Military on Alert

On Sept. 11, 2001, the Meridian National Guard Base, both Air Force and Army, went on its highest alert, Charley. The bases were closed to everyone but military personnel.

Over the months, that alert was downgraded to Bravo plus, then to Alpha. But as the anniversary of the terrorist attacks approached, the installations again upgraded their alert status, this time to Bravo. It's the second lowest level, but there are still visible signs of stricter security, specifically the barricades around the entrance.

Identification is also checked on every person who tries to enter the base.

"Alpha is, you're just vigilant," said Lt. Col. Randy Pope. "Still have your security forces in place, but you allow people to come and go with an I.D. card and that kind of thing. Of course, with the anniversary coming up, we felt it would be better to put the barricades back up yesterday. And they'll stay up until we're notified to do otherwise."

At the Meridian Naval Air Station, the security level is also up. Barricades remain and IDs are being checked on every vehicle that enters. Local military officials say they don't know how long the latest heightened security level will last, but they say they'll be prepared to do whatever is necessary as long as it does.

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