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Two miles from home, on what had been a typical evening, I sat on a Metrobus last week and saw a bright orange flash cut through the dark night – 50 feet in front of us, a car erupted in flames.  To my horror, someone was inside.

Without hesitation, the driver stopped the bus, opened the door and four men ran out.  Amid the screams of fear and shock, the cries for help, and the roar of growing flames, four random commuters put their lives on the line to save a stranger.

Sitting in my wheelchair, I did all I could do – I dialed 911 and said a silent prayer.  I watched as these four individuals worked as a team to save a life.  Using a fire extinguisher from the bus, one man doused back flames from the driver side of the vehicle long enough to enable another individual to open the car door.  The other two heroes then worked in tandem to pull a woman away from certain death.  Seconds after carrying her from the car, flames reignited and transformed the vehicle into a fireball.

When action was needed, these brave men ran to answer their unexpected call to duty.  At its very essence, this is Homeland Security – it’s America in action.  It’s a bus full of strangers praying together one moment and celebrating like family the next.

I believe in homeland security because I see its true definition to be the greatness and goodness that lies within each of us and the courage needed to act on behalf of one another despite the circumstances or situation.

Does it work?  It did that night.

L. Vance Taylor has worked to advance the mission of homeland security on Capitol Hill and in the private sector. One of only approximately 250 people in the nation with a Master’s degree in Homeland Security, Mr. Taylor combines specialized educational training with real-world experience to leverage successful outcomes for clients and stakeholders. Read More