I went into the classroom and as I was walked in, our teacher turned on the TV. That is when we saw the second plane hit the Twin Towers. I was in shock and could not believe what I saw. I had so many mixed emotions. I looked around my classroom and saw my teacher and a few of my classmates cry. We all just looked at each other. When the third plane hit the Pentagon, I had this knot in my stomach and knew life in America would be forever changed.
I was affected by the events of September 11, 2001 in multiple ways. I am still haunted by what I saw televised on the news. Some images will haunt me forever. I saw people jump out of windows knowing that they are so high up that they would not survive the fall. I was going to school on a military base, and the base was on lockdown. I just wanted to go home after seeing the towers going down and so many people hurt. I called my mom and asked her to pick me up. All I wanted to do was go home and cry. Seeing all those people jumping out of windows and the towers just crumble was so overwhelming. It took a few hours for parents to pick up their children since the base was on lockdown. That night, I stayed up half the night I could not sleep. The news just got harder and harder to watch. It took a few days for me to be able to sleep well again.
The events of September 11, 2001, also known as 9/11, changed the country by reprioritizing airport security. Thousands of people were scared to fly after that day, so safety became a main focus at the airport instead of maintaining travelers’ privacy and ensuring speed of service. Some changes are also a major inconvenience. Anyone traveling must check in a few hours before their flight. I remember a time when I could bring my water bottle through security, but now it is not allowed. I also recall a time where I could wait for my family at the airport gate and since 9/11 that no longer happens. Liquids and toiletries have to be a certain size and must be placed in a clear bag. If liquids are too large, they are taken away. People are randomly selected for more thorough screening. We now have to take our shoes, belts and jewelry off. Airports are also trying new X-ray equipment. Airlines also made changes to aircrafts with equipped hardened cockpit doors. Thousands of Air Marshalls were sent on flights in order to make Americans feel safe on an airplane again. Improvements to airport security will continue to occur, and so will the inconveniences that come along with it.
As a result of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created. DHS has more than 184,000 employees making it the third-largest cabinet department in the U.S. Federal Government. The Patriot Act was enacted giving the Government more access and decreasing Americans’ civil liberties.
Many people who were near Ground Zero are still feeling the effects health wise even though it has been more than a decade since the attacks. When the Twin Towers collapsed, tons of toxic material and debris containing carcinogens were released. Firefighters, police officers and volunteers were exposed to chemicals that let to illnesses. The New England Journal of Medicine found that 30 to 40% of the workers who suffered impaired lung functions still show little or no