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On September 11th 2001 the world was forever changed. The horrific events, which occurred at the World Trade Centers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, have forever altered the way Americans view their safety. Every household in the U.S. tuned in to the news on TV, radio, or Internet to see how the world was being twisted in front of their eyes. These events dramatically proved that the United States, the greatest nation in the world, was no longer safe from outside threats.
The stock market crash of 1929, which led to the depression, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the terrorist attacks of September 11th were all unexpected events that no one could have predicted but had such dramatic effects that they can never be forgotten. All three events seem to be categorized together for a few simple reasons. To the average American citizen these horrendous events were unforeseen, but noted historians would beg to differ. They believe in such instances as Pearl Harbor, The stock market crash of 1929, and September 11th, that the government and many political figures were forewarned.
If they had taken their admonitions more seriously and acted upon them, historians believe that they could have at least made the consequent effects minimal. There were several proceedings that should have elicited American retaliation. It is said that Bin laden himself declared war on America in 1996. In the early 90’s, The World Trade Center was car bombed, and Osama Bin Laden was the primary suspect for this assault. Even after that incident no one saw Bin laden as a serious threat and didn’t think his dangerous ways could jeopardize our countries well being as a whole.
After the attack of September 11th it seems the unification of the American people became so strong it’s virtually indissoluble. Our previously fragile society became a link so strong we believe it can’t be touched by the outside perils of the world. The rise in Nationalism came about in a wave of red white and blue colors. It seemed every face in America was painted with the stars and stripes of our grand old flag.
Our countries banner was now the latest fashion; closets were overflowing with the celebrated colors of our patriotic nation. Every news station put American flags on their lapels, and waving red, white and blue graphics were put on most channels. Many well-known Hollywood figures and successful businesses put together charities benefiting the victims and families affected by September 11. September 11 mended our nations pride and restored our dignity. Such a strong sense of nationalism can easily be compared to that of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, when East and West Germany celebrated their reunion as one, after being isolated for so long.
Subsequent to September 11, the United States faced many abrupt transformations as far as pastimes, lifestyles, and entertainment goes. There were a few noticeable differences from the changes following WWII, to those of September 11th. For example, Baseball, the great American pastime was brought to a standstill after September 11, where as Roosevelt motivated people to go to baseball games, and had baseball play a part in the healing of the country. Another difference from 9-11 was that after Pearl Harbor, and the crash of 1929, there were severe cut backs and limitations on how much of certain commodities, such as gasoline and sugar, the average American could use. The difference now is that we are currently at war with the oil capitals of the world. The gas prices are booming and don’t appear to be coming down any time soon; however, this does not stop the typical egotistic American from buying a brand new fuel consuming SUV.
Racism is another topic that has been significantly affected by September 11th .In WWII we knew who the enemy was, it was strictly the Japanese and Germans, however, now it’s a “pin the tail on the donkey”1 mentality. After Pearl Harbor many Japanese men were put into internment camps to be interrogated for information and kept there, that did not happen after 9-11 however, many Arabs were questioned and racial profiling became a major issue. There was also a great deal of hate crimes aimed at the Arab race and people who had the visual characteristics of the middle-eastern inhabitants. The U.S. was unsure of which persons were solely responsible for the crimes, therefore no individual has the right to go pointing their fingers at any particular group, But the stereotyping and profiling still persists.
Exactly one year after Pearl Harbor the stock market had climbed up to almost where it was before (within 10%) now we are suffering a recession because of 9-11.
Another fact is that before Pearl Harbor, the country was just coming out the depression and wasn’t even fully out. The war effort boosted production. 9-11 happened right when the US was at its prime in the economy and the attack destroyed industry and commercial enterprises. Also the government suspended a monopoly trial against GE so that it would not hurt the war effort. After 9-11 the government focused on companies such as Enron and WorldCom.
Noticeably there are numerous features of September 11th that could be considered. However, It would be virtually impossible to cover all the aspects and phases of such an important date. September 11th, 2001 was a horribly significant date in not only American history but in world history as well. It brought back horrific memories of such instances as The Bombing of Pearl harbor and can even be compared to the hardships and struggles of The Stock Market Crash of 1929. As a result, the American people came together as one in a battle we like to call the “war on terrorism” 2.
It is obvious this war may be infinite but it is worth the struggle, just knowing, in the future we may perhaps avoid such devastating events. As James Baldwin once wrote “A country is only as strong as the people who make it up and the country turns into what the people want it to become…we made the world we’re living in and we have to make it over.” 3 I think we should all recollect on the events step by step of September 11th, and take into mind, the advice that Baldwin has given us. Someday our country can completely overcome all of its vulnerability and end any chances of a date like this form reoccurring.
1. Lauren mills, a noted historian currently attending B.H.S. September 15th 2002.
2. George W. Bush Jr., AlterNet: One Year Later: Unintended Consequences of 9/11 and the war on terrorism. War against Iraq pg 3
3. James Baldwin, AlterNet: Before and After Septemeber11 True courage pg. 5