The American Family Unites

September 11, 2001. A tragedy of unimaginable proportions. We suddenly became a pivotal part of history. Freedom was under attack. In almost the same instant, heroes emerged. Strangers helped strangers without regard for life or limb in a city with a cold-hearted reputation. In America's darkest hour, we showed we are made of courage, bravery, and compassion.

The entire country came together in grief and anger. Our National Anthem now had words full of meaning and purpose. The American Family united without the usual divisions of race, gender, social class or financial status. We cried, "Why?" with one voice. We all share the determination to see that freedom endures for our children and grandchildren.

We struggle to explain these events to our ourselves as we wrestle with the meaning of such devastating loss. We face a painful present and an uncertain future. Will America return to its merry slumber or will it never take its values for granted again? Will the world ever again have the luxury of not having to think about the unthinkable?

And what about our own little corner of the American Family? As history unfolds, what is our role? Our role is to be grateful to the past and protective of the future. To the Patterson-Smith family members yet to come, we say your freedom is a recious gift to you from us, your American ancestors. To our American ancestors we say, "Thank You"; we will preserve what you have given us.