September 11 Attacks: Facts, Background & Impact

Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 2,763 of those unfortunate deaths occurred during and after the World Trade Center was hit by two planes. 9/11 was a day that has forever changed the way the United States operates. Taking a flight to go visit relatives went from a fun, care-free affair to a complex, stressful event.

There were also many health issues that resulted from the attacks as well. First responders, survivors and those in the surrounding areas were unaware of how it would affect them in the coming years. The government shifted their focus towards beefing up national security.

Prior to the attacks, air travel was relatively calm and stress-free. You didn’t have to worry about taking off your coats and shoes, or that four-ounce bottle of hotel shampoo. You could say goodbye to friends and family at the gate. Airport security was run by private companies, not the TSA.

Now, you have to go through extensive security measures including baggage screening, body screening, metal detectors and the occasional awkward pat-down if need be.  The cockpits of planes are now locked during flight and reinforced to protect against hijackers, light-caliber fire, and explosives.As the towers settled to the ground and the fires were burning, many harmful substances were released and roaming freely in the air.

Those substances, among other things, helped cause countless people to contract health problems. Some of which are chronic bronchitis, severe asthma, reduced lung function. Several cancer cases have been traced back to 9/11, too.

Those affected also have a higher rate of depression and PTSD. The World Trade Center Health Program was started to provide free health care to them.

After the attacks, the US government turned completely on its head. They passed the Patriot Act which basically gave them the power to use whatever means necessary to protect America from future terrorist attacks. The War on Terror was started within a few weeks.

Afghanistan and Iraq were subsequently invaded in an attempt to shut down the organization that orchestrated the attacks and those protecting them. With our modern technology, they are able to monitor electronic communications for any terrorist-related activity.

The financial impact was huge. An estimate of 3.3 trillion dollars was spent for recovers from the attack. Roughly out of this ammount was spent. 55 billion went to physical damage and toll, 123 billion on economic impact, five- hundred eighty-nine on homeland security and related cost, one-thousand six-hundred forty-nine billion on war funding and related cost, and eight-hundred sixty-seven on future war and future Veterans’ care.

Even though it happened more than a decade and a half ago, the nation is still reeling from some of the effects of 9/11. Going to the airport is now a much more delicate operation. Many are plagued by the ill effects of the fumes and smoke. Many don’t even know what causes them. The government will never be the same. After 9/11, the US was opened up to the world of terrorism and the fight against terrorism. September 11 is a date that will not be soon forgotten.

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