In September 2016 as the United States marked the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, lingering questions cast shadows from the pristine One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) onto the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
Is America any safer today than on September 11, 2001? The most honest answer from terrorism and national security experts is no.
While America has not experienced another large-scale attack involving commercial aircraft and skyscrapers, Boston, Orlando, San Bernardino and Fort Hood are reminders that terrorism seems to know no bounds.
What remains hard to measure is how many terrorist attacks–large and small–proactive measures have thwarted.
“We don’t know what victories we’ve had or not,” said Richard Immerman, director of Temple University’s Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy, in Penn Live. “Most of us have no idea what threats have been foiled, what has been intercepted. That’s all not public information.”
American policy has been to take the fight to the terrorists, focusing on Afghanistan and Iraq where many believe the problems originated. Here at home, security at airports, special events, government buildings and other venues has escalated. Georgetown University professor R. Nicholas Palarino believes these efforts have made the U.S. safer.
“I can guarantee you that the entities within the United States government that focus on the terrorist threat are doing all they can to prevent another attack, especially a major-type event,” said Palarino, a former deputy staff director for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, in Penn Live.
While the effectiveness of increased security may be uncertain, lower Manhattan is thriving. The area has 23 more hotels than before 9/11, with 60,000 more people. Up to 14 million visitors have visited the site, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, ministries continue to meet needs throughout the city. God’s Love We Deliver is the largest HIV/AIDS meal delivery program in the country, according to the Center for Student Ministries. Salt and Sea Mission in Coney Island offers worship, a food pantry and a hot meal program.
Pray for America’s leaders as they labor to prevent terrorist attacks.