This Wednesday marks the 12th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that devastated America. Once again, there are several notable new and returning documentaries, specials and movies on TV recalling those events and their impact on our nation. Here are a few, airing on and around the 9/11 anniversary. All times ET; check back for updates and additions.
Attack on the Pentagon — Sept. 7 at 8pm & 11pm on Military Channel. This is an account of what happened inside the Pentagon at the moment the building was attacked on September 11.
Osama Bin Laden: The Finish — Sept. 7 at 10pm; Sept. 8 at 1am on Military Channel. Based on the book by Mark Bowden, this program is the story of the final months, days and minutes of one of the biggest manhunts in history. Bowden was granted exclusive access to President Obama as well as White House and Special Forces insiders to disclose the narrative account of the hunt and kill. Filmed on location in Jordan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the special features eyewitness accounts as well as a new revelation on the origin of the plans for 9/11.
Stopping the Second 9/11 — Sept. 8 at 12pm on National Geographic Channel. This real-life international drama recalls the summer of 2006, when as many as 18 conspirators planned to simultaneously blow up almost 10 airplanes by bringing hydrogen peroxide-injected soda bottles-turned-bombs onto flights bound from London to the U.S. and Canada. This documentary goes inside the true story of how they were thwarted.
9/11 – The Firemen’s Story — Sept. 8 at 2pm on National Geographic Channel. More than a decade after the horrific attack of 9/11, some of the usually stone-faced firefighters have come forward to bare their souls about what they experienced that devastating day.
George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview — Sept. 8 at 3pm; Sept. 11 at 8pm; Sept. 12 at 1am on National Geographic Channel. In an exclusive sit-down interview with former President George W. Bush, this documentary reveals first-person insight into the man at the epicenter of the U.S. government’s decisions in the face of the 9/11 attacks. Taped over the course of two days, the interview allows Bush to open up with personal experiences on the grueling hours and pressure-packed days following the attacks. Never-before-released archival footage and exclusive materials from the George W. Bush Presidential Library are also featured.
Witness: DC 9/11 — Sept. 8 at 4pm; Sept. 11 at 10pm; Sept. 12 at 12am on National Geographic Channel. This program reconstructs the attack on the U.S. capital moment by moment entirely through home video; fire, rescue and police footage; and news coverage.
Pentagon Under Fire — Sept. 8 at 5pm on Military Channel. This program tracks the path of the plane that hit the Pentagon, hears from witnesses to the moment of impact and relates stories of escape.
9/11: Voices from the Air — Sept. 8 at 5pm; Sept. 11 at 7pm; Sept. 12 at 2am on National Geographic Channel. This special recalls the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 via radio transmissions between the cockpit and the control tower, and through sometimes heartbreaking cellphone calls between passengers and their loved ones. Along with archival film, dramatic re-creations and interviews with air traffic controllers, military personnel and the relatives of those on the planes, the documentary takes a new look at the confusion and terror of the morning’s events, beginning with the takeoff of American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles.
The Brokaw Files: “9/11 Air Traffic Controllers” — Sept. 8 at 6pm on Military Channel. In the chaos of 9/11, the men and women controlling the communication in the skies above America had to piece together a tragic puzzle. One year after the attacks, Tom Brokaw sat down for an exclusive interview with these heroic air traffic controllers.
9/11: Where Were You? — Sept. 8 at 6pm; Sept. 11 at 9pm & 11pm on National Geographic Channel. This special captures the life-and-death decisions people made amid the chaos of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, decisions that affected not only individual lives but often the lives of others in unexpected and profound ways.
Zero Hour: “The Final Minutes of Flight 11” — Sept. 8 at 7pm; Sept. 9 at 2am on Military Channel; Sept. 11 at 8pm & 11pm on Destination America. Details from inside American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center, reveal the horrifying final moments beginning one of the most tragic days in U.S. history.
Inside 9/11: War on America — Sept. 8 at 7pm & 11pm on National Geographic Channel. This first part of the acclaimed Inside 9/11 series begins with the dramatic 1993 World Trade Center bombing and tracks terrorist activities aimed at U.S. targets throughout the 1990s leading up to the horrific morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
9/11: Stories in Fragments — Sept. 8 at 7pm; Sept. 11 at 9am & 7pm on Smithsonian Channel. Belongings gathered by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History recall the personal tragedies of 9/11. Included are a phone used in the last calls between a husband and wife; the nametag of a hero; and a briefcase found in a pile of rubble at Ground Zero, undamaged.
