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5 Ways September 11 Changed America

September 1, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

The attacks of September 11, 2001 shocked the nation—and led to changes that altered U.S. government, travel and culture.

September 11, 2001 is an inflection point—there was life before the terrorist attacks and there is life after them. Nearly 3,000 Americans were killed on that clear, sunny morning when two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, another plowed into the Pentagon and a fourth was brought down in a crash on a Pennsylvania field by heroic passengers who fought back against terrorists.

“This was an attack unprecedented in the annals of terrorism in terms of its scale,” says Brian Michael Jenkins, a senior advisor to the president of the RAND Corporation and author of numerous reports and books on terrorism, including Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?. “It was the largest attack by any foreign entity on U.S. soil.”

READ MORE: 9/11: A Timeline of the Attacks

The shock and horror of September 11th wasn’t confined to days or weeks. The attacks cast a long shadow over American life from which the nation has yet to fully emerge. What was once implausible and nearly unthinkable—a large-scale attack on American soil—became a collective assumption. The terrorists could very well attack again, perhaps with biological or nuclear weapons, and steps must be taken to stop them.

“Terrorism is aimed at carrying out acts of violence that will cause people to exaggerate the strength of the terrorist and the importance of their cause,” says Jenkins.

Consumed by fear, grief and outrage, America turned to its leaders for action. Congress and the White House answered with an unprecedented expansion of military, law enforcement and intelligence powers aimed at rooting out and stopping terrorists, at home and abroad.

“After the 9/11 attacks, the combination of fear and a recognition of various intelligence failures led to a range of policy changes that included restrictions on immigration, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and the expansion of the ‘no fly list’ from a very small number of people to thousands,” says David Sterman, a senior policy analyst at New America who studies terrorism and violent extremism.

And that was just the beginning. Here are five significant ways that America was changed by 9/11.

WATCH: 9/11 Documentaries on HISTORY Vault

1. The War on Terror Began

Standing atop rubble with retired New York City firefighter …read more

Source: HISTORY