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Our Opinion: Threat still looms

February 13, 2002

The FBI on Monday sent us a bit of a reality check.

In a public warning, FBI officials said there was a possibility of another terrorist attack occurring somewhere in the United States or on U.S. property in Yemen. They were tipped the attack could happen as soon as Tuesday, which came and went with relative calm.

We can so easily slip into complacency as the months pass since the Sept. 11 attacks. These FBI warnings, particularly this latest, more specific alert, remind us we are not and may never be out of danger. The warnings are alarming to many, particularly children, and parents might have to address hard questions — again.

Still, we need to know when we are at risk. In reality, warning or no warning, the threat of terrorist violence is always looming. It is to the credit of the military and our government if those threats never become anything more than words.

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This was not the first alert nor will it be the last. With each warning we awake to the reality that the events of Sept. 11 did not occur that long ago. We are roused from our comfort to realize that while the United States may again seem to be a safe place, we must continue to be aware. We cannot live in a vacuum.

That doesn't mean we live each day in fear and teach fear to our children. We must go about our lives because that is what allows America to move forward and what will protect the economy against a slowdown that can do even more harm.

Still, we can enjoy the freedoms that come with being Americans while being conscious there are those who would seek to kill for the purpose of getting across some twisted message. Somehow we must teach our children to be on guard, but not to live in fear. It is a difficult but increasingly important task.

These warnings are not designed to create panic but to protect lives, so that never again can terrorists strike at the heart of our country the way they did on Sept. 11.

As we move forward with our own lives, let's not forget those who lost theirs. Nor should we forget those who in one moment took the lives of so many.

We cannot forget the past. We must use it to ensure it won't happen again.

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