Joint Statement by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities on Commemorating the 20th Year Anniversary of 9/11

When the horrific attacks against the United States were carried out on September 11, 2001, they left a nation stunned and grieving. However, the courage, bravery, and heroism exhibited by the first responders and the families of the victims on that day, and in the months and years to follow, gave us hope and helped us to heal. Following 9/11, the families of the victims chose to turn this tragic anniversary into something redemptive, and now the day is officially recognized as both “Patriot’s Day” and a “National Day of Service and Remembrance.”
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) take this moment to observe and reflect—to remember those we lost, and to express gratitude to all who have served our country in acts both public and private.
This anniversary presents an opportunity to consider how we will meet the challenge of educating the next generation. Those born since 9/11 are on the cusp of adulthood, and the occasion is slowly transitioning from living history to a second-hand account of events.
We know that the arts and humanities help us understand and learn from our past, and give us the tools to transform grief into knowledge, creativity, and hope. Programs supported by the NEH and NEA have offered avenues for memorializing the heroes and victims of 9/11, and have provided outlets for healing and recovery for survivors, first responders, veterans, and service members. We have supported projects that help us better understand the context and impact of these events, and their personal, national, and global significance. Both agencies have also created and expanded efforts to support our service members who continue to serve and defend our nation.
From stage performances to archives, from library collections to exhibitions, we are proud to support work that strengthens memory, sparks dialogue, and builds empathy. The NEA and NEH take this solemn occasion to honor the memory of those we lost on 9/11, and to re-commit ourselves to building a more hopeful future.


For NEA: Office of Public Affairs,, 202-682-5570