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Slogans and terms derived from the September 11 attacks

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States spawned a number of catchphrases, terms, and slogans, many of which continue to be used more than a decade after the event.

Various terms and catchphrases

Nine-eleven or 9/11
in the U.S. date notation for September 11. The practice of referring to ominous dates through this shorthand has continued, for example, with 7/7 for the 2005 London bombings.[1][2][3][4][5]
Pre-9/11 and Post-9/11
Terms used to describe the period of time and the state of the world before and after the attack, regarding 9/11 as an epoch. They are often used to denote foreign policy and domestic security measures as they existed before or after the attacks.
Ground Zero
Ground zero is generic term for the point on the Earth's surface closest to a detonation. Capitalized, it is shorthand for the World Trade Center site; used for example in "Ground Zero mosque" a pejorative for the Cordoba House or Park51 Islamic center.
The Bathtub
the excavated foundations of the World Trade Center. Although not a new term, it gained prominence during rescue, cleanup and ongoing reconstruction efforts.[6]
The Pile
the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center.[7][8][9]
A jumper is someone who commits suicide by jumping from a height. It is unclear which of the "jumpers" seen falling from the WTC had jumped and which fell while trying to climb to safety.[10] The medical examiner's office ruled homicide for all bodies, unable to distinguish jumpers from those who died inside the towers.[11] "The Falling Man" is an iconic photograph of a jumper.
"Let's roll"
reported to have been uttered by Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer shortly before he and fellow passengers apparently rushed the cockpit.[12]
the highest state of terrorist alert issued by the U.S. Armed Forces

Media slogans

Various slogans and captions were employed by media outlets to brand coverage of the September 11th terrorist attack, its after effects, and the U.S. government response. The slogans for American media were typically positioned on the bottom third of television broadcasts, or as banners across the top of newspaper pages. Designs typically incorporated a patriotic red, white, and blue motif, along with an explicit graphic of the American flag. Examples include:

  • "America Attacked", "A Nation United" (ABC)
  • "Attack on America" (NBC)
  • "A Nation Challenged", "Day of Terror", "Portraits of Grief" (The New York Times)
  • "America's New War", "War Against Terror", "America under Attack" (CNN)
  • "War on Terror" (Fox News)
  • "America on Alert", "America under Attack" (MSNBC)
  • "The Second Pearl Harbor" (Honolulu Advertiser)
  • "War On America" (The Daily Telegraph)

U.S. government

  • War on Terrorism (also Global War on Terror) refers to the political response from the U.S. Government to the attacks of 9/11 and includes the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the color-coded national threat condition reporting system, the Patriot Act, and the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.[13]
  • Enduring Freedom – name for U.S.-led military response in Afghanistan, Philippines, Horn of Africa, and Trans Sahara.
  • Infinite Justice – original name for U.S.-led military response, dropped after religious overtones were pointed out by a reporter at a press briefing


  1. ^ "nine-eleven - Bing Images". 
  2. ^ "Nine Eleven". 
  3. ^ "". 
  4. ^ "National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States". 
  5. ^ The Guardian (London). 1 September 2011  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Andrew Tarantola. "How New York City Built a Massive $3.8 Billion Underground Transit Station in the WTC's Footprints". Gizmodo. Gawker Media. 
  7. ^ ABC News. "The Pit and The Pile: Ground Zero Is Gone". ABC News. 
  8. ^ Safire, William (11 November 2001). "The Way We Live Now: 11-11-01: On Language; Ground Zero". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ "Ex-NYPD officers remember "the pile"". PoliceOne. 
  10. ^ Leonard, Tom (11 September 2011). "9/11 jumpers: America wants to forget victims who fell from Twin Towers". Mail Online (London). Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Cauchon, Dennis; Martha Moore (2 September 2002). "Desperation forced a horrific decision". USA Today. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Let's roll (Note: Wikipedia is not ordinarily used as a reference; however this article is well-referenced and its references support the statement here.)
  13. ^ Eric Schmitt; Thom Shanker (26 July 2005). "U.S. Officials Retool Slogan for Terror War". New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2015.