Growing Up in Post 9/11 America

“I was a freshman in high school, I was at my locker and some kid told me what happened and all we did for the rest of the day was watch the news,” said English teacher John Kreider.

The events of September 11th, 2001 forever changed the course of the United States. The hijacking of three planes by terrorist forces and the subsequent suicide bombings on the two towers of the World Trade Center, as well as the Pentagon took the lives of almost 3 thousand innocent people and injured over 6 thousand more, leaving children without parents, parents without children and sisters without brothers. The fall of the Twin Towers both literally and metaphorically left a dismal cloud over the United States.

The series of terrorist bombings left the United States in a state of paranoia and shock that Americans hadn’t felt since Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. The United States is a military superpower in the modern world; therefore, the United States seldom is attacked. 9/11 was an act of terrorism that shook the foundation of this great nation and set United States citizens on the path of preemptive action that is now employed.

As more and more time passes, millennials have grown up in a post-9/11 world and are ignorant of what it was like before that event changed the way the country worked. However, some have a moderate grasp on the effects.

Some students believe that an event like this had to happen to mold the United States into the military power it is today.

“Certainly, the attack shocked the US into a realization that a new type of enemy is abroad,” said sophomore Aidan Lane.

“Not only did they have an increase of normal security measures, but there was also a rise in discrimination and racism towards Arabs,” said senior Austin Root, testifying to the changes in society in regards to hate rooted in the events and changes made to increase national security, and the evident racism that is now an accepted part of society.

“We likely wouldn’t have the Islamic fear that we see today in the media. Those we lost would still be here, and conflicts that resulted wouldn’t have happened,” said senior Patrick McDade on the world he sees had the 9/11 attacks not occurred.

Following the 9/11 events, the United States started the so-called “War on Terror,” including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. declared war on both of these countries in the wake of this tragedy and held them responsible for the hijackings and subsequent bombings. National security was heightened with the Patriot Act, which covertly took away some of our privacy rights, and the National Security Agency (NSA), an organization that looks for risks to national security, both foreign and domestic, was created. Military spending was increased by nearly 50 percent according to the website “National Priorities.” In addition, the United States increased border security in the form of more frequent patrols of the Mexican/American border and through more stringent airport safety regulations.

As the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 bombings passes, a new generation of children has grown up that were either not born or unaware of what was going on at the time of the events of September 11th, 2001. Many Loy Norrix students were too young to remember or comprehend anything. They grew up in a paranoid United States, completely unaware that the country was any different before.

Adults, however, are left with a lasting memory of the day itself. If you ask anyone over 30, more likely than not, they can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when the plane hit the first tower.

“I remember coming home from college when the first tower was hit and seeing mile long gas lines because people were panicked that they weren’t going to get gas, and strangely enough, people stayed off the roads by midday,” said economics teacher Ryan Allen recounting where he was when the first plane hit.

“You can’t grasp the magnitude of the event if you didn’t experience it, like when Mark Lowrie and I team taught and watched a documentary on the event later on and we had to take turns crying in the hallway as the class watched,” said team teacher Jennie Ko in regards to whether or not she believed students properly understand the events

As the anniversary passes, Americans can take some time to look back on this day in history and properly remember those we lost and realize what had changed. America has changed a great deal since that fateful day, that much is true. Life as we know it would most likely be so much different than it is today.

Is the nation better equipped should a situation like this arise again? Let the American citizens hope that the precautions that the government has put in place will protect against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

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