New York, USA – September 2001: International Newspapers headlines about 9/11 2001 attack

How 9/11 Changed American Culture

Culture is the overview of a person’s beliefs, principles, law, religion, and tradition. It embodies an individual’s identity and character, making them different and unique. 

History and current issues significantly affect many aspects of culture and its development. People may perceive an event differently depending on the culture they’ve been used to. 

The same goes for the American people. The United States, known as a world superpower, faced many hardships throughout its history and used them as a reference to its foreign and domestic policies. One such catastrophic adversity is the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

What is 9/11?

The 9/11 attacks were a series of assaults conducted by an Islamic extremist group, Al-Qaeda, last September 11, 2001, in the United States.

Nineteen militant members hijacked four airplanes and executed suicide attacks on the Twin Towers of The World Trade Center located in New York City, The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The late Osama Bin Laden led al-Qaeda. Their primary objective was to expel the United States Armed Forces from the middle east and help Islamic wars overseas. They initiated operations attacking American soil that disrupted its stability through violence, affecting civilian lives. 

Many documents published the damage extent of the incident. Certain article source indicates that 9/11 took many lives and caused considerable physical and mental damage to the remaining survivors. The unspeakable horrors that the terrorist group committed struck the United States and the world.

Washington, DC - June 01, 2018: Pentagon Memorial dedicated to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attack.
Washington, DC – June 01, 2018: Pentagon Memorial dedicated to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attack.

The Effects Of 9/11 To The United States

The seemingly ordinary Tuesday of September 11, 2001, caught everyone unprepared with the 9/11 attacks. Reports said that 2977 people perished, and 6000 more were injured. Many lost their families and friends. Many survivors of the incident still suffer from physical and mental damage, hindering them from doing their tasks.

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How Did 9/11 Affect American Culture?

9/11 is known as the most lethal terrorist attack in the United States. It significantly changed the country’s foreign policy and the people’s beliefs and principles. To understand how big the change that 9/11 brought to the Americans, it is vital to know how they were faring before 9/11 happened. Check out some contrast between The United States before and after 9/11:

Security At Home

Before: The United States Security Was On Average

The United States before 9/11 was already a superpower but was not as strict as how it became after the incident. Lawmakers passed a series of legislation before, like the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, to increase domestic security. However, it lapsed around the 1980s due to a lack of budget.

After: The United States Passed Regulations To Increase Its Domestic Security

After 9/11, the United States increased its budget for the Department Of Defense and Homeland Security aside from allocating funds to compensate those who fell victim to the 9/11 attacks. U.S. military spending also increased- by $700 Billion or 20% of the entire American expenditure. 

In addition, on June 6, 2002, the regulation of having citizens with foreign backgrounds from 16-64 years old to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. It is known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). After the interview, the authorities tracked their arrival and departure history and checked their identities.

Americans And Islam

Before: The Perspective On Islamic People Was Still Relatively Fair

International Terrorism involving members of the Islamic faith didn’t alarm the American population that much before. There were more worried about the Russians who propagated the ideals of communism that significantly contradicted democracy.

After: Islamophobia Among The American Population Became Rampant

After the 9/11 incident, many Americans felt scared and infuriated at Islamic people and other related nationalities. Some started to harass even those who were already naturalized. After the incident, there was a study in March 2002 that proves around 25% of Americans felt an extreme connection between Islam and violence. As of today, the fear of Islam by the American population doubled to 50%. It is understandable, but as a country filled with diverse nationalities that were supposed to be united, it is an unfortunate result of 9/11.

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Strengthened Nationalism

Before: American’s Perception Of Nationalism Was Non-Existent

Prior to the 9/11 attacks, Americans lived their ordinary lives and were less likely interested to think about nationalism, everybody prioritized their own problems to cope with living in a first-world country. Additionally, most Americans set aside being patriotic and focused on ways to make a living. 

After: The 9/11 Ignited American Nationalism

After 9/11 happened, the United States Government under President George Bush declared war on terrorism and addressed his priority of capturing Bin Laden and putting an end to Al-Qaeda. The American people felt an extreme sense of nationalism and that it was their responsibility to fight against terrorism more than ever. Also, they understood in a hard way that wars may cause destruction and loss of life, but fighting to protect peace is truly worth it.


The impact of 9/11 on American culture is hard to describe, as it only highlights the devastation that it caused. For the Americans, 9/11 is now a part of the past that will continue to haunt anyone who has witnessed it. It is one of the most distressing events in history that reminds everyone in the whole world that outright violence, like terrorism, can do no good but harm to innocent people. 

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