On September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on our country changed our lives. What happened on 9/11 in New York City was horrific. But what happened on 9/12 was nothing short of a miracle and a testament to the strength and courage of Americans from across this great nation. The outpouring of help by Americans to Americans did not go unnoticed. A small New York child, just 5 years old,  upon seeing wild fires burning in California, said he wanted to help them like others had helped New York after 9/11. His father listened, loaded a truck with toys and things and drove it to California.    New York Says Thank You, a pay it forward organization, was born.

Each year on the weekend before the anniversary of 9/11, a group of FDNY first responders, their families and friends, and countless other volunteers from across this nation come together to help communities struck by tragedy. Those they've helped, in turn, help the next year, and the next, and so on.

Jeff Parness, the founder of the New York Says Thank You organization, and father of that soulful little 5 year old, recruited Sophia and I a couple of years ago. Once there, we were hooked. We look forward to it even though it is the hardest assignment we have each year. Up at dawn, we shoot all day, play a little and fall into bed. Repeat...for four days straight. We wouldn't miss it for the world. It is a renewing and revitalizing experience which feeds our souls and our hearts each year. It gives us respite from our regular schedules and gears us up for the rest of the year. We know that anything else we will shoot will be a piece of cake. We just got back from this year's trip to Mena, Arkansas, which was struck by a devastating tornado last April. NYSTY rebuilt three homes, a community center and made repairs around town with several smaller projects.

When the twin towers came down an American flag hung nearby. It was scorched, smoke damaged, torn and tattered by the collapse of the World Trade Center. Seven years later, the flag was stitched back together by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kansas. The National 9/11 Flag is a living testament to the resilience and compassion of the American people. The flag now tours the country. (Find out more here.) Last week, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe put a stitch in the flag, as did many other Arkansas first responders and veterans and citizens. Sophia and I have put our stitches in it. Why don't you?

I love this image Sophia took last weekend. Here's a preview SLIDESHOW of some of the patriotic moments in Mena last weekend.

Thank you America for the opportunity to serve. Remember, it's not about what happened on 9/11, it's about what happened on 9/12. From one day of terror, ten years of kindness.

Please feel free to leave your comments here on the blog to share with others!
 

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On September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on our country changed our lives. What happened on 9/11 in New York City was horrific. But what happened on 9/12 was nothing short of a miracle and a testament to the strength and courage of Americans from across this great nation. The outpouring of help by Americans to Americans did not go unnoticed. A small New York child, just 5 years old,  upon seeing wild fires burning in California, said he wanted to help them like others had helped New York after 9/11. His father listened, loaded a truck with toys and things and drove it to California.    New York Says Thank You, a pay it forward organization, was born.

Each year on the weekend before the anniversary of 9/11, a group of FDNY first responders, their families and friends, and countless other volunteers from across this nation come together to help communities struck by tragedy. Those they've helped, in turn, help the next year, and the next, and so on.

Jeff Parness, the founder of the New York Says Thank You organization, and father of that soulful little 5 year old, recruited Sophia and I a couple of years ago. Once there, we were hooked. We look forward to it even though it is the hardest assignment we have each year. Up at dawn, we shoot all day, play a little and fall into bed. Repeat...for four days straight. We wouldn't miss it for the world. It is a renewing and revitalizing experience which feeds our souls and our hearts each year. It gives us respite from our regular schedules and gears us up for the rest of the year. We know that anything else we will shoot will be a piece of cake. We just got back from this year's trip to Mena, Arkansas, which was struck by a devastating tornado last April. NYSTY rebuilt three homes, a community center and made repairs around town with several smaller projects.

When the twin towers came down an American flag hung nearby. It was scorched, smoke damaged, torn and tattered by the collapse of the World Trade Center. Seven years later, the flag was stitched back together by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kansas. The National 9/11 Flag is a living testament to the resilience and compassion of the American people. The flag now tours the country. (Find out more here.) Last week, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe put a stitch in the flag, as did many other Arkansas first responders and veterans and citizens. Sophia and I have put our stitches in it. Why don't you?

I love this image Sophia took last weekend. Here's a preview SLIDESHOW of some of the patriotic moments in Mena last weekend.

Thank you America for the opportunity to serve. Remember, it's not about what happened on 9/11, it's about what happened on 9/12. From one day of terror, ten years of kindness.

Please feel free to leave your comments here on the blog to share with others!
 

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