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Social Change: 9/11

Explaining how the events that occurred on September 11, 2001 were an agent on social change in the USA.
by

Caroline Edwards

on 13 June 2013

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Transcript of Social Change: 9/11

September 11, 2001:
A Heart-breaking Agent for Social Change
Monday, September 10, 2001 was a day like many others in the United States of America.
People attended work and school,
spent time with their families, and
carried on their normal lives, just as
they would any other day of the year.
The United States was under the leadership
of President George W. Bush
They believed in a sense of immunity,
that their country was safe from harm
and external threats, they had pride in
their country, and their leaders, and they
believed they were unbreakable.
They believed that their country was
ahead of the game on a technological
level, and this could keep them safe
from any external threats or issues,
and they thought their systems were invincible.
They felt untouchable. They saw themselves
as a world power, and did not believe anything bad could happen.
After operations in Iraq, such as
Desert Storm, they felt as if they had
an army who would protect them without
suffering many casualties. Any attempted
terrorist attacks had been stopped, and
the USA felt as if they had the technology
in place to never let anything serious happen
to their homeland.
They thought they had built up a shield
of nuclear weapons and armies so strong
that they had no threats, and they felt as if
their shield was unable to penetrate.
The United States shared a Westernized
culture with many influences and sub-
cultures from around the world.
They had Americanized cuisine from
around the world, such as Americanized
Chinese food, as well as a variety of
foods known for being American, such as
the hamburger. Fast food restaurants are
also known for being made popular in the
United States of America.
Sports such as baseball, basketball
and football are a point of pride for
many US citizens.
They rely heavily on automobiles, most
people work 40 hour work weeks, and
have minimum wage laws.
The culture of Americans was and
remains much like ours in Canada.
On September 11, 2001, many things changed when the unthinkable happened.
On what was supposed to be the United
Nations annual International Day of Peace,
the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre
were attacked by three hijacked airplanes.
At 7:59am, American Airlines Flight 11
from Boston to Los Angelos took off,
only to be hijacked approximately fifteen
minutes later. Ninety-three people were on-
board.
At 8:14am, United Airlines flight 175 from Boston
to Los Angelos took off, only to be hijacked 31 minutes later. Sixty-five people were on-board.
At 8:20am, American Airlines Flight 77 took off
from Washington D.C., and at 8:42am, United
Airlines Flight 93 took off from Newark, New Jersey.
At 8:46am, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre, killing all 93 people on-board the plane, and many more inside the tower.
At 9:03am, Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Centre, killing all 65 people on-board, as well as others in the tower.
At 9:37am, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, killing 184 people on-board and in the building.
At 9:42am, the US closed their airspace, redirecting all incoming flights.
At 9:59am, the South Tower of the World Trade Centre collapsed, killing another 600 people.
At 10:03am, Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, killing all 40 people on-board the flight after being hijacked.
At 10:15am, the E-Ring of the Pentagon collapsed.
At 10:28am, the North Tower of the World Trade Centre collapsed, killing 1, 400 people.
At 11:02am, Lower Manhattan was evacuated, at 12:28pm, Canadian airspace was closed, and at 5:20pm, the tower at 7 World Trade Centre (across from the Twin Towers), collapsed.
These events would change America and its citizens forever.
The United States discovered that they were not invincible. There were flaws existing in the security protecting the United States. Domestic security concerns became the main issue.
This caused them to invent new laws, and tougher air security.
The US also invented a plan to launch an attack against Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban regime, making deals with many countries to use their airspace and air bases, as well as creating negotiations with neighbouring countries for support of their military efforts in this attack.
They tightened border security, and cut certain spendings in order to put more funding into relief efforts and anti-terrorist operations.
The events that occurred on September 11 also spawned the invention of a new idea in American citizens: prejudice towards Muslim and Arab people. Over 1, 700 reports of violence were reported by February, 2002.
