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The 102 Minutes That Changed America

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Terrorism is very prevalent in the United States. The al-Qaeda is the terrorist group that has been trying to diminish the culture of many industrialized nations. On September 11, 2001, formally referred to as 9/11, the worst attack in the United States’ history would occur. On this day, 19 members al-Qaeda shanghaied four United States’ airplanes and struck numerous targets on the East Coast. Under the guidance of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda has conducted countless terrorist attacks all over the world. Two of the hijacked planes hit nearly identical skyscrapers, known as the twin towers, at a complex called the World Trade Centre in New York. The South Tower, formally called 2nd World Trade Center, collapsed first at 9: 59 a.m. The North Tower, also known as 1st World Trade Center, fell at 10: 28 a.m. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon, where the U.S. military is headquartered, and killed 189 people. A fourth plane, thought to be headed for the White House, crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers onboard fought the hijackers. All 44 people on the plane were killed.

Nothing more graphically spells out the horror of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers than the granular pictures of the stiff bodies of American citizens frozen in mid-air as they fell to their deaths. They tumbled in all positions after choosing to escape the suffocating smoke, dust, flames and the steel-bending heat in the highest floors of the World Trade Centre. When they hit the pavement, their bodies were obliterated. Even though some people used tablecloths or curtains as a parachute, the safety of those items slipped from their grip. One couple held hands as they fell from the North Tower. No one knows how many victims were obliterated that day and worst of all, few people yearn to know.

The 9/11 attacks, sadly, affect the health of many people. Physically, it left many people physically impaired. Mentally, they suffer post-traumatic trauma. Also, the collapse of the Twin Towers embodied over 2,500 contaminants, including carcinogens. The Bush administration instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue comforting statements concerning air eminence in the aftermath of the attacks. However, the EPA did not verify that air quality had returned to pre-September 11 echelon until June 2002. Studies have shown that there is an increase in suicide after 9/11. The intense dust cloud increased chances of people contracting asthma. There is also a steep decline in pulmonary functions in firefighters and the emergency medical service because they contracted lung cancer from the dust. Some of these people never even smoked.

In response to these numerous attacks, the United States attacked al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, one of several countries where the group had operations. The United States invaded Afghanistan to destroy the al-Qaeda and the Afghan government. In the years after the attacks, the United States was involved in the Iraq War. The reason was because many countries, preferably the United States, believed that the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, had weapons of mass destruction. To prevent another attack, the United States searched Hussein’s place of residence and found nothing. No connection between Hussein and bin Laden was ever proved.

Just recently, the United States’ government has tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda is much weaker without him, but there are terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda that threaten to harm our nation. Since the September 11 attacks, the government has greatly increased security in airports, government buildings and public events. The government has also worked to improve the way it shares information. Although 9/11 occurred eleven years ago, it continues to change the way the United States govern and the way people express their culture.

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