September 19, 2001

I'd like to share a couple of emails with you. I think they're quite pertinent in the light of current events.
Our first letter comes to us from a reader in Tennessee:
My daughter and I went to Walmart today. I was going to buy some paper formy printer, but when we got there, it seemed that almost all of the OakRidge Fire Department was turned out in the parking lot. They were takingcash donations, as well as any kind of supplies that people wanted todonate. They had a checklist of items they were looking for.

I gave my 8 year old a twenty dollar billthat I had and she gave it to the fireman. Then, all thoughts of printerpaper left my mind, and I took a copy of the checklist. From my own pastexperience (I was in the military for ten years), I knew the one thing theywould be wanting up there would be socks. I asked the chief what kind ofsocks they'd want, and then took my daughter inside and we bought sixpackages of big, white cotton tube socks.

On the way to the cash register though, my daughter saw a bunch of teddybears and said "Dad, I want a teddy bear." She has a ton of stuff rightnow, and I thought "Hey, here's a good time to maybe teach about sacrificeand thinking about others." I told her "you have plenty of teddy bears athome, why do you need another one? Besides, we're getting these things forthe rescue workers in New York." Her response killed me deader thanSchlock's plasma cannon ever could have, "I want to get them for thefiremen. They might want something to sleep with."

We bought two of the teddy bears, along with the socks and took them outthere. Told the chief that the socks were from me, and the teddy bears werefrom her. He told her "there's going to be plenty of kids up there thatwill need one of these, thank you."

Well, that's my story about my daughter, and how we chipped in. Thanks fora great comic strip, please, keep up the great, great work.

--Bob, from Tennessee

Our second letter comes to us from a reader from the UK, who is actually living here in the US for a while:
After reading your open letter of September 15, I felt that as a recently arrived UK national I should offer the perspective from the USA's closest ally and also from someone who has long experience with terrorist acts over the years. Even now, members of the emergency services put their lives on the line every day in the same way that the Heroes of NYC did, and some pay the ultimate price for "just doing their job".

Although the scale of the events of 11 September are almost hard to believe, the fact of these acts are something that the UK has dealt with for as long as I have been alive. On a personal level I have been almost blown up on three occaisions and the last time (the Broadgate bomb in London City) I was actually blown off my feet.

If there is one thing that I have learnt from over 10 years of travelling into the City of London with the ever-present threat of being killed by faceless cowards, it's this: "Live each day as if nothing has happened".

What these vicious thugs want is for Americans to change their way of life, to be afraid to go out, step on an airplane or live or work in a tall building. If they manage to do that, then they have won.

Many times I travelled to work using London's Underground system and wondered as I left the surface whether it would be the last time I saw the Sun. Many thousands of people felt the same way, and yet we all travelled to work the same way we had always done, proving that cowardly acts of violence did not work and only made us stronger.

I now live and work in the USA, and whilst driving to a friends house on Sunday was both surprised and pleased to see the solidarity of the USA in full view by the huge number of flags on display by the roadside, in peoples front lawns and on peoples cars.

I realised then that the USA would be the strong nation that I had always known it to be and that together, as a Nation, the USA would overcome these tragic events.

Offering sympathy and condolences to those that have lost family and friends seems so inadequate at a time like this, but I offer them anyway on behalf of my own family and myself.

--Jason, from the United Kingdom

Thanks for these letters, guys. We need to remember to keep giving, and we need to learn to keep living. Your comments help us do both.