“We watched the twin towers collapse before our eyes, and it became instantly clear that we had entered a new world and a dangerous new world,” proclaimed former president George W. Bush concerning 9/11.
There were many heroes that day such as first responders, other law enforcement, and even ordinary citizens.
Nearly 36,000 units of blood were donated to the New York Blood Center after the September 11 attacks. In addition, $3 million was donated to the Red Cross in the two days following the catastrophe. This horrific event was not only domestic: it affected people worldwide.
Citizens from 78 countries died in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11, and worldwide mourning ensued. There was an international flood of support and sympathy, the event affecting the whole world.
Domestically, policies have since been put in place to protect Americans from the threat of terrorism. The Federal Government created the Transportation of Security Association (TSA) and the Aviation and Transportation Act to protect airline passengers from bomb threats.
The United States Immigration policy changed with Homeland Security, Enhanced Border Security, and visa Entry Reform Acts. These acts made it harder to obtain a Visa. Inadvertently, this policy negatively affected people from Latin America on their path to citizenship.
The Patriot Act allowed the National Security Association (NSA) to collect data on U.S. citizens, foreign nationals and governments. The extent of the invasive nature of the surveillance was exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013.
Additionally, monuments were built to commemorate the victims, survivors, and heroes of 9/11. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum in Manhattan, The Freedom Tower, and the One World Observatory were all erected in honor of the event.
Lastly, American psyche changed. Americans became more aware of foreign threats, and lost a sense of security and safety in their country. Recent terrorist activity in Boston and San Bernardino have renewed their fear of terrorism.
Despite this fear, Americans have been resilient and strong in the face of terrorism. This strength was shown when Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the attacks, was killed in May 2011. He was assassinated by navy seals at his Pakistan compound after a decade-long manhunt. Most Americans would say that justice had been served.
15 years later, America remembers and mourns the loss of nearly 3,000 people. President Obama declared, “Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
–Lily Ramirez and Jordan McIntosh