Cultural Materialism often plays a large role in why countries feel the need to go to war against one another, or commit acts of terror on other countries.
Al-Qaeda saw the US as a threat militantly, and blamed them for many terrorist acts throughout history, such as nuclear bombings on Japan at the end of World War II.
After the attacks by Al-Qaeda on September 11, the US saw their economy spiralling down and realized the true threat from this Eastern power, and began "Operation Enduring Freedom".
The terrorist attacks on September 11 brought with them huge emotional factors, and much emotional response.
Some emotional factors include:
age (older people with more knowledge of the events occuring were affected heavily)
proximity to events (people living in New York, Washington or Pennsylvania were heavily affected, as well as people who watched the incidents, people who survived, and people related or connected to people involved in the incidents)
Emotional Response was noticed immensely after the attacks on September 11.
Many people developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Approximately 422, 000 New Yorkers suffered PTSD, and 20% of residents living within a one mile radius of the World Trade centre developed the disorder.
Fear of another attack emerging, and fear that domestic security was at risk
Psychological illnesses after dealing with loss, such as death and job loss.
Sympathy towards loss
Acknowledgement and gratitude for those willing to help
Many people enjoyed the cognitive consistency that came with living in the United States, a nation built on pride and safety. After 9/11, this cognitive consistency was shattered, as people were forced to believe that factors like Al-Qaeda could conflict this idea.
Behaviour modification was easily displayed in airports across the continent. With more strict rules and negative reinforcement for those who attempted to bring unsafe items on airplanes, behaviours could be modified to prevent any other terrorist attempts via the use of hijacked aircrafts.
St. Paul's Chapel stood directy behind the World Trade Centre. As these buildings collapsed damaging almost everything within their surroundings, the church remained completely intact. It became a sanctuary for those working hard to rescue any survivors from the rubble at Ground Zero.
As rescue efforts continued, many people sent letters to the rescuers and had them delivered to this church, which, for unknown reasons, manahed to stand even in the face of turmoil.
Many people say that the church should've been destroyed when the towers collapsed, but not a single window was broken. The only sign of damage was a tree in the back of the cemetery that had fallen down. The safety of this church made many people wonder about the importance of faith and religion, as rescue efforts continued for a truly harsh event in American and world history.
When I visited New York City in December, 2011, I was fortunate enough to visit St. Paul's Chapel. Inside the church, the posters given to the relief efforts still remained giving hope to people who entered the church. Walking in the doors you could feel the heart break of the events on September 11, yet also feel a sense of hope. The emotions I felt walking through the church and seeing all of the posters are unexplainable. As i stepped into the cemetery and looked out at what used to be the World Trade Centre, and saw the new Peace Tower, I realized that although devastating, the events on September 11, 2001 could not shatter the United States. As they continue to remember and rebuild, they are getting stronger.
St. Paul's Chapel has become a tourist site for many people as they visit New York City, as a way to show respect for those lost, and those who helped when the towers collapsed on that horrible day.
Having to live through these changes, people would immediately feel the pain of the events, and the devastation of what had happened. They would see a change in the ease of transportation, with new laws in border control and air travel. A change in relations between the US and other countries would be observed, as well as a change in the views towards Arab people and nations due to the ethnicity of those involved in the hijackings.
The sociocultural perspective on events such as these would play a role in how people are able to view these events. Social and cultural forces shape the way people view the world.
The attack took a total of 2, 819 lives, 343 of which were firefighters and paramedics, and 60 of which were NYPD or Port Authority police officers. There were casualties involved from a total of 115 nations worldwide. Only 289 bodies were found fully intact. Approximately 1, 700 families were never able to recieve the remains of deceased loved ones.
Due to tension and adaptation, the United States were forced to make changes in their society.
When America was attacked on September 11, the realization that they were not untouchable hit the United States. This caused them to adapt new systems in order to ensure their safety.
These included the heightened security measures and the presence of ideas of a possible deployment of soldiers in Iraq.
