Locals can assist attack victims

— With reports from the American Red Cross of strong blood drives, locals still looking for ways to respond to Tuesday's tragedies can look in their pocket books and within themselves.

"Certainly, there are still things that the public can do," said Philip Jones, spokesman for the national office of the United Way in Virginia.

Probably the most obvious need three days after terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers is money.

"Basically, a fund has been established to help victims of this attack," Jones said of United Way's national fund, called the September 11 Fund.

Information for this fund can be found at the nonprofit's Web site, unitedway.org.

The American Red Cross also is taking donations, which can be sent to the regional office in Craig.

Also, on Oct. 2, from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., a blood drive will be held at the Steamboat Springs Airport.

Along with giving money and blood, a way Americans can respond, grieve and heal from a national tragedy is general bonding as citizens, said Ernie Chavez, chair of the psychology department at Colorado State University.

"What this has seem to have done is draw this country together in a way that we haven't seen since the Second World War," Chavez said.

"This is therapeutic because it allows people to find something positive. It also allows people to feel togetherness about something. So we know we are not alone," he said.

Chavez said he believed part of the intent of the terrorist attack was to create confusion and chaos in the United States. However, he doesn't believe the terrorists expected a response of bonding together.

"This had a counter effect that I don't think they anticipated," he said. "That's not a bad thing."

An example of patriotism and charity was displayed at Wal-Mart on Tuesday.

After word of the attack, a man bought every American flag in the store and gave them out for free in the parking lot. A store manager said it was $400 worth of flags.

Creating a bond through patriotism and social is an important element in healing, Father David Henderson said, of Saint Paul's Episcopal Church.

"People just need to be positive. This is something that affects all of us," he said.

Local churches in the community are organizing a chance for locals to come together to respond to the tragedy. At noon, today, there will be a service on the Routt County Court House.

"It will be a brief time for prayer and reflection open to all," he said.

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