The 9/11 Tapes: Chaos in the Sky — Sept. 8 at 8pm & 11pm on Military Channel. Audio recordings reveal the emotion and panic from those who responded to each attack, in real time. Through the voices of air traffic controllers, military commanders and those on hijacked planes, this special relays the chaos, confusion and courage of frontline civilians reacting to the 9/11 attacks.
9/11: The Heartland Tapes (PREMIERE) — Sept. 8 at 8pm; Sept. 9 at 12am; Sept. 10 at 10pm; Sept. 11 at 1am, 10am & 6pm on Smithsonian Channel. The events of September 11, 2001, are retold from the point of view of television and radio broadcasts from local affiliate stations around the country.
The Flag — Sept. 8 at 9pm & 10:30pm; Sept. 9 at 9pm & 10:30pm; Sept. 12 at 1am & 2:30am on CNN. This special examines one of the great untold stories of the 9/11 attacks: What happened to the flag raised on the site of the World Trade Center by three firemen, immortalized in an iconic photograph? The filmmakers unravel the mystery of the whereabouts of that flag, and along the way, trace its history and explore the meaning of the flag’s image in the aftermath of that horrible event.
Killing Bin Laden — Sept. 8 at 9pm; Sept. 9 at 12am on Military Channel. An intimate account of the Bin Laden operation from the time the crucial intelligence was gathered through the burial at sea, this documentary explores the detailed operation that was planned and executed by the highly-trained SEAL Team 6.
Inside 9/11: Zero Hour — Sept. 8 at 9pm; Sept. 9 at 1am on National Geographic Channel. This installment captures the horror and the heroism witnessed on 9/11.
Secrets of Bin Laden’s Lair — Sept. 8 at 10pm; Sept. 9 at 1am on Military Channel. When SEAL Team Six killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011, they scooped up a prize far more valuable than Bin Laden himself: a hoard of hard drives, computers and personal papers.
9/11: Day That Changed the World — Sept. 8 at 10pm; Sept. 11 at 11am, 8pm & 11pm on Smithsonian Channel. This special looks at how key decision makers responded in the face of chaos and catastrophe on 9/11. Interviews include Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Rudy Giuliani, Andrew Card, Richard Clarke and others.
9/11: The Towers and the Pentagon — Sept. 9 at 8pm & 11pm on Military Channel. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, resulted in the swift and total collapse of the Twin Towers. But the Pentagon, which suffered the same kind of blow, largely withstood it. World Trade Center Building 7 collapsed only hours later, even though it had not been directly targeted. What were the unique forces inside each building that determined whether it stood or crumbled, and how? The world’s leading forensic engineers have spent years analyzing the structural consequences of the attacks, and this program looks inside their investigations to explain why the results were so drastically different for each building.
9/11: After the Towers Fell — Sept. 9 at 9pm; Sept. 10 at 12am on Military Channel. When the Twin Towers Collapsed on September 11th, 2001, thousands were feared trapped beneath the tons of steel and rubble. These are the stories of the rescue workers and civilians who raced to Ground Zero to rescue the buried.
SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden — Sept. 9 at 9pm & 11pm on National Geographic Channel. Marking National Geographic Channel’s first original broadcast of a feature film inspired by real-life events, this production is directed by John Stockwell (Into the Blue, Crazy/Beautiful) and comes from Harvey Weinstein’s The Weinstein Company. With events in the film vetted by a team of experts — including a recently retired Navy SEAL, a top CIA operative and one of the most renowned Osama bin Laden historians — the film looks to bring to life the top-secret operation that took out the world’s most wanted terrorist in 2011. Cam Gigandet, Anson Mount, Freddy Rodríguez and Xzibit are among the film’s stars.
Commander in Chief: Inside the Oval Office: “The Bin Laden Raid” — Sept. 9 at 10pm; Sept. 10 at 1am on Military Channel. This episode goes behind closed doors of the Situation Room to reveal the dramatic events that almost derailed the entire Bin Laden operation, from a rogue CIA employee captured by the Pakistanis to an eleventh-hour Red Team analysis that tears apart all evidence of Bin Laden’s trail. What construction mistake in planning the raid nearly cost SEAL Team Six members their lives? And what last minute presidential decision saved SEAL Team Six from being taken as hostages? In the end, it’s on President Barack Obama alone to make the call.
Targeting Bin Laden — Sept. 10 at 12pm & 6pm on H2. Featuring exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama and other senior aides, this two-hour special event will take viewers inside the dedicated effort to hunt and kill Osama Bin Laden.
