Thoughts for Thursday

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With Breast Cancer Awareness month 1 day away, I wanted to share with you an article written about the recent school shootings that have plagued our nation. These senseless acts of violence should not be happening. The world should not have to focus on tragedy that can be prevented, when there is so much that can not be prevented. Please take a second to reach out to someone you feel is hurting inside and may choose to hurt themselves or someone else. together we can put a stop to senseless violence and support the fight against breast cancer. 

College shootings shock nation

By Justin Fleming
Published on September 30, 2010 4:34 AM 

Last week, separate shootings at the University of Texas at Austin and Seton Hall University gripped the nation, as they resulted in the deaths of two college students, one of whom was an innocent bystander.  

Nineteen-year-old Jessica Moore was fatally shot at an off-campus house near Seton Hall University early Saturday after a gunman opened fire on a party she was attending. The gunman — later identified as 25-year-old Nicholas Welch — refused to pay the cover charge, and when he was denied entry, he shot five individuals, including Moore. The injuries to the other four victims were not considered life-threatening.  

According to students at the scene, Moore died after she threw herself in front of a wounded classmate.  

Seton Hall held prayer services for Moore on Saturday evening. As of Sunday, Welch was at-large, and police set a $10,000 reward for information that would lead to his capture. Then, on Wednesday, Welch was arrested and charged with murder, conspiracy and illegal weapons possession. He is being held on $2 million bail.  

The search for 19-year-old Marcus Bascus, who is accused with supplying the gun to Welch, is still ongoing.  

Two days after the Seton Hall shooting, on the morning of Monday, Sept. 27, a gunman opened fire on campus at the University of Texas at Austin, sending the entire university into lockdown.  

The shooter was spotted before classes wearing a dark suit and a ski mask, running through campus carrying an AK-47 assault rifle. Then, the individual — later identified as 19-year-old Colton Tooley — started shooting, firing randomly into both the air and the ground.  

Fortunately, Tooley did not hit anyone, although police say he easily could have. Once SWAT teams spotted Tooley, they followed him up to the sixth floor of the university’s main library. Once they got there, however, police found that Tooley had fatally shot himself.  

According to a report by ABC News, on the day of the shooting, a man who referred to himself as “Marcus” and claimed to be a member of the family, emerged from the Tooley household and read a statement.  

“I want you to understand how he lived,” he said. “He was a very smart guy, very intelligent, excellent student. He wouldn’t or couldn’t hurt a fly. This is a great shock to me and my family. There was nothing prior to this day, nothing that would lead any of us to believe this could take place.”  

The shooting sent the campus into lockdown for the entire day, as questions circulated as to whether another shooter was on the loose. Original police reports cited shootings occurring at different spots on campus, causing police to have to search for another potential gunman. It was later determined, however, that Tooley acted alone.  

While the campus was searched, students were instructed via e-mail and text to stay off campus, and if they were already there, to lock their doors and stay put.  

According to witness reports, the shooter was spotted waving and smiling throughout the rampage. As of yet, no motives for the shooting have been established.  

Both the murder at Seton Hall and the shooting at the University of Texas have been stirring up nation-wide controversy over the past few days. Beyond parents and students questioning the security of college campuses, the event is bringing other issues, such as gun control, back to the forefront.  

Texas lawmakers, for instance, are using the shooting to push new legislation that would allow Texas college students to carry concealed handguns for self-defense, provided that they pass an eight-hour training course.  

Fleming is a member of the class of 2013.  



Wellness Wednesday

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Oct. 29 – Breast cancer nonprofit set to host gala at Avia

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Erica Harvey, executive director, and Rebecca Titone, program manager for BCCA, test out ideas for decorations for their gala to raise money for breast cancer at Avia.

Unmasking Breast Cancer Masquerade Gala

When: 7-11 p.m. Oct. 29

Where: Avia Hotel, 9595 Six Pines Drive

Cost: $100 per ticket with sponsorships available

More info: www.thebreastcancercharities.org, www.igopink.org or www.unmaskingbreastcancer.com

By Lauren Hodges
Updated: 09.28.10

Breast Cancer Charities of America, a global independent nonprofit with headquarters in The Woodlands, will host an inaugural gala to raise money for breast cancer programs Oct. 29 at Avia Hotel.

Proceeds will go to BCCA programs, such as the Help Now Fund and iGoPink campaign. Help Now helps breast cancer patients pay rent and utilities, and iGoPink is a fashion-forward campaign that takes a new approach to assisting breast cancer patients.

“Eighty percent of net funds raised at the gala will go to work in the local community,” said Erica Harvey, executive director of BCCA and iGoPink.

There will be a cocktail reception, and the band Yelba will perform at the Unmasking Breast Cancer Masquerade Gala. The name of the gala ties into the organization’s mission of unmasking new noninvasive treatments for breast cancer.

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–>Attendees are encouraged to dress for the masquerade theme and wear hot pink to support the cause. Educational material about breast cancer and how to prevent it will be available. A silent auction will include trips, jewelry and dining experiences. There will be artistic and interactive activities at the gala, such as a photo booth.

“It’s like an adult Halloween party in The Woodlands,” Harvey said.

BCCA, located at 2002 Timberloch Place, Suite 200, is associated with 200 hospitals. In 2009, it provided $1.5 million for breast cancer research, financial assistance and educational programs, which was funded in the first five months of operation.

BCCA has been linked with fashion designers such as Trina Turk, who has a high-end clothing line available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. Harvey said the organization’s appeal and logo, which includes a stiletto heel, has brought in people to work on projects.

To qualify for the Help Now Fund, women must be referred by a social worker, nurse or hospital. Critical cases are considered first.

“We look at integrating a person’s lifestyle into the medical treatment,” Harvey said. “We focus on mind, body and spirit.”

Harvey said iGoPink follows a care pyramid of six elements: medical, nutrition, exercise, attitude, support and meaning and purpose.

“(We figure out) how the person can impact themselves, how you can take preventative measures to increase your health with what you currently have,” she said.

Tickets are $100 for the gala, and sponsorships are available. Sponsorships will be finalized by Oct. 20. The event is black tie optional. For more information, visit www.thebreastcancercharities.org, www.igopink.org or www.unmaskingbreastcancer.com.

Lauren Hodges can be reached at lhodges@hcnonline.com.



Fitness Friday

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Five Fun Tips for Fall Fitness 

(ARA) – With their kids in school, many parents pledge to take advantage of their family’s new fall schedule by adding a daily workout to their routine. Here are five tips for making fall the most fit season of all:

1. Seize the moment: Time, or the lack of it, is often cited as the biggest challenge to sustaining an exercise regimen. When the kids return to school, what better way to use some of that precious time than getting in shape? 

Your workout doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Even a half hour walking your neighborhood pays off in increased energy and stamina. Most health-club aerobics classes are just an hour long, yet offer big fitness dividends. Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your family.  

2. Enjoy the year’s most beautiful season: In many parts of the United States, autumn is a near-sacred season, with its warm, sunny days, cool evenings and postcard perfect colors. Get outside and enjoy the season by bicycling, walking, hiking, jogging, and playing golf and tennis. 

Explore parks in your area; find a new bike path through the woods, take a walk around a lake. The time spent out in nature will do as much good for your mind as for your body. 

3. Return to your club or gym: It takes 30 days to make fitness a habit, and supplementing outdoor exercise with increasingly frequent visits to your health club will help diversify your exercise regimen and set the stage for regular workouts once autumn’s leaves have fallen. 

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A well-rounded fitness regimen is important. While aerobic activity such as running or bicycling is good for your heart, resistance training is also a critical component of a balanced program, so be sure to take advantage of your club’s weight lifting equipment. 

4. An apple a day: In many parts of the country, autumn is synonymous with the apple harvest. Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, both of which reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, inhibiting the growth of dangerous plaques along blood vessel walls, and dietary fiber, apples are a delicious and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed any time of day. 

Remember that each of us should be getting at least four to five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. However, nine out of 10 Americans do not meet these recommendations. As a result, many people should consider some form of supplementation, according to Jeff Zwiefel, president of Life Time Fitness’ Health Enhancement Division. 

“While the goal for everyone should be four to five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day, many people simply do not have the time or opportunity to get there,” said Zwiefel. “That’s why Life Time Fitness has introduced a full line of supplements that have been specially designed to meet the unique needs and requirements of both men and women.” 

5. Make it social: One of the great things about exercise is that it doesn’t need to be done alone. Find a friend with a similar fitness level and goals; having a partner helps you both stay motivated. You can use your exercise time to catch up on each other’s lives. 

Boredom is the number one killer of good health and fitness regimens. Exercising with a friend puts the fun back into your workout. 

 
The Author:
 
For more information about Life Time Fitness, visit www.lifetimefitness.com, or call (800) 430-5433.


Thoughtful Thursday

iGoPink Blog, Motivation & Inspriation No Comments

October is just around the corner, which means breast cancer awareness month is right around the corner! If you are looking to get involved in the fight against breast cancer, October is just the month to host your own fundraiser!

