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Opinion

Amidst the chaos and anger we're feeling as a nation, it's difficult to find reason or look positively to our future, both at the national level and right here within our own communities.

Rest assured, however tragic the circumstances may be, we rise to the occasion - even it we may be part of the families of the victims who perished, - as this writer is.

The call to action in times of terror is especially evident by the many Port Washington residents who have been tirelessly volunteering to assist wherever needed, whether it be in emergency services, organizing blood drives, offering grief counseling or participation in prayer circles.

As a former editor of this newspaper, I witnessed - and reported on - several local tragedies within our community, including the destruction of the Shields building, the devastating fire at the former Cat Lady Antiques that claimed the life of a Port firefighter, and the subsequent apartment house fire that claimed the lives of a young girl and her aunt. This prior experience from the tragic realm did not prepare me, however, for the emotional and physical trauma of being one of the eyewitnesses of the collapse of the Twin Towers. Paralyzed with disbelief and despair, I joined thousands of New Yorkers who were forced to evacuate our buildings and exit the city by foot.

The view of lower Manhattan from the bridge was a sign that will be permanently engrained in my memory and will serve as a poignant reminder of how precious our lives are and how quickly our lives can be transformed.

I wish I were in the position of a journalist to write about this tragedy, for there is so much to say, especially when it comes to human compassion and camaraderie. But perhaps my role as an American citizen and Port Washington resident can be even more powerful and meaningful at this time around through prayers asking strength, hope and peace. I thank the Port Washington Clergy Association for giving all of us this opportunity to pray together communally. As I looked around at the 400 + faces of Port citizens who attended the evening outdoor service on Sept. 12, I saw people who were searching deep to find the connections to a higher power in the hopes of elevating us all from this horrific tragedy. Hard as it may be to believe, we all have to believe there is a ray of sun behind the dark, gloomy cloud that has enveloped our world, and that the source of these rays originate right here in our own communities.

I am also grateful to all the citizens with whom I ride on the LIRR each day, who - without hesitation - have taken the time to volunteer in any capacity throughout this tragic event. You know who you are. And we are all proud of you.

Andrea Martone


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