How the Worst Day for American Firefighters Led to Safety Changes

The names of all 343 firefighters from the New York Fire lost in the September 11 are read out, followed by a prayer before the climb. (Photo by Shirley Kwok/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Seventeen years ago, on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the career of firefighting underwent a dramatic and unexpected shift. When two hijacked domestic passenger planes struck the Twin Towers in New York City at nearly the same time as another struck the Pentagon Building in Washington D.C. and a fourth crashed before it reached its intended target, the nation under attack called on firefighters.