September 11: Rare and candid collection of images show a solemn President George W. Bush in the moments and days after 9/11 terror attacks

Today marks the 17th anniversary of the devastating September 11th terrorist attacks that left 2,996 people dead and more than 6,000 others injured in the United States.

The horrific day began when hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into floors 93-99 of the World Trade Center’s North Tower at 8.46am. Minutes later at 9.03am, United Airlines Flight 175 was crashed by hijackers into floors 75-85 of WTC’s South Tower.

Everyone aboard both planes were instantly killed along with those on the affected floors inside both towers.

Within less than an hour of the two attacks on the Twin Towers, a third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth hijacked plane was stopped from hitting the intended target by passengers and that aircraft crash landed in a Shanksville, Pennsylvania field. The fateful day has since been known as the worst domestic attack the United States has ever experienced.

At the time of the first attack on the North Tower, then-President George W. Bush was participating in a reading demonstration with children at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. His discussion with the young students ended quickly as he rushed to an empty classroom to receive updates on the situation as it unfolded.