The Impact of 9/11 on the United States

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Social Effects
  • The Political Impact
  • The Economical Impact
  • Al-Qaeda
  • Desire to Revenge
  • Osama Bin Laden
  • Positive Impact
  • Conclusion


It was the 9th of September, 2001. This was a day in US history that will never be forgotten. On this day, the twin towers (located in NYC) were targeted in an act of terrorism. At 8:46 am on a sunny Tuesday morning in New York City, a commercial jet plane flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre, cutting through floors 93 to 99. This event has since then been called "9/11". 9/11 has had many lasting impacts on the US. This event has affected the US socially, economically, and politically. This attack was single-handedly one of the worst acts of terrorism that this world has ever seen. No single figure since the second world war has made such a large impact on world events as Osama bin Laden.

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The Social Effects

Before the attack on the twin towers, there was a sense of national security that had been growing over the country ever since it was established. No one would have expected this to happen. In the current era, the sense of national security is not completely gone. However, it is substantially less. The people's anxiety during the attack was very high. Even several years after 9/11, people's anxiety had not completely returned to a normal level. The growing years between the attack and the present help citizens try and return their mindset to more of a safer way of thinking. Although there are still acts of terrorism, there hasn't been anything as serious since the attack. Women who were spoken to close after the attack can all describe their feeling of insecurity and the feeling of the lack of national safety. Male citizens feel more of a need for revenge than their female counterparts. The men that were surveyed talked about the burning anger pointed at the terrorists and the disbelief that anybody would intend to do this to a country. Overall, the societal effects of 9/11 include the sense of national insecurity that fell over the US, the feelings of no longer being safe in your own country, and the feeling of a need for intense revenge.

At the time of the attack, there was a national shock that sent everybody into a spiral of mixed emotions; surprise, anger, fright, etc. Everyone was no longer thinking rationally. Insurance companies lost a total of approximately $40 Billion, which was one of the largest insured agents ever recorded. The NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) took a huge dive post 9/11 and struggled for a while until the people of America could get their feet under them and return to a normal lifestyle. The stocks, in general, were a disaster after the attack. Nobody knew what would happen, and there was immense chaos throughout the nation.

The Political Impact

The politics in America were affected greatly with this attack. The whole government was in slight chaos shortly after the event. After 9/11, the government moved quickly to develop a security framework to protect our country from large-scale attacks directed from abroad, while enhancing federal, state, and local capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from threats and disasters at home. It was extremely difficult for the government to try and control the national chaos. Within several hours of the attacks on the twin towers of New York, a grand search and rescue operation was launched. This team included over 350 search and rescue dogs. At first, only several of the wounded people were found at the site. In the weeks that followed, it became more and more evident that there weren't very many survivors to be found. In this whole attack, only 20 survivors were found alive in the destruction and rubble. This event was very catastrophic and gruesome to the community of the US.

The Economical Impact

Life since 9/11 has never quite been the same. Most people have mostly returned to normal since the attack. Even still, many people still have minor to major anxiety about airports, airplanes, etc. Security in airports has been much improved since the event, and it continues to increase. There have been so many changes to our everyday life that stem from the 9/11 attacks. Oil prices surge; In 2001, a barrel of crude oil cost $21.84 per barrel. A decade later, that price quadrupled to $95.73. Since the attack, half of U.S. Muslims say they find it more difficult to live in this country since. Acts of violence against Muslims broke out immediately following 9/11, and have been apparent ever since. Illnesses linked to the attacks, including respiratory and digestive diseases, cancers, post-traumatic stress disorder and more, have emerged over the nearly two decades since. Most served as responders who pitched in for rescue and recovery efforts, and more than half are between ages 45 and 64. While the U.S. GDP measured by purchasing power parity doubled from $10.6 trillion in 2001 to $19.39 trillion in 2017, China's and India's economic growth has exploded during that period.


Many people during this time of terror wondered why this attack even happened. Some people briefly thought it was the start of a war. Others thought it was an accident. In reality, the event was carried out by 19 hijackers and organized by numerous members of al-Qaeda. The al-Qaeda is is a militant Sunni Islamist multi-national organization founded in 1988 by Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, and several other Arab volunteers during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In our society, we view this as a major act of terrorism and a total lack of humanity from the hijackers. This may be true. However, if you take a look at this event from the shoes of a member of the al-Qaeda, this is their duty. These 19 hijackers fulfilled their goals and completed their given tasks. To some of us, this may be slightly daunting; that these human beings are choosing to kill themselves along with many others in order to complete a given task. But if you really look closely at the societal norms surrounding this culture, these people knew nothing better. This is what they had grown up around, and this is what they wanted to do. It is sad to think about how some humans are taught that Americans are evil and that being involved in one of the US's largest terrorist attacks would be seen as heroic from where they came from. Even still, this is the reality and we have to learn to deal with it.

