in MAGA-adjacent politics. It's a mainstay at Trump rallies, and also played at Ron DeSantis events during his presidential campaign.

It's a well-known song, even among non-country fans, for a lyric about where America would kick its enemies: "We'll put a boot in your ass; it's the American way."

Arguably, "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" is a new political anthem, an in-your face cousin to Trump's walkout music, "God Bless the USA."

A "very specific" song

"Courtesy" was originally written for USO tours as the military response to 9/11 ramped up, according to Nadine Hubbs, a professor of women's studies and music at the University of Michigan and author of Rednecks, Queers, and Country Music.

"After 9/11, he had written and was singing it for these working class kids overseas, many of whom were about to go into harm's way," she said. "It is a very specific song directed to a specific audience at a specific moment."

Those troops urged Keith to record "Courtesy." And upon its 2002 release, it was immediately polarizing, becoming part of an early-2000s culture war. At the time, many Americans were worried that the Bush administration would take the U.S. into a costly, unnecessary war in Iraq.

Critics blasted the song as jingoistic. Natalie Maines, of the band the Chicks (then known as the Dixie Chicks), was blunt in her criticism: "I hate it. It's ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant. It targets an entire culture - and not just the bad people who did bad things. You've got to have some tact." As a result, the song became a key part of a feud between Keith and the band.

A Love Affair: American Politics And Country Music

The NPR Politics Podcast

A love affair: american politics and country music.

Not only that, but the song became a part of a persona Keith built for himself in the coming years. He would later record "American Soldier" and "The Taliban Song," two more songs that cemented his status as country music's saber-rattling patriot-in-chief.

There have long been patriotic country songs, and "Courtesy" was part of a wave written post-9/11. But "Courtesy" stands out in that field of songs.

"I don't know that you had many of them that were that aggressive," said Brian Mansfield, managing editor of trade publication Country Insider . "But you also didn't have attacks on American soil very often."

A song with a life of its own

news articles 911

In this file photo, Toby Keith performs at a pre-Inaugural "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration" for then-President-elect Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. David J. Phillip/AP hide caption

In this file photo, Toby Keith performs at a pre-Inaugural "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration" for then-President-elect Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017.

Keith's politics were complicated — he praised both Republicans and Democrats. Likewise, he both criticized Trump and played at a Trump inauguration celebration .

But Keith's politics are now beside the point, because "Courtesy" has a life of its own, resonating with a crowd spoiling for an election fight.

Rally attendee Cora McGrath cheered from her seat when the song played.

"This song applies to Trump because it won't apply to Biden. He's made us weak," she said. "There's no country song came out in support of this country talking about Biden."

Today, "Courtesy" fits neatly into a pissed-off political moment, in the view of Country Insider 's Mansfield.

"There are large segments of the population that have gone from anger as a response to a specific event, to anger as just a way of seeing the world," he said.

Indeed, the song's subtitle is "The Angry American." And there's something distinctly Trumpian in the defiance of loving a song that originally upset so many — particularly liberals.

Republicans play cleanup on aisle Trump after former president's NATO comments

Republicans play cleanup on aisle Trump after former president's NATO comments

Still, Hubbs, at University of Michigan, sees irony in Trump using a pro-military tune.

"The former president who dodged the draft, who has mocked Gold Star families, who just recently mocked Nikki Haley, asking where Major Michael Haley, her husband, was," she said. "The level of disconnect is staggering."

It's not clear how Keith would have aligned in this election. But Trump diehards like Tonya Helm hear "Courtesy" and see Keith as one of them.

"We lost a legend, and I said we lost a vote," she said. "He put it out there like he says, you know, put a boot in their ass the American way."

It's a tune that will live on — especially as long as anger is central to American politics.

  • country music


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