Here are some great ideas to help you get started!……Help BCCA out and make an impact in women’s lives!  For more information on The Breast Cancer Charities of America visit  www.thebreastcancercharities.org

Do you want to host an event or fundraiser in your local community to benefit iGoPink/BCCA? Check out some of the great DIY event ideas listed below with step-by-step instructions to make your fundraiser be successful, easy to host and lots of fun for a good cause. If you would like to host an event to donate to our charity please fill out our Registration Form

For more information on hosting your own event check out this link!  Third Party Event FAQs 

If you are also thinking of becoming a sponsor please check out this form. Pink Partners FAQ 

 

Host a barbecue fundraiser in your own backyard! Planning a barbecue fundraiser can be lots of fun especially when the weather is right. Barbecue fundraisers are a great way to raise money for breast cancer: the host earns funds for breast cancer quickly and guests get a delicious meal at a good price.
involved today

 

Host a pink potluck, raising awareness for breast cancer. This is a great way to plan a meal for your event and get people involved! Try hosting the pink potluck at your house, even in your backyard if the weather is nice.
Get involved today 

 

Host Bunco for Breast Cancer event to raise awareness for breast cancer! Bunco fundraisers are an entertaining and successful way to raise money for The Breast Cancer Charities of America.
Read more

 

Why not hold a Basket Bingo Fundraiser event? This is an exciting way to get people spending money for a worthy cause. People enjoy playing bingo and want to help the fight against breast cancer.
Read more

 

NO SELLING! NO LISTS! NO PICKUP OR DELIVERY DATES! NO DEADLINES! NO MERCHANDISE! What a deal!
Read more

 

Host a pink out picnic in your backyard! This event takes a little more work because a pink out picnic fundraiser means choosing creative announcements, determining an entrance fee, preparing food, finding volunteers, and lining up a raffle to bring in even more funds for The Breast Cancer Charities of America.
Read more

 

The student who collects the most donations gets to pick a teacher to dye their hair/mustache/beard PINK FOR A WEEK!
Read more

 

I hereby pledge to do my best in school, to have a winning attitude, and to be on my best behavior every day. Would you be willing to pledge a few dollars for my A’s & B’s to help raise money for The Breast Cancer Charities of America?
Read more

 

 

Celebrate with friends and family at home with “cosmos for a cause”! It’s a great way to bond, make memories, let loose, and support Breast Cancer Charities of America!  DIY Cosmos



Fitness Friday

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I don’t know about y’all, but my midsection is my ‘trouble” area. No matter what I do I have an unsightly belly bulge that seems to double in size during the Fall and Winter. Well this year I have come up with a plan…I like to call it my version of ” Battle of the Bulge”. I am going to start working my midsection out like there is no tomorrow! I am going to get it as toned as possible before Thanksgiving, Christmas and cold. That way when the inevitable bathing suit season rolls around my bulge will just be the size that it normally is, and not double. I think this is a pretty genius plan.

 Here are a few great ab exercises that I found on the interweb for those of you that want to jump on to my ” Battle of the Bulge” plan. These exercises were brought to you by: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1366183/four_great_exercises_to_tone_your_midsection_pg2.html?cat=50

1. Lower Leg Raises with two variations:

Lay flat on your back with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Place your arms with your palms face-down. Keeping your back pressed flat into the floor, lift both of your legs about six inches off of the ground. For beginners, simply do two sets of twenty leg raises. If you feel you are a bit more advanced, when you raise your legs, spread them about two feet apart then bring them back together before setting them back on the floor and do two sets of twenty of these. These exercise target the lower abdominal and also, as the advanced variations increase in difficulty, your middle abdominal area.

2. Yoga Frog Lifts

This one is my personal favorite. Lay on the floor on your back with your hands behind your head. Now, spread your legs slightly and press the bottoms of your feet together; it should look as if you are doing a

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 plié while lying down, yet your feet are together “frog style.” Then carefully lift both your upper body and lower body about 6 inches off the floor using your abdominal muscles to support you, hold for two seconds and then lower your upper and lower body back to the floor. This will be a bit uncomfortable at first, but start off with three sets of fifteen of these. It may sound like an awkward number, but this is a great exercise and starting off at fifteen yields the most results and is much easier to handle than it appears. This exercise targets the middle and lower abdominals, and, if you feel you can advance, target your upper abdominals by alternating lifting your lower body, then your upper body, lifting each a bit higher than you would have when lifting both simultaneously; make sure you lift each part in two sets of fifteen.

