Americans respond to terrorist attacks with unity, strength

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2001

The enormity of this week's tragedy could make a weaker people feel helpless.

Americans, however, aren't standing by wringing their hands. Instead, we are springing into action, doing whatever we can to help ease the suffering of others. Yes, we are shocked and stunned and numb. Yes, we are grieving. Yes, we are angry.

But we are not paralyzed by fear.

What can be done by one individual seems minuscule when compared with Tuesday's monstrous acts of terrorism. Rest assured, though, those individual acts of kindness, strength and generosity are being multiplied millions of times over.

And they do make a difference.

They speak powerfully of the strength and resilience of Americans. They testify to the fact that we value our freedom and love our country. They stand in stark contrast to Tuesday's horrific acts.

Though thousands of miles from the tragedy, Kenai Peninsula residents are joining their fellow Americans in showing the world it will take more than cowardly acts of terrorism to destroy the foundation of this nation. Here's just a sample of what people on the peninsula, and in the rest of the country, are doing:

n Giving blood. The response to the call for blood donations has been overwhelming. The Blood Bank of Alaska Kenai Peninsula Center is scheduled to be open today from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but is taking people by appointment only to reduce the wait time for donors. To make an appointment, call 260-5672.

n Giving monetary donations to established emergency assistance agencies. The United Way and The New York Community Trust have created the September 11 Fund to assist the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks. Donations can be taken directly to Seekins Ford or the Kenai Chrysler Center or mailed to United Way September 11 Fund, 2 Park Ave., New York, N. Y. 10016.

An example of what's going on around the country: In New Orleans, a television station's on-the-street fund drive for victims of the terrorist attacks picked up $300,000 in cash in less than 24 hours -- and the money was still pouring in, according to a report from The Associated Press.

n Flying Old Glory and wearing red, white and blue. Stores across the country report being sold out of American flags. Amid the debris of the World Trade Center, search and rescue workers said one symbol of survival helped them keep going: A flag had been planted in the rubble, ''just to let them know that America's not dead,'' firefighter Ronald Coyne told the AP.

On the Kenai Peninsula, 7,000 flags have been distributed for display and more than 1,000 red, white and blue ribbons handed out at Kenai Chrysler and the Peninsula Clarion as a way for residents to exhibit their patriotism and unity. It was reported that e-mail writers also declared Thursday ''U.S. Color Day,'' a time for wearing red, white and blue.

n Praying. President George W. Bush has declared today a ''national day of prayer and remembrance'' and asked Americans to spend their lunch breaks taking part in services at their chosen places of worship.

A complete list of churches on the Kenai Peninsula which will be open was not available, but at least two services were planned: a noon service of remembrance at the United Methodist Church of the New Covenant in Kenai and a 7 p.m. service at Soldotna United Methodist Church.

Sterling Baptist Church called to say it would be open for prayer today from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The church is located at the corner of the Sterling Highway and Swanson River Road in Sterling. Kenai Fellowship at Mile 8.5 Kenai Spur Highway will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those who want to pray and the United Methodist Church of the New Covenant will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pastors who were reached indicated most area churches would be open for prayer today.

Doing something, however small it might seem, is helping us cope with Tuesday's tragedy. To do nothing is to admit defeat and hand victory to our unnamed enemy.

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