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On the eve of 9/11, let’s thank our first responders, our neighbors.

living in gratitude©

They’re often the neighbors who arrive first when we’re in trouble. They’re the first neighbors who risked — and gave — their lives on 9/11.

We had a medical emergency in our neighborhood yesterday, so the first neighbors I saw in the morning were men in uniform, loaded with gear. There were paramedics, firefighters and police.

I was struck by their strength in calmness, and was grateful that they had brought a stretcher and medical equipment to help.

I was reminded that this professional neighborliness was what exemplified 9/11 — all the first responders racing to save lives, yet being calmer than the rest of us, who were only watching. In New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, first responders had the courage to do what most of us cannot, even in the most dire circumstances. And in Pennsylvania, of course, the first responders were regular people who paid with their lives.

I am always grateful for the incredible selflessness and courage of all the 9/11 first responders.

That courage and selfless giving is what first responders do, every day, in all of our communities.

Thanks to my niece for being a paramedic in one of the toughest working environments for a woman, and thanks to another young friend preparing to study paramedicine. For all the strength you need to do such a demanding job, it is your calm and inner strength that helps you do what you do best.

Most of us could not be first responders, and I, for one, am very, very grateful, for all that you do for others.

On the eve of 9/11, let’s thank first responders everywhere, who exemplify what it means to be a good neighbor.