With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, the American community has come together to remember the loss and grief, as well as the strength and unity, that resulted from that horrific day.
Down at Ground Zero, preparations are being made for the official opening ceremony of the 9/11 Memorial, which is intended to take place on 9/10/2011. The eight-acre site is dominated by two remembrance pools, known as the “Reflecting Absence”. The pools have been placed where the two World Trade Center Towards once stood, with two deep holes into which two-stage waterfalls pour into one central chasm. Around the pools, ingrained in bronze panels, are the name of the 2,982 people who died in the towers, the victims on all four hijacked aircrafts and those who died in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Around the memorial are 400 white oak trees planted there from the other locations near where the other attacks occurred. The most symbolic tree amongst them all is the callery pear tree that stand in the middle of the memorial. Called the “Survivor’s Tree”, the tree was at the site of the WTC during the attack and was recovered and nursed back to health. The tree is symbolic of America’s ability to heal and renew.
“If most people’s memory of 9/11 is defined by the burning towers, mine is defined by those hardened firefighters sitting at Yaffa’s long bar with tears rolling down their cheeks, talking, arguing, shouting about nothing at all so they could block out their gruesome day’s work.” – Graham Boynton, reporter for The Telegraph
As the plans are being made, the ceremonies planned and the people in mourning, the government has been put on high alert because of credible threats to the US from al-Qaeda. Starting within the last 24 hours, US authorities are trying to scramble through credible information from the CIA that three individuals have entered the US and are planning to launch a vehicle-borne attack against Washington DC or New York at some point close to the anniversary. The news complements the previously raided information from Bin Laden’s compound, in which information was found revealing his persistent interest in attacking the US around the anniversary of the 2001 attacks. With Aymana al-Zawahiri ascending to power and pledging to avenge Bin Laden’s death, the Department for Homeland Security believes it could be possible that al-Qaeda plans on enforcing those threats.
“Nevertheless,the President directed the counterterrorism community to redouble its efforts in response to this credible but unconfirmed information.” – White House official
Along with the New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, many US officials believe that the threat will ultimately not check out and that the threat had not been corroborated. Nonetheless, officials are on heightened alert and are beginning to take precautionary measures. As always, it is better for the US community and government to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that any rumoured threat is not carried out. At this stage, being over prepared is much better than being under prepared. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has announced increasing security, including more bag inspections on the subway,more bomb-sniffing dogs on patrol and an increased deployment of radiation monitoring equipment. The main focus will be on tunnels and bridges and infrastructure in general. Naturally, much of the security will be surrounding landmark sites, houses of worship and government buildings.
“Sometime this reporting is credible and warrants intense focus, other time it lacks credibility and is highly unlikely to be reflective of real plots under way. Regardless, we take all threat reporting seriously, and we have taken, and will continue to take all steps necessary to mitigate any threats that arise.” – Matt Chandler, spokesman for the US Department of Homeland Security
In retrospect, much of the American community remembers the consistent reports by international media assets of the disarray in which al-Qaeda had fallen into after the death of Bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s number 1,and Atiyah abd al-Rahman, al-Qaeda’s second in command. However, the information illustrates that the potential attacks have been extensively developed and coordinated. Moreover, the plan does not take that many people or resources to carry out, even for a fractured organization. No Matter the state of al-Qaeda, or any terrorist organization for that matter the organizations will always remain a threat.
“We have to not let the terrorists win by intimidation.”– Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor