Thousands of police officers from New York and District of Columbia, National Guardsmen and F.B.I. intelligence analysts are among the defense forces that have been on alert to safeguard New York and Washington as the world commemorates the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
The security measures in New York and Washington have been so tight since last week with checkpoints at tunnels and bridges. There are also armed officers at the Grand Central Terminal, one of the transportation hubs, and at Pennsylvania Station. The Coast Guard boats patrol the area around Manhattan, bomb-sniffing dogs are sent into the subway while police helicopters hover in the skies above. There are metal barricades along the sidewalks near City Hall and a team of bomb squad personnel patrol the World Trade Center memorial site.
On Sunday, September 11, President Barack Obama, former President George Bush and other dignitaries will witness the unveiling of a new memorial that was built on the actual site of the destroyed World Trade Centre.
The intelligence and security officials have been working around the clock to fortify New York and Washington against potential attacks. Although America is now safer than before, more preparations and work have to be done to protect the country. As stated by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, “We’ve made significant improvements in intelligence gathering and in airport security. But much work remains.”
On the day prior the anniversary of 9/11, a memorial service was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to honor the 343 fire fighters who lost their lives during the rescue operations at the World Trade Center.
In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, former President Bush delivered an emotional speech on the dedication of the Flight 93 memorial. By saving the Capitol City from the attack, he considered the action of the Flight 93 passengers as the “first great counteroffensive of the war on terror” and “one of the most courageous acts in American history”.
Meanwhile, Friday through Sunday has been declared as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance in America to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack.