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This is a guest post by Heather Jermak; mother of 3, an attorney, and New Orleans resident during Hurricane Katrina.

The 10th anniversary of September 11 is this Sunday. My 12 year old son was 2 on that fateful day, and unfortunately watched the towers fall on TV while I tried to reach loved ones in New York and Washington DC. For us, our family and friends were all okay but I still feel guilt about having my son watch that loop while I was on the phone. He doesn’t remember it now but he still thinks of 9/11 as a scary thing where we weren’t sure if the world was ending (we thought that again while living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, but I digress…).

Now that he is older, 9/11 has become an even more complicated question and with two little sisters listening, I have stuggled to explain the “why” of 9/11 and how we heal. So I told my son about how when the towers fell, many firefighters and other first responders lost their lives trying to save others in the building. I said those men did their jobs and knew that their job was going to involve putting their lives in danger but they still did it.  My son knows exactly how many firefighters were killed that day, 343. Incidentally, an interesting and powerful example of the brotherhood of firefighters is when after Hurricane Katrina, our firehouse around the corner had 7-10 feet of water in it. The equipment was deemed useless and they lost everything until the NYC firefighters donated new trucks and equipment to help get the firehouse back to work. This dedicated NYC crew even drove the trucks down to New Orleans and gave $100,000 as well. Isn’t that incredible?

He thinks that their sacrifice is an amazing thing.  From our experience with Hurricane Katrina, we know how powerful anniversary dates can be.  We have also learned that the fastest path to healing is helping others.  So we decided that this Sunday, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, we were going to bring cookies to our local firefighters. It’s a small gesture but we want to make sure that our firefighters know that we care about them, honor their sacrifices and remember them.

Please join us in recognizing our local heroes and remembering 9/11 by sharing cookies (or a healthy alternative of your choice) with firefighters or police in your community. A little gesture that says a lot…please share this with your friends and do something special on Sunday to say thank you! Also, we would love to see photos or videos of you donating your cookies or other treats to your local firehouse (or police station)…so be sure to submit them here or on our Facebook page.

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