(WRHI, Rock Hill)
The ninth anniversary of 9/11 is Saturday and ceremonies will be taking place across the country. The attack in the nation’s capital and New York City drew response from all over including York County. York County Emergency Management Director Cotton Howell was called to New York after the attacks to help. Howell says when the attacks began, he was preparing for a threat a lot closer to home. Howell says the danger to the Charlotte region still exists.
We started anti-terrorist planning in 2006 because of the threat of an international event. The attack was going to be on the U.S. financial structure. And Charlotte being the second biggest financial center in the nation, next to New York, Charlotte might be the next area attacked. Intelligence showed that they were going to try to undermine our financial system nationally to undermine our government.
Howell says a security initiative helps to protect the area.
We have the Urban Area Security Initiative including 11 counties around Charlotte. It’s a high-population area and a high-risk area, the largest banking center in the Southeast. It has a lot of high visibility with Panthers’ football and the motor speedway. The 11 counties work together to improve security.
Howell refers to 9/11 as the day the world stopped turning.
At nightfall, the skies over Manhattan will shine with the “Tribute in Light,” two bright spotlights that will point skyward to represent the loss of the Twin Towers.