“Patriot Day” and “National Day of Service and Remembrance” was observed yesterday. Since the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, September 11 of every year has been set aside as a day to remember.
Previously known as Patriot Day, President Obama issued a proclamation on Sept. 10, 2012 renaming the day as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance to lump remembering more than 3,000 victims killed in the terrorist attacks with the Serve America Act championed by Sen. Ted Kennedy.
It is not a holiday, rather an opportunity to gather, remember and participate in memorials. Tens of thousands of people turned out in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., to remember.
It’s been 12 years since the attacks. Standing in a firehouse just blocks from “ground zero,” one can glance around the New York City skyline, surrounded by a brotherhood of blue representing the thin red line of the Fire Department of New York, while tens of thousands of people walk by; each seeming oblivious to the day or the events of a dozen years ago.
Cell phones in their ear, laptops over their shoulders and Starbucks in their hand, today’s earnings easily trump yesterday’s, or tomorrow’s, terrorist attacks.
But the Big Apple remains a prize target for terrorist thugs and it remains in the crosshairs of wannabe martyrs. In the last 10 months: two brothers from Pakistan were arrested in Florida after plotting to set off a bomb in New York City. One brother came to the city specifically to select suitable targets, including high-profile theaters, restaurants, Times Square and other prominent locations; a New York man was arrested as he was boarding a plane to Yemen to seek terrorist training; a 23-year-old Bangladeshi in the city on a student visa plotted to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in Lower Manhattan; an al Qaeda operative trained in Iran met with an accomplice in New York to plot a terrorist attack that included targeting a train from New York City to Canada; and the Tsarnaev brothers were reported to be on their way to Manhattan armed with pipe bombs and pressure-cooker bombs after they set off their reign of terror at this year’s Boston Marathon.
According to New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, since Sept. 11, 2001, there have also been plots to blow up the Herald Square subway station; attack synagogues in the Bronx and Manhattan; detonate the fuel lines under JFK Airport; conduct suicide bombings on three rush-hour subway lines; explode a car bomb in the middle of Times Square; and attack post office buildings and returning U.S. troops with pipe bombs.
The threat of terrorism is as great today as it was before September 11, 2001. The events in Syria have drawn militants from all over the world – including the United States. And, someday they’ll be back. The Middle East region is still a powder keg and the United States is losing international friends and support.
Yes, eternal vigilance is indeed the price of freedom.