9/11 Timeline: How The Attacks Changed Our Cultural History

The colors on the graphic denote what level of alert our country was on at the time, providing a sense of a nation guided by voices of fear. There is no direct correlation between the colors and the cultural events that we are aware of. Thinking back, most wouldn’t even be able to recall exactly when we were on “elevated” or “high” alert, considering the government never provided adequate information to give them context. As you can see, the colors denoting “low” and “guarded” risks — green and blue — were never in use during the course of the alert system, and we’ve been in a perpetual state of “high” risk since 2006. In April of this year, the often mocked color-coded alert system was scrapped for a more specific system of alerting us to terrorism threats.

View the interactive timeline

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