Much has changed in the two years since the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The Iraq War and 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan have both officially ended. Iraq and Afghanistan are stable and peaceful compared to Egypt, Syria, and Libya. These all could be indicators that 9/11 has lost some of its importance and relevance.
However, when asked if they thought the importance of 9/11 was waning, Presbyterian students argued otherwise.
Sophomore Hayley Wofford said, “I would say not, because it affected so many people. We’re still feeling the harms and effects of it.”
2,993 people died and 8,900 were injured as a result of 9/11, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in recorded history. People have not forgotten; cities such as Crescent Springs in Northern Kentucky are still building monuments honoring the victims.
Junior Cameron Brock said, “I don’t think so, I don’t think it’ll ever diminish…it was such a monumental catastrophe in our history that I don’t think it’ll ever go away.”
But what effect has there been on 9/11’s political impact? The Al-Nusra Front is a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and has been described as “the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force” by The Washington Post. Without US intervention there is a possibility that the Al-Nusra Front may take control of Syria, and yet Gallup poll’s show that only 38% of Americans support intervening in Syria.
“The Iraq War… is probably having a more significant impact on the U.S. public in our current debate on Syria than 9/11 is…. and is probably the reason why many in the general public are hesitant to get involved in Syria,” said said Dr. Justin Lance of Presbyterian College’s Department of Political Science. “
Freshman Chris Sacco had this to say: “The long-standing effects on public policy are starting to wane. We’re moving to increase personal freedoms…maybe all of this security isn’t necessary, maybe in some ways we’re doing too much, we’re encroaching on too many people’s freedoms.”
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s changes in policy certainly reflect Sacco’s thoughts. TSA Pre is a new program being implemented in 100 airports across the country. For a set of fingerprints and a fee of $85, participants will be allowed to keep their shoes and jackets on, and to keep their laptops and liquids inside their luggage.
For frequent fliers, at least, the fear inspired by 9/11 has disappeared to the point that they’ll trade added security for convenience.
“Since 9/11, the U.S. has done a relatively effective job taking out organized terrorist networks that were responsible for 9/11 and this has probably led to the decreasing importance of terrorism in our general political discourse,” Dr. Lance added.
So while the political and social importance has faded, some PC students believe the emotional impact hasn’t.
Junior Georgiana Sellers said, “…I think people have moved on, but not in a bad way.”
“It just breaks my heart, and I’m sure it does for everybody else,” Wofford said.
Regardless of its fading political impact, on this 12th anniversary of 9/11, the emotional impact is still felt strongly by many.