Osama bin Laden may not have totally succeeded in his plans for 9-11, but when you travel, you can see some of the impact he did have.
I’ve only flown once since 2001, but that was enough for me to see a difference. Taking off shoes, having everything scanned more carefully, needing to be at the airport earlier, etc.
You can imagine that Washington D.C. was greatly affected by 9-11. I remember visiting the White House when I was a child. Back then, you could actually line up and go into the house – not the part where the first family lives, but the famous downstairs rooms like the Blue Room and the Red Room. It was really neat! Nowadays, this is as close as you’ll get:
One night, our bus was held up for several minutes at a light. Our guide speculated that a motorcade was coming through, and sure enough, 15 vehicles zoomed by. The guide guessed that it was Obama because of the motorcade’s size, and yep – next morning’s papers revealed he had been going home from a ballgame. Can you imagine such a life, being escorted by so many vehicles (including an EMS truck) wherever you go?
The Capitol’s security was really tight as well. Going in, every bag had to be searched, and additionally there was a long list of items that could not be brought in. We walked to the Library of Congress from the Capitol via a long underground tunnel …
… and upon returning via the same tunnel to the Capitol, we got into another slow-moving security line. Some people were screened more thoroughly than others, inexplicably (at least to me; several kids were thoroughly searched while I breezed through). The guards were checking our hands (for residue of explosives, they said).
What a world we live in … Osama, you hated us so much for our freedom, our religion, whatever – I hope you’re enjoying your freedom and your religion out there in the cave you’re hiding in.