Because of these events, a number of positive social changes also occurred in the USA. People began noticing a heightened appreciation for their own lives.
As we, in Canada, watched our Southern neighbour crumble on the news, the need for change in Canada became evident. If it could happen to them, it could happen to us. We tightened our airport and border security as well, and became prepared to join our allies in war.
People who were personally affected, or people who were simply citizens of the United States began to attend church more regularly after the attacks on 9/11. A 20% increase in church attendance was seen in the months following the terrorist attacks.
Structural Functionalists believe that the society will provide the basic needs to its citizens. The basic human need for security and safety was breeched on 9/11 as 19 people were able to hijack four airplanes and take the highest number of casualties on American soil since the American Civil War.
This lead to a social change in the security of incoming and outgoing people to and from the United States. Laws were created and rules were made to determine what could and could not be brought on airplanes. New scanners were created, security machines became tougher, and more luggage was being searched in order to demand safety, and to decrease the likelihood of such events to happen again.
This change in security did not only occur in the United States. The events were seen worldwide, and airport security was tightened almost everywhere. The world realized that this could happen anywhere, and they took the necessary measures to ensure worldwide safety.
Very extreme measures were taken to ensure the security and safety of airports and planes.
All 19 hijackers of the planes used in the attacks on 9/11 were Muslim Arab citizens. After 9/11 there was a rise in the discrimination of people who appeared to be of Muslim and Arab descent. Racial profiling and hate crimes increased tremendously.
Heidi Beirich. (August 26, 2010).
Wave of Hate Crimes Directed at Muslims Breaks
Out.
Retrieved from: http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2010/08/26/wave-of-hate-crimes-directed-at-muslims-breaks-out/
In 2001, a 1600% increase in hate crimes toward muslim people was seen as 481 hate crimes were reported in a single year, compared to only 28 the year before.
The War on Terror began 26 days after the attacks on 9/11. This was a product of tension and adaptation as well.
The United States seeked retalliation against those who caused the attacks on September 11. They began Operation Enduring Freedom and many more. These events began the War on Terror.
Within 6 months, 22, 000 bombs were dropped in Afghanistan, 25% of which missed their intended target, 10% of which never exploded, leaving dangerous landmines. This changed the lives of innocent Afghanistan citizens when their cities were bombed intentionally or accidentally.
Not only did the War on Terror have massive negative effects on countries in the Middle East who were under attack, but it also had many negative effects on the United States.
Approximately 1, 645 American lives were lost in Afghanistan, and 4, 474 American lives were lost in Iraq. Canada has lost 158 soldiers.
The War on Terror has cost the U.S. Budget Office an estimated $4.7-$5.4 trillion dollars.
116, 657 innocent civilians have been killed in the War on Terror.
Symbolic Interaction relates to the fact that we process stimuli differently and attach our own meanings to them.
Many different symbols can now be related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
One symbol can be noticed from the prejudice beliefs held after 9/11. To many American citizens:
= Terrorist
Although this is obviously not the case. Being Muslim does not automatically make someone a terrorist. This is a stigma that should be deleted from minds.
The memorials created for the Twin Towers symbolize many different things.
The Tribute in Light memorial shown below was created to symbolize the idea that the Twin Towers were now New York City's phantom limbs, missing from the beautiful skyline. It consists of two very powerful lights that beam the illusion of the two towers at night. The memorial can be seen annually on September 11 from dusk until dawn.
Another symbol of the people who were lost in the attacks is the Sphere currently located in Battery Park. The Sphere was a statue that once stood in the fountain between the World Trade Centres. When the area was being cleaned after the attack, the statue was found still intact but slighty damaged. It currently can be found in battery park, an area that was created using the backfill when the towers were built.
