Sept. 11 Through The Eyes Of VII, Magnum And Life

For those of us not in New York, Washington, D.C., or Shanksville, Pa., our memories of Sept. 11 are shaped largely by the photos of that day and its aftermath. Some of the most arresting images were collected by Life, the visual witness to much of the world's most important events of the 20th century. Many others were taken and distributed by the photo agencies Magnum and VII, both of which had members in New York that day.

Life has collected 911 photos of moments great and small that are displayed on its website.

  • United Airlines Flight 175, today universally known as "the second plane," seconds away from the World Trade Center's South Tower, at 9:03 a.m. EST, Sept. 11, 2011. The first plane, American Airlines Flight 11 — slated to fly from Boston to Los Angeles — had slammed into the North Tower 17 minutes before, at 8:46 a.m.
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    United Airlines Flight 175, today universally known as "the second plane," seconds away from the World Trade Center's South Tower, at 9:03 a.m. EST, Sept. 11, 2011. The first plane, American Airlines Flight 11 — slated to fly from Boston to Los Angeles — had slammed into the North Tower 17 minutes before, at 8:46 a.m.
    AFP/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
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    Seth McCallister/AFP/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
  • Rescue workers carry mortally injured New York City Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge from the wreckage after he was killed by falling debris while administering last rites to another victim. A Roman Catholic priest, a recovering alcoholic, a gay man, and a spiritual adviser and trusted friend to countless firefighters through the years, "Father Mike" was the first recorded victim of the Se...
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    Rescue workers carry mortally injured New York City Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge from the wreckage after he was killed by falling debris while administering last rites to another victim. A Roman Catholic priest, a recovering alcoholic, a gay man, and a spiritual adviser and trusted friend to countless firefighters through the years, "Father Mike" was the first recorded victim of the Sept. 11 attacks.
    Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Landov/Courtesy of LIFE
  • The South Tower Falls.
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    The South Tower Falls.
    Gulnara Samoilova/AP/Courtesy of LIFE
  • Running for cover.
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    Running for cover.
    Doug Kanter/AFP/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
  • The North Tower collapses, engulfing Lower Manhattan in smoke and ash.
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    The North Tower collapses, engulfing Lower Manhattan in smoke and ash.
    Detective Greg Semendinger/NYPD/AP/Courtesy of LIFE
  • Stunned, frightened, Marcy Borders, 28, is covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area, and raced into the building seeking shelter.
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    Stunned, frightened, Marcy Borders, 28, is covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area, and raced into the building seeking shelter.
    Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
  • At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77, diverted from its Washington-to-Los Angeles flight by a team of five al-Qaida-affiliated hijackers, crashed into the western-facing side of the Pentagon.
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    At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77, diverted from its Washington-to-Los Angeles flight by a team of five al-Qaida-affiliated hijackers, crashed into the western-facing side of the Pentagon.
    Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
  • In a scene repeated with terrifying frequency as flames engulfed the tops of the towers, a man falls (or leaps, as was evidently the case with many victims) to his death from the World Trade Center.
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    In a scene repeated with terrifying frequency as flames engulfed the tops of the towers, a man falls (or leaps, as was evidently the case with many victims) to his death from the World Trade Center.
    Richard Drew/AP/Courtesy of LIFE

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Magnum Photos, the legendary cooperative formed by the likes of Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, was holding its monthly meeting in New York when the planes hit the World Trade Center towers. Eleven of its members immediately took to the streets, capturing the surreal devastation as it unfolded, through the days and weeks that followed. A few of these pictures are collected here; many others can be found at Slate.com.

  • Streets of Lower Manhattan are filled with wreckage from the collapse of the World Trade Center.
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    Streets of Lower Manhattan are filled with wreckage from the collapse of the World Trade Center.
    Steve McCurry/Magnum Photos/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • Firefighters carry hose across wreckage after collapse of the World Trade Center's twin towers.
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    Firefighters carry hose across wreckage after collapse of the World Trade Center's twin towers.
    Steve McCurry/Magnum Photos/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • Firemen enter ground zero shortly after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
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    Firemen enter ground zero shortly after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
    Larry Towell/Magnum Photos/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • Liberty Plaza.
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    Liberty Plaza.
    Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • A lone construction worker hammers away at the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
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    A lone construction worker hammers away at the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
    Eli Reed/Magnum Photos/Courtesy of Magnum Photos

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The photo agency VII was formed on Sept. 9, 2001, just two days before the attacks. Soon after, founding members Ron Haviv, Antonin Kratochvil and Christopher Morris arrived in New York to document the aftermath. See more of their photos from the aftermath on the VII website.

  • A man covers his mouth to keep out the acrid air.
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    A man covers his mouth to keep out the acrid air.
    Christopher Morris/VII/Photos Courtesy of VII
  • View of ground zero from Broadway.
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    View of ground zero from Broadway.
    Antonin Kratochvil/VII/Photos Courtesy of VII
  • Volunteer rescue workers break down and cry after leaving the World Trade Center site.
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    Volunteer rescue workers break down and cry after leaving the World Trade Center site.
    Ron Haviv/VII/Photos Courtesy of VII
  • Onlookers watch the clearing work at the remains of the World Trade Center.
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    Onlookers watch the clearing work at the remains of the World Trade Center.
    Christopher Morris/VII/Photos Courtesy of VII
  • An emotional outburst at ground zero.
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    An emotional outburst at ground zero.
    Antonin Kratochvil/VII/Photos Courtesy of VII
  • A view of Manhattan from the Staten Island ferry after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. September 2001.
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    A view of Manhattan from the Staten Island ferry after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. September 2001.
    Ron Haviv/VII/Photos Courtesy of VII
  • New York City firemen cry at the funeral of New York Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge, who died administering last rites to a fallen firefighter.
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    New York City firemen cry at the funeral of New York Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge, who died administering last rites to a fallen firefighter.
    Ron Haviv/VII/Photos Courtesy of VII
  • Posters showing missing persons on the days following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
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    Posters showing missing persons on the days following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
    Christopher Morris/VII/Photos Courtesy of VII
  • A boy sells postcards near ground zero.
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    A boy sells postcards near ground zero.
    Antonin Kratochvil/VII/Photos Courtesy of VII

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