During the September 11 commemoration service in Washington, a security alert briefly set nerves jangling. Reports were flashed on major TV and radio networks across the world that a suspicious boat had been seen on the nearby Potomac River. It was said that the Coast Guard had opened fire, shooting at least ten times.
But there were no shots, and it was later proved to be a training exercise, one of many which the Coast Guard said are carried out every day, somewhere across the country. They promised an inquiry, but the whole episode shows how jittery America remains, on this day above all.