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Why do Americans think we are changed for the worse because of 9/11?

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, it was common to say that the United States was a changed country because of the trauma inflicted by the terrorist attacks.

According to a poll released this week by ABC News and The Washington Post, many Americans don’t believe the attacks changed the country for the better.

According to the poll, 46% say it changed the country for the worst. That represents a shift from 2002, when 55% believed the country had changed for the better because of 9/11.

What’s left unsaid is whether this downcast view is the result of our incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq, neither of which delivered conclusive victories, or if we have just become a more battered, divided and gloomy nation in the two decades since that bright and sunny September morning.

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