The morning of September 11, 2001, was a beautiful day in New York City. Brilliant sunshine, a deep blue sky and mild temperatures with low humidity made it feel like late summer. But a few hundred miles off the coast, Hurricane Erin was churning.
It had formed a week prior and was slowly strengthening on approach to Bermuda, a small island in the Atlantic. If this hurricane had tracked close enough to the East Coast, it likely would have affected air travel and weather conditions in New York and Boston.
But a cold front was pushing the storm out to sea, keeping it away from our coastline. And if that cold front had passed just a bit sooner, that could have ruined the perfect weather that New Yorkers had on that sunny day in September.
On that day, FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Response System was working to deploy teams as quickly as possible. Several members of the organization were at Region 2 headquarters in New York City and they watched as events unfolded on TV.
Jay Saloman remembers the attack as "the single most devastating event that ever happened to this country." But the attacks also have stirred debate about safety and civil liberties. And as the anniversary approaches, some relatives of victims are concerned that Americans’ consciousness of the tragedy is losing ground.