Visible from space, a smoke plume rises from the Manhattan area after two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center. This photo was taken of metropolitan New York City (and other parts of New York as well as New Jersey) the morning of September 11, 2001. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to all the people there, and everywhere else,” said Station Commander Frank Culbertson of Expedition 3, after the terrorists’ attacks.
The following day, he posted a public letter that captured his initial thoughts of the events as they unfolded. “The world changed today. What I say or do is very minor compared to the significance of what happened to our country today when it was attacked.”
Upon further reflection, Culbertson said, “It’s horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point. The dichotomy of being on a spacecraft dedicated to improving life on the earth and watching life being destroyed by such willful, terrible acts is jolting to the psyche, no matter who you are.”
› Culbertson’s Letter from Sept. 11, 2001
› 2010 Video: Frank Culbertson Remembers 9/11 Ten Years Later
Image credit: NASA