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       Chicken Soup for the Soul of America, p.1

           Jack Canfield
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Chicken Soup for the Soul of America

  What People Are Saying About

  Chicken Soup for the Soul of America . . .

  “Chicken Soup for the Soul of America brought to the surface all the feelings that were locked inside as a result of the September 11 tragedies. It helped me to deal with the emotions that I had put on hold.”

  Lois Sloane

  businesswoman, New York

  “These heartwarming stories are a testimonial to the spirit and courage of Americans. I smiled and I cried as I read how ordinary citizens were affected by and responded to the events of September 11. It is a fitting memorial to those whose lives were lost and an inspiration to those who live on without them.”

  Joyce Williams

  director of operations

  American Red Cross, Southern California Blood Services

  “Chicken Soup for the Soul of America will touch and heal the lives and hearts of many. Reading the experiences of my comrades made me realize how important my job of helping others and saving lives really is. I plan to share these inspiring stories of patriotism and courage with the firefighters in my department.”

  George Corona


  “These precious stories of September 11 are sacred depictions of the great soul of people, of our humanity. The power of telling these kind of testimonies include us all, by calling us to bear witness and create a bond of compassion and understanding, while furthering the realization of one’s universal responsibility to awaken. Stories such as these reveal the miracle of love which births mercy from the inner wounds and triumphs in acts of blessings unto others and oneself.

  Bonnie Mansdorf

  founder, The Foundation for a Healing Among Nations

  “After the world shattered on September 11, our country desperately needed to talk about what happened and how they felt about what happened. Chicken Soup for the Soul of America allows us to do that. It helps us share our pain and find our way through a dark forest to the light again.”

  Jim Warda

  speaker, columnist and author, Where Are We Going So Fast?

  “The stories in this remarkable book prove that the people of this great nation hold the answers to its healing in their own hearts and hands.”

  LeAnn Thieman

  coauthor, Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul

  “Chicken Soup for the Soul of America: Stories to Heal the Heart of Our Nation is an inspiring collection of stories that symbolize the power of diversity in America and our collective will to heal.”

  Ron Nielsen

  airline captain, speaker and trainer

  “Chicken Soup for the Soul of America is a collection of vivid snapshots. They remind us what it means to be a hero; of the strength of America’s democracy, and that our spirit cannot be destroyed nor our resolve defeated. This compelling book speaks to the kindness of strangers, the courage of ordinary people and what it truly means to be a member of the human family.”

  Lois Capps

  U.S. Rep. (D-CA)

  “Chicken Soup for the Soul of America allowed me to reflect on the heroic and extraordinary commitment of people whose lives exemplified love for their fellow man. The truths in this book will inspire and comfort you, and also shed light on the lives of people we lost, whose ultimate sacrifice will live in our hearts forever.”

  Cam Sanchez

  chief of police, Santa Barbara, California

  “The events of September 11 left a deep wound in the heart of our country. Chicken Soup for the Soul of America is a wonderful balm of love and hope that will help ease the pain and help our hearts to heal.”

  Barbara De Angelis, Ph.D.

  television personality and author, Real Moments




  Stories to Heal the Heart

  of Our Nation

  Jack Canfield

  Mark Victor Hansen

  Matthew E. Adams

  Backlist, LLC, a unit of

  Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC

  Cos Cob, CT



  1. SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

  A Time of Gifts Stephen Jay Gould

  They Took a Vote Bill Holicky

  Let Us Be United Kimi Beaven

  Do Unto Others Judith Simon Prager

  A Hero for Our Time Judith Simon Prager

  A Firefighter’s Account of the World Trade Center Dennis Smith

  Two Heroes for the Price of One Marsha Arons

  FYI Randy Kennedy

  What Can Be Said? Mike Daisey

  Twin Saving at the Twin Towers Robin Gaby Fisher

  More Than Chocolate Terri Crisp as told to Carol Kline

  E-Mails from Manhattan Meredith Englander

  Prayer Flags Marc Farre

  New York Cabbies Marsha Arons

  Anxiously Awaiting Rosemarie Kwolek

  A Day in D.C. Maria Miller Gordon

  Last Call Dave Timmons

  The Vigil Jane Gross

  A Picture and a Friendship Jim Dwyer

  Memento Mary Sue Mooney


  The Only Thing We Could Think Of Elizabeth M. Danehy

  Playing for the Fighting 69th William Harvey

  Reflections from the Pit Gordon MacDonald

  Dear Mr. Cox Michael D’Antonio

  Beep if You Love America Harriet May Savitz

  The Face of America Susan Sloate

  How the Children Help Ann Marguerite Swank

  Answering His Country’s Call Karen A. Thomas

  His Dream Came True Linda Robertson

  The Unity of Strangers Lynn Barker

  The Cops from Madison, Alabama Steven M. Gorelick, Ph.D.

