This powerful commercial only aired once before being pulled off the air — watch it here

More than a decade and a half has gone by since 9/11, but most of us have vivid memories of that awful day, as if it was just yesterday. It was a day of unimaginable pain and sorrow, but it was also a time when Americans from all walks of life came together to show unity and patriotism. The Anheuser-Busch company wanted to do its part. So in early 2002, they produced an emotional and patriotic commercial that aired during Super Bowl XXXVI. The company didn’t want to profit from the tragedy, so it decided to air the ad only once but at a time when there would be a huge audience. One company official later explained: “With this tribute, we wanted to respectfully honor those affected by the events of September 11th. While the original ad aired just once, the Budweiser Clydesdales delivered our sentiments in a moving way that continues to resonate.”

Speaking of those Clydesdales, they’re classic Americana on hooves. They made their debut back in 1933 — Anheuser-Busch’s inimitable way of celebrating the end of Prohibition! The Clydesdales have since toured the country, promoting the company’s flagship product, Budweiser beer, and also giving people a rare opportunity to see some incredibly large and powerful draft horses. The Budweiser Clydesdales have also appeared in numerous and memorable television commercials.

For the 9/11 tribute, the commercial’s producers were careful to work closely with public officials with an eye to making a memorable commercial that would also be respectful. The result was a spot so powerfully emotional that grown men were brought to tears. The Clydesdales make their way to New York City, crossing the iconic Brooklyn Bridge before pausing in a park with a view of the city’s skyline. With the Statue of Liberty in view, the horses bow their heads in a simple but profound sign of respect. No words were spoken and none were needed.

What did you think of the Clydesdale’s 9/11 tribute? We’d love to hear from you in the comments at Facebook. Be sure to like and share, too!