This Powerful Budweiser 9/11 Tribute Commercial Aired Only Once – But We Will Never Forget
A commercial so powerful, so filled with emotion and the pain of loss that no words were said all through. The visuals alone passed on the powerful message of solidarity in a time of intense grief.
During the Super Bowl XXXVI on Feb. 3, 2002, less than five months after the horrifying events of 9/11, Budweiser aired one of the most astounding commercials to honor the victims of that dreadful day, and it’s being remembered once again. 
The ad has only aired once since that day, featuring the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, the group of eight horses and two handlers paying their respects to the victims of the crash.
The horses could be seen in the video trekking in the snow from a farmhouse and crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. They stood on a shadowed plain backing the majestic skyline of New York City with the statue of liberty in full view. The melancholic music added to the somber effect as the camera zoomed in one of the horse’s eyes, reflecting an emotion akin to pain and sadness. One horse suddenly bends a knee and bows respectfully, and the rest followed, creating one of the most powerful tributes ever made to the lives lost on 9/11.
Speaking on the details of production, Bob Lachky, former vice executive president of Anheuser-Busch global creative said: “We filmed in New York City. We had a helicopter going over the Brooklyn Bridge. Mayor Giuliani let us into the city – the only film company of any sort right after 9-11. To actually come into air space with our helicopter to film the Clydesdales…the hitch coming into Battery Park and it was amazing…just amazing.”
Forever in our hearts
At the Super Bowl in 2002, the commercial was shown during the game between the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams.
The fact that there were no voice-overs or logos of the company until the very end makes the commercial even more poignant and genuine. While the original version has never been aired again, an updated version was aired on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Every year, on September 11, 2001, the entire world is naturally thrown into a state of mourning in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 lives lost in a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda.  While the attacks were planned against the United States on American soil, dozens of citizens and tourists from other countries were caught in the crossfires. 2,606 people died at the World Trade Center, 265 people died on the airplanes including the suicidal terrorists, 125 lives were lost at the pentagon, and over 6,000 people were injured across all target locations. 9/11 is regarded as the deadliest and most devastating terrorist attack on US soil since the Pearl Harbor bombing that triggered World War II.
9/11 is rarely ever remembered without tears flowing and hearts wrenching, and this Budweiser commercial subtly captures the dull aches that remains in the hearts of millions of people.
A few comments about the ad on YouTube read: “It’s a perfect commercial and it still can make me cry. It’s a respectful, well-done salute by one of this country’s oldest companies.God bless anyone that lost someone on that terrible day and RIP to a lot of good people…”
Another wrote: “I was there when the final scenes were filmed. Not a dry eye in the bunch of us. Some of us, who lost friends and/or loved ones were so blown away by the tribute that one gent began having difficulty breathing. He was better after a little O2 and later a Bud light.”
One heartbreaking comment read: “I still can’t get past it. I lost so many friends that terrible day. It stays with me like a sickness…each year come August, it starts to creep into my consciousness…and doesn’t leave until a week after the day. Thank you, Budweiser for this moving tribute… Please, everyone, take a moment, remember those lost, and those fallen from the FDNY/NYPD who so bravely faced certain death, to try and save others.”
- “This powerful Budweiser 9/11 tribute commercial aired only once.” Today. Drew Weisholtz. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
- “What happened on 9/11, 19 years ago.” Business Insider. Pamela Engel and Ellen Loanes. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
- “September 11 Terror Attacks Fast Facts.” CNN. Retrieved September 14, 2020.