Remembering 9/11

Dhanush Ekollu

September 16, 2022

On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM. It was a 110-story high tower, and it collapsed within two hours. Only seventeen minutes later, at 9:03 AM, the South Tower of the World Trade Center was hit. People quickly realized that this was not an accident. It was an attack. Later, AA 77 hit the west side of the Pentagon and AA 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania as passengers tried to fight back against the hijackers.

Nearly 3000 people dead. Over 25000 injured. The September 11th terrorist attack’s effects lasted far longer than the day of the event, or even the year. 9/11 was the first time that the United States Security Control of Air Traffic and Air Navigation Aids (SCATANA) was used, immediately causing widespread delays and cancellations around the globe.

Millions of Americans, in schools, their homes, in their workplace, watched in terror as the news broadcasts announced the second crash. They were under attack. Over a decade of peace in America, of hope of a future without war, crashed like a house of cards. 9/11 caused the creation of the Homeland Security Act, and the Transportation Security Administration, known familiarly to most people as the TSA.  

Hate crimes towards people who were Middle Eastern, or even confused as Middle Eastern (such as Sikh people), increased almost twenty times their previous amount. In Afghanistan, thousands of people fled, afraid of an impending US attack. 9/11 started the War on Terror, which went on for 21 years–the longest war in the history of the United States, and one of the most expensive, totaling almost $5 trillion in spending.

To this date, air travel is not the same. Gone are the days when you can go with your family to the gate, and bid them farewell over there, as they board their plane. The TSA has created the nightmare of security we all associate with air travel now. Air travel almost reached a standstill.

New York was never the same for years. Thousands of tons of toxic debris hung in the air, leaving air quality levels far more hazardous than before for almost a year, until June 2002. 18000 people developed illnesses due to this. $2.8 billion in wages were lost within New York. 

It’s almost impossible to go over all of the devastating aftermaths of the September 11 Attacks in a single article, or even a book. It caused one of the most consequential changes in American attitude. This was an attack on American soil, it was no more a faraway war that didn’t affect them. If planes could be used as weapons, how many more things could? How did we not stop this? It popped a bubble, a feeling of safety, for millions of Americans. Around the US, you’ll hear first-hand accounts of the effects and consequences of 9/11. The feeling of watching it happen. The feeling Americans experienced, knowing things might never be the same.