THE BOARD of directors of Augusta's Character City Coalition Inc., wishes to express its deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of the terrorists' attack in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
Like all Americans and peace-loving people around the world, we have been moved to pray, meditate and reflect on these horrific acts of brutality. However, we are moved by the good we have witnessed by our fellow men and women in response to this national tragedy.
Augusta's Character City Coalition is composed of a diverse group of residents, representing multiple cultures and backgrounds, who have come together to promote principles that we believe are the foundation for improving our society.
OUR MISSION is "to strengthen the citizens, families and the community by promoting excellence in character, and to thereby become known as a City of Character."
In the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11, we are moved to reflect on what we have witnessed using "character qualities."
We witnessed honor, courage and boldness in the acts of heroism of the victims aboard the hijacked airliners and the firefighters and law enforcement officials as they acted, without hesitation, to rescue and aid the injured.
We witnessed the manner in which these brave women and men acted responsibly and with resourcefulness in responding to the identified needs of their fellow man.
WE WITNESSED compassion, sincerity and sensitivity by those who sought ways to assist the victims and their families.
We witnessed patience by many who awaited word of the fate of their loved ones.
We witnessed people taking individual initiative, exhibiting generosity and extending hospitality to those in need by opening up their homes and places of business to assist victims of the tragedy, sending money to aid the victims and their families and by giving their own blood to replenish the nation's blood supply.
We witnessed numerous acts of kindness, tolerance and benevolence to others in their acts to protect innocent people of the Islamic faith from acts of retaliation based on prejudice.
We witnessed loyalty by our fellow Americans to our national leaders in responding to this crisis. We witnessed self-control by others who wished to retaliate based on their anger over these horrific acts.
WE WITNESSED persuasiveness by our leaders to focus our energies on acts of kindness toward others.
We witnessed people exhibiting orderliness in responding to these horrible conditions and the means many used to respond to the identified needs of others.
We witnessed gentleness by others as they have attempted to reach out to comfort others both near and far.
We witnessed determination and decisiveness of our leaders as they marshaled resources for the victims and their families and as they called upon the nations of the world to respond and to develop a strategy to prevent terrorism.
WE WITNESSED the cry for, and a commitment to, justice as a means for preventing these horrific acts from ever happening again.
We, the board of directors of the Augusta's Character City Coalition, offer our heartfelt sympathy to the victims and their families. We wish to also offer our praise and thanksgiving to our fellow citizens of Augusta and America who have inspired us all to be noble people committed to principles of character that will truly make us a city and nation of character.
IT IS OUR sincere hope and prayer that all Americans will continue to demonstrate such virtues and that by doing so, we will inspire others in the world to exhibit exemplary character as well.
(Editor's note: The writer is the president of the board of directors for Augusta's Character City Coalition.)