  Given the Choice Captain Aaron Espy

  Taking Control Matthew E. Adams

  Operation Teddy Bear Tina Warren

  No Words Marsha Arons

  Send Beauty Teri Goggin

  The Crumpled Blue Ribbon Helice Bridges

  BOWS Across America Lisa Duncan


  A Fishing Village Opens Its Heart to Surprise Guests Michael Ko

  Smallest Gestures Deanna Cogdon

  Dear Dad Megan M. Hallinan, ENS

  Four Simple Words Arthur Bowler

  Hope from Abroad Bob Welch

  Did You See Me? Shelley Divnich Haggert

  The American Flag Ellie Braun-Haley

  An Ode to America Cornel Nistorescu

  Tribute to the United States Gordon Sinclair


  The Aftermath Michele Wallace Campanelli

  I Am the Flag of the United States of America Howard Schnauber

  Just Ask Permission Tom Adkins

  Bring Us a Flag Jon Sternoff

  Of Thee We Sing Jennifer Oliver

  I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag . . . from the Bottom of My Heart Jeannie S. Williams

  I Am an American Danielle M. Giordano


  One Cheryl Sawyer, Ed.D.

  Chance Encounter Marsha Arons

  The Ominous Sound: Racist Assumptions Bob Levey

  Long-Distance Call Marsha Arons

  Our American Family Ferida Wolff


  Vintage Voices Carol McAdoo Rehme

  Time to Pray Kathy Ide

  Putting Things into Perspective Charles Memminger

  What I’ve Learned Victoria Walker

  Can’t We Call Game? Molly Lynn Watt

  Reflections from a New Father David Skidmore

  The Mustard Seed Anne Carter

und Zero Patricia Lorenz

  Make It Green Roger Ebert


  Celebrate Life Caroline Broida Trapp

  What Is It? Julie Jordon Scott

  Something Special Pam Bumpus

  Why Are You Waiting? Christina M. Abt

  Standing in Solidarity Shirley Boyer

  Neighbors Knowing Neighbors Harriet May Savitz

  Is This Normal? Max Lucado

  Act Two Steve Goodier

  We Shall Go Forward Winston Churchill

  Who Is Jack Canfield?

  Who Is Mark Victor Hansen?

  Who Is Matthew E. Adams?




  Although the events of September 11, 2001, were stunning, shocking and horrifying, they also brought out the best in us as a nation and as a people. As the days passed, the stories began to emerge—countless stories of heroism, selfless service, renewed patriotism and deepened faith.

  A nation that was only months before divided over a deeply contested election came together around a single purpose and a single cause. Americans of every age, race, religion and location stepped forward in some way to offer their physical labor as well as their goods and services at Ground Zero in New York City and Washington, D.C., as well as their money to scores of charities that sprung into immediate action. Record numbers donated their blood to the Red Cross. Celebrities and noncelebrities alike gave their time and talents to the numerous benefit concerts that were performed around the country. Communities around the country and the world sent cards, posters, flowers and teddy bears to the surviving police officers, firefighters, soldiers and civilians, and gave their love and emotional support to anyone who needed it.

  Rescue workers labored past the point of exhaustion in a desperate attempt to save those trapped beneath the rubble. People drove across the country to deliver needed telephone equipment and stayed for weeks—working for free—to help make it operational. Volunteers cooked food, delivered water, manned supply depots, gave massages and offered counseling. Children sold everything from lemonade to their own toys to raise money for the victims’ families. Radio stations organized thousands of people into large human flags that were photographed and sent to the exhausted firefighters in New York. People dug out old flags and displayed them proudly in a fervor of impassioned patriotism and as a show of support for the members of our armed forces. Indeed, some people went as far as painting their whole houses red, white and blue. Thousands of cards and posters were produced by the schoolchildren of America and sent to the victims’ families. Hundreds of new songs were written and performed on Larry King Live and on NPR Radio. Hundreds of thousands of e-mails were sent and forwarded around the country and around the world as people attempted to share their experiences and to comfort their friends and family members. And candlelight vigils were held in every neighborhood and town square across our great land.

  As we witnessed, heard and read about, these inspiring acts at the site of the attacks and in our own communities, schools and homes, heroism began to take on a deeper meaning. Patriotism became something more tangible to all of us. Reaching out to members of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds, caring for our neighbors and spending time with our families became more pressing priorities. What it meant to be an American living in a free country became more precious to us than ever before.

  As these stories of heroism, compassion and service began to emerge, so did the hundreds of e-mails urging and encouraging us at Chicken Soup for the Soul to compile them into a book.

  With the many stories that are now coming to light of victims placing a last phone call of love to their family members or spouses, of the many individuals who gave up their own lives to stay back and assist others, as well as the heroic efforts of rescue workers, I feel it would be a moving tribute to these individuals if these stories were collected and bound into a book in their honor.

