September 11, 2001
On September 11, 2001, members of Al-Qaeda, a terrorist group, launched attacks in New York City, New York, and in Washington, DC. Several terrorists took control of four passenger airplanes. One of these planes crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, as the passengers onboard tried to regain control of the plane from the terrorists. The terrorists crashed two additional planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, destroying several buildings. The Al-Qaeda members also crashed an additional plane into the Pentagon in Washington. Combined, several thousand people died in these attacks.
As a result of the September 11 attacks, Americans became fearful. Before this day, terrorist attacks, in the minds of many Americans, only occurred overseas. Americans were supposedly safe from groups like Al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama Bin Laden. Both federal and state governments enacted new policies and created new bureaucracies to try and guarantee Americans' safety. The federal government created the Office of Homeland Security to coordinate security efforts and dramatically increased security measures for railroads, airports, and harbors. Ohio also enhanced its efforts to protect its residents, including creating the Office of Ohio Homeland Security, which mirrored the federal Office of Homeland Security but at the state level.
The September 11 attacks also prompted President George Bush to seek out the terrorists and to weaken their ability to launch additional attacks. To accomplish this, President Bush authorized the invasion of Afghanistan, a country that provided a refuge for Al-Qaeda members, in October 1991. In 2003, the United States also launched an invasion of Iraq, resulting in the overthrow of the Iraqi government. Thousands of Ohioans have participated in both of these invasions, with several dozen being killed.