Security and safety forever altered in American psyche

I’m part of the post-9/11 generation. Ten years on, my shoes come off effortlessly at airport checkpoints, my liquids are packed snugly in 3-ounce containers, and I call for a ride only when I am outside of the airport with my bags securely by my side. I travel, small distances and far, a confirmed follower of those who remind us that to do otherwise would be a true victory for those who seek to destroy the freedom synonymous with being American.

But something fundamental changed the psyche of my generation on that fated Sept. 11 a decade ago. And I’m not sure there are enough guards, soldiers or fences to alter that reality.

Precautionary awareness is common sense in a post-9/11 world. You become aware of your surroundings, check for abandoned packages, pay heed to finding a balance between your gut and your guilt when a fellow traveler raises your uneasiness. I keep telling myself that such are minor, inconsequential inconveniences in the name of the greater good and security of us all. But from deep inside, a counter voice taunts me — a voice that reminds that terror is only one abandoned package anywhere.

In the last decade, $8 trillion has been spent on security investments. The Department of Homeland Security, consisting of seven agencies, was created to make us safer. Two wars were initiated to fight the kind of terrorism that struck on 9/11.

But the question remains: Are we any safer? Do we feel any safer? Or are most people like me — grateful there’s been no 9/11 repeat, fearful it’s only a matter of time until another terror catastrophe. There’s no escaping heightened anxiety in a post-9/11 world — the realities of a grown up world with so much that is precious to protect. But we should not fool ourselves; something fundamental shifted in our collective psyche on that September day.

We are Americans, resilient and perseverant, but ever on guard. Such is the necessary reality of my generation, and that reality goes beyond the world of minor inconveniences.

_Rebecca is a senior in LAS._