Yesterday, the nation commemorated the 10 year remembrance of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on our country. Vigilance was the word of the day as we collectively reflected on the lives lost that day as well as the steps we have taken as a nation to ensure it never happens again. While our first responders and military have taken the lead on safety and security in the decade since, individuals can, and do, play an important role in making our communities and nation more secure. Homeland security is something every American has a role in.
The Coast Guard, in partnership with federal, state and local agencies keeps a vigilant watch on our nation’s waterways. But, with more than 95,000 miles of coastline to protect, the Coast Guard and our partners also rely on alert individuals.
Homeland security begins with hometown security, and working together you can build a strong foundation for a secure and resilient homeland in your community.
One of the programs that places all Americans at the forefront of impacting our nation’s security is the Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. The goal of this program is as simple as it sounds, if you hear or see anything suspicious tell local authorities about it. By raising public awareness of possible terrorist indicators and encouraging every citizen to report suspicious activity to authorities, the country is further strengthening its ability to stay protected from threats.
The Coast Guard, in partnerships with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, also enlists the public’s aid in reporting suspicious activity on the water with America’s Waterway Watch. The overall purpose of the program is to allow those Americans who are familiar with our country’s coastlines to assist federal, state and local law enforcement agencies by being observant and attentive in recognizing possible threats and crimes on and around our waterways. After all, nobody knows what is normal for a certain area better than the very citizens who live, work or play in or around America’s waterfront.
You don’t have to live on the coast to keep a watchful eye. America’s rivers, bridges, tunnels and inland ports are all places where citizens can make a difference by reporting unusual activity.
Every American plays a role in keeping our nation safe. Remember, homeland security begins with hometown security, and an alert and informed public is critical to keeping our neighbors out of harm’s way.