I am not a brave policeman, willing to run into a crumbling inferno to get strangers to safety, only to have my life cut short as the tower fell; or strong enough to stay as long as it takes to rescue every possible survivor, then recover every body still caught in the destruction.
I am not a firefighter, sleeping on the street between endless shifts of tireless digging through piles of wreckage large enough to literally bury dozens of fire engines, not to mention hundreds of my courageous comrades.
I am just a private citizens with a renewed reverence and respect for those who are so brave and who put the needs and welfare of others, even strangers ahead of their own safety without a second thought.
I am not a fire department chaplain, selflessly ensuring that a colleagues last rites are bestowed, and making the ultimate sacrifice of my own life in the process.
I am one layperson, a sinner saved by Grace, whose heart breaks at the waste of such fine men simply doing their duty.
I am not an airline passenger willing to confront the cowards who plotted to use a plane loaded with fuel and innocent Americans to cause death and destruction.
I am an American who stands in awe of someone who could be that brave while certain death is staring them in the face.
I am not a news correspondent or photographer putting my own fears and sadness aside to capture the events of Sept.11, as they unfolded.
I am one of millions of grateful recipients of that information that they so eloquently present to a shocked and saddened nation.
I am not a native New Yorker or Washingtonian who watched in horror as my hometown ceased to exist as I knew it.
I am an American who watched in horror as my country ceased to exist as I knew it.
I am not a former first lady whose official duties called for steadfast assurance for citizens I represent, and at the same time knew my daughter was but a few blocks away from the World Trade Center, yet I could not find her for hours.
I am not a mother receiving a final, desperate cell phone call from my child, who is about to die in a fiery crash at the hands of evil incarnate.
I am a mother who now holds my children a little tighter, lets go a little slower, and whispers a few more prayers of thankfulness that they are safe.
I am not a wife who kissed my husband goodbye on a Tuesday morning, heading out for a typical workday, and having no idea that Id never see him talk to him, argue with him, or kiss him again - ever - because people who didnt even know him, and whom he had never wronged, brutally murdered him in cold blood.
I am a wife who kissed my husband goodbye on a Tuesday morning, then called him in tears at 9:30 A.M., then three more times during the day, just to hear his voice.
I am not a sister walking the streets of New York City with fliers showing my missing siblings picture and description, yearning for even the tiniest clue that he is alive and waiting to be rescued.
I am a sister who takes my relationships with my brothers a little less for granted now. And I am a sister whose heart skips a beat when I think of my beloved sister, who is no longer here with me, but who greets thousands of new souls at the gates of Heaven.
I am not a friend tirelessly standing vigil night after night, with candle in hand, and shoulder to shoulder with others who also await word, any word.
I am a friend who is happy to lend an ear to offer a comforting word to another, and who has the good fortune to have friends who return the favor.
I am not the proud daughter of a government official who must give authorities my parents toothbrush or hairbrush to use for DNA identification, because their life ended so horribly at the Pentagon that their body cannot even be recognized.
I am a proud daughter who has called my parents every day this week, and who has thanked God every day that I still have both of them here with me.
Thankfully, I am not our nations president, who witnessed the unthinkable events happening in my country, and who is faced with the incredible responsibility of making decisions that no human being should ever have to make.
Just as thankfully, I am simply one flag-waving, anthem-singing, ribbon-wearing citizen of the greatest nation in the world, whose patriotism has reached a new level. And whose dedication to the preservation of our heritage and our freedom is greater than every before.
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