Decade of Security
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Sep 01, 2011
The 10 years since the tragedy of the Sept. 11
attacks seem to have swept by like the winds
rushing down the Oklahoma plains. Do you
remember where you were that day?
There are a couple of events in my life that I remember
as clearly as though they were yesterday. I
was late for work on Sept. 11, 2001, thanks to the traffic
in downtown Dallas. I was driving my red Mitsubishi
Eclipse, thinking that my clutch would eventually
burn out with all the downshifting I was doing. I was
listening to the news sparingly, not quite comprehending
what was being said.
All the talk about a plane crashing into the World
Trade Center reminded me of an event nearly 48
I was 8 years old, at recess during the noon hour.
I was playing basketball with classmates when I saw
the older girls in the school crying as they walked
down the sidewalk from the home economics cottage.
I didn’t really pay attention because I was throwing
the basketball back into play, and I figured that girls
always cried anyway.
Soon enough, all the students were called back
into classes, then released for the day. President John
F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas—which
was then a faraway locale to me, a proud Wyomingite.
None of this really made any sense to an 8-yearold.
Kennedy seemed like a nice man, and, after all,
he had recently visited the University of Wyoming, so
there must have been something extraordinary about
him. I know my sisters thought he was okay.
Many years later, the terrorist actions on Sept. 11
also didn’t seem to make any sense. If the bombing of
the twin towers was supposed to frighten Americans,
it didn’t work. We became only more galvanized as a
Because of the cowardly actions of Sept. 11,
Americans, for the most part, have come to understand
the role that security now plays in their lives.
Security has become a vital part of freedom. But by
the same token, security has diminished some of the
freedoms we generally took for granted.
Now is not the time to loosen the security that
binds us as a nation.
When Navy SEALs were successful in killing Osama
bin Laden, they also found a cache of intelligence
that broadened our understanding of al Qaeda, its
terror network and the exploits it was planning.
Apparently, plans for the 10th anniversary of the
Sept. 11 attacks included an assault on U.S. railways.
Some of that evidence was found in bin Ladin’s Pakistani
hideout, though none of the intelligence yielded
information about an immediate threat. Homeland
Security officials have said that bin Ladin continued
to plot about targets, and he communicated his ideas
to other senior al Qaeda leaders. Though he no longer
plays the planning and inspirational role he once did
for the al Qaeda faithful, terror attacks are still likely.
Since the bin Ladin compound was raided, more
officers have been dispatched to airports and at the
borders. Although there are no national threat alerts,
security forces remain at a heightened state.
There are many events planned this month to commemorate
the Sept. 11 attacks. Unfortunately, the
warship New York will not be in port for the ceremonies,
which has plenty of people upset. They should
keep in mind, though, that she is a Navy vessel that
has a wartime mission to fulfill and is busy ensuring
the world is a safer and more secure place.
You might recall that the New York was built with
7.5 tons of steel from the World Trade Center in its
bow. Five days before it was commissioned on Manhattan’s
West Side on Nov. 7, 2009, it stopped across
from Ground Zero, dipped its flag and delivered a 21-
gun salute. Members of FDNY, NYPD, Port Authority
Police and families of Sept. 11 victims and veterans
stood and saluted in return.
New Yorkers plan to inaugurate the 9/11 memorial,
symbolizing hope and renewal, this Sept. 11. Part
of the memorial will consist of two enormous waterfalls
and reflecting pools, both within the shadows of
what were the twin towers.
Also included is a museum designed as a sequential
historical narrative of experiences. It will honor
the nearly 3,000 victims of the attack and celebrate
those who risked their lives to save others. Built on the
foundations of the original World Trade Center towers,
the museum includes exhibition space that narrates
the events of Sept. 11, 2001, through artifacts,
oral histories and multimedia displays.
No matter where you are on Sept. 11 this year,
pause and offer your thoughts and prayers to those
innocent victims who perished 10 years ago; remember
their families, that they might have continued
peace and comfort. As Americans, we should always
remember those who willingly put themselves in
harm’s way on our behalf. We are the benefactors of
a volunteer military that stands between the freedoms
we love and cherish and the suicide mentality that terrorists
From sea to shining sea, America is the beautiful
land we love. Putting our pride aside, we should humbly
acknowledge that our liberty and security come
from One higher in power, One dedicated to the freedom
of men and women worldwide.
This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Security Today.