Monday, May 2, 2011. Nearly 10 years ago life, as Americans knew it, changed in an instant. In Chicago, it was a beautiful blue sky day. Callie (my dog) and I had just returned from a long walk. I flipped on the television and saw that a plane had hit one of the twin towers and thought, what a tragic accident. Minutes later, I witnessed the second tower being destroyed and the unthinkable began to sink in.
My mind began racing, who would do such a thing? What next? As the day progressed, we found out what next. There have been a lot of what’s next since that day. With the announcement, late last night, that Osama bin Laden had been killed, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. But, unfortunately, this is not the end of terrorism.
Osama bin Laden was the mastermind and a symbol for the movement but he did not work alone. al Quada operates through its affiliates around the globe. As President Obama said last night, “There’s no doubt that al Qeada will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”
We, as a nation, have been pretty lucky since “9 11” but we cannot rely on luck alone. Our government has made progress with security and to some degree we must rely on them. But there are things the ordinary citizen can do.
What we can we do.
1. We must, as the President said, remain vigilant, at all times. If something looks suspicious, don’t ignore it, report it. Don’t be afraid to call the authorities.
2. We must separate Islam from al Qaeda. Islam is a religion practiced by devoted Muslins; al Quada is a group of terrorists that have no qualms.
3. Be prepared. Check for emergency exits, when traveling or shopping in crowded malls, sports arenas, theaters and other public gathering places.
4. Live your life, don’t allow unreasonable fear keep you from doing things.
5. Be positive. Love your country, fly the flag and work together.
6. Think before you act. For example, if someone asks you to carry a package aboard an airplane, don’t do it.
7. Get to know your neighbors. If someone in your building or neighborhood seems strange don’t shrug it off–check it out.
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