Obama Reassures Thanksgiving Travelers That US Is Safe
As throngs of people are expected to travel over the long Thanksgiving weekend, President Barack Obama reassured American citizens that they are safe as security in airports has been strengthened in the wake of the Paris attacks two weeks ago.Advertisement
Record-breaking crowds are expected to attend the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City on Thursday. Stricter security measures will be deployed at the event than before, Police Commissioner William Bratton said.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Obama said, “Right now, we know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland. We are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe.” This comes two weeks after a series of coordinated attacks rocked the French capital, killing 129 people.
As reported by Reuters, as many as 47 million Americans will be traveling over the Thanksgiving weekend. It will be the most number of travellers since 2007, which is being credited to the improving economy and cheapest gasoline for this time of year since 2008. An estimated 3.6 million people will be taking flights, according to the AAA, a motorist advocacy group.
Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, urged that people be careful. According to Reuters-Ipsos polling, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks terrorism has become the most important problem that the country faces.
Karen Damaschino, one of the travelers, arrived in New York to spend the holiday. “We have to live our lives right?” he said. “We’re having a good time. We did a cruise and now we’re doing New York City.”
Bratton said that officers and personnel, including 1,300 counterterrorism officers, will be policing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade route, as reported by Fox News. Authorities and security forces will be on high alert around the time of Thanksgiving, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.
“As the Thanksgiving holiday weekend approaches, the Port Authority Police Department remains on heightened alert at all of the agency’s bridge, tunnel, rail, World Trade Center and other facilities, following the recent tragic terrorism incidents in Paris and elsewhere,” the spokesman said. “Actions include increased patrols and checks of bags, buses, trucks and trains at agency locations. Travelers also are reminded to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to police or other authorities.”