Women responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, with courage, valor, compassion, and skill—aboard the hijacked aircraft, inside the Pentagon and Twin Towers, at police stations and firehouses, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Urban Search and Rescue teams, with the Red Cross and Salvation Army, and at places near the attack sites. Women at the World Trade Center and Pentagon provided emergency care to bloodied, traumatized survivors; others continued to report and photograph even as they were caught up in the collapse of the Twin Towers. In rural Pennsylvania, in Arlington, Virginia, and in New York City, women began organizing assistance centers to aid those affected by the mass tragedies and to support the inflow of responders. Inside the Twin Towers women used their knowledge of the buildings to usher colleagues and strangers to safety.
During the search and rescue period and in the months of recovery work that followed, female construction workers, medical professionals, and members of the clergy participated in every aspect of the monumental response. Since its inception, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum has been acquiring artifacts that document their actions and recording oral histories that recount the roles they played.