It goes without saying that the human toll from the September 11 terrorist attacks can never be calculated. Thousands of lives were lost and the lives of thousands of their loved ones were shattered.
The monetary cost, also, will be impossible to ever accurately tally. There are the direct costs of the clean up, the cost of pursuing the war against terrorism, the cost of additional security.
Last week, we got a snapshot of just how far- reaching the monetary costs of September 11 will be. The figures came from one medium sized city in the middle of a Midwest state: Columbus, Ohio.
City officials estimate that the terrorist attacks have already cost the city at least $265,000.
Where it went: Most of that money was for police overtime in the week after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon when police worked 12-hour shifts and racked up $250,846 in overtime. Since then, officers have returned to normal eight-hour shifts.
At City Hall and nearby city buildings, security workers have continued to work some overtime, totaling about $15,000.
In the overall scheme of things, that may not sound like a lot of money, but multiplied by hundreds of cities and spread out over the coming months and years as new security demands arise, the only thing that is certain is that security won't be cheap. And the cost will fall on large and small jurisdictions from coast to coast.