Sunday, September 4, 2011

Reminding Americans of 9/11

I suspect that many Americans will ignore the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks unless they are reminded in a way they cannot ignore.

When people know they are in a war they often use sirens to warn when the enemy is attacking. No sirens were sounded to warn of 9/11 because Americans didn't realize they were under attack until the attacks were over. The only plane for which a warning was given was brought down by its heroic passengers before it could reach its target.

The anniversary of the 9/11 attacks provides an opportunity to remind Americans that the fact 9/11 happened means not only that such an attack can happen, but it could happen again if we become as complacent as we were ten years ago.

No sirens sounded on 9/11/2001, but we could sound sirens this year to remind Americans that we are still in danger of a potential attack.

For those in the Eastern time zone, storm sirens would sound at the exact time of each plane crash. In the Central time zone, cities might do like they do with television and sound the sirens while they are sounding in the Eastern time zone. Due to the early hour of the first attacks, sirens in the Mountain time zone and farther west, particularly in Alaska and Hawaii, might sound at the same time of day as the attacks. The Central time zone might want to consider a similar approach.

In communities without storm sirens, emergency vehicle sirens might be used. Truck air horns could be used in place in rural areas where there aren't any emergency vehicles. Church bells were often used to warn of danger in the past and could be used along with sirens or instead of sirens. This action would be particularly appropriate considering the anniversary will be on Sunday.

In addition to, or instead of, the sirens, the emergency alert system for radio and television might transmit a reminder at the time of each attack. There were four crashes and we have four living former presidents. Perhaps each of them could remind people of one of the attacks.

I've been watching 9/11 documentaries the last week. Some of them have mentioned the failure to recognize the significance of information indicating the attack threat even among those whose profession was to watch for such threats. A national feeling that the continental U.S. was some how immune from any significant foreign attack may have prevented people at the FBI and CIA from recognizing the threat.

These professionals had forgotten that a similar failure to recognize a potential threat had allowed the Japanese to pull off a highly successful surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. There is a theory that President Franklin Roosevelt withheld intelligence information from Pearl Harbor commanders. Commanders at Pearl Harbor should have recognized there was a threat of attack without inside information because there was a war on.

Terrorist attacks had occurred in other parts of the world before 9/11. People at the FBI and CIA should have been watching for any signs that someone might attack America itself.

The fact that no major attack has happened since 2001 may be causing some to feel the problem of terrorist attacks has been solved. Those who feel this way are ignoring the fact that the terrorists most likely to get away with such an attack have been busy fighting our military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Those attempting terrorist acts in the U.S. have been individuals who don't have the ability of the 9/11 hijackers or those who have conducted terrorist acts outside the U.S. Some would be local terrorists have been so careless they have made the mistake of letting undercover officers become a part of their conspiracies.

There are a couple of interesting 9/11 series currently running. "Inside 9/11" on the National Geographic Channel is an investigative series. "Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero" on the Discovery and Science channels deals with replacing the World Trade Center. The episodes "Reclaiming the Skyline" follows construction of the tallest new building. One of the iron workers the show focuses on had a father who was injured building the original World Trade Center.

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