Americans still reeling from 9/11

Americans still reeling from 9/11

The Wichitan

Few people could argue that the events of Sept. 11, 2001 did not change the nation forever – the  tragedy has affected us economically, emotionally, societally and politically.

Even though Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and other 9/11 conspirators are dead, there’s no masking the scar they left on our national identity.

A total of 2,996 people died when Muslim extremists flew three commercial airliners into two towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Nineteen of the casualties were terrorists and 2,977 were victims.

The Rasmussen Report conducted a telephone poll of 1,000 people in May, asking respondents if they thought 9/11 had affected their lives. Eighty-four percent of people said it had, 5  percent said it had not, and 11 percent said they were undecided.

Those numbers are staggering.

Lower Manhattan, a once-bustling uptown financial center housing the World Trade Center, is now a residential district. According to, nearly 33 percent of the residential buildings in this area of Manhattan have been built in the last decade. The World Trade Center complex was once revered the world over for its role in promoting global stock trading. Now many stock exchange companies, even the New York Stock Exchange, have moved to more discreet locations and have computerized some trade negotiations.

Though most stocks are back at the levels they were before the terror attacks, the business infrastructure in Lower Manhattan will never be the same.

Emotionally, many people living in or visiting New York at the time of the attacks are still distressed. They feel defenseless, unsafe. And it’s no wonder that they do – even people who weren’t present during the attacks still feel like they are only alive because terrorists haven’t felt the urge to attack us again. Families have been torn apart. Homes and businesses have been destroyed, some of which were never rebuilt after 9/11.

Societally and politically, Americans’ lives are drastically different than they were before the attacks. Many people look at Muslims or Arabs with a sense of undue apprehension. Boarding a flight at an airport is more difficult than ever. The PATRIOT Act – which many civil rights activists argue denies citizens the right to due process – is still in full effect. More than 4,000 U.S. soldiers have died fighting the War on Terror in Iraq alone.

But we may be reaching the end of this era in American life – President Barack Obama announced he planned to withdraw most U.S. troops  from Iraq in 2010.

Regardless, we should never forget the events of 9/11.




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