Happiest happy New Year, safe and eventful, I hope every one found cause and place to celebrate with friends and family. America this year had been so profoundly affected by terrorism and recession that many are still in stupor over the still recent events of 9-11. People questioned the safety of the airline industry and traveled less abroad this past year. We were scared frightened in our own homes and communities. War had reached the safety of the American main land and people were frightened. Anthrax had infected the nation's postal industry. Scattered deaths tested the resolve of our nation. Angered we cried, mourned as a nation then we moved on.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq regained the loses that plagued the markets in the days soon after the WTC tragedy. Many, many Americans are out of work with no real certainty as to what to do. Retailers saw the worst Christmas shopping season in some years. I pray the economy picks up this year with corporate earnings growth. Snowflakes fall heavily grouped outside where the temperature today will not reach above freezing.

I know somewhere someone is suffering from the cold. Whether homeless or without natural gas, now that temperatures are truly frigid, many will feel the bite of winter. October and November were unseasonably warm, but now people will need heat to survive. It will be interesting to see how the city and state handle the situation. As always with business and government, will it be people or profit. Will people to freeze, some to death, simply because they cannot pay their bills?

Usually profit rules out over the well-being of the public. Though we are still working out some domestic policies especially in the matters of long term care and disability rights, this country is still to me is the greatest place in the world to be when it comes to freedom and opportunity for change. I'm proud to be an American and I reminded more and more in this new era of national awareness where flags are flown everywhere, celebrated by those who serve and live under its embrace. Every time I watch a football game, I feel the inspirational unity that saluting the flag with national song brings to those gathered in voice and cheer. We are truly now an America unified like no other time recently.

September 11th has affected us in ways no one can deny. Rightfully we have redefined hero with those who serve our flag with their lives and occupational duty. I have read and heard many moving accounts of the particulars that lead to and have stemmed from 9-11. Even though our ideology and way of life had been attacked and challenged by the WTC collapse, much good has come from the tragedy of those later days of Sept. As families and citizens, we are more aware of the inevitable and mortality. Though I had lived with the intent to live every moment fully. I, too, challenged my own activity asking if this or that was really relevant or significant to, who, I thought I was in defining my self in the short time I have to be here. Some things just didn't matter. If I died today would what I'm doing or how I'm relating to my family and neighbors be any different. In some instances yes, in some no. Regardless I questioned the relevancy of every thing that dominated my life.

All of us have been forced to question things in our own lives. Many have changed jobs, lifestyles, and routines. We know that family, relationships with others even those we don't know, are more important than material items. We are a more caring, more concerned nation and type of community now than we have been in a long, long time. Many have never seen the kind of regard citizens have for each other now at any point in their lives. In my 31 years of life I have never felt the unity of community, flag, and nation that I do now. The world and every nation had their unity challenged. And now in the wake of 9-11, we are discovering more about ourselves than we ever have before as a world.

I spent New Year's Eve at Phillip's Arena with 4 of my very close friends- Tanja, Jeannie, Avery, and Dominic. We had the best time celebrating carnival music with some 30,000 others lulled by Widespread Panic and their melodies. So much love, cheer, and good tiding as the final seconds of 2001 ticked away bringing in the first moments of 2k2. Countdown, the lights went up, darkness shattered, we sought embrace with friends and strangers welcoming what we hoped would be a peaceful, joyful, and freedom for all kind of year. Hugs and kisses, the concert, the people, everything took pause to honor the prospect of a new year as so many had done with the arrival of the 2k2 in all parts of the world.

Of course we are still far from the dream of world peace, but at least the terrorist networks will no longer be allowed to campaign their plans of pain and mass destruction unchecked. Terrorism will find itself hated by those it hates. A war for peace, I pray for America, the world, the Afghan people, and the children everywhere. May this year find CNN occupied only with stories of rebuilding trust and harboring good relations among peoples. May television programs of the world be dominated by telecasts of rebuilding nature and community. May we emphasize people doing good to benefit the betterment of all. May we act quickly in random and continued acts of kindness toward others and self. May we continue to realize the thread that links us as a world nation. May those that have share with those that have not. May joy and prosperity be the celebration of the days of this year. May we realize how blessed we really and truly are. Praise God for a new year.