Sixteen years ago, the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened and President George W. Bush ordered former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and a retired Coast Guard admiral to protect the homeland.

This started with Gov. Ridge and his assistant having two desks in a small White House office and a paper dump. This chaotic beginning has evolved into the United States Department of Homeland Security, which protects us from tornadoes to terrorist attacks. While the department has been less than perfect, like on immigration, Katrina and the panicked evacuation of Houston during Hurricane Rita, the department has learned a lot since 9/11 and Katrina.

The recent response of Homeland Security to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma has proven its worth since its beginnings in a White House office 16 years ago. It will continue to have its successes and failures but it is a department that keeps learning. I am glad we have them. And its first Inspector General just so happened to be named Clark Kent, like in Superman.

Kilton Holmes, Baraboo

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