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September 11th Tragedy

September 11, 2001

On Tuesday morning, September 11, I was sitting in a plane on a runway in Albany, New York. I was about to take off for a quick trip to Chicago when the word came that all flights in the United States had been grounded. I then learned that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been attacked by terrorists flying our commercial airplanes. A hundred questions went through my mind at once. How could this happen? Who could do such an evil thing? Were my family and friends safe? Like most Americans, I was in a state of disbelief and shock.

You don't have to live in New York or Washington to be deeply touched and affected by what's happened. We've all seen the same images on television over and over again. We watched in awe as true heroes — firefighters, police officers, EMTs, volunteer workers, and the everyday people caught up in this horror — risked their lives to save others. I've seen the outpouring of support in the form of blood donations, food, equipment, and medical supplies. Everyone in America wants to do something, anything, to help out.

As the days have gone by, I've been inspired by the stories of the kids who have organized bake sales, car washes, and community fairs to raise money for the victims and their families. I've read about first graders who made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the rescue workers, and children at an elementary school who collected stuffed animals to send to kids who need comfort. The daughter of a friend of mine organized a candlelight vigil for her high school, and the entire town asked to participate.

I take comfort in the strength and support of the American people. There is a great sense of community with all the citizens of our country, almost as if we have locked our arms around each other in a giant hug. But I'm incredibly sad. I know you're probably sad, too, and maybe scared. I hope you are talking about any worries and fears you may have with your parents, your friends, or your teachers. Maybe you'll find it helpful to write down your thoughts each day in a journal. The important thing to remember is that we have each other, and we don't have to go through this alone.