By Mumeen A. Rufai
The attack of 9/11 had a large impact on Americans and it left behind a sense of insecurity. However, it helped us understand the fact that American society was very not totally immune against security breach as a group of terrorists was allowed to come into America unnoticed. Many years after, Americans are still impacted mentally and physically, and the impact on the American people are the silver-lining that makes the US a country that prioritises security even with all of flaws that come with it. However, it also changed the way Americans’ perspectives on its immigrants.
On September 11, 2011, a group of terrorists made their way past the American Security Check at the airport and was able to sneak their way into hijacking a few commercial jets and crashing them into the Twin Towers. The suspected group Al-Qaeda did this because America had waged warfare near Mecca, their holy land.
(Green) The group was unsuspected until the first attack occurred. One of the towers fell creating a series of explosions and destruction. The explosions released chemicals that later developed cancer. (Mekour, 1-2 ) But some mental impact of 9/11 is that it caused signs of depression for people who watched it on television more than people during World War II (Mekouar, 2).
Also, experts from “Scientific American 175” describe how the aftermath of 9/11 brought PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and researchers have studied how PTSD cases have risen due to 9/11 experiences after watching or seeing America being destroyed.
(Harmon) “Research on 9/11- related PTSD has challenged the ways in which mental health researchers assess exposure to trauma,” says Yuval Neria of Columbia University’s psychiatry and epidemiology departments. “Despite the fact that the exposure is different, the symptoms and problems are more similar than some people think.
“This proves how 9/11 impacts on American people is still affecting us mentally. Even though, it is common for people to suffer after major disasters, the sufferings are more unstable and tricky to understand.
“We tend to use the terminology of PTSD very loosely. A lot of people will have traumatic reactions but not necessarily PTSD,” says Priscilla Dass-Brailsford of Georgetown University Medical Centers psychiatry department. (Harmon, 1-3) But the mental impact of 9/11 is still going strong because another mental impact of 9/11 was TBI, traumatic brain injuries.
Though people were largely impacted by the mental effects of 9/11, the changes and physical impacts that American people had to go through during 9/11 were the main factors of how America is shaped today and how it views the people and the diversity of people. Before the incident, the American people took the idea of immigration very lightly, and people didn’t even have to take off their belts or shoes because the policies didn’t believe that anybody would attack America like this the Americans were very trusting.
(Green) The Bush Administration created the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, these administrations have overseen the mass deportations and have increased in power since 9/11. Policies such as the USA Patriot Act were immediately put in place when people understood that this event could have been prevented if the security was top notch.
(Green, 1-2) Another impact 9/11 had on the American people was the discrimination it put on people of Arabian descent. “American Muslims – who make 1% of the population- are being the brunt of this fear, in the form of harassment, bullying, and aggression.”
(Thomson, 2) The impacts of 9/11 have left us with bitter feelings that harass the people of Arabian descent so in a way 9/11 has changed the way people see themselves and how they see others. But the impacts of 9/11 also led to a path of violence, the US has been in a chain of wars with Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq because of small tensions due to the bombing. In California alone, the 9/11 impacts have led to a high increase in troops due to a 2009 census report stating how many troops from California were recruited.
(Green, 4-5) Though it is a good outcome for our military. It is only because many Californians were killed in battle and a report from LA Times says that, on August 24, 2015, 79 Californian troops had been killed in the last war with Afghanistan. And currently we were fighting Iran after they shot a nuclear missile and the attack was leaked. This is proof that the US is still acting on the fear of an attack similar to 9/11.
The mental and physical effects that 9/11 has left with us today are what shaped our society, we have learned to not be as naive as the nation once were. The US is a country with the strongest military yet we were able to be hit hard from a group of terrorists who snuck in our borders and our security. It clearly hinted that things had to change and that is exactly what has happened.
Mekour, Dora “How Major Traumas Like 8-11 Impact Nation’s Psyche,” https://www.voanews.com/usa/all-about-america/how-major-traumas-911-impact-nations-psyche, written on September 11, 2019, Accessed on April 11
Harmon, Katherine “The Changing Mental Health Aftermath of 9/11– Psychological ‘First Aid’ Gains Favor over Debriefings,” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-changing-mental-health/, written on September 10, 2011, Accessed on April 10
Green, Matthew “ How 9/11 Changes America: Four Major Lasting Impacts” https://www.kqed.org/lowdown/14066/13-years-later-four-major-lasting-impacts-of-911, written on September 8, 2017, Accessed on April 10
Thomson, Stephanie “15 Years after 9/11, this is how the US has changed” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/09/15-years-after-9-11-how-has-the-us-changed/, written on September 9, 2016, Accessed on April 11
MUMEEN, A. Rufai is a 6th Grader Scholar at New York charter school