Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) joins the nation in remembering the 12th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 – a day that ultimately led to the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and ICE.
Through ICE’s 9/11 exhibit in its headquarters building in Washington, D.C., the agency pays tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives, the countless family members left behind, the staggering number of first responders who selflessly rushed to help, as well as the role that its legacy agencies – U.S. Customs and Immigration and Naturalization Service – played in recovery efforts.
When American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower, employees in the U.S. Customs House, which was located at 6 World Trade Center, immediately began evacuating. Miraculously, the building was emptied in just 12 minutes, and no one was killed before it was destroyed from the North Tower's falling debris and fire.
Many of the U.S. Customs and Immigration and Naturalization Service employees, based in the New York area, quickly responded in the aftermath. ICE’s 9/11 exhibit features photos of the destroyed building and of employees siphoning through the ruins. Also displayed is the uniform worn by Nick Raudenski, a former U.S. Customs special agent who is now a special agent with ICE's Homeland Security Investigations, during the recovery efforts. A section of a cross beam from 6 World Trade Center is also on display among simulated ruins.
Although September 11 predates ICE's formation, the events of that day are the reason the agency was created and are intertwined into the agency's history.
ICE will never forget the many sacrifices made and will continue to diligently fulfill its mission of protecting the homeland.