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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK
Can Americans feel safe on Fourth of July?
America is preparing to celebrate its national holiday amid a backdrop of unprecedented security measures.

The White House has encouraged Americans to celebrate the Independence Day holiday on Thursday, while remaining aware that security has been tightened nationwide for their protection.

Military jets will patrol American skies, while the police and FBI presence will be stepped up around the country.

The announcement follows a warning that terror groups might try to stage attacks to coincide with the holiday. The US State Department said it had "credible" information that terrorists were planning imminent attacks against American targets.

How will you be celebrating Independence Day? Are you worried about the warnings of terrorist attacks?

This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your comments:

I now treasure the 4th of July more than ever before.

Jenny, USA
I now treasure the 4th of July more than ever before. I am very proud to be an American and I plan on celebrating to the fullest. Some reactionary backward terrorist group isn't going to frighten me.
Jenny, USA

I will be celebrating the 4th in San Francisco, like I have done for the past four years. There is always a spectacular fireworks show above the water. I have to admit that I do have some fear of an attack, but I can't let it run my life and ruin this beautiful celebration that my ancestors worked so hard to achieve!
Regina, USA

Normally we have a block cookout with neighbors, see the July 4th parade to support our veterans and my son's marching band, then we see the fireworks as an orchestra plays at Wright Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio. However, I think we'll stay away from WPAFB this year because of the terrorist warnings.
Justin, USA

The terrorists will not win against the great nations of peace and free will. As a British citizen I have come to respect America for it's strength and honour as a nation that has gone through so much over the last 10 months. Happy Independence Day! God bless England and God bless America!
Chris Cole, United Kingdom

If Bush is so confident, why doesn't he join the celebrations in either New York or DC

Rob, USA
How secure are Americans to feel when their president decides to spend Independence Day not in the nation's capital, but rather in West Virginia, which is home to the security complex built to shelter the both the executive branch and congress during a nuclear war? If Bush is so confident, why doesn't he join the celebrations in either New York or DC, where presumably American confidence needs the most bolstering?
Rob, USA

I've spent the day indoors with the air conditioning on full blast. I figure if I die of heat exhaustion, the terrorists have won.
Jeffrey Hall, USA

112 degrees Fahrenheit here in Vermont yesterday! We started our Fourth of July celebrations early so as to get in as many barbecues and fireworks as possible and they will continue on through Friday. We'll be off to the lake with burgers & potato salad until about 5 pm, then rush up to the dam to enjoy the music, carnival and fireworks this evening. No changes here - and no anxiety either.
Robin, USA

I'm an American, living and working in England. I've invited some of my English pals round to my place tonight to watch the film 'Independence Day' as I feel this movie accurately reflects the spirit and courage of my countrymen when under fire. We'll be eating fried chicken and ice cream and trousers will become pants for one night only. We'll probably watch 'Die Hard' as well.
Simon, UK

This holiday has become a somber moment of reflection for me.

Jens Dammers, USA in UK
As an American citizen now living in the UK I'll be celebrating my independence from all of the new draconian provisions put in place by the Bush adminstration. I barely recognise the America I once loved so. This holiday has become a somber moment of reflection for me. America needs a leader not compromised by scandals, oil, fundamentalists, and hawks. Only then will Americans be granted a viable independent nation. However, I miss all of the friends and BBQs I'll be missing this year. Take care guys!!!
Jens Dammers, USA/UK

I would think that the US is pretty safe on the 4th of July. It wouldn't surprise me at all though if its not so safe on the 5th and 6th. Its unlikely that the terrorists will actually chose the most difficult day for a strike. They are patient, they will probably wait until the security slackens.
Vivien Cooksley, Austria

I will be celebrating as I generally do, with friends and a trip to see fireworks. Much to my displeasure, I will not be going to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for fireworks this year as I have many times in the past. Not because I'm worried about terrorists or crowds. Because of the security measures (security perimeter, bag checks, and so forth) that will do little to actually protect people from a real threat. I cannot endorse these measures and allow the police and policymakers to think that these sorts of restrictions are acceptable restrictions on our freedoms.
Debbie, Maryland, USA

I celebrated the holiday by not using it as a tortuous statement of arrogance to the rest of the world. I remembered that I am a human being first, an American second, and that neither was my doing. I am grateful to be alive in a diverse world in which America is only one of many voices.
Robert, American in France

We will celebrate as we do other years

Brenda, USA
We will celebrate as we do other years, barbeque and if weather holds out some jet skiing. But this year there is more pride and much more to be thankful for. As a nation we have been blessed with a freedom that few countries know. God Bless America and may we always continue to help those less fortunate. The terrorists cannot destroy our resolve and like our British friends, we will survive all acts of terror!
Brenda , USA

I am not a great lover of American culture and brashness. But I recognise that without the power and the influence of the United States the world would be a much dangerous place than it already is. On this your special day I salute my American cousins and wish them all a great and peaceful 4th of July.
Neil, England.

