Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson put forth two important lessons that he learned from the tragic 9/11 attacks.
One of them is continued vigilance against future attacks from “extremist groups that consider us infidels – we can’t lose sight of this.”
Hodgson said two years ago he alerted travel agencies in New Bedford that his department had thwarted “known terrorists” using half a dozen names of Muslim descent – who were trying to use a credit card with a New Jersey origin to book one-way flights to Paris, Johannesburg and other distant locales.
He said his department is fortunate to have had the technology to detect that the people trying to make reservations had done so by taking advantage of a phone system geared for the hearing-impaired.
The second lesson of 9/11, he said, is that politicians in times of crisis – be it a terrorist attack or desperate job market – should take a cue from the general citizenry that responded so nobly to the events of 9/11.
“It should remind us that we came together as a country,” Hodgson said.
10 years ago on that fateful day, just before 9:00 am, Sheriff Hodgson stood on the steps of the U.S. Senate building when the first plane hit the World Trade Center’s north tower.
As of September 15, 2001, Sheriff Hodgson and nearly 50 law enforcement personnel – most of them Bristol County deputy sheriffs, arrived in New York City in order to assist.
Sheriff Hodgson recalls that:
“It was a good collaborative effort,” Hodgson said, adding that he recalls the moral support extended to rescue workers by parents and children standing on streets more than a mile from the epicenter of the disaster zone.
Hodgson said he’ll also always remember firefighters at the fire station closest to Ground Zero telling him how a handful of firefighters visiting from Japan had volunteered and were then put to work.
He said that he and the others who had traveled with him also participated in the futile attempt to locate survivors at the attack site.
Hodgson says he can still picture papers and documents from the towers being blown around by a whipping wind. And he remembers the occasional body part being dislodged from the rubble by firefighters pouring water on those stubborn and hellish, subterranean blazes.
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