To the Editor:

On Sept 11, 2001, I was a young mom with two small children living an idealistic life in Glen Rock N.J., a suburb about 20 miles from Manhattan.

Needless to say on that day, all our lives changed forever. Although we were blessed enough to not lose any family members, we lost friends, our town lost 12 people that day, my father-in-law, who was a career New York City firefighter lost men who had served under him, and my husband had worked in the World Trade Center towers for seven years and had many friends injured in the collapse of the towers.

We knew people who, although were lucky enough to escape physical harm, suffered in other ways from being in WTC or in the area and witnessed firsthand those terrifying attacks.

Where we came from, it was rare for you not to be personally touched in some way by this tragic event.

We moved to New Milford in August of 2004. I couldn't believe that a town as far away from New York would have a 9/11 memorial, never mind such an incredible one.

For six years now I have attended the service that is held at that memorial. I wanted to take the time to thank all those associated with this service.

Thank you to the 9/11 committee for the organization and persistence of holding a service every year. Thank you to the police, firefighters and ambulance corps for, not only attending, but for putting your lives on the line every day as so many of your brethren did on that horrible day.

Thank you to the people who spoke with moving comments to help us remember what this day is about.

Thank you to all the military personnel who attend and remind us that every day people are fighting to keep freedom.

Thank you to the people who attended, who took time out of their busy lives and came to the service on a cold, windy, rainy morning. Thank you to the strangers who comforted me and others with their words of kindness.

I wrote a letter to my children a few days after Sept. 11, 2001 to try to explain the tragedy of what occurred. This is what I used in the closing and, looking back after eight years, I find the words still ring true today:

"This has been a terrible time in our nation's history. However, people from all over are coming to help. This time has also been a time of self discovery, of pulling together and putting aside differences in race and wealth.

"Our nation has been reborn and, though it will face very difficult times ahead, I have all the confidence in the world that this may be a changed, but wonderful new place for you both.

"God Bless America."

Mikki Harkin

New Milford