The front page of the Bangor Daily News on Sept. 12, 2001. Credit: Newspapers.com

The images of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are, 20 years later, etched into our collective memory. Almost all of us saw those images for the first time in the news media, whether it was on a TV screen or in the pages of a newspaper. 

News about the attacks dominated all forms of media for weeks, and the Bangor Daily News was no exception — 9/11 stories were featured above the fold on the front page for two full weeks.

The Sept. 12 BDN led with a trio of images of the planes hitting the World Trade Center towers, alongside a photo of two women holding each other in shock and horror as they watched the World Trade Center burn. It was one of those rare points in modern history, like the Kennedy assasination, the moon landing or Pearl Harbor, when one event takes up the entirety of the front page — as well as most of the pages inside. 

On Sept. 13, the story had shifted toward efforts to identify the perpetrators. The BDN also ran a story about a couple from Lubec, Robert and Jacqueline Norton, who were on Flight 11 and perished in the attacks, when their plane was the first to hit the towers.

The Sept. 14 BDN noted that flights had begun to resume nationwide, after several days grounded, including at Bangor International Airport. It also noted that local Muslims were fearing for their safety, after a spate of anti-Muslim attacks across the country and in Maine. 

In that weekend’s paper, the Sept. 15 and 16 edition, the BDN ran a large photograph of President George W. Bush greeting and consoling first responders, who had already spent four days digging through the rubble, attempting to find survivors, and would spend many days more.

On Sept. 17, the BDN ran two 9/11 stories on the front page with a local angle — one about the funeral for the Lubec couple who died in the attacks, and another interviewing Union native Paul Doughty, who spent 10 days doing search and rescue at Ground Zero.

After that first week, the headlines began to shift away from the specifics of the attack, and toward retaliation in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Nevertheless, on Sept. 24 the BDN ran a poignant photo of a Maine firefighter, in a moment of silence to remember the fallen first responders of 9/11.

There are many more headlines and stories about the Sept. 11 attacks and the resulting fallout; they can all be found in the more than 120 years of the BDN’s archive, which is available on newspapers.com. 

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.