As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on the United States, special observances, tributes, and acts of service are planned all across the country.
National Day of Prayer and Remembrance
On September 13, 2001, President George W. Bush proclaimed a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001. In his remarks the following day at the National Cathedral (image right) President Bush said:
"It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation, as well. In this trial, we have been reminded, and the world has seen, that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave."
In 2002 Bush extended the observance over multiple days and each president since has continued to proclaim National Days of Prayer and Remembrance in the month of September.
On December 18, 2001, President George W. Bush signed H.J. Res. 71 into law (115 Stat. 876, 36 U.S.C. 144) designating September 11 of each year as Patriot Day, an observance "in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001."
National Day of Service and Remembrance
September 11 is also annually recognized as a National Day of Service and Remembrance as designated in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (123 Stat. 1460, 42 U.S.C. 12653), signed into law by President Obama in 2009. The law charges the Corporation for National and Community Service with organizing activities at the Federal level and providing grants and support to other organizations for carrying out and promoting service opportunities.
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9/11 Commission), was an independent, bipartisan commission established by Title VI of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (116 Stat. 2383, Statute Compilation*). The Commission was extended on March 16, 2004 (115 Stat. 556), and closed on August 21, 2004.
The Commission's final report, issued July 22, 2004, provides a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including preparedness for, and the immediate response to, the attacks. This edition has been designated as the only official U.S. Government edition of the Commission's final report. Visit the Commission's website, now frozen and managed on behalf of the National Archives, to learn more.
NIST World Trade Center Investigation
The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a building and fire safety investigation of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster beginning in August 2002 under the authority of the National Construction Safety Team Act (116 Stat. 1471, 15 U.S.C. Chapter 99). The goal was to investigate the building construction, the materials used, and the technical conditions that contributed to the outcome of the WTC disaster, and the final reports were released in 2005 and 2008.
- September 2005 Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, NIST NCSTAR 1
- November 2008 Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, NIST NCSTAR 1A
- See other NIST documents related to the World Trade Center Disaster
- Visit NIST's website to learn more
- Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act, September 22, 2001 (115 Stat. 230, Statute Compilation (Titles I and IV)*)
- Aviation and Transportation Security Act, November 19, 2001 (115 Stat. 597, Statute Compilation*)
- Homeland Security Act of 2002, November 25, 2002 (116 Stat. 2135, Statute Compilation*) – Consolidated 22 agencies and bureaus into one Department of Homeland Security)
- Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, December 17, 2004 (118 Stat. 3638, Statute Compilation*) – Created a Director of National Intelligence and established a National Counter Terrorism Center
- USA PATRIOT ACT, Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, March 9, 2006 (115 Stat. 272, Statute Compilation*)
- Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, August 3, 2007 (121 Stat. 266)
- Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act, December 23, 2011 (125 Stat. 1275) – To award Congressional Gold Medals in honor of the men and women who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001
- The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, January 2, 2011, (124 Stat. 3623) added the World Trade Center Health Program as Title XXIII of the Public Health Service Act (Statute Compilation,* 42 U.S.C. Subchapter XXXI)
- 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor Act of 2017, November 3, 2018 (Pub. L. 115-276) – To provide that members of public safety agencies who died of 9/11- related health conditions are eligible for the Presidential 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor, and for other purposes.
- Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, July 29, 2019 (Pub. L. 116 - 34)
- 9/11 Memorial Act, January 3, 2019 (Pub. L. 115-413) – To provide competitive grants for the operation, security, and maintenance of certain memorials to victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The VCF provides compensation to individuals (or a personal representative of a deceased individual) who were present at the World Trade Center or the surrounding New York City Exposure Zone; the Pentagon crash site; and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site, at some point between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, and who have since been diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness.
The VCF is not limited to first responders. Compensation is also available to those who worked or volunteered in construction, clean-up, and debris removal; as well as people who lived, worked, or went to school in the exposure zone.
- President George W. Bush's address to the nation on the terrorist attacks, 8:30 p.m., September 11, 2001, in the Oval Office.
- Remarks on the floor of the House on September 11 and the floor of the Senate on September 12, 2001.
- September 18, 2001 joint resolution expressing the sense of the Senate and House of Representatives regarding the terrorist attacks launched against the United States on September 11, 2001 (Pub. L. 107-39, 115 Stat. 222).
- Ten Years After 9/11 — 2011 series of hearings before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- National Day of Service and Remembrance from the The Corporation for National Community Service
- Today in History - September 11 from the Library of Congress
- FBI's 9/11 investigation
- Photographs from the International Space Station over the New York City area by Expedition 3 Commander Frank Culbertson from NASA
- Poetry of September 11 is a guide to poetry written in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks from the Library of Congress
*This links to a Statute Compilation, which is a compilation of the public law, as amended, and is an unofficial document and should not be cited as legal evidence of the law. Learn more.