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I was 4 years old when President Kennedy was assassinated. Too young to understand, too old to dismiss the shocking event, my life changed. From my earliest days, I have always believed that serving community is essential. Being involved in government and community service was personally healing for me after what happened to our country in the '60s.

Today, in the wake of the terrorist attacks, parents are discussing what to do and say about the terrorist acts that have forever changed our country. Expert advice ranges from "say nothing and turn off the television" to "watch together and talk." Parents know their children; they know what is right for them. Keep in mind that children feel our pain.

Through my work as executive director of Western New York AmeriCorps, I have seen the healing power of community service. I have seen the act of giving of one's self change the lives of our members. When we focus on the bigger picture and making our world better, our own lives are transformed.

I suggest that families provide some kind of service to our community. Small things like a neighborhood cleanup, or larger service like a family volunteering at a non-profit agency to help those who are hurting.

We must fight back against the wicked people who are trying to steal our freedom and make us live in fear. I believe that they have already lost the war. Americans are more unified, determined and compassionate than ever.


West Seneca

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