As America today marks the sombre 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, stirring satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies capture the devastation from that tragic day that changed the world forever.
The attacks, which were planned by Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, saw four US passenger jets seized by suicide attackers – two of which were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York.
Another plane crashed into the Pentagon, just outside the US capital, Washington DC, and a fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back.
In a video posted on the eve of the anniversary, US president Joe Biden urged Americans to show unity, “our greatest strength.”
“To me, that’s the central lesson of September 11th. It’s that at our most vulnerable, in the push and pull of all that makes us human, in the battle for the soul of America, unity is our greatest strength,” Mr Biden said in a six-minute message from the White House.
In the interim, Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden has been hunted down and killed. A towering new sky scraper has risen over Manhattan, replacing the Twin Towers. And less than two weeks ago, the last US soldiers flew from Kabul airport, ending the so-called “forever war.”
But the Taliban who once sheltered bin Laden are back ruling Afghanistan, the mighty US military humiliated.
The full story behind the most audacious terrorist attack in the world remains mired in secrecy. Only last week did Mr Biden order the release of classified documents from the FBI investigation over the next six months.
For the relatives of victims, the anniversary, as always, is about keeping the memory of their loved ones alive.
(With agency inputs)