May 3, 2010— -- There is a familiar slogan in New York City in the fight against terrorism: "If you see something, say something."
The street vendors of Times Square showed the world on Saturday night that they are not just there to sell, but also to help, as one of them is responsible for alerting police to the potential car bomb found on a warm spring evening.
Lance Orton, a New Yorker and a veteran, is part of a brotherhood of veterans who are the eyes and ears on the frontline in the fight against terror in New York City. They are the street vendors, the men and women on street corners who are closest to what is happening at street level.
"If anyone would see anything here that is out of the ordinary, it's all these veterans that have a spot on every corner," says Gino Diuffre, a street vendor, but not a veteran.
A state law going back to the civil war gives vending licenses to disabled veterans -- there are 105 in business around Times Square. The vendors sell everything from pocketbooks and tee-shirts to all those things that have the iconic phrase, "I Love New York," printed on them.
"A lot of the guys know each other," said Duane Jackson, who is a vendor and a Vietnam veteran. "It's not just Vietnam veterans but veterans from Iraq, from Afghanistan, and what we try and do is keep hope alive so we can be there for the next generation of veterans who are coming home."
They are a band of brothers who once served in the fight for freedom, looking out for all of us on the streets of New York.
"You're safe," a veteran-vendor told a passing tourist. "We got you ... you never have to worry in Times Square, between the cops and everyone who works here you'll be fine."