One of the biggest tragedies in American history took place on September 11, 2001. Four planes were hijacked by members of the Islamic terrorist group, al-Qaeda. Two of those aircrafts crashed into the two World Trade Centers in New York City, one into the Pentagon, and the last into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3000 people were killed in this attack, with over 6000 injured. It was a circumstance that ultimately shaped the country we know now.
The United States of America has changed drastically because of the events that we now call ‘9/11’. From airport security to Islamic stereotypes, America’s witnessing of this terrorist attack changed our perspectives of the country we live in and the type of security measures in place.
If you ask anyone who had flown prior to the attack, they would be able explain the drastic difference in airport security compared to present time. Nowadays, it is common sense in security to show your ID and ticket, and remove your shoes and all metal objects from your person. We know not to pack liquids in a carry-on or personal item, and that we may get stopped for a pat down if we accidently leave some change in our pocket. But this wasn’t always the case. Before the attacks, items like baseball bats, box cutters, scissors, and blades up to 4-inches were completely allowed when flying. Travelers simply walked through one basic metal detector before reaching their gate, just as people even without a ticket were allowed to do. Now, the metal detectors are full body scanners that can detect even the smallest objects, and anybody without a plane ticket isn’t allowed past the baggage check at an airport.
Following the September 11th attacks, the US military invaded Afghanistan with the assistance of the United Kingdom. President George W. Bush launched ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ in October of 2001. He demanded that al-Qaeda be expelled from Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban hand over Osama Bin Laden. These requests turned into a war that would last over a decade, as the Taliban refused to meet demands and instead continued challenging the Afghan government and civilians. The United States continued sending troops overseas as a way to protect the people of Afghanistan and its surrounding countries from the Taliban. Osama bin-Laden wasn’t killed until May, 2011. And even after his death, the US military continues to station soldiers in these countries as a way to fight the Taliban.
There has been a large amount of controversy in the last few years regarding the stereotype of people that are Muslim. This is due to the fact that the September 11th attacks were led by an Islamic terrorist group, as well as the awareness and popularity of ISIS. It has issued a fear in many Americans that ends up stretching to any person wearing turban or praying to the God of Islam, Allah. Many people immediately associate the religion with the people who wrecked havoc on our country in 2001. The hatred has stemmed into many people of this religion and descent being mistreated in security instances, as well as causing unfair opportunities for them in America. Many videos have gone viral on Twitter and Facebook displaying men getting dragged off planes because they were ‘overbooked’ and women getting an intense and invasive pat down at airport security. The commonality of most of these videos is the victims, Muslims.
The tragedy that shaped America will always be a big part in history. We honor those we lost, the victims that were effected, and the heroes that helped so many. The United States of America stands together at times like these. Always and forever, we will remember September 11th, 2001.