It has been 17 years since Sept. 11 2001. 17 years since America’s financial and political centers were attacked. 17 years since nearly 3 thousand people were killed in the deadliest act of terrorism in history. What has changed since the attacks?

America is at war for one. For the last 17 years the United States has been at war in Afghanistan. In this conflict alone around 2,400 American servicemembers, around 160 Canadian Armed Forces members, and hundreds more from other U.S. Allies around the world have been killed. Thousands upon thousands of pounds of ordinance have been dropped on the Middle East. Hundreds of covert operations have taken place, one of which, conducted by DEVGRU (S.E.A.L. Team 6), was successful in assassinating the most wanted man in the world, Osama Bin Laden, aka the man who was most personally responsible for 9/11. With this anniversary people born on the day of 9/11 can enlist in one of the five armed services.

The U.S. Navy acquired the world’s largest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, which is the most expensive war machine in history. The Air Force also has acquired a new 5th Generation fighter jet, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning, it cost over 1.5 trillion in development.

Airport security has been tightened. TSA agents and checkpoints have toughened security to the point of detaining you for even saying the word “bomb”.

Politically, America is also unrecognizable. Two presidents have entered the White House. America elected its first minority president. LGBT rights took a massive leap forward in 2015, with the landmark case of Obergefell vs. Hodges, when the Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. The divide between the right and the left, which was reduced in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, has steadily grown.

The national debt has also grown by over $15 trillion. By the end of 2018 the debt is theorized to reach over $21 trillion.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed, largely as a response to the attacks on 9/11. DHS has under its jurisdiction the United States Coast Guard, the NSA, and Border Protection to name a few.

Just over a month after the attacks the Patriot Act was signed into law making it legal for the NSA to track phone calls and emails without a warrant.

The world is a drastically different place since 9/11. Some of the differences can be attributed to the inexorable march of politics and technology, but many of the changes came as a direct result of the attacks.

“This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”

-George W. Bush,

September 11, 2001