9/11: Changing the Way Americans Live and Travel

Visitors view the photo wall of fallen Americans at the 9-11 Memorial.
Photo: Flickriver.com

Visitors view the photo wall of fallen Americans at the 9-11 Memorial. Photo: Flickriver.com

“I think the heartbreak of September 11 – America’s grief not only over the loss of life but also the loss of our own innocence – has expanded us as people because it has tenderized our hearts. On a psychological level, the American people have matured as a result of that awful day,” remarked Marianne Williamson , teacher, author and lecturer.

As a direct result of 911,  2606 people died at the World Trade Center, 246 people died on the airplanes and at the Pentagon 125 people died, according to statisticbrain.com.

In addition to the deaths caused directly by the attack on the towers, 3,300 died because lung diseases as a result of  air contaminated with cancer causing chemicals. According to statisticbrian.com, among the many Americans who died directly or indirectly as a result of the effects of 911  were first responders: police, firefighters and paramedics as well as  125 members of the military as a result of the attack on the Pentagon. Altogether 6493 people died because of 9/11.

But additionally Americans have also experienced dramatic changes in their daily lives as a result of 911 in transportation, borders, and defense.


Airport security is probably the most changed. After the 9/11 attack the airports started checking carry-on items with a screening machine.

After having used this form of screening  for a while after 911,  new threats were discovered. Airports then had to ban liquids and started having all people take off their shoes (after they discovered someone trying to sneak on a bomb in their shoe), according to CNN.

After the attack of 9/11 trains had to change their paths of travel, along with subways. Both the trains and subways got a little stricter on security.  Many stations have surveillance cameras in place as well as officers with bomb sniffing dogs, according to PBS.


Another major  change as a result of 911 involved  the  crossing of America’s borders, north and south.  Before 9/11  Americans did not  have to have a passport while crossing neighboring borders. Canada and Mexico had open borders. Visitors could cross into and out of the United States into Canada and Mexico with only their  driver’s license as identification, according to cnn.com.

However, this change did not take full effect until Jan. 1, 2007 for those using public transportation. While those walking or in a car a passports was not needed until Jan. 1, 2009, according to PBS.

“The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom,” stated then New York City Mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

“You can be sure American spirits will prevail over this tragedy,” stated  Colin Powell, American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army.


We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.”-Barack Obama (44th and current President of the United States, and the first African American to hold the office)

The United States Government spent 306 million dollars in defense in 2001. Now the United States Government spends over 400 million dollars for defense annually. This money is spread into many categories including military, civil, veterans, and foreign defense. Additionally, the American  government decided that pilots can carry a loaded gun. The pilots can now apply to become a federal flight deck officer, according to CNN.

Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors,” wrote Abraham Lincoln , 16th president of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.

The American government also created a new branch called The Department of Homeland Security.  The governor of Pennsylvania was appointed director of this new department 11 days after the attacks. According to PBS, however the DOHS was not  an official department until November 2002 and did not have an official office until March 2003.

“Our strength is not just in the size of our defense budget, but in the size of our hearts, in the size of our gratitude for their sacrifice. And that’s not just measured in words or gestures,””

— Jennifer Granholm, Attorney General and 47th Governor of Michigan

 stated Jennifer Granholm , Canadian-born American politician, educator, author, and political commentator who served as Attorney General and 47th governor of the U.S. state of Michigan.

after the attacks, the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) and the U.S. Border Patrol were combined to make the U.S Customs and Border Protection agency or CBP.  This combination allowed the two agencies to work together and combine their knowledge in order to help secure the border.

As a result of 9/11 the way Americans travel, serve  and protect their country has changed probably forever. All of these changes help to make us safer from any future attacks, according to PBS.

“They never thought they’d see the day. That the tower’s up in flames. There was nothing left to say. When it all came down,” sang Taylor Swift an American  singer-songwriter.