A man is treated with an inhaler for an asthma attack, at a rally for the Zadroga Act at the U.S. Capitol.

Paramedic Freddie Noboa suffering an asthma attack at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., while rallying for the Zadroga Act, September 15, 2010. Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum, © Allan Tannenbaum. All rights reserved.

Repercussions of 9/11

What are some of the ongoing repercussions of the 9/11 attacks?

On September 20, 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush announced that the United States had declared war on “a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.” The U.S. government initiated a Global War on Terror, sending troops to Afghanistan in October 2001 and later to Iraq. The 9/11 attacks prompted calls for new strategies to keep the nation safe. The USA PATRIOT Act, passed in October 2001, expanded the government’s intelligence-gathering tools and its ability to detain and deport immigrants suspected of terrorism. Many people continue to debate whether the methods used after 9/11 effectively protect national security without compromising civil liberties.

The 9/11 attacks also continue to affect individuals’ health. Immediately after the collapse of the Twin Towers, layers of thick gray dust and ash coated the site and surrounding areas. Days after the attack, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared the air in lower Manhattan safe, but the dust—made of destroyed building materials, industrial chemicals, and electronics mingled with jet fuel residue—was later determined to be hazardous.

More than 400,000 survivors, first responders, rescue and recovery workers, cleaning crews, lower Manhattan residents, and others are estimated to have been exposed to these toxins on 9/11 or during the nine-month rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero. Tens of thousands nationwide are now suffering from chronic illnesses, including respiratory diseases, mental health issues, and more than 100 different types of cancer. More than 2,000 of those exposed have died.

Primary Sources

These primary resources include speeches, executive orders, legislative acts and debates, and government reports. 

September 14, 2001
U.S. President George W. Bush Executive Order
Debate in the U.S. House of Representatives on House Joint Resolution 64 Authorizing the Use of United States Armed Forces
Statement by U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on War Powers

September 18, 2001
Authorization for Use of Military Force

September 20, 2001
U.S. President George W. Bush's Address to Congress and the Nation on Terrorism

October 7, 2001
Remarks by U.S. President George W. Bush on U.S. Military Strikes in Afghanistan

October 12, 2001
Debate in the U.S. House of Representatives on the USA Patriot Act of 2001

October 25, 2001
Debate in the U.S. Senate on the USA Patriot Act of 2001

October 26, 2001
USA Patriot Act

November 13, 2001
Military Order of November 13, 2001

November 25, 2002
Homeland Security Act of 2002

November 27, 2002
U.S. President George W. Bush Signs 9/11 Commission Bill

September 7, 2003
U.S. President George W. Bush Update on the War on Terror

November 13, 2003
Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004

June 28, 2004
Rasul v. Bush
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld

July 22, 2004
The 9/11 Commission Report

December 30, 2005
Detainee Treatment Act of 2005

May 9, 2006
USA Patriot Act Improvement and Reauthorization Act

June 29, 2006
Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

September 5, 2006
U.S. President George W. Bush Discusses Global War on Terror

September 7, 2006
U.S. President George W. Bush Discusses Progress in the Global War on Terror

October 17, 2006
Military Commissions Act of 2006

June 12, 2008
Boumediene v. Bush

June 22, 2009
Executive Order 13491 -- Ensuring Lawful Interrogations

May 2, 2011
Remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama on the Death of Osama bin Laden
Responses to Osama bin Laden’s Death

September 13, 2016
Veto Message from President Obama for the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act

September 28, 2016
Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act

Suggested Reading List

The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer. Little, Brown and Company, 2012.

Shell Shocked: The Social Response to Terrorist Attacks

Gérôme Truc and Andrew Brown (Translator). Wiley Books, 2017.

Dust: The Inside Story of Its Role in the September 11th Aftermath

Paul J. Lioy. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010.

City of Dust: Illness, Arrogance, and 9/11

Anthony DePalma. FT Press, 2010.

Fallout: The Environmental Consequences of the World Trade Center Collapse

Juan González. New Press, 2002.

Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad

Peter Bergen. Crown Publishers, 2012.

The Black Banners (Declassified): How Torture Derailed the War on Terror

Ali Soufan with Daniel Freedman. Norton, 2020.

Related Resources

These related resources include lesson planspast public programs, and feature galleries on Inside the Collection.