If I hear the word "freedom" one more time I think I'll scream. What exactly are these freedoms you guys go on and on about? Can someone in this forum give me an example of something you can do in the US that I couldnt do in say Australia, Canada or western Europe? (and I'm not interested in buying a gun)
Steve, Switzerland

I went to Mass this morning; it was packed. Drove two friends down to Natinal Airport; it was empty. The highways through Washington DC have miles of new snow fences, it is in the high 90s F. Every grassy area has bumper to bumper parked cars, zillions of volley ball nets and coolers. Ben Laden, terrorists, hate filled murderers, have already lost. America won. Freedom won. Decency won.
R. L. Hails Sr., Washington D.C. USA

Attacking the US on this patriotic holiday would only strengthen our resolve

Robert, USA
I'll take my son to see his first parade. We'll BBQ and follow it up with fireworks over the harbour. Attacking the US on this patriotic holiday would only strengthen our resolve and determination. Removing political debate by consolidating public opinion would be a costly mistake for the enemy. God bless America, united we stand!
Robert, USA

I will observe a day of mourning for the glorious nation that once was. President Bush is transforming America into a paranoid police state by purposefully creating an environment of fear, hate and revenge. Throughout history, all empires have unwittingly destroyed themselves. America is well on its way.
Richard, USA

To Richard, USA: Come on! The America of the past was certainly no more glorious than present-day America. And America today, while not perfect, has a lot going for it. I do NOT share your fatalistic attitude. Perhaps, rather than mourn, you should get off your chair and do something to change the world you see - that's the American way.
Shane, USA

I'll be at a huge celebration at my dad's house. Let the terrorist dimwits try something, they will be hunted down and punished. They are an abomination to all of humanity. I don't regret to inform them that they will not be spoiling any parties here in the US, they only make us celebrate our freedom and democracy even more.
Jennifer, USA

I'm an American first and a Texan second. Everything being bigger in Texas, I'll be having a huge party on Lake Travis - beer and barbeque abounds!
Michael, Texas, USA

It's not the terrorists - it's the humidity

Kathy, New York, USA
Submerged to the neck in cold water rereading the Constitution and pondering my country's place in history. I'll go see NYC's fireworks but only if the temperature drops below 90F. It's not the terrorists - it's the humidity.
Kathy, New York, USA

I live in Redding, CA. So if some lunatic cares to take out Shasta Dam I'll have a great view. But failing that I'm going to go out back and fire up the grill and fry up some fajitas and finish it off with some ice cream. Then I'll watch the fireworks, have a final beer or three, and go to bed. Ancient American tradition, that. Can't let them mess with our traditions.
Jay Stranahan, USA

Probably spending the day observing jingoistic flag-waving by the Americans I work with. Yawn.
Jon, UK

The only effect that September 11 has made upon this Independence Day is a hundred-fold increase in the celebration of our freedom. Cheers and high regards to my fellow Americans!
Marianne Cook, USA

We have to enjoy today and show the world that nothing frightens us

Jasmin, USA/UK
I am an American living and working in the UK. I am based at an RAF base in Gloucestershire, and we will be celebrating with a party, fireworks and good food and drink. We are concerned about terrorist attacks but we have to enjoy today and show the world that nothing frightens us!
Jasmin, USA/UK

I'd like to display the gung-ho attitude as well but if the truth be known Bin Laden has already won. We have lost many freedoms since 9/11, our markets are in freefall and our country has been exposed as corrupt. I for one will not be celebrating 4 July. I will be praying that as a nation we can start to look to the future and accept our share of the blame for the past.
Brad, USA

This is the kind of occasion that shows the true relationship between Britain and the US. Despite the IRA trying to murder innocent people we still celebrated our holidays and defied them for years. Although it is ironic that today's holiday celebrates the USA's independence from Britain, the spirit is now the same in the US. Enjoy your holiday and show the terrorists that they haven't won a thing.
Richard G Hawley, UK

By virtue of the fact that I am writing this on the morning of the fourth it is obvious that I am at work - why else would I be surfing the net. Anyways, happy birthday USA!
Patrick, Philadelphia, USA

Perhaps Americans can reflect on the word Independence and see how it still makes poorer nations dependent on them.
S Nelson, UK

Fireworks and beer on the lake! The terrorists won't win, we will not walk around scared in our own country.
Jeff, USA

They can't bomb all our BBQs!
Tami, USA

I am not going to let a group of terrorists stop me from celebrating our Independence Day.
Jessie Windshuttel, USA

See also:

03 Jul 02 | Americas
02 Jul 02 | Americas
02 Jul 02 | Americas
11 Jun 02 | Americas
11 Jun 02 | Americas
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