A tribute in lights signify where the towers were ... One of the daunting questions that is being asked by many Americans, 10 years later is: "Are we safer and/or more secure now?" As the anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, the public discussion will be focused primarily on foreign policy and security questions, and some of the questions foremost in the minds of many Americans: Are we safer and more secure now ten years, two wars and billions of dollars later? Is America a better place now with numerous infringements on civil liberties and personal freedoms? Is America fast becoming a paranoid nation or a police state? Are the security alerts, travel advisories and terror warnings valid or just to keep 'us' alert? Very few, if any officials wanted to go on record and give answers to the above questions, or any such question being cautious that their response may be misconstrued or taken out of context. Reports coming out of Washington from the Homeland Security Department (HSD) is that there is no credible terror threat against the United States linked to the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but the nation is under "heightened" vigilance.The HSD is one of the legacies of the 9/11 attacks; that department was created in the wake of 9/11--and as the name suggests--it is responsible for the security of the homeland, the U.S. As the tenth anniversary approaches, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano has said, "There is no specific or credible intelligence that al-Qaida or its affiliates are plotting attacks in the United States to coincide with the ten-year anniversary of 9/11. We remain at a heightened state of vigilance, and security measures are in place to detect and prevent plots against the United States should they emerge. The safety and security of the American public remains our highest priority," Napolitano concluded.Another official added that though the department had not identified any "specific threats" about possible attacks that in the past, al-Qaida and its affiliates had "demonstrated the willingness to carry out attacks against the U.S. and U.S. interests, at home and abroad"--learned from information gleaned via intelligent gathering sources. "In the past, terrorist organizations have on occasion planned their attacks to coincide with significant dates on the calendar," the official continued, "and while threats remain, our nation is stronger than it was on 9/11, more prepared to confront evolving threats, and more resilient than ever before."In Los Angeles--as in areas throughout the country, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other heads of city's departments had laid out a schedule of events to honor the victims and the sacrifice of first responders--those who are at the "head of the line" in responding to any tragedy that befalls the city, be it natural or man-made.According to the statement issued by the Mayor's office, in commemorating the tenth anniversary of September 11th, Mayor Villaraigosa will honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 and will pay tribute to our first responders and members of the armed forces on Friday, September 9, 2011, at 12:00 PM on the South Steps of City Hall, 200 North Spring St., Los Angeles, CA, 90012.The ceremony at City Hall will include first responders from Los Angeles who went to ground zero, command staff, relatives of 9/11 victims, relatives of LAPD officers who lost their lives serving in Afghanistan, public safety representatives from federal, state, and local departments, the consular corps, and elected officials. Over the weekend, Mayor Villaraigosa, Police Chief Charlie Beck, and Fire Chief Brian Cummings will attend events throughout Los Angeles honoring and remembering lives lost on September 11, 2001, and recognizing the critical role of first responders. That is the legacy that the events of September 11, 2001 has wrought.