When you received the call of duty on September 11, 2001, you found yourselves face-to-face with the most massive and ruthless terrorist attack our country has known. This was not only an assault on America; it was a brutal act of hatred committed against the freedom-loving population of the world and on democracy, itself. Along with your emergency rescue skills, training and experience, you brought your hearts and souls to the horrific site of destruction. There was no "concern for me" on your minds that day, only "compassion for them". You selflessly risked your own lives in an attempt to save other lives, as you searched through overpowering smoke, flames and unstable piles of debris for frantic faces and desperate cries for help. We continue to mourn the loss of family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors and people we never knew but praise for the courage they displayed until they had no choice but to succumb to the unrelentless brutality of this senseless tragedy. However, we celebrate the the many lives that have been saved. Due to your heroic efforts, thousands of families will enjoy birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings and other happy, close occasions together in the years to come. God bless your compassionate and giving hearts, and may his love help to close your emotional wounds.
Please accept the following poem as a token of my appreciation and support...


"A HEROIC JOURNEY"

When the twin towers took a terrorist's blow
Duty recited a familiar refrain
You rushed through smoke-filled corridors
To death traps engulfed in flames
With the heaviest loads on your hearts
You found comfort in the panicky faces
And extended a hand to each frightened friend
While your eyes met in welcomed embraces
The victims recognized your compassion
Though your names remained unknown
You sacrificed your own safety
To guide the survivors back home
As you searched through piles of rubble
For a precious sign of life
You asked God for one more chance
To hug your kids and wives
While you sifted through mountains of steel
Feeling the ground move under your feet
You ignored the presence of danger
On a mission you you had to complete
As you listened for heartbeats and breathing
You met silence that heightened your fears
Then you focused on the anxious families
And shed more determined tears
Your will overcame the exhaustion
Under daytime and nighttime skies
At times you were too weak to speak
But the stories were in your eyes
You faced those who had perished
Through a cowardly attack
The heartache is too much to bear
But you'll never turn your backs
Along with tons of broken glass
You found many shattered lives
New York must bury its casualities
But America's pride has survived
We pray for your endless endurance
And the hope your selflessness brings
As Old Glory waves throughout our land
And the bells of freedom ring...

Diane S. (written on 9/12/01)