Fellow Americans, we are living through an extraordinary time in history. Only now am I emerging from the shock and disbelief that swept over me, and so many of my countrymen and industry brethren, in the wake of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Whether or not we’ve come to grips with this cataclysm’s ramifications on our future, I believe many of us have come to accept the grim reality of our present situation and the looming uncertainty of our future prospects.

It’s most disconcerting to reflect on this mindless destruction and its possible effects on our economy, personal well-being and, perhaps most important, cherished freedoms. Yet all is not lost. Not by a long shot.

We’ve all seen the men and women of our nation, and sympathetic peoples the world over, rally behind the effort to respond in an effective way to the threat now before us. We’ve marveled at the dedication and bravery of firefighters, police, construction workers, and ordinary citizens as they valiantly grapple with the devastation in our midst. And we mourn at the loss of so many innocents and would-be rescuers who died in a selfless act of rendering aid to victims.

It is this newly aroused spirit, oneness of purpose and dedicated resolve that instills in us the faith to move forward into an uncertain future.

The time has come to roll up our sleeves, pull together as one and mobilize in our crusade to see freedom triumph. Surely, as in the past when the ideals of America have come under attack, we will not fail as we are called to fulfill our destiny as the world’s standard-bearer in the cause of liberty and justice. Therein lies the only measure of solace yet to come forth from this great national tragedy.

Based on the calls I’ve been getting from members of our industry, many among us are profoundly concerned about how recent events are impacting our shared livelihood. We’re all holding our breath as we wait to see how our business and way of life will be affected.

I urge all of our readers to frequently visit NFT Online for continuous updates on how our industry is responding to the challenges at hand. Also, take advantage of our online message board as a personal forum to air your concerns and touch bases with your colleagues. Share with us how are you responding. What efforts have you undertaken or will you undertake to preserve our American ideals and aid those devastated by the terrorist attacks? Do you need help or support from our community? And can our community work together as never before for our mutual benefit?

Together, we will get through this difficult period. Let us look back at this time as the moment our generation stepped up to face a frightening and deadly challenge. Let us not waver in our inexorable journey to victory.

God bless us all. And God bless the United States of America.