We remember by staying vigilant

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon & Col. Stephen Lambert
  • 86th Airlift Wing commander & vice commander
As we approach the 9th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it is important for all Airmen to remember the vital role we play in ensuring the liberty and security of the United States of America and our allies.

Terrorist attacks against Americans didn't start on Sept. 11, 2001. They have been with us for decades. And unfortunately, history is replete with terrorist attacks dating back centuries.

Today our enemy is Al-Qa'ida and its web of terror spun across the globe. Since Sept. 11 2001, there have been several hundred completed, planned or disrupted attacks in Europe alone. And just last month the commander of U.S. European Command indicated that there is a Al-Qa'ida threat targeting Americans in Europe (check out the "Worldwide caution" statement on the U.S. State Department Web site: http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_4787.html ). Specifically mentioned are public areas such as train stations, airports, government buildings and tourist sites. We are reminded by this notification to avoid areas where large numbers of people gather (including mass transit hubs during peak times) and venues filled with large numbers of U.S. citizens.

In our daily lives here in Europe we often forget how some of the simplest actions can help not only ensure our individual safety, but contribute to the detection and prevention of attacks. So what can we do? The answer is simple--we need to remain vigilant.

Based on the threat every Airman has recently been reminded by USEUCOM to remain vigilant. Vigilance means reporting suspicious or threatening activities--both on and off duty. Our obligation does not end or begin at the gates to our military installations. This obligation includes practicing good force protection measures as we travel, too. This obligation also extends to our civilians and our families.

To help everyone redouble our efforts take the force protection flyer we've created and post it in your home for all to read. Every Airman, every civilian, every family member who is vigilant becomes a sensor and the more sensors we have, the more likely we will see the threat coming and deter future terrorist actions. This is especially key against an enemy who's timeline isn't the same as ours.

As we pause this coming week to remember the tragic events of Sept.11, 2001, let us honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedom. Let this day remind us to renew our commitment to be vigilant against those who wish to do us harm. Remember, our enemy is patiently and deliberately waiting for us to relax, become complacent, and forget the past. This Sept.11, 2010, let us not forget.


For more information, U.S. citizens are encouraged to read the Department of State's current world-wide caution at http://www.travel.state.gov/travel. It provides additional information on potential threats to U.S. citizens overseas, along with advice on how to reduce your vulnerability to such threats.

Additional general information on residing and traveling abroad may be found at http://www.travel.state.gov  It is important to immediately report any and all suspicious activity or threatening behavior encountered using the Eagle Eyes program: Ramstein: 480-2050; Comm: 06371-47-2050; Vogelweh: 489-6060: Comm: 0631-536-6060.