Is Alabama Safer 11 Years After the 9/11 Attacks?

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By Tamika Bickham

People across our area pause to remember the attacks on our country 11 years ago. Tuesday night in Pike Road, a commemoration service was held to remember those who lost their lives and the heroes that sacrificed for our country.

There are signs of remembrance displayed around Pike Road of a day that changed the lives of every American, a day no one will forget.

"I was in my kitchen working and the TV was there and it was on and I walked by and I was watching it when it happened," said Evielean Howell, who attended the service.

"I was taking my children to school and I heard the first plane hit the twin towers," said Joel Cohen, a Pike Road resident.

Thousands lost their lives in a terrorist attack that exposed major security issues and created change across the nation.

"It exposed vulnerability issues in our country, but as we are now 11 years from that day we have gotten complacent," said Shirrell Roberts, Deputy Director of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security.

He says today we are a better prepared country, but 11 years later people say they still have security and safety concerns.

"If you ever go to an Auburn University or University of Alabama football game, it makes you wonder and think about it when you got 100,000 people going into one spot which seems like would be a target," said Cohen.

"I still have fears for all my grandchildren, and the children that are here and everyone else's children," said Howell.

The state of Alabama did respond to concerns following the attacks, becoming the first in the nation to create a Department of Homeland Security.

"We do a lot to help our first responders make sure they are prepared, have the equipment, and resources that they need. We did not have that before September 11th," said Roberts.

Roberts says we're never 100 percent safe but we are safer than we were 11 years ago. He says the key is to not get complacent and always remember 9/11.
 

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