  Lori M., Orlando, FL

  I am writing from Canada, knowing of the heavy hearts of all Americans. We, your neighbors to the north, are also observing the tribute and remembrance of those who lost their lives in the atrocious acts of September 11. Our hearts and prayers go out to those who grieve the loss of loved ones. I think that a compilation of stories from those so affected would help bring healing to the nation and the world.

  Denise S., Canada

  And so we have responded with this offering. Compiling and editing this book has been a difficult and challenging task. We wanted it to be the best book we had ever done, and we wanted to get it to people as quickly as possible. While this put tremendous pressure on all of us, it became a labor of love like no other book we had ever done. We hope we have succeeded in creating a book that will honor those whose lives were lost, comfort those who survived them, acknowledge those who stepped forward to help their fellow Americans and contribute to the healing of the enormous wound that was inflicted upon our national psyche.

  In compiling this book we collected and read thousands of inspiring and poignant stories that were worthy of publication. There simply isn’t space to include all of them. We are also acutely aware that there are many thousands of other stories that didn’t surface in our research that also merit telling. We can only hope that we have achieved our goal of representing the broad range of experiences that deserve telling with the ones we have chosen.

  Our intention was to create a collection that would indeed facilitate the healing of our nation—both individually and collectively. We know that this book will not necessarily stop you from shedding a tear; in fact, many stories may make you cry. But know that when you do, you will not be crying alone. We hope that when you put down this book you will be uplifted, encouraged, inspired and a little more aware that we really are all in this together—one country, indivisible, with a passion for liberty and justice for all as we pursue the fulfillment of our individual and collective dreams.




  Today our nation saw evil . . . and we

  responded with the best of America.

  George W. Bush

  A Time of Gifts

  No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.


  The patterns of human history mix decency and depravity in equal measure. We often assume, therefore, that such a fine balance of results must emerge from societies made of decent and depraved people in equal numbers. But we need to expose and celebrate the fallacy of this conclusion so that, in this moment of crisis, we may reaffirm an essential truth too easily forgotten, and regain some crucial comfort too readily forgone. Good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one. The tragedy of human history lies in the enormous potential for destruction in rare acts of evil, not in the high frequency of evil people. Complex systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by ten thousand acts of kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the “ordinary” efforts of a vast majority.

  We have a duty, almost a holy responsibility, to record and honor the victorious weight of these innumerable little kindnesses, when an unprecedented act of evil so threatens to distort our perception of ordinary human behavior. I have stood at Ground Zero, stunned by the twisted ruins of the largest human structure ever destroyed in a catastrophic moment. (I will discount the claims of a few biblical literalists for the Tower of Babel.) And I have contemplated a single day of carnage that our nation has not suffered since battles that still evoke passions and tears, nearly 150 years later: Antietam, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor. The scene is insufferably sad, but not at all depressing.

  Rather, Ground Zero can only be described, in the lost meaning of a grand old word, as “sublime,” in the sense of awe inspired by solemnity.

  In human terms, Ground Zero is the focal point for a vast web of bustling goodness, channeli
ng uncountable deeds of kindness from an entire planet—the acts that must be recorded to reaffirm the overwhelming weight of human decency. The rubble of Ground Zero stands mute, while a beehive of human activity churns within, and radiates outward, as everyone makes a selfless contribution, big or tiny according to means and skills, but each of equal worth. My wife and stepdaughter established a depot on Spring Street to collect and ferry needed items in short supply, including face masks and shoe inserts, to the workers at Ground Zero. Word spreads like a fire of goodness, and people stream in, bringing gifts from a pocketful of batteries to a ten-thousand-dollar purchase of hard hats, made on the spot at a local supply house and delivered right to us.

  I will cite but one tiny story, among so many, to add to the count that will overwhelm the power of any terrorist’s act. And by such tales, multiplied many millionfold, let those few depraved people finally understand why their vision of inspired fear cannot prevail over ordinary decency. As we left a local restaurant to make a delivery to Ground Zero late one evening, the cook gave us a shopping bag and said:

  “Here’s a dozen apple brown bettys, our best dessert, still warm. Please give them to the rescue workers.”

  How lovely, I thought, but how meaningless, except as an act of solidarity, connecting the cook to the cleanup. Still, we promised that we would make the distribution, and we put the bag of twelve apple brown bettys atop several thousand face masks and shoe pads. Twelve apple brown bettys into the breach. Twelve apple brown bettys for thousands of workers. And then I learned something important that I should never have forgotten—and the joke turned on me. Those twelve apple brown Betties went like literal hotcakes. These trivial symbols in my initial judgment turned into little drops of gold within a rainstorm of similar offerings for the stomach and soul, from children’s postcards to cheers by the roadside. We gave the last one to a firefighter, an older man in a young crowd, sitting alone in utter exhaustion as he inserted one of our shoe pads. And he said, with a twinkle and a smile restored to his face, “Thank you. This is the most lovely thing I’ve seen in four days—and still warm!”

  Stephen Jay Gould

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