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Americans Greet 2004 Under tight Security - 2004-01-01


People in the United States have greeted 2004 under some of the tightest security in the country's history.

With the terror threat alert at the second highest level (code orange), the military provided assistance to many local governments to keep New Year's revelers safe.

Snipers on roof tops and armed security personal on the ground watched over a crowd estimated at nearly one million people at New York's annual Times Square celebration. Everyone entering the area passed through metal detectors, while helicopters and fighter jets patrolled the skies.

Heightened security measures were also put in place in other large cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned all but scheduled commercial flights over Manhattan for several hours. The FAA issued a similar ban for Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, in his New Year's message President Bush encouraged Americans to reaffirm their commitment to peace and freedom around the world.

Mr. Bush said the past year has been a time of accomplishment and progress. He said that, working together, U.S. citizens have made America safer, more prosperous and a better country.

The president thanked the men and women of the U.S. military for helping to, in his words, "defend America and liberate the oppressed." And he said "Americans from every walk of life are building a culture of compassion," and he urged all "to bring hope to those who are less fortunate."

Information for this report is provided by AP.

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