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25 Most Powerful Photos

A satellite image of lower Manhattan shows smoke and ash rising from the site of the World Trade Center at 11:43 AM on September 12, 2001. The fires at Ground Zero continued to burn for 99 days after the attack -- a bleak reminder, day and night, of the thousands who lost their lives, and the countless millions more who lived, but whose lives were forever transformed.

(Photo: Getty Images)

For the full photo collection, go to LIFE.com

9/11: The 25 Most Powerful Photos

January 1, 1970

One decade after 9/11, an unsettling number of images from Ground Zero and its environs remain seared in our collective memory -- unsurprising, perhaps, given the scope and scale of the destruction. But the fact that the deadliest, most visually arresting attacks occurred in New York City also meant that many of the world's best photographers were, in effect, already on the scene when the terrorists struck. Here, to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and in hopes of lending coherence to our shared, turbulent recollections, LIFE.com presents the 25 most stirring, visceral photographs from that day, featuring pictures from the likes of James Nachtwey, Joe Raedle, Spencer Platt, Mario Tama, and other celebrated photojournalists (and one intrepid amateur). These are the pictures we remember: wrenching, indelible photographs that tell the tale of a still-resonant late summer day that changed everything.