Since its inception, this magazine has been addressed to caregivers worldwide, their families and their ailing loved ones. As I stayed glued to the TV this past week watching the horror unfolding with each new act of violence inflicted upon our country by a “faceless coward,” I realized that the status of caregiving hasn’t changed. It is our internal sense of security or our reaction to the status quo of our lives that has been altered. Many caregivers move (often automatically) throughout their days caring for loved ones, with a sense of peace in their job performance and their tasks at hand. The events that occurred on September 11, 2001 has shaken the very core of this country’s sense of security, and I have to believe that caregivers (because they are normally some of the more loving and giving people in our nation) are now more distressed than others.

What lesson did the “faceless coward” hope to teach us with his attacks on the World Trade Center….on the Pentagon….on us? Surely even in the deepest intermost caves on foreign soil, there are television sets or radios from which our enemy has learned by now that his plans to divide a nation failed. Surely he knows that his desire to create a nation of fear has failed. And if he set out to tear us apart, again he knows by now he has failed.

For our country has exhibited a strength that I don’t feel any of us knew we had within us. We have united in the face of danger with our eyes open, heads held high, and our hands together for common resolve. Caregivers have since the beginning of time been the heroes prepared to defeat anyone who threatens our lives, our homes, our families, or our country. We have encountered other “faceless cowards,” (cancer, time, and other sinister thieves of positive emotions and life.) Caregivers have been in the trenches when America was not at war.

As Caregivers we are a family and now the focus is on our extended family, The United States of America and all of the countries of the world that stand together to fight terrorism and preserve freedom. We are members of all races, all religious groups, all political beliefs and all cultural classes.

Caregivers are a courageous people who are not afraid to stare danger in the face and wait for the enemy to blink first. Caregivers have been standing tall in the face of danger during all wars, even when the nation was at peace.

The wars of yesterday lack many of the high-tech methods employed by today’s enemy. It is the “unknown” that may cause fear to take root in all of our hearts, for it is easier to fight an enemy with a face and a government. It is quite difficult; however, to protect all that is dear to us from fear of the unknown. What is now threatening to destroy our faith? Armed warfare? Chemical warfare? Let’s face it – we didn’t know before September 11, and we know even less now about what is ahead, but all things will pass and Caregivers are survivors.

Some are struggling now with their faith in a Higher Power, and perhaps this is what that Higher Power intended. We all turn to God when we need His help, and so many of us read e-mails daily that encourage us to pray in many different ways. We’re busy. We have responsibilities. Our loved one is calling from another room. Do we keep that e-mail and return to it, only to bow our heads and pray as we are instructed to?

Today, we face an uncertain future, but isn’t that what our forefathers also said when they came to America. Only God knew their destiny and only God knows ours; however, history has taught us to go forward with courage by letting prayer be our stalwart for unity and victory. Prayer groups on the street corners of NYC. Churches holding prayer meetings throughout the entire country. The televised version of the service in National Cathedral, attended by four Presidents and their families. Tears trickle down our cheeks as we silently watch the memorial service for the Chaplain for the Fire Department in NYC, who lost so many of their own. Prayers……

We are a strong nation and this attack on our homeland as increased our strength. We are a loving nation, and this attack has indeed brought the best out of all of us. We are also a nation in pain, and many of us suffer openly without fear of being judged. We are trying to understand not only why we have been forced to endure such a horrendous attack, but we are also looking to the future. Children, grandchildren, neighbors, work associates, and friends look to us as role models. If we demonstrate hate – they will ingest that emotion and it will authorize them to also demonstrate hate. Caregivers demonstrate love!! If we follow the teaching of our God, all who observe us may learn from positive example. You might say that their future is in our hands now, and only we can take this time, this moment to begin their path towards a future in which hate is an unknown factor, in which racial relations are natural and without prejudice, and a future in which we can interact with other countries without fear of retaliation or revenge. As Caregivers, we cannot operate in an atmosphere of fear and hate. Our doctrine is love and caring!

In the weeks ahead, there will be much arguing and finger-pointing regarding what could have been done to have prevented this attack. Hindsight is 20/20, and time spent on past recriminations is time wasted.We have leaders in our government who believe in justice, not revenge. Hopefully those same leaders are on the hotline to their Higher Power on a frequent basis. Our leaders will find a quiet, peaceful determination to act out of defense for our homeland and not out of a sense of “getting even.” We have seen the emotional side of some of our leaders this past week. We have shared their grief, sadness, anger, and frustration. Beyond the gloomy curtain of darkness shines the united strong leadership of freedom loving people all over the planet. Our own foundation is strong and resilient and so is the fabric of our nation. We have been sculptured somewhat differently by the terrorist events, but we have been made stronger by reaching out and growing stronger. Reach out to others with love. Dispense pain by talking about it, taking a walk, exercising, and replace it with positive action items. Your Caregiver family extends beyond your front door! Please include God in your plans and ask to be part of His plans.

Anyone reading this obviously survived the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Isn’t that enough of a reason to reach up to God, give thanks, and renew your strength? We don’t know exactly what lesson our “faceless coward” wanted us to learn from his horrible acts of terror, but if nothing else, we have learned that the only one in charge here is God, and with His help and direction, we will have the strength to find patience, love, and eventually peace within ourselves.

Caregivers have long been America’s heroes, and we will continue to proudly stand together for America using our tools: love, caring, faith, strength, and tenacity!

Patti St. Clair