Hero Dogs of 9/11 (PREMIERE) — Sept. 10 at 8pm on Animal Planet. This one-hour documentary pays tribute to three survivors of the 9/11 attacks and to over 300 search-and-rescue dogs and workers throughout the continent that traveled to Ground Zero to help during the crisis and its aftermath.The special also reveals the never-before-seen story of how the courageous dogs found the last remaining survivor who was pulled from the rubble 27 hours after the World Trade Towers collapsed. Immediately after this special, Animal Planet will re-air the two-hour documentary Glory Hounds from earlier this year.
9/11 State of Emergency — Sept. 10 at 8pm; Sept. 11 at 12am, 12pm & 6pm on H2. This ground-breaking documentary tells the story of 9/11 in the words of key political and military leaders, and ordinary men and women who suddenly found themselves on the frontlines of a new kind of war. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dick Myers, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and a host of other top officials take viewers deep inside the corridors of power during this dramatic day.
9/11: Relics from the Wreckage (PREMIERE) — Sept. 10 at 10pm; Sept. 11 at 2am on H2. How do you honor the memory and legacy of over 3,000 lives lost to the terror attacks of 9/11? That is the challenge facing the creators of the National 9/11 Memorial Museum, opening in 2014. This world premiere special documents the stories of five objects that will soon be displayed in the National 9/11 Memorial Museum. The program airs commercial-free at 10pm.
Grounded on 9/11 — Sept. 10 at 10:30pm; Sept. 11 at 2:30am, 9am & 3pm on H2. In response to the attacks on September 11, 2001, the FAA orders all planes out of the air. U.S. and Canadian air traffic controllers face a calamity of epic proportions — how to safely re-route and land 6,500 planes carrying close to a million people. For individual air traffic controllers, the work is chaotic, intense, and deceptively simple: pick a new route for each flight; radio instructions to turn; listen for pilot confirmation; hold traffic to keep airways from overcrowding. From Cleveland, Ohio, to Gander, Newfoundland, controllers on September 11 searched for alternate airports to land large jets even as their traumatized colleagues stream back from break rooms after watching the attacks on TV.
FOX News Channel 9/11 coverage — Sept. 11 beginning at 6am on FOX News Channel (FNC). FOX & Friends will feature “9/11 As It Happened,” a video compilation of footage taken on the day of the attacks. FNC will also observe the four moments of silence to honor the victims of 9/11. The network will be featuring live coverage of this year’s events commemorating the day, with Jonathan Hunt and Rick Leventhal reporting live from Ground Zero.
The Day the Towers Fell — Sept. 11 at 8am & 2pm on H2. Never-before-told stories of eyewitnesses, including amateur and professional photographers, caught in the horror of the World Trade Center tragedy. Images captured by many of the photographers are seen for the first time on television.
9/11: The Days After — Sept. 11 at 8am on History. This documentary from the makers of 102 Minutes That Changed America examines what happened following the tragic day that terrorists attacked America. Telling the story exclusively through archival audiovisual materials collected from more than 50 sources — footage shot by professional news media and amateurs alike — the film takes a look at what happened after the tragedy, examining the texture of life in a post-9/11 world.
Answering the Call: Ground Zero’s Volunteers (PREMIERE) — Sept. 11 at 10am on Destination America. Relive the events of 9/11 through the eyes of the first responders, as retold through reconstructions and actual footage from Ground Zero as well as interviews with those involved with the rescue operations. Narrated by Kathleen Turner, this special commemorates those who lost their lives in the attack, those whose lives changed forever, and especially those who put their own lives in danger in order to save others.
Voices from Inside the Towers — Sept. 11 at 10am & 4pm on H2. This film documents the many harrowing and heartbreaking stories — some never heard before — of love and loss on 9/11. This documentary uses audio records, such as recorded phone calls from people inside the World Trade Center buildings — some of whom perished, some who survived — as they contacted family members, friends and 911 dispatchers to provide a chillingly clear mental picture.
Hotel Ground Zero — Sept. 11 at 10am on History. There is an untold story from 9/11 — the incredible tale of the 940 tourists, visitors and staff in the Marriott WTC Hotel, located beneath and between the Twin Towers, who found themselves at the epicenter of a terrifying disaster. Despite jet engines and burning debris raining down on the building, somehow almost all of the hotel guests escaped. Of those who were still trapped inside, 14 miraculously survived the towers’ devastating collapse. Hear the remarkable story of their escape, and the courage and heroism of the victims and their rescuers.
