The impact of 9/11

A perspective from Reader's Digest

It has now been longer than eleven years after the tragedy at the World Trade Center. This pivotal event is clearly the most significant defining moment in the past fifty years, if not longer.

How have we changed?

On the 10th anniversary of September 11th, Reader's Digest pondered how we, as Americans, have changed over this time. Here are some of their conclusions.

We are more respectful of the uniformed services

In the years since September 11th, Americans have had a higher degree of confidence in the armed forces than in any other branch of the federal government. This respect has also been extended to other uniformed public servants such as firefighters, police officers, and EMTs. Yet sadly, the recession has hit the veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly hard.

We have accepted less privacy

In an era of full body scans, shoe removal and "no-liquids, please" at airports around the nation, nearly two thirds of Americans agree to tolerate such personal impositions to prevent terrorism.
The Patriot Act has resulted in a state where liberties have been traded for government intrusion.

Here are some statistics:

  • 3,984 federal, state, and local organizations take part in domestic counter-terrorism efforts
  • The National Security Agency alone has about 30,000 people eavesdropping on Americans
  • The NSA intercepts 1.7 billion e-mails and other communications every day.

We are less tolerant of Islam

In 2010, only 30% of Americans views the Muslim religion favorably, a statistically significantly drop from 2005 where the religion was deemed positive by 45% of Americans.

We want to achieve energy independence more than ever

Reader's Digest reports that from 2001 to 2009, most Americans favored conservation over increased production of energy, but the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and revolutions in the Middle East, our priorities have reversed.

We volunteer more

After 9/11, the number of Americans that performed voluntary service rose nearly ten percent from the previous decade. Perhaps, we have learned that we are truly our brother's keeper and we realize the importance of taking care of each other. If true, this would be a silver lining in a dark, dark cloud.

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