On the morning of September 11, 2001, Minnesotans joined the rest of the nation to mourn after terrorists hijacked and crashed four planes in New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania—killing thousands of innocent people. Citizens across the United States were left shocked, frightened, and uncertain in the aftermath of the attack.
The League of Minnesota Cities urged preparedness, not panic, in our member cities. LMC asked municipalities to take reasonable measures to ensure they were prepared in the case of emergency, but to avoid going overboard with measures that could cause undue alarm.
The League also responded in part by devoting significant energy to educating members on issues surrounding emergency preparation and disaster response, including:
- Why cities should organize before a disaster occurs, stressing the importance of emergency management and preparedness.
- Insurance issues to consider during a crisis, including what the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) offers for coverage. Questions were addressed around city employees who go to another state to assist with disaster relief efforts—as well as whether city buildings damaged by a terrorist action would be covered.
- How to access anti-terrorism resources via the National League of Cities (NLC), as well as information on their new relief fund called “Always Remember 9-11” that provided various types of assistance to the families of the public employees killed or injured that day.
12 years later:
The events of September 11 and what has followed represent more than cumulative acts of courage. They are also a poignant demonstration of the fundamental reason we have government: to provide services and a quality of life that would not be achievable in its absence. It is not just in emergencies, but day in and day out that the actions of government have direct bearing on our lives.
These were unparalleled circumstances requiring unparalleled responses. We can all be justifiably proud of how so many met that challenge. At least in those moments, people again saw the value and purpose of government. But, the challenge for those in public service now is sustaining that connection in the minds of our citizens.