Rebirth — Sept. 11 at 1pm on Showtime. The result of a decade-long filmmaking sojourn, the inspirational story of Rebirth follows the transformation of five people whose lives were forever altered on September 11, 2001 – and simultaneously tracks via unprecedented, multi-camera, time-lapse photography (accompanied by a great Philip Glass musical score) the minute-by-minute evolution of the memorial where the Twin Towers once rose over lower Manhattan. According to producer/director Jim Whitaker, “Everything started with the site and putting the cameras up at the site. I just started essentially with the site, and I felt like I needed to approach it from kind of a 360‑degree angle and imagine who was affected at the site. So I had in my head an idea that I would find a firefighter, find somebody who was on the impact floor, various areas and people who would have been affected by the day in thinking about the site.” In the film, we hear the gripping personal dramas of a fireman grappling with guilt after losing his best friend; a construction worker finding solace in new buildings rising from the wreckage; the fiancee of a first responder whose upended life takes surprising turns; a survivor who escaped from an impact floor but confronts life-changing scars; and a high-school student who uncovers new directions after the mother who meant everything to him perished.
The Hunt for Bin Laden — Sept. 11 at 1pm; Sept. 12 at 2am on Smithsonian Channel. The inside story of the 20-year hunt for Osama Bin Laden.
9/11 Firehouse (PREMIERE) — Sept. 11 at 8pm on Discovery Channel. This one-hour special is narrated by Willie Geist, and documents the inspirational and heroic story of the FDNY firefighters from “Ten House” — who were the first to enter the Twin Towers and the last to leave during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Surviving firefighters recall their pivotal role at Ground Zero and how “Ten House” became a symbol of refuge and safety during that dark day.
The Man Who Predicted 9/11 — Sept. 11 at 8pm; Sept. 12 at 12:01am on History. In 2001, Rick Rescorla was the 62-year-old head of security at the Morgan Stanley Bank situated high up in the South Tower at the World Trade Center. Rescorla was convinced that Osama Bin Laden would use jet planes to try and destroy the World Trade Center. Long before September 11, he developed an evacuation plan for the bank, hugely unpopular amongst the city whiz kids who worked there who thought he was mad. His evacuation plan, however, ultimately saved 3,000 of their lives.
9/11: Surviving the Impact — Sept. 11 at 9pm; Sept. 12 at 12am on Destination America. The story of the handful of people in the South Tower on the actual floors hit by the plane, who made it out alive. The survivors recall the unique life and death struggles that took place inside the Tower that morning and reveal how they got away.
102 Minutes That Changed America — Sept. 11 at 9pm; Sept. 12 at 1am on History. This acclaimed documentary uses rarely seen and heard archival material to document the 102 minutes between the first attack on the World Trade Center to the collapse of the second tower. Also seen is footage broadcast outside the United States, electronic messages and voicemails, and “outtakes” culled from raw network footage. Airs commercial-free at 9pm.
NOVA: “Ground Zero Supertower” (PREMIERE) — Sept. 11 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). NOVA kicks off the fall season with a return to Ground Zero to witness the final chapter in an epic story of engineering, innovation, and the perseverance of the human spirit: the completion of One World Trade Center. “Ground Zero Supertower” examines the new skyscraper rising up 104 stories and 1,776 feet from the site where the Twin Towers once stood. In this update of NOVA¹s Emmy-nominated special Engineering Ground Zero, which featured behind-the-scenes access to the struggles of the engineers and architects working at 1 WTC and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, NOVA goes inside the construction of the tower¹s final floors and the installation of its soaring, 800-ton spire and beacon. NOVA also goes underground to see another engineering marvel taking shape here: the construction of a multi-billion dollar museum that will house artifacts from 9/11. The greatest test is still to come, though: Will the final product be a fitting site for national remembrance?
Witnesses to 9/11 — Sept. 11 at 10:42pm; Sept. 12 at 2:43am on History. This companion program to 102 Minutes That Changed America features interviews with individuals who provided videos of the events of that day. The interviews with the filmmakers will provide context for the circumstances they were in, why they shot video, what the footage means to them, and where they were on that day.
The Miracle of Stairway B — Sept. 11 at 11:02pm; Sept. 12 at 3:03am on History. This is the story of how 12 firefighters, three office workers, and a Port Authority cop lived through the devastating collapse of the North Tower, survived for hours under half-a-million tons of debris and were rescued when all hope seemed lost.
NOVA: Ground Zero Supertower — Courtesy of Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Corbis
Hero Dogs of 9/11 — Credit Animal Planet
Rebirth: Courtesy of Showtime