Jeff Ford
December 1, 2001

First, I must mention something. Thank you, all of you who read, love, and look forward to this magazine. You folks are the best. I can't imagine doing a job that's more fun and more rewarding than the one I do here. I hope your Holiday is full of the kind of cheer that warms your heart and makes you whole.

As you read this, some time has passed since September 11, 2001. The Holiday season is upon you, and we hope friends and family are near. However, as I write this, I'm sitting two days past the most horrific crime ever perpetrated on the people of the United States of America. To think of Holiday cheer and "good times" is a little hard, but I must. I think the hardest thing I've ever done is put aside my desire to watch our world change and get to the business of typing out a Holiday Gift Guide. It, under the circumstances, has been the toughest job I've done in some time. But, to not do it, to not type out a wish list for us to spread around to family and friends would be to bow before the cowards and say, "You've won." Never. They want disruption; they want us to crumble; they want the economy of these United States to fall apart. That would give them satisfaction. That's something I will not do. I cannot fight with a gun; I cannot join the military. I can only fight on the home front by goading us into returning to our lives and making our economy healthy. In this way alone, we can nullify the wanton act of a group hell-bent on making America break. I will not bow, I will not go quietly. In my own way, I will fight as we all must.

As I write this, I'm put in mind of the reality of the cost, the loyalty of our people-and my desire to get on with life. I also want to remind everyone of all the heroes we've only begun to see. I'm sure more will come to light as the weeks pass through to where you are now. Folks such as the passengers of United Flight 93 who paid the ultimate price for their freedom. To me, those who struggled with and defeated the terrorists on that September day are war heroes of the first magnitude, Citizen Soldiers. They were our neighbors, our fellow countrymen, who saw what the need was and, disregarding the cost, did what had to be done. I also wish to lift up all of the firefighters and police who gave of their lives to help their fellow Americans. These brave men and women were on the front lines and regardless of their own safety, families, and lives, stood firm.

So many others within the towers and the Pentagon stood in the gap as well, took the shock of the brutal attack, and stayed with and helped those around them. This is what makes America great. I've said this before and I'll say it again here. People make this thing work-be it our country, our cars, or our homes. Without each other, we are an island. Stand firm, stand together.

Remember New York ...Remember Washington ...

God Bless America.Jeff FordEditor, Mustang Monthly