Local governments mark 9/11, on alert against threat (w/ related video)
This weekend will mark the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and law enforcement in both cities are on heightened alert in response to “credible information” about a possible terrorist attack. Meanwhile, local governments and public safety agencies across the nation plan to observe the anniversary in a variety of ways.
On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it had received “specific, credible but unconfirmed threat information” about a possible plot by al Qaeda terrorists to launch some kind of attack in New York or Washington during the Sept. 11 weekend. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s police department had deployed extra resources to help prevent any such attack. “But the best thing that we can do to fight terror is to refuse to be intimidated by it,” Bloomberg said in a statement Thursday. “For 10 years, we have not allowed terrorists to intimidate us. We have lived our lives without fear, and we will continue to do so. So go about your business as you normally would, but just be vigilant.”
On Sunday, Bloomberg and other city officials will dedicate the 9/11 Memorial at the site where the World Trade Center (WTC) towers stood before they were destroyed in the attack. The memorial comprises two “voids” — large recessed pools that mark the footprints of the two towers, surrounded by the names of the victims of the attacks — as well as open space and a museum. “We had to design a memorial that would stand the test of time — and design the space that our city would need to grow and prosper,” Bloomberg said Tuesday at breakfast in Lower Manhattan sponsored by the Association for a Better New York. “I believe that history will record that we accomplished both.” The city also will revive the “Tribute in Light,” twin beams from spotlights shining up from the WTC site, Saturday night.
Other cities and counties affected by the attacks have events planned for this weekend, including:
- Washington, where a hijacked plane crashed into the side of the Pentagon, will hold a series of events, including special “lessons in promoting tolerance and peace” in public schools on Friday and the “Passing of the Peace-Rose Petal Ceremony” at Hains Point Park on Saturday. On Sunday, the city will hold an anniversary tribute and service day on Freedom Plaza from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by candlelight service at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C., that evening.
- In Somerset County, Pa., where another hijacked plane, United Flight 93, crashed following a failed attempt by passengers to retake control, Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to help dedicate Phase 1 of the permanent memorial at the Flight 93 crash site on Saturday. President Obama and the first lady are scheduled to visit the site on Sept. 11.
- In Arlington County, Va., in which the Pentagon is located, there will also be observances and events throughout the 9/11 weekend. They will include an evening ceremony Saturday night at the U.S. Air Force Memorial, which overlooks the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial. Speakers will include a representative of the 9/11 Victims’ Families Foundation and the lighting of 184 candles, one for each victim.
- Police and firefighters are expected to observe a national Moment of Remembrance of the 9/11 attacks as defined by Senate Resolution 237, which was passed in July. The resolution calls for a nationwide tribute to begin at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday that will last for one minute. In previous years, public safety workers observed the 9/11 anniversary with a moment of silence, but Resolution 237 urges them to instead sound their police and firefighter sirens and bells.
Local government associations, such as the Washington-based National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), also are observing the 9/11 anniversary. NLC President and Charlotte, N.C., Councilmember James Mitchell released a statement saying the day should be dedicated to the memory of the first responders who lost their lives in the attacks, as well as the other victims. “As city leaders, and as a nation, we must honor these brave men and women by rededicating ourselves to each of our communities,” Mitchell said in the statement. “It is best to remember 9/11 by following the example of self-sacrifice shown to us by first responders and our armed forces. Going forward, let us as city leaders embrace understanding and collegiality in making our communities better places to live, work and celebrate life.”
NACo included an article in its twice-monthly newsletter on how counties, including Somerset and Arlington counties, are observing the anniversary. The association also reposted on its website “Never Forget: Counties Remember 9/11,” a video tribute to the attacks that was first shown at NACo’s 2002 Legislative Conference. Watch the video below or on YouTube.
American City & County’s sister publications Fire Chief and Urgent Communications also have been publishing commentaries and articles related to the 9/11 anniversary. Read Fire Chief’s 9/11 commentaries and other stories. Also, read Urgent Communications’ major feature on improvements made in emergency communications since the attacks.