The previous photo was taken on my trip to New York when we visited Battery Park. We were informed that the Sphere will be relocated when the Freedom Tower is built. The Freedom Tower is currently under construction, and will replace the World Trade Centre. The Sphere will be relocated to the lobby of the new Peace Tower and will be a reminder of the turmoil that was seen on September 11, but also a reminder that America was never really broken, only damaged, and they still stand tall.
The permanent memorial, titled Reflecting Absense, was created in the actual footprints left by the twin towers. It contains a constant stream of water flowing into a "reflecting pool" which falls into another pool, often symbolizing the realm of the underworld, which symbolizes the lost lives of those whose lives were taken during the attacks. Surrounding the two pools are black walls. On these walls are the carved names of all of the casualities of the attack on the twin towers, the flights, the pentagon and the passengers on Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania.
As America gets back on its feet, they begin to build the Freedom Tower. Construction on the tower began in 2006, and it should be available for occupancy as early as 2013. The Tower will be next to the Reflecting Absense Memorial, and will stand 1, 776 feet tall. This number is symbolic in itself, as 1776 was the year the United States became a country. The tower itself will be a memorial of the original World Trade Centres as well as the lives that were lost that day, and the full effect that these events had on American and the world. It will symbolize freedom, and demonstrate that the people of New York as well as the citizens of the USA are moving forward.
The Freedom Tower will also pay special tribute to the original Twin Towers. There will be an observation deck at a height of 1, 362 feet which was the height of the second tower, and at 1, 368 feet there will be a glass parapet, since this was the height of the first tower.
Since September 11, 2001, much has changed not only in the United States, but all over the world. These terrible events showed the world the true power of the United States, as well as the power of the Middle-Eastern countries, and the Taliban. Since 9/11, many Middle-Eastern leaders have been killed, as well as many soldiers and civilians. Innocent lives have been taken, and economies have crashed.
Through the turmoil, America continues to fight. With the creation of new security measures, new war operations, and the Freedom Tower, the United States is getting back on their feet.
You can still feel the pain when walking through St. Paul's Chapel in Manhatten, but when you step out the back door and look up at the new Freedom Tower, you know that the pain may end soon.
America has come a long way in the past ten and a half years, but this does not mean that the terrorist attacks will ever be forgotten.
September 11, 2001 will forever be an unforgettable day, and a heart-breaking agent for social change.
Symbolic Interaction with the numbers 9 and 11 were changed as well. People once saw the numbers 9-1-1 and what came to mind was three numbers; the telephone number for the police, but 9/11 has taken on a whole new meaning.
9/11 - September 11
A day that changed the world, took many lives, and broke the hearts of many people worldwide.
What effect did this have on America?
Anthropologists could notice a discovery (finding something new that was once unknown to a culture), many inventions (new products, ideas, social patterns that affect the way that people live), and the affect of cultural materialism (theory that technology and economics are the most important factors in moulding a culture).
Psychologists would notice various emotional factors and response (causes of emotions felt and how people react to them), cognitive consitency (avoiding attitudes that conflict with each other), behaviour modification (attempting to determine the methods that can successfully change or modify problem behaviour) and negative reinforcement (punishment for people who do something that society does not approve of). The events relate to the sociocultural perspective, in which social and cultural forces shape our behaviour, and the impact of groups and cultural rules on our actions.
Sociologists could notice change through tension and adaptation (when a part of a social system changes, causing tension between existing parts and other parts have to adapt to such changes), external events (events happening around the world which affect other parts of the world), charismatic leaders (a leader who draws people to follow them), discrimination (unfair treatment against people perceived as wrong or different), symbolic interaction, and structural functionalism (society provides the basic needs for its citizens).
Osama Bin Laden can be considered a charismatic leader. He was able to develop his own ideas and create the al-Qaeda network which was a regime working to eliminate the oppression of Muslim people. He planned many terrorist attacks in the United States and was seen to be taking on the most powerful nation in the world by himself. He was placed on American's Top Ten Most Wanted list, which made him gain even more support from his followers, making him a charismatic leader.
American was put to the test on September 11, 2001.
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