Most—if not all—of us remember where we were on September 11, 2001, as American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 in the morning. The world watched in horror as smoke billowed out of the building, and then as a second plane hit the South Tower less than 20 minutes later. Not long after, a plane would hit the Pentagon and another would crash in a Pennsylvania field after passengers on Flight 93 confronted their hijackers. The Twin Towers would eventually fall, leaving lower Manhattan covered in debris.
On that Tuesday morning, the four airliners descended out of the clear blue sky to shatter the widespread notion that the American homeland was impervious to large-scale terrorist attacks. The fear, anger, sorrow, courage, and resilience of that day is hard to encapsulate in a few words, but the images captured in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are an enduring testament. In honor of the 12th anniversary of 9/11, The Daily Beast takes a look back at the iconic photos of the tragedy.