Crisis averted, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has gone out of his way to make sure that those on the front lines have not gone unnoticed.

The mayor treated NYPD Mounted Patrol Officer Wayne Rhatigan, of Holbrook, to a fancy meal Sunday as a token of the city's appreciation for the veteran officer's quick actions when he saw smoke and smelled gunpowder coming from the now infamous SUV in Times Square Saturday night.

He praised vendors and first responders on Monday morning talk shows. He was at a Times Square firehouse Tuesday to thank firefighters and T-shirt vendor Lance Orton for their quick thinking and skilled work.

In the days following the failed bomb plot on Times Square, Bloomberg is among the throngs of public officials including Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and President Barack Obama who have made sure to praise first responders for the critical role they play on the front lines of keeping America safe.

Aware that no amount of high-tech equipment can make a target completely full-proof, "see something, say something," has become the mantra for the role of the average citizen in fighting terrorism.

A day after he expressed his appreciation to vendor Duane Jackson, Obama took time to call Orton, Rhatigan and his partner Pamela Duffy to "thank them for their vigilance," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. Obama also thanked first responders, saying the attack "failed because ordinary citizens were vigilant and reported suspicious activity to the authorities," and authorities followed their training.

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Said Bloomberg of a modest Orton who was met with gratitude from those in attendance at Engine Co. 54, Ladder Co. 4 and Battalion 9: "He did exactly what I keep saying every New Yorker should do - he saw something and he said something. And his actions, along with the actions of our first responders, helped keep everyone safe. It is a good lesson for all of us."

With Tom Brune