NEW YORK – Native New Yorkers and tourists alike were defiant about sticking to their original plans for Sept. 11, despite the news Tuesday afternoon that the federal government had raised the terrorist threat level to "high risk."
"You can't let them scare you," said Catherine Migone, 66, of Atlantic City, N.J., as she waited to catch a Broadway show in Midtown Manhattan.
On Tuesday afternoon, the federal government upped its alert warning to orange -- the second-highest threat level, signaling "high risk of terrorist attacks." Officials said the decision was made after intelligence information suggested attacks in the form of car bombs and other strikes were possible, not only on American targets overseas but also within the U.S.
Migone planned to visit Ground Zero with her husband, Frank, and good friend, Nancy Loggi, to mark the first anniversary of Sept. 11. She was then to have dinner in Midtown.
The trio said they had no intention of staying away because of the new warning.
"I never want to live my life in fear," said Loggi, 65, also of Atlantic City. "What's going to happen will happen."
Frank Migone said the three traveled to New York City last year and were atop the World Trade Center exactly two weeks before hijacked jets plowed into them and brought them down.
"I just want to go down and see it [the site]," said Migone, 67. "Hopefully everything will work out and nothing is going to happen. But I've lived a long life, so I'm not really going to worry about it."
Other tourists seemed equally committed. Swedish visitor Johan Fahlroth, 35, said he still intended to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his wife and year-old daughter before leaving the city as scheduled around 3 p.m.
And German tourist Peter Bihl, 43, said he and his mother were going to rent a car Wednesday and drive to St. Louis to visit relatives, just as they'd originally planned.
"Why change?" Bihl asked.
Many New Yorkers were also determined not to be scared away by Tuesday's high-alert terror warning.
Angel Santiago, 34, of the Bronx, said he'd forgo work Wednesday to attend the memorial service at Ground Zero in the morning and another religious service later in the day.
"I'm still going to do absolutely everything I planned," he said. "We all need to remember. Of course it's worrisome, but these fanatics are always going to attack. We just need to protect ourselves."
Trudy Wilson, 44, of Manhattan, said she'll still allow her 13-year-old daughter to go to the Christian concert for youth Wednesday evening at Madison Square Garden while she attends a church service.
"I don't feel we should give them the privilege to control us," Wilson said. "We won't stay home."
But the latest warning did convince a few people that they should take refuge inside, away from all the activity.
"Now that they've raised the alert, I'm definitely staying at home," said Tony Richards, 27, of England, who was visiting his friend, Ola Ogunleye. "It gets me worried. They must know something."