“Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.’”

–President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001.

The United States and the world have changed significantly in the dozen years since terrorists launched the biggest attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.

Fourteen years ago the United States wasn’t officially engaged in any wars. Few of us had ever heard of al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden, and ISIS didn’t exist. The US surveillance state was a fraction of its current size. And — maybe hardest to believe — you didn’t have to take your shoes off at the airport.

America’s involvement in the War on Terror — prompted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks — resulted in changing attitudes and concerns about safety and vigilance. It ushered in a new generation of policies like the USA Patriot Act that prioritized national security and defense, often at the expense of civil liberties. These changes had ripple effects across the globe, particularly in the Middle East, where American-led military operations have helped foment rebellions and unrest throughout the region.