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Community Forum: 9/11 memories remind us of shared strength
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Last week, I, like millions of Americans and peace loving citizens around the world, remembered Sept. 11, 2001. Each of us who remembers has a unique story of that day that has made an indelible mark on their lives and personality.

For my wife and me, the crumbling of the towers and grounding of the airlines only added to the terror that struck in our backyard six months earlier.

As we watched in shock and horror as the images kept being replayed on our TV, I tried to think of whom we might know who may be in harm's way. An old college roommate's two girls were working in New York, but not near the Trade Centers. A lawyer friend flies all the time, but was overseas that day. We received a call from a friend who worked in the Pentagon saying she was OK, but a friend of hers whom we did not know was killed.

Not personally knowing any of the innocent victims or the heroes of that remarkable day was little comfort as we viewed the images on the screen. As my wife watched the events unfold, there was a tear in her eyes. There she was, after being diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2001 and having just completed the last of her six chemotherapy treatments.

In three weeks she would start the first of her 33 radiation sessions. Her bag was packed and the crumpled boarding pass was in her hand for tomorrow's flight to New York to visit her two sisters. She had done battle with the terror cancer and she was now determined!

With that, she said Osama bin Laden can't intimidate the "Richmond" woman. She called Delta and told them she wanted to confirm her seat selection on the next flight following the grounding. She was one of the few to step up and fly that first Monday after. They even let a bald lady sit in first class.

This 9/11, we remembered that day and every day because we can never forget that our lives are always at risk from attack. Survivors all? We are stronger today than yesterday, looking forward to tomorrow.

Kevin McAvoy
Gainesville

Banks turn public out, then ask for our help
The banking industry has brought all these problems on itself.

We deposit money into a bank; the bank, in turn, provides loans on this money. In good times when money was flowing, the banks overloaned and would tell their customers, yes, come on in, we will loan you the money, no collateral needed.

When times started getting tight and some people could not pay the entire payment on time, they would go to the bank and ask to make a partial payment or other arrangements. The bank would tell them that they didn't do business that way; they needed the full payment or the full amount of the loan. Well, if you don't have the money, you don't have the money.

I am 72 years old and retired and never defaulted on a loan in my life. But when times got tough and business was slow, I could not make payments on my home. I tried to work with the bank and after 1« months of trying to make payments, the bank foreclosed on my home.

I tried to call and talk to them. They referred me to lawyers. The bank would not even talk to me. I am now without a home.

Now that the times have gotten tough for the banks, what do they want? The government to bail them out? The banks didn't offer to help their customers out when the time was tough for them.

All I can say is that I will no longer will support our banking system. I will tell them what they told me: You will have to come up with the money somehow. You are on your own, and it's your problem now. Now it is their problem!

Joe Chambers
Cleveland

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