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People evacuate the area around the World Trade Center after it was hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Confronting Terror: Faces of 9/11

January 1, 1970

Among the most eloquent and unsettling of the countless photographs from September 11, 2011, are those focusing not on the fall of the towers, or the jagged, smoking hole in the Pentagon, but on faces. Human faces etched with shock, fear, and disbelief at the cataclysm unfolding above them, or staring glassy-eyed into some unseen distance, stunned by the enormity of the barbarous terror unleashed that cloudless, late-summer morning. Here, LIFE.com presents a gallery focusing on witnesses to terror as they confront the unspeakable.