Aug. 25, 2002 Voice of the Times on bracing for first anniversary of Sept. 11

Posted: Monday, August 26, 2002

The nation will be on edge, for sure, when Sept. 11 comes around. Understandably, we're sorry to note.

The date will mark the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks that cost the lives of 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center, in the Pentagon and in a field in western Pennsylvania.

The horror that followed in the wake of the hijackings of four commercial airliners by Muslim extremists changed the mood of America. It sharply altered this country's dealings with those parts of the world where terrorists are harbored, nourished and trained to do violence to the United States and its people at home and abroad.

Since then, the U.S. has been at war against terrorism -- under the direction of a determined president and with the support of a Congress united behind the need to eradicate the brutal leaders whose hate for America knows no limits.

Since then, Osama bin Laden, the perpetuator of the 9/11 attacks, has been on the run and in hiding -- maybe is even dead as a result of U.S. counter-attacks on terrorist forces in Afghanistan.

Since then, America's guard has been up.

Since then, Americans in all walks of life have been touched by the restraints to freedom that have been required to safeguard the country as a whole.

Now, as Sept. 11 nears again, there is a fear that a new group of terrorists -- with even more deadly plans -- will use the anniversary to strike again at America's heart and soul. Innocent people once more would be the immediate target -- with the ultimate goal of causing further havoc to the economy and the nation's sense of security.

Clearly, federal officials charged with the protection of the public -- and those on the front line conducting the ongoing war against terrorism -- are preparing for the unexpected and the unimaginable.

For the rest of us, the mission is to remain calm and unflinching in the face of what may or may not be.

It is important that we go about our lives in ordinary ways -- yet alert to signs that point to suspicious activities that need to be reported.

The chance of something dreadful happening probably is remote.

But human nature inevitably will cause some to worry.

If you're a worrier, however, don't let the approach of this anniversary tie you in emotional and fearful knots.

There are good and competent people on guard to prevent another 9/11.

Let's have confidence in them -- and go about our business as usual.

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