LYNDEN - A helicopter made a dramatic landing into a field across from Christian Health Care Center on Tuesday, Sept.11 - and then several kids hopped aboard for impromptu photo shoots.
The public milled about with cops, firefighters, customs and border agents at the 5th Annual Heroes Day in Lynden, to say "thank you" on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, attacks.
Prospective recruits also got a chance to quiz the pilots about the U.S. Customs & Border Protection helicopter.
How high can it go? It has landed near the top of Mount Baker.
How fast? Oh, 140 mph.
Does it do much search and rescue? They picked up a hiker with a compound fracture on Yellow Aster Butte last week.
Since 9/11, perhaps no agency has felt the sweeping changes in security more strongly than the U.S. Border Patrol. The scope of enhanced security has left few stones unturned.
For example, it means demand and cost for "green," well-bred German shepherd puppies, which can be trained to detect bombs and drugs, have "gone skyrocketing," said Max Lulow, a 16-year veteran agent of the U.S. Border Patrol.
The dogs used to cost about $2,500. Now they sell for upwards of $7,000.
It's a cost justified in the war on terror because drugs and violence, as Lulow said, often go hand in hand. When Happy, Lulow's K-9 companion, made her first bust she found three duffle bags full of drugs in the car of a man trying to cross the U.S.-Canada border.
"Under the top bag was a - I forget the caliber. What caliber's a Desert Eagle?" he said. (It's .50 caliber.)
Happy is 8 years old. She was born three years after Sept. 11, although the attacks feel far more recent to those who remember them. Everyone at Tuesday morning's event could tell you exactly where they were 11 years ago, on that Tuesday.
"I was waiting to get my vehicle registered in Germany," said Joe Bruehler, a border agent who was in the U.S. Army at the time. "Soon as the second plane hit - well, I didn't get my vehicle registered."
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