3. Side Lifts

I love this exercise because of what an easy exercise it is. Stand upright with your feet separated about should-width apart. Hold a 10 pound weight in your left hand letting it rest at your side and place your right hand on your right hip; this helps stabilize your position, making your stance sturdier. Very slowly, still holding the weight in your left hand, bend to your left side (without bending your knees). Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and then, using your abdominal muscles by tightening them, pull your body upright again. Repeat this between ten and fifteen times for beginners; for more advanced exercises, fifteen and twenty times. Switch the weight to your right hand, put your left hand on your left hip and repeat on your right side. This targets your oblique muscles.

4. Criss-Cross

This is a fairly well-known exercise that targets your upper and mid abdominals as well as your obliques. Lay flat on the floor with your legs bent very slightly at the knee and your hands resting behind your head as if you were doing sit ups. Now, lift and twist your upper body, bringing your left elbow forward as if you were doing a sideways sit-up. At the same time, draw your right knee up and in towards your chest until it meets your left elbow and extend your left leg out, hovering between 6 inches and 2 feet off the ground (depending upon your advancement level and flexibility). Switch sides and repeat in a fluid motion between twenty and thirty times. If you can, do two sets of these per exercise session. Spreading them out is fine, and it occasionally helps if you place a pillow beneath your lower back.



Wellness Wednesday

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This is an e-mail forward that I received a while back that has always stuck with me. I love it and wanted to share it with all of you! Please let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Please read both stories!

STORY NUMBER  ONE
Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago . Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.” He was Capone’s lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block. Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld.  Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong.  Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn’t give his son; he couldn’t pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al “Scarface” Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a  lonely
Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.
The poem read:
“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.  Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.”

 

STORY NUMBER  TWO
World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted .50-caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O’Hare Airport in
Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So, the next time you find yourself at O’Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch’s memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It’s located between Terminals 1 and 2.

 

SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?
Butch O’Hare was “Easy Eddie’s” son.



Tasty Tuesday

iGoPink Blog, Nutrition & Recipes No Comments

Grilled Ham and Sweet Potato Kabobs

 

Ham is grilled with sweet potatoes and green pepper and pineapple juice sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds cooked ham, cut in 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled, and cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium green pepper, cut in 1 1/2-inch squares
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 small (6-ounce) can frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

Preparation:

Thread cubed ham, sweet potatoes, and green pepper squares alternately on 6 skewers. Brush kabobs with Pineapple Sauce (below). Grill over medium coals for 15 to 20 minutes, brushing with sauce frequently.Serve with rice and remaining sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Pineapple Sauce: In small saucepan, combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of the pineapple concentrate; stir until smooth.

Stir in the remaining pineapple concentrate, the chili sauce, honey, and oil. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to to boil. Boil for about 1 minute.



Fitness Friday

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this article is brought to you by www.active.com

4 Ways to Make Your Treadmill Workouts Fun

 

 

Just think: If global warming were a good thing, you’d never have to run indoors on a treadmill ever again. You can see where we’re going with this. The next time you’re running bored on the belt, change your routine with one of these four programs. They’ll help you burn calories, without burning you out.

 

Play By Numbers

First, calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR) by subtracting your age from 220. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends hitting at least 70 percent of your MHR while you exercise to maximize your calorie burn and fat loss. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, count your pulse for 10 seconds, and multiply that number by 6. Keep working at 70 percent of your MHR for as long as you can. When you get tired, slow the treadmill to an easy jogging pace, and rest for a few minutes. Next, see how long you can go at 85 percent of your MHR.

Random Pickup

Tom Holland, a triathlete and physiologist in Darien, Connecticut, suggests watching a 30-minute TV program, like the nightly news. Increase your speed so that you’re running hard (about 80 percent of your maximum) during the commercials. When Katie Couric returns, slow your pace to an easy jog.

 

Take a Hike

Rebecca Rusch, top adventure racer and 2003 winner of the Raid Gauloises, likes to walk or run on an incline to mimic hiking outside. Some treadmills have preprogrammed hiking trails, but if yours doesn’t, Rusch recommends this: Walk at 3.5 miles per hour on a flat belt. Increase the incline every minute until it reaches 5 percent, and stay for three minutes. Next, lower and raise the belt every two minutes until you’ve been exercising for 25 minutes. Gradually lower the belt and decrease your speed over five minutes to cool down.

 

Weight it Out

If you’re short on time, do double duty with your cardio and grab a pair of two to five pound dumbbells. Perform biceps curls as you walk, raising and lowering your arms with each step. Next, perform military shoulder presses. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height, with your palms facing forward. Press them up overhead, and return them to start. Do 10 repetitions of each exercise. If you need your hands for balance, try this on a stationary bike.



