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To the Editor:

As we observed the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, the American Red Cross joined millions of people around the world in honoring those individuals who lost their lives on that tragic day and those they've left behind, whose lives are forever changed.

The American Red Cross emergency response to the Sept.11 attacks was the largest, fastest, finest and most comprehensive undertaking in the organization's history.  Never before has any relief organization done so much, so quickly, for so many.

The Red Cross salutes the men and women who lent their physical and emotional strength, without concern for personal safety, to aid in the relief operations, laboring hours on end to lend a hand and offer hope. We applaud our 55,575 volunteers dispatched from around the country who made a difference in countless people's lives and we are deeply grateful to those who gave money and blood during this time of need. 

To keep our communities strong, people around the country are being called to volunteer service. There are things all of us can do to prepare for the unexpected. The people of southeast Michigan can help make this community safer by becoming Red Cross volunteers who are trained in lifesaving skills and working to maintain a steady supply of life-giving blood.

Now more than ever, the Red Cross is encouraging people to develop emergency response plans for their homes, workplaces and schools. As a humanitarian organization, the Red Cross will continue to be a leader in coordinating response in all types of disaster situations. The events of Sept. 11 have taught us many lessons and we are more prepared now, from working with other disaster relief agencies to recognizing the reality of the need for a safe and adequate blood supply capable of responding to a national emergency at any time and at any place.

The American Red Cross is profoundly grateful for the unwavering support of all those who help us in times of unspeakable tragedy and daily in our communities nationwide.

James J. Laverty, Chief Executive Officer, Southeastern Michigan Chapter, American Red Cross

Gregory J. Vasse,

Chief Executive Officer,

Southeastern Michigan Blood Region, American Red Cross

James J. Laverty
September 26, 2002

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