Desire to Revenge

Warfare in America has forever changed since 9/11. Not only did this event make all Americans around the country more fearful and scared, but it also made the people of the US want revenge. The US has spent over 6 trillion dollars on warfare since 9/11. Some people might say that these two do not correlate. However, the event of 9/11 alerted citizens to the fact that there will still be wars and international battles. The US has one of the most impressive, and also one of the scariest inventories in the entire world. The firepower of the US has been increasing ever since the attacks on New York.

Osama Bin Laden

The man responsible for the attack was named Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1957 or 1958. He was the 17th of 52 children born to Mohammed bin Laden, a Yemeni immigrant who owned the largest construction company in the Saudi kingdom. Young Osama had a privileged, cosseted upbringing. His siblings were educated in the West and went to work for his father's company (by then an enormous conglomerate that distributed consumer goods like Volkswagen cars and Snapple beverages across the Middle East), but Osama bin Laden stayed close to home. He went to school in Jiddah, married young and, like many Saudi men, joined the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. For bin Laden, Islam was more than just a religion: It shaped his political beliefs and influenced every decision he made. While he was at college in the late 1970s, he became a follower of the radical pan-Islamist scholar Abdullah Azzam, who believed that all Muslims should rise up in jihad (holy war) in order to create a single Islamic state. This idea appealed to the young bin Laden, who resented what he saw as a growing Western influence on Middle Eastern life. In 1988, bin Laden created a new group, called al-Qaida ("the base") that would focus on symbolic acts of terrorism instead of military campaigns.

After the Soviets pulled out from Afghanistan in 1989, bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia to step up fundraising for this new and more complicated mission. However, the comparatively pro-Western Saudi royal family feared that bin Laden's fiery pan-Islamist rhetoric might cause trouble in the kingdom, and so they tried to keep him as quiet as they could. They took away his passport and spurned his offer to send "Afghan Arabs" to guard the border after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Then, adding insult to injury, they sought help from the "infidel" U.S. instead. Furious about being snubbed, bin Laden vowed that it was al-Qaida, and not the Americans, who would one day prove to be "master of this world." On May 1, 2011, American soldiers killed Osama bin Laden at his compound near Islamabad, Pakistan. Intelligence officials believe bin Laden was responsible for many deadly acts of terrorism, including the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. He had been on the FBI's "most wanted" list for more than a decade.

Positive Impact

There were many terrible effects on the country following 9/11. However, there were also some small positive effects on the everyday people of America. Citizens had a greater value placed on personal relationships and life in general. People loved each other harder because they knew that they lived in a country that felt almost dangerous. The attack provided a vehicle for greater awareness of the emotional and social impacts of the event. For years after 9/11, countries all around the world felt bad for America and held small grudges against the middle eastern areas, acting as artificial allies for small periods of time. The national awareness about this event leads to a sense of shared reality among participants. The following quote is from Fire Chief Dave Schmidt years after the attacks. 'After what happened on Sept. 11, I saw people change. People were willing to help each other. In my own neighborhood this summer, after a big storm, people were out helping each other clean up. That's what this country should be like.' The people who closely experienced these events first hand really had to come together in order to help one another.


Overall, the attacks of 9/11 impacted America socially, politically, and economically. The sense of security that existed before 9/11 was substantially less. The people's anxiety was very high directly after the attack, but since then has lessened. Women who witnessed this attack described a great fear for the safety of themselves, along with the rest of the US. Male witnesses described the anger towards the attackers and an intense need for revenge. The initial shock after the attacks was immense. Everything was in chaos and no one knew what was to be done. 40 billion dollars was lost in insurance (one of the largest insured events ever). The NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) had a large drop after 9/11. The stock market, in general, was a total disaster. Even the government was in slight chaos. The nation as a whole was in mayhem. After 9/11, budgets for defense-related agencies skyrocketed: Homeland Security's discretionary budget jumped from about $16 billion in 2002 to more than $43 billion in 2011. Meanwhile, the budgets of the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration and Border Patrol have all more than doubled since 2001.

In the last 15 years, millions of young U.S. soldiers have been deployed overseas, thousands have been killed and many have returned home with debilitating physical and mental injuries. 9/11 was a terrible event in the history of America. All we can do is learn from it and keep radiating positivity to our friends and family. Hopefully, the world as a whole can move forward without a need for these terrorist attacks. The world would be a far better place if everyone could learn to get along.

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