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September 11th
September 11th.png
Airdate September 11th, 2008
Update: September 11th, 2012
Second Update: September 11th, 2021
Curriculum Social Studies

September 11th is a BrainPOP Social Studies video launched on September 11, 2008. In 2012, they made an update. This episode will update on September 11, 2021.


"This movie explores a sensitive subject. Please watch this movie with an adult, and take time to discuss it."

-Narrator, September 11th

Tim and Moby are at the future site of the new World Trade Center, when Tim pulls out a letter that asks why someone would want to cause the events of 9/11. He explains that a hijacked plane crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. Later, another plane crashed into the other Twin Tower, causing it to collapse as well. Two more planes crashed and in the end, 3,000 people lost their lives. Tim also tells us about al-Qaeda. Afterward, Moby buys a I ❤ NY t-shirt, to which Tim says, "I couldn't agree more."




  • The September 11, 2001 attacks will celebrate 20 years on September 11, 2021.


  • In the old versions of this movie, Tim said that almost 3,000 people lost their lives on that day. But in the updated version, Tim erroneously said that exactly 3,000 people lost their lives.



Real Life

A Sikh family

As Tim mentions in the movie, there are more than 1 billion Muslims worldwide, and most of them reject the violence embraced by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

In fact, just nine days after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush reminded Americans that al Qaeda represents a “fringe movement” that’s disapproved of by nearly every Muslim scholar. In addition, Muslim leaders in the U.S. and elsewhere were quick to condemn terrorism and explain how terrorist violence goes against Islam’s most sacred beliefs. Even the president of Iran — a nation that has had a rocky relationship with the United States — criticized the attacks and expressed sympathy for the victims.

Nevertheless, after 9/11 many Muslims were victimized by ignorant people who blamed them for al Qaeda’s actions. Sadly, Muslim houses of worship called mosques were vandalized, religious services were disrupted, and ordinary folks were verbally or physically threatened on city streets.

Followers of a religion called Sikhism became targets as well. Sikhism has its roots in northern India, and it is completely unrelated to Islam. However, many of its followers wear beards and headdresses called turbans. With television images of al Qaeda members (who also often have beards and wear headdresses) in mind, many people began lumping the two groups together. And that was — and is — terribly wrong.

When someone makes a judgment about another person based on something like appearance, race, religion, age, or sexual orientation, it’s called prejudice. It’s important to get to know people before you decide whether or not you like them and their ideals. Disrespecting people just because they seem different than you is just not cool!

Did You Know?


The attacks of September 11 forced millions of Americans to face down some difficult emotions. Some were fearful about the future, while others experienced overwhelming grief and anger.

But the selfless actions of the emergency responders and rescue workers who arrived at the disaster sites brought on a whole new set of emotions. Their dedication to saving lives allowed many people to take pride in the fact that in the face of tragedy, the American spirit of cooperation and generosity had not been damaged at all.

Local police and fire departments led the way, but many others pitched in, too. Steelworkers cut through twisted metal girders that had fallen during the Twin Towers' collapse. Volunteers from all walks of life formed "bucket brigades" to haul debris away from the wreckage. Doctors and nurses rushed in to supply emergency medical care.

In addition, business owners gave whatever they could, and some restaurants stayed open round the clock to provide food for the emergency workers. Thousands of ordinary New Yorkers lined up to volunteer at the World Trade Center site or to donate blood, and millions of people from across the world volunteered money and time to help families who'd lost loved ones.

Even kids played a role in the recovery! Schools across the U.S. held charity events to raise money and necessary supplies, and many classes also created thank-you cards and posters for the rescue workers. As a matter of fact, many firehouses in lower Manhattan still display some of the material they received from schoolchildren after 9/11.

Graphs, Stats, And Numbers


Here are some statistics relating to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

2,759: Number of people killed in the World Trade Center (includes plane passengers and crew and 10 terrorists)*

125: Number of people killed at the Pentagon (includes plane passengers, crew, and 5 terrorists)*

44: Number of people killed in the plane crash in Shanksville, PA (includes 4 terrorists)*

401: Number of first responders (police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel) who died in the World Trade Center collapse*

98: Number of New York Fire Department vehicles destroyed on 9/11^

56 and 102: Number of minutes the Twin Towers burned before collapsing^

12: Approximate amount of time, in seconds, that it took each of the World Trade towers to fall^

26: Days after 9/11 that the United States started bombing Afghanistan^

20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks^

$2.4 billion: Amount of charity money raised to help 9/11 victims in the wake of the attacks#

* Source: The New York Times
^ Source: New York Magazine
# Source: ABC News

In Depth


After the chaos of the September 11th attacks, Americans were still largely in the dark about what, exactly, had happened and how it had been pulled off. So in November of 2002, the U.S. government assigned a small group of people to investigate the events of 9/11. What resulted was the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States — better known as the 9/11 Commission. It was made up of 10 members, five Republicans and five Democrats.

