September 11, 2001

In 2001, Islamic terrorists attacked the United States, crashing two hijacked airliners into the twin towers at New York's World Trade Center and another into the Pentagon outside Washington. 

A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania, apparently en route to Washington, after passengers attacked their captors. 

Nearly 3,000 people were killed, most of them in the two towers, which collapsed. 

U.S. President George W. Bush pledged to destroy the responsible terrorist organizations and the regimes that supported them. 

Osama bin Laden, a wealthy anti-American Saudi exile operating out of Afghanistan and leader of al-Qaida, a shadowy, far-flung terrorist organization, was identified as the ringleader of the attacks.