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Everyday Changes Since September 11, 2011

Reminders of the impact the events of September 11, 2001 had on American society are all around us today.

Nowhere in the country are citizens more aware of the changes in the world after September 11 than in New York City. Whether it’s a greater police presence on bridges, or a longer wait to get through security at local airports, every day life will never be the same as it was on September 10, 2001.

Culture changed also. God Bless America became a staple of the seventh inning stetch, and would anyone have cared if Senator Barack Obama was not wearing a flag pin before September 11?

Perhaps the most frequent reminder of present-day security concerns for every day New Yorkers is the regular subway announcement that proclaims “bags and large containers are subject to random search.”

That policy was actually enacted in July, 2005 as a response to the bombings in the London tube. It was challenged by the New York Civil Liberties Union several months later, and the challenge was denied by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who wrote “the risk to public safety of a terrorist bombing of New York City, subway system is substantial and real.”

London notwithstanding, the fresh memories of September 11 may have influenced the court’s decision on the tradeoff between privacy and safety. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution requires probable cause for search and seizure.

For those who commute by bridge, the reminder is ever-present as well. Police carsare now stationed under large bridge towers in far greater numbers than they were before the 2001 attacks. And don’t even try taking photos of bridge structures.

The towers, along with other parts of city bridges, have also been bolstered to protect against a possible bomb attack.

“Since 9/11 we have developed a partnership and work closely on a day-to-day basis with all law enforcement partners,” MTA Bridges and Tunnels VP and Chief of Operations James Fortunato said.

“There has also been tremendous progress in ‘hardening’ or strengthening the system physically to better withstand the possible impact of acts of terrorism,” he said. “In addition, we have added electronic security to monitor 24 /7 some of the critical infrastructure of our facilities.”

The security upgrades to the city’s bridges and tunnels have cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Tourists and sightseers in the city have been impacted by decreased access to landmarks as well.

The Statue of Liberty was closed to the general public from the day of the attacks until 2009. It now requires visitors to go through a metal detector and limits what kinds of objects can be brought inside.

The creation of the Transportation Security Administration and bulletproof, locked cockpit doors are two more differences in American air travel.

While it may be unrelated to security, at Yankee Stadium, God Bless America is sung during each and every seventh inning stretch. The tradition began across the Major Leagues on Septembr 17, 2001 when the Major League Baseball returned to the field. But the Yankees are the only team that still plays the song at each and every home game.

And be ready to have your bag checked at the stadium, too.

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