Joint Statement by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts 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 Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) 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, to acknowledge the resulting service and sacrifices made by our military and veteran families, and to re-commit ourselves to building a more hopeful future through the arts and humanities.
Read about the NEH-supported poster exhibition September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World currently on display at thousands of libraries and community centers around the country, as well as other NEH grant-funded resources related to 9/11.
National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.
National Endowment for the Arts: Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.