It’s been 16 years since 9/11, one of the most horrendous attacks inflicted on U.S. land. Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes mid-flight on Sept. 11, 2001, and crashed them into the south and north towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a Pennsylvania field, and the Pentagon in Virginia. The attack killed nearly 3,000 people.

And even though it’s been almost two decades since the horrific attacks, each year, Americans solemnly remember those who lost their lives and those who sacrificed their lives to save others. Here’s a compilation of quotes to help honor the victims and to remember what transpired on 9/11 during the 16th anniversary. 

During the attacks

"We may have a hijack. We have some problems over here right now." – An air traffic controller on the ground in Long Island after the first plane struck the north tower

"Hi, this is the captain. I would like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board and we are going back to the airport ... Please remain quiet." – Hijacker aboard United Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

"We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be okay. We are returning to the airport. Nobody move, everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves you'll endanger yourself and the airplane." – Mohamed Atta, American Airlines Flight 11 hijacker pilot, heard on a radio transmission while meaning to send a message to the passengers.

Day of the attacks

"Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward and freedom will be defended." – President George W. Bush

"These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation." – President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001.

"We’re going to find out who did this and we’re going after the bastards." - Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

"This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today. It is perpetrated by fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the sanctity of human life, and we, the democracies of this world, are going to have to come together and fight it together." - British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Since the attacks

"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11." - President Obama in a 2011 radio address

"My older brother John lived [his life] in Technicolor. When he walked in the door, the whole house lit up. And I’m sure heaven lit up when he got there too." - Anthoula Katsimatides at the World Trade Center site in 2005

"If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate." - Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pa., in 2002

"Five years from the date of the attack that changed our world, we’ve come back to remember the valor of those we lost—those who innocently went to work that day and the brave souls who went in after them. We have also come to be ever mindful of the courage of those who grieve for them, and the light that still lives in their hearts." - New York City Mayor ­Rudolph Giuliani at the World Trade Center site in 2006

"September 11 is one of our worst days but it brought out the best in us. It unified us as a country and showed our charitable instincts and reminded us of what we stood for and stand for." - Senator Lamar Alexander GettyImages-124712524 Sept. 11, 2017 marks the 16-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks that occurred in New York. A family is pictured at the World Trade Center site, September 11, 2011 in New York City. Photo: Getty