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Museums Across the United States Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of September 11th

September 9, 2021

Our country was at a standstill the morning of September 11, 2001. We were stricken with fear and confusion and sadness as we experienced, or watched from a distance, the events unfold that day.

“On September 11, 2001 – a clear, sunny, late summer day – al Qaeda terrorists aboard three hijacked passenger planes carried out coordinated suicide attacks against the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing everyone on board the planes and nearly 3,000 people on the ground. A fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all on board, after passengers and crew attempted to wrest control from the hijackers.”

In the days and weeks following, our country united, vowing to “Never Forget”. To never forget the civilians, flight crew members, and first responders who lost their lives that day. To never forget the worst attack on American soil. To never forget those who survived, and the mental, physical and emotional effects of witnessing such horrors.

“Never Forget” for a New Generation

As we approach 20 years since September 11, 2001, a new generation has emerged, and with it a new task of forging “Never Forget” on a population with no personal memory of the event. In years prior, commemorative events paid tribute to the families of those who perished, encouraging mourning and healing through first-hand stories and uniting a country by remembering where you were that fateful day. This 20th year anniversary marks the turning point of such commemorative events, where education is layered into the narrative, to shed depth and perspective on an otherwise historical event for Gen Z and future generations.

Communities across the United States will join together on Saturday, September 11, 2021 to remember and carry forward the memories of the 9/11 for the next generation. In addition to community gatherings, museums across the country are hosting 20th anniversary events, offering unique experiences and perspectives not often considered, such as the Air Force’s role in clearing the skies that day; the long-lasting effects on Manhattan’s Chinatown community; the tributes constructed throughout the country by friends and families of the deceased; and the Navy SEAL’s mission to bring down Osama bin Laden.

Museums Hosting 20th Anniversary Events Commemorating September 11th

Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

The NMAH is the official repository for artifacts covering the three sites of the attacks and is continually expanding its collection to build upon the large and complex story of September 11th. To commemorate the 20th anniversary, the museum is highlighting diverse communities in its new initiative: 9-11: Hidden Stories, Hidden Voices, including three virtual programs Portraits of Manhattan’s Chinatown; Art in the Aftermath; and Latinx Empowerment After the Attacks.

American Flag Recovered from the World Trade Center
NMAH Collection

Police Officer Helmet
NMAH Collection

Building Inspection Jacket
NMAH Collection

9/11 Memorial and Museum

The Memorial Plaza will hold a private ceremony exclusively for 9/11 family members and broadcasted to the public to read the names and observe moments of silence acknowledging the timeline of attacks. At sundown, the annual “Tribute in Light” will illuminate the sky, bringing together cultural institutions, corporate buildings, and landmarks across New York City by lighting up their facades and spires in Memorial blue

United States Secret Service

While not a museum, an intriguing resource commemorating the 20th anniversary is the US Secret Service’s Twitter page. The week of September 11th, you’ll find rare and never before seen images and videos from that day and the days following.

The U.S. Secret Service Twitter account shares rare images from Sept 11, 2001.

The Pacific Coast Air Museum

View the first aircraft to respond to the World Trade Center attacks, the F-15A Eagle, and its role in protecting the skies in the months following at the Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, CA.

The F-15A Eagle was the first aircraft to respond to the World Trade Center attacks.

The Navy SEAL Museum

Pay homage to the Navy SEALs role and successful mission of bringing down Osama bin Laden, the terrorist responsible for the September 11th attacks, during the Navy SEAL Museum’s Remembrance Exhibit and Ceremony.

Lone Star Flight Museum

Educate and engage at the Lone Star Flight Museum with hands-on activities and public programs to commemorate September 11th.

Lyman Allyn Art Museum

With almost 3,000 people killed, 6,000 injuries and thousands of witnesses during the September 11th attacks, every community in the country has some tie to the events that day. Many constructed memorials to honor and remember those from their community who were lost that day, like the McCourt 9/11 Memorial Garden at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in Connecticut.