The holiday season has always been a wondrous time of year for my family and me. Like many of you, my family and I celebrate by traveling to share the company of loving relatives and friends, attending tree lighting ceremonies and other seasonal venues, and counting the many blessings bestowed upon us as Americans. Unfortunately, even with all the wonderment of the holiday season, I am painfully aware that terrorist groups and those who espouse their radical ideology remain intent on conducting attacks in order to capitalize on the cultural significance attached to this time of year.
As many of you may recall, there were many threats that materialized during the holiday season just one year ago. These plots included the October disrupted attempt by a Virginia-based man to assist persons he believed to be al Qaida operatives in the bombing of northern Virginia monorail stations; two bombs discovered in U.S.-bound packages aboard commercial delivery aircraft, and the attempted bombing by an Oregon man at a public tree lighting ceremony at Portland's Pioneer Courthouse. Unfortunately, as if on cue, possible threats are able to materialize as we enter the 2011 holiday season.
As we prepare to travel, share time with family and friends, attend large holiday events or receive packages and presents by mail, I would like to remind each of you to maintain a heightened sense of awareness to the potential of a terrorist attack during the holiday season.
If you witness any suspicious activity on Hill Air Force Base, please take the time to report them through the U.S. Air Force Eagle Eyes Program by contacting the Base Defense Operations Center at 801-777-3056, or if in areas away from the installation through the Utah Terrorism Hotline at 801-579-1400. If traveling outside Utah, you may report suspicious activity through the Department of Homeland Security switchboard at 202-282-8000; all reports, on or off the installation, may be made 24 hours a day.
I wish each of you, and your families, a wonderful and safe holiday season.