New York City is my home. I walked those streets when I was young. I will not forget what happened there. Nor will any American who lived during the worst attack on American soil. It was an act of war.
How have we responded?
The new towers are well along in construction. I didn’t expect to like the new design and I have to admit that I do. The same is true for the two reflecting pools created from the excavated foundations of the two towers. I guess I wanted to see the two towers replaced as a statement that Americans are resilient, you can knock us down, but we get back up. But the new buildings really stand out, and that’s a good thing.
We have waged a “different kind of war” as former President Bush suggested. And for the most part that war has been successful in capturing or killing the men responsible for the attack on American civilians. To the credit of the military and intelligence community, there have been no incidents of a comparable nature.
There has been a huge increase in the development of disaster response technology. Bomb disposal robots, serpentine robots that can search through rubble and debris, security systems that can search baggage for explosives and specialized equipment to help first responders all attest to the fundamental ingenuity of Americans.
But with all the enhanced security measures, are we more secure? I have to wonder. Today’s memorial at Ground Zero was accompanied by extremely heightened security because of threats of another attack of some kind.
As a country, we have debated the securing of America’s borders for thirty years. We have erected a fence along part of our border with Mexico, but there are significant gaps remaining. Just ask the folks in Texas and Arizona. And let’s not forget that taxpayers have paid for a complete fence, and haven’t got it.
Our existing immigration laws forbid foreigners who are criminals to remain in this country. Yet we have many illegal aliens committing murder and other crimes on American soil. Enforcing this one aspect of our laws would be a great starting point toward restoring national security.
What is the long term consequence of the security problem? How do we respond to the pressure of constantly being alert to danger in our own land? These are concerns that affect everyone. Everyone needs to get involved. Not just the 25% of Americans who vote in the presidential elections, but everyone.
Let us not forget that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”. (Thomas Jefferson)