Timeless advice on coping with tragedy

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mark Crane of Lockport has shared a copy of the letter he wrote to his children the day after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Twenty years later, citing the vast changes in our nation, our culture and the world since that tragic day, he says, "I hope that those thoughts I shared back then are still valid and have value in today's world. My thoughts and prayers are with us all."

• • •

12 September 2001

Dear Erica & Philip,

I am sorry that our world has been shattered once again! As your Father, I am at a loss as to what I can say, or do to make all this go away.

The truth is that I cannot, your Mom and I can't give you a simple reason for all of this. At times, bad and evil men do terrible things. It is hard for us to make any sense out of these senseless acts.

I want you to know about this day, and remember! Your mom and I were together as we watched this tragedy unfold before us on the news. We sat riveted to the screen watching in disbelief. In shock at what we saw.

Our next thoughts were about you kids. Wanting to have you home with us! How can we help you understand why man can be so evil to his fellow man?

We want you to see that in the wake of the terrible things that have happened, people from all over the world are rising to help out. Thousands of people have been and are moved to help one another.

Look and concentrate on the efforts of the many good people who are helping out. Those that give blood, see all the emergency personnel, firemen, and police who are searching for, and helping victims. The good that people do will eventually outweigh the bad.

Remember, your own family members are involved in this effort ... in the FBI ... and the State Police ... taking active roles in assisting people. (A loved one) and the U.S. Army have been put on the highest level of alert to protect the country.

Local government and the police and military are here to protect us and keep us from harm. (A loved one) and his unit at Niagara Falls Air Base have been called to duty to help out if the need arises.

What can you do? Say a prayer for the people that died, and the families they left behind. I know you are scared and upset; we are too! We can't change what has happened. If you are mad and upset, let that move you to doing good and helping others.

We will survive this! Take comfort in your loved ones. Embrace each other, and be nice to each other. We do not know the day or time that death may come, and we will be gone. Do not let a day go by not letting others know how you feel about them. Let them know that you love them!

Love always, your Dad.

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