Over the next 20 months, the Commission conducted interviews with more than 1,200 people from 10 countries in an effort to piece together how the attacks were planned and carried out. And on July 22, 2004, the final 9/11 Commission Report was issued.

The report detailed the events of 9/11, including how the terrorists boarded the planes and some of what happened on the planes. It also discussed where the 19 terrorists came from and how they managed to carry out their plan. And it documented various ways in which the FBI and CIA had failed to fully investigate leads about the terrorists’ activities prior to 9/11.

The 9/11 Commission Report was not without criticism. Some people claimed that certain Commission members had conflicts of interest that made them biased. Others argued that since the White House, Department of Defense, and CIA didn’t fully cooperate with the Commission, the report wasn’t thorough enough.

If you’re interested in reading the report, it’s available for free online, or you can purchase a printed copy from most booksellers.

Sickness And Health


Most people think of the events of September 11th as a national tragedy, but the attacks on New York City were an ecological catastrophe as well.

On 9/11, a large portion of downtown Manhattan was covered in a thick coating of dust, which contained hundreds or even thousands of industrial chemicals. It was unclear to the people living and working in the area whether the surrounding air was safe to breathe.

A week after the attacks, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement saying that they’d tested the dust and concluded that the air near ground zero, the disaster zone of the fallen Twin Towers, was safe to breathe. This later turned out to be a serious error.

Government officials did point out that workers at the ground zero site should wear breathing masks due to their direct contact with toxic debris. But safety measurements were not strictly enforced, and many workers continued the cleanup effort with no protection.

Today, we know that the air at around ground zero was not safe, and that thousands of people who were in the area on September 11th and the days and weeks that followed were at risk for major illnesses. As of 2007, some 70 percent of the people who came to work at ground zero had developed severe respiratory problems.

A number of programs have been set up to fund medical treatment for people suffering from various illnesses related to ground zero dust. But since no one knows the long-term effects of this stuff, it is very possible that serious health issues will continue to pile up.



Q: I’ve heard that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. Was he?

A: No. This is a popular misconception, though. A year after the attacks, 7 out of 10 Americans believed that Saddam Hussein had played a role.

The September 11th attacks were actually carried out by the al Qaeda terrorist network. Saddam Hussein (pictured, top), the former president of the country of Iraq, was not involved. In fact, Saddam Hussein viewed al Qaeda as a threat to his power. The person who bore the most responsibility for the attacks was Osama bin Laden (pictured, bottom).

Our understanding of who planned and carried out the attacks of 9/11 stems largely from a document called the 9/11 Commission Report. It was written by a committee of five Republicans and five Democrats in cooperation with the White House, FBI, and Department of Defense (see the In Depth FYI for more). The report concluded that Iraq played no role in the attacks, and that there was no evidence of any collaboration between Saddam and the terrorist network.

After the report was released, President George W. Bush’s administration faced criticism for popularizing a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

FYI Comic

Cassie and Rita are in New York City, New York walking after going shopping. Cassie is wearing an I heart NY t-shirt and a New York Mets cap, and Rita is also wearing an I heart NY t-shirt.

Cassie: Gotta support New York businesses!

Rita: Yup!

Note: This comic strip was removed when the Brainpop website was changed.

Primary Source

George W. Bush Address to the Nation

On September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush addressed the American people less than 12 hours after the terrorist attacks.

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. […] These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. […] Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil—the very worst of human nature—and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could. […] The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. […] This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Bush, George W. "Address to the Nation on the Terrorist Attacks." September 11, 2001. The White House.


  • Starting on May 2, 2011, the episode now mentions Osama bin Laden's death. A content warning has been added in the American version.
  • Starting September 11, 2012, the episode now referenced the new World Trade Center being the tallest building in New York. This video is not present in the UK version.