Thoughts for Thursday

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For today’s thoughts for Thursday, I found this heartwarming letter from a father to his children. It is his reaction to 9/11. I know it’s a few days before 9/11, but his words are so powerful that I would like to share them with everybody. I hope you enjoy.

A Dad’s Letter

Dear Children,

Within the brain of almost every living American there are dates that are indelibly etched there, numbers that are as real to us as figures written into a granite stone. We carry these dates with us in our heads until we at last rest under the stones bearing our own final numbers: December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor). November 22, 1963 (Pres. Kennedy assassination). April 19, 1995 (Oklahoma City bombing).

And now, September 11, 2001.

Your mother asked me to write something about this last date, so that when you get older we can talk about how it felt back then, what it was like to live through that terrible day and the long days and nights that followed. So that she and I might have something to look back to, when you begin to ask the questions that will come.

To the hard question that you will ask: “Why Daddy?” I have no answer. I don’t think that in my lifetime anyone will be able to answer that one. Your lives may come and go, too, before someone can at last explain. How do you begin to apply logic, or common sense, to such utter madness? Your father does not know.

As I write you just three days after this horrific disaster, I have many unanswered questions of my own. And at this early date there is so much that remains unknown. But in trying to look ahead and prepare for the day that will come, the day that you sit on my knee and say: “Today we talked about the World Trade Center in school. What do you remember, Daddy?” I know that I will tell you this: I was afraid.

“Daddy afraid?” You ask. Yes, children, and the fear that I feel today grows upon me like a small irritation in the eye. At first it is just an annoyance. But the more you work at it, the harder you rub, the more uncomfortable it becomes until at last you are overwhelmed by the pain.

Kids, I would be lying to you if I said that it is not my own life that I fear for. I’m only forty-two years old, and although that may sound ancient to you, it’s a terribly young age to die. But even if I was to die today, I would have lived a fairly full life. My fear, my beloved children, my gifts from God, is that we may now be living in an age where you may not be given the chance to reach this age. This is the very heart of my fear.

I fear that your mother and I have brought the three of you into a world where you can no longer come and go as you please, where safety and well-being are no longer things that can be taken for granted. I fear that I will spend each and every day for the rest of my life wondering if this is the day, the day that one of you fails to return home alive.

The world changed in a moment September 11, 2001. It took just eighteen minutes to go from praying that it was an accident to knowing that evil had taken on a new face and that all of the old rules had changed. Everything became suddenly darker when those billowing black clouds of smoke drifted across the sky of New York, of Washington, and of Pennsylvania. The shadows that they cast fell upon the hearts of every American who has one. And how quickly we learned, my children, to tell the difference between Americans with hearts and those without.

Even as the tapping of survivors could still be heard coming from under the rubble of the wreckage, there were people whose only thoughts were of how to add to the mayhem. They called in false bomb threats, to the airports, to bridges, to the sites of devastation in New York and at the Pentagon, costing rescue workers to lose valuable time, perhaps even costing life itself. God Himself will deal with these people; I will say no more of them.

Let me instead tell you of the heroes. The people of true heart. Thousands upon thousands of them. Firemen, police and port authority personnel. Civilians. People with no other vested interest than that of caring for their fellow man. Men and women who, despite the overwhelming danger, rushed forward, towards harm’s path, trying to help the wounded, and many of whom ultimately gave their lives. People from across the country who, wanting to do something, anything, stood in line for hours waiting to donate blood. Rescue workers who stayed awake and at the sites for not just hour after hour, but for days.

From this amazing display of resilience, children, I think that I can find something to help me move forward too. All is not lost. Kids, did you know that your father once worked in a steel mill? It is there that I learned the word tempered, and I would like to tell you a little something about it. Steel is not very strong children. Not until you expose it to extreme heat, that is. Then once the steel is cooled by placing it in water, it becomes amazingly strong. Tempered.

My very soul has been tempered. Heated to the extreme by the massive fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center. Then cooled to ice like temperatures by the thought that someone dare bring this terror to our homeland. I am further strengthened by the acts of those gallant firemen whose unselfish bravery left so many of them lying buried beneath tons of concrete, dead or dying. How can I let fear drive my actions now when so many others have acted so fearlessly?

With these actions to guide me, this is how I will brave our dangerous new world. I will not cower before thugs. I will not bend to the will of terrorist. I will be ever mindful of the new dangers we face, but I will not let the mindless action of madmen determine my fate. I will stride ever forward determined to do the very best for you that I am able. I will protect you from harm where I can, and pray to God to protect you where I can’t. And I will place all of my faith in Him to help us along our way.

May God watch over you, my children. May He bless our family, our friends, and our country.

I love you.

Dad

~ Author Unknown ~