I saw 9-11 in a deserted bowling alley
When 9/11 happened I was in college and living in an apartment just off campus. I was leaving for breakfast when the first reports came in. They said that a plane hit one of the towers, but they didn't say anything else, so I assumed that it was a small private plane that had an accident. Just a sad news item, like a car wreck. I walked to the student union and had some McDonald's hash browns for breakfast. Afterwards I was walking down the hall when I heard some of the maintenance men talking about how the towers had been hit by terrorists. We all went down to the bowling alley that was in the basement. It was closed down and the lights were off, but someone had already turned on all of the televisions, each to a different network, and each showing the same thing-the towers burning.
Everything changed. People got paranoid, one way or another. There was a lot of Islamophobia, but even non Muslims were scared. I remember a classmate who had grown up in Eastern Europe was worried that the government was going to start a purge of immigrants.
They stopped letting airlines fly for a few weeks. After 9-11 the college had a memorial service, out on the lawn, and everyone froze when they heard planes above us. Then we calmed down when saw that they were from the nearby airbase. B-52 bombers, probably practicing, even though no one knew exactly who we were going to bomb yet.
Everyone wanted to hit back. It didn't matter who, they just wanted to hit someone. So we got Afghanistan, which at first made sense, then got murkier as time went on. By the same token, everyone wanted to feel safe, so we got security measures that more often than not didn't even make sense.
Afghanistan lasted for 20 years, and a lot of the security is still in place, and probably always will be.