The catastrophe that changed the world

The day that resonates in the minds of those domestic and foreign is the day that many different emotions are brought to mind. The fateful attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001 are remembered by many, but only seen as a day in history for some.

“The people who lived through 9/11, just like the people who lived through WWII, are forever changed by it,” said French teacher Mrs. Jessica Savarese.

Since the incident, society has changed in so many ways. From airport security, stereotypes and undeniable fear, actions of many have been altered in ways for the better and for the worse.  

Before the attack, airports were not considered high-security. According to, it was not until after the incident that the Aviation and Transportation Security Act was passed. This act consisted of the creation of Transportation Security Administration.

Savarese says that airport security was not serious until after the attacks occurred.

“Before the attacks, I remember being able to walk right up to the gate without a ticket at Indianapolis airport. There was basically no security. That does seem surreal to think of now. We were sitting ducks,” Savarese said.

Because of the creation of the TSA, machinery scans to detect dangerous items and new security procedures are implemented, such as the removal of shoes. With these security precautions comes even more skepticism among certain types of people.

Mark Howell, a TSA regional spokesperson, explains some of the differences from before 9/11.

“The security kind of fell to a couple different agencies before 9/11,” Howell said. “FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had a part of it. Local law enforcement had some of it. A bunch of different people worked on it.”

With a change of levels in security came another adjustment in society.

Discrimination against Muslims ignited once it was know that the militants who committed the terrorist crime were a part of the Islamic extremist group, al-Qaeda.

Savarese says that stereotypical views against certain culture were prevalent after the incident.

“One of the more unfortunate changes has been in racial profiling,” Savarese said.

After the attacks, the misconception that all Muslims wish terror upon Americans became a popular belief. According to, three in 10 Americans believe Muslim Americans favor al-Qaeda.

Some of the differences may not seem very noticeable to the students who attend SHS. When the incident happened, seniors would have been three or four. Some may remember the attack, but as for life before it, that may be more difficult. Living in a post 9/11 culture is all that the students at SHS know.

Sophomore Kelsey Andreis does not feel directly affected by the incident but sympathizes with those who do.

“I don’t think it’s affected me personally, just because I was so young but I know that (for) a lot of the teachers and everything it definitely hits them hard,” Andreis said.

Globally people are aware that terrorism exists, but according to, since the attack happened 14 years ago leniency has begun to wear off and that the threat is prevalent and should not be forgotten.

Savarese was in France when the incident occurred and says that France sympathized with America on that day.

“The French also felt the attack very deeply.  They mourned with us.  A front page editorial in Le Monde, published just after the attack, proclaimed, ‘Nous sommes tous Americains (We are all Americans),’” Savarese said.

Not only was there a unification with foreign countries but math teacher Ms. Patricia Blake believes there was a unification amongst the people in the U.S.

“When I would be out with my friends, we often would go outside and link arms and sing the Alan Jackson song “God Bless the USA,’” Blake said. “At the American Legion, we always end the evening by everyone standing in a circle and singing it. Later, the Alan Jackson ‘Where Were You’ became important. There was a lot of patriotism and feelings expressed.”

Through unification comes precaution and some of the teachers that were full-grown adults at the time feel differently about changes made than others.

“Life is totally different-some of it for the good and some not. Trust has never been the same, and that is a good thing in a way,” Blake said.

Savarese feels differently and says she feels hatred toward the fact that she loses trust on subways and in airports.

The view on how 9/11 changed society varies from person to person. However, some of the veteran teachers at SHS do not believe that looking back in the past to see what could have been done differently matters. Where as some of the younger teacher feel the government and officials could have gone about things differently.

“I don’t think hindsight helps,” Blake said. “Everyone was so much in shock-things had to be done.”

Although some people wish they did not have trust issues since the incident, Walt Colbert, a retired colonel in the U.S. Military, believes it is right to not let our guard down as a nation. While security and awareness has increased, the initial shock and vigilance has decreased.

“The one thing that concerns me though, is are we getting complacent again as time continues to move farther from 9/11?” Colbert said.