Sept. 11, 2001, is anything but a long-lost memory for many, many Americans. Anyone who has been to an airport or endured yet another emergency-evacuation drill at work needs no reminder of how its effects endure. But then there are more subtle influences, the ones lodged just below the surface that shake loose at the slightest provocation.
So, whether most people recognize it or not, 9/11 has changed their lives in one way or another. Here are seven of them:
|No More Leisurely Flying|
Airline travel used to be pleasant enough, or even fun sometimes. Now travelers have to build in time for security lines and be prepared for a pat-down. It's almost enough to make people swear off flying. Indeed, some have.
|'See Something, Say Something'|
Hands off that unattended package, bag, suitcase, container, etc. Time was when abandoned packages might have invited a care-free inspection of the item to identify its owner. Not anymore. The assumption now is that the package means you no good, so in the ominous-sounding language first used by the New York MTA, "If you see something, say something."
|Emergency Response Kits Near By|
Look around your office desk. Chances are you've been issued an "Essential Response Kit," or something similar. The one here at ABC News in New York comes with two water pouches, a cherry-flavored energy bar, an emergency blanket, dust masks, a plastic whistle and 12-hour green light-stick, all in a water-proof pouch.
|Family Planning Redefined|
Many people have heeded the advice of emergency preparedness professionals and developed a family disaster response plan. The upside is that such plans would come in handy for any catastrophe, manmade or otherwise.
|You Wanted Uncle Sam|
The attacks inspired many people to enlist for military service, some of whom undoubtedly made a career of it. But even short of that, or rotation through a war zone, not many people leave military service the same as when they entered.
|Government Can Do Only So Much|
Some people now fret that their security is as fragile as the Twin Towers turned out to be. So with the shrinking confidence in government to keep them safe comes a little less peace of mind.
|Your Privacy Has Taken a Hit|
Start with the controversial USA Patriot Act of 2001, which made it significantly easier for law enforcement agencies to search, among other things, medical, telephone and financial records. Even library records are fair game in pursuit of a terrorist threat, so your "right to privacy" extends beyond your front door less than it used to.