The latest terrorist threat to blow up passenger jets headed from Great Britain to the United States underscores the reality that times have changed drastically since 9/11. Security while flying the sometimes not-so-friendly skies will continue to intensify.

Many people said on the heels of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center that the lives of Americans were changed permanently. Others didn’t believe them. One trip to New York City would convince them.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I and Gary and MaryAnn Douglas traveled to New York City for some sightseeing before taking in a performance of the great Broadway show, “The Jersey Boys,” which tracks the lives of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

After spending the hottest days of the summer in the city that never sleeps, we drove to Boston where temperatures jumped beyond 100 degrees as well. It didn’t get any cooler for the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians in Fenway Park that night.

While we were in New York, we visited two landmarks — the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Unlike three years ago when we visited the Big Apple, tight security at both of them snarled lines of visitors for nearly two hours.

Security at the statue is incredible. You have to clear security before boarding one of the boats that takes you to the Lady. Once there, if you want to go to the top of the base, it’s another grueling line for security, greater than airport security.

Such will be life for the days ahead. The simple days ended five years ago when the Twin Towers tumbled to the ground. And to a large extent, the very technology that has created so many conveniences and advances in all fields is the reason that today’s terrorists can threaten at every turn.

After the British scare, every liquid will be scrutinized, from baby milk to coffee. That’s because the terrorists in Britain had planned to detonate explosive liquids with devices such as cell phones and iPods, devices that have helped our professional and personal lives immensely.

Scary stuff, huh?

The editor’s e-mail bag

I got the following e-mail from Mark Baker, a 1984 graduate of Sharpsville High School, who works as a guidance counselor in Melbourne, Fla. He reflected at length on his days as a youth in Sharpsville and about sleeping out, roaming the streets at night, and raiding a garden or two. He is a brother of Val Reichart of South Pymatuning Township.

“We also spent many hours outside at Seventh Street playground playing all sports ... we spent many hours sled-riding down ‘Goat Hill’ behind Seventh Street Elementary School. On some nights, we would have 25 or 30 of us sliding down the slope and carefully avoiding the steep drop over a concrete barrier into a deep back yard.

“On some days in the summer, we would have four or five teams of five waiting to play the winner on the court in full-court basketball. Sharpsville High ‘legends’ such as Mike ‘Awesome’ Argenziano, Dan ‘Moose’ Vasconi, Howie Van Pelt, Geno Guerino, Jason Morris, Scott Scurpa, and Kirk Scurpa were some of the stronger players on the Seventh Street asphalt.

“Most of these guys were pretty good football players as well. I was fortunate to get on one of their teams and be a role player. Once in awhile, we would play against guys who would come over from Sharon or Farrell and things would then get interesting. But, I can never remember any major problems.

“Often I find myself telling my students just a little bit about growing up in small-town America over 20 years ago. ... I thoroughly enjoy telling my wife about growing up in western Pennsylvania in a town called Sharpsville where many days and nights were spent on a small plot of land simply known as ‘Seventh Street’ or ‘The Street.’ ”

Branches of the family tree

In my column last week, I wrote about some confusion about how I am related to the Sirianni family. If you can follow, it goes like this.

My cousin, Joe Raykie, is related to all of the Siriannis and their families. My uncle Joe married the former Kate Sirianni, who had many brothers and sisters. My father married the former Mary Lenzi.

Here’s where it gets a tad confusing. My mother’s brother, Bill Lenzi, married the former Jenny Sirianni, making her my aunt and her daughter, Loretta, my cousin.

That’s the extent of my relationship to the Sirianni clan. But my cousin’s only relationship to the Lenzis is through his Aunt Jenny. I, on the other hand, am related to all of the Lenzis.

So much for the genealogy lesson.

Herald online poll

The latest online poll asks your take on Donna Moonda, the wife of slain Hermitage urologist Dr. Gulam Moonda. Of 601 votes cast to date, 2 percent of the respondents said she should have been released on bond, a little more than 2 percent said she should have been placed under house arrest, and nearly 96 percent said she’s fine right where she is — behind bars. To vote, visit www.sharonherald.com



Jim Raykie is the editor of The Herald and writes this column on Mondays. His e-mail is jraykie@sharonherald.com

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