The terrorist attacks that took place 11 years ago were on the minds of many Americans on Tuesday, but national security hasn't been a focal point of this year's election as voters look for answers on the economy.
Eight years ago, national security -- as well as the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- dominated the discussions on the campaign trail. Now, voters are focused on the economy and the deficit.
Since 9/11, fears have likely diminished somewhat now that al Qaeda has been considerably diminished. U.S. troops are now out of Iraq despite the continued violence there, and though tens of thousands of troops are still in Afghanistan, many Americans admit they have tuned out on that topic.
"Without a recent, immediate attack, most Americans are not as focused on that as they used to be," said Bill Davnie, who served as a foreign service officer for nearly 30 years and participated in the civilian surge in Iraq in 2007.
Davnie says it's understandable why voters are placing priority on the country's finances and the Affordable Care Act, but he says foreign policy always matters.
"We need to be smart observers of what is happening out there and care about what makes a region stable," he said. "Not just because it's nice to be stable, but there can be blowback here."
During his speech at the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney didn't mention U.S. troops or Afghanistan once. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Democrats have started to seize on the issue.
Obama is up by double digits in most polls regarding foreign policy, so it's little wonder why he's playing offense against Romney -- much like then-President George W. Bush did to John Kerry in 2004.