... our country, the world, everything, changed forever. Nearly 3,000 people died, thousands more were injured, including some of the bravest men and women ever to put on a uniform to serve their communities as police officers and firefighters. Our national security was tightened immensely, as it was around the world. After all, if the terrorists could get to the United States as effectively as all that, who was safe? I'm not going to wallow in nostalgic emotionalism here. I'm not going to recap the history we, each and everyone of us, know all too well. What I want to know is this: How did 9/11 change you? Did it impact at all the way you do things, the way you look at the world, the way you interact with your family and your friends? I was a single dad until very recently when I married after 20 years divorced. My kids are bright, successful, faithful young adults today, but they grew up solely under my care, their mother being largely absent from their lives for reasons that need not be discussed here. They were in school that day, and despite the rules against using cell phones, both called me. My son was a freshman, my daughter a sixth-grader. They were frightened, though my son had a better grasp of what was going on than my daughter. Both were fearful that I, even though ten years detached from the United States Army, might be called to return to duty. To be honest, I wasn't sure myself that wouldn't happen, but I nonetheless assured them they had nothing to fear, I would be there throughout whatever was to come next. As I promised I would pick them up later that day and clicked off, it struck me for the first time since I'd seen the second plane fly into the North Tower (WTC 1) on Fox News Channel just a few minutes before, that the world had changed dramatically. Until that day, kids in the United States didn't worry about much except who to go out with Saturday night, or what movie they might go to see with their friends, and if a certain member of the opposite sex might "like" them. Oh, and whether or not that little red spot on their chin or nose might become an ugly flaming zit by the weekend. On that morning, they suddenly had far more to worry about, and I realized I would have to stop worrying only about bills and work and the fact I was doing all this alone, and start considering how they might feel about the way the world was turning. I really hadn't thought about their opinions to that point, because they were not expressing opinions that "really mattered" in the greater scheme of things. And they shouldn't have to, for that matter. Those things they "worried about"? Those should be the greatest worries of their young lives until it was time to decide what to do with those lives after school. Kids shouldn't have to worry about war, terrorist attacks, corrupt and fanatical governments jealousy of the United States overflowing into the idiocy of sponsoring violence against our citizens. Since that day, twelve years ago, that kind of fear has been added to the repertoire of teen and childish angst and anxiety, and it's real. It's possible. It happens. That knowledge changed the way I raised my kids. I hugged them more, listened to them more, prayed harder for them, and made sure they had the faith background necessary to survive that kind of "new world order," which wasn't exactly what we thought it was going to be just ten years before. In reality, it made me a better dad, though one on edge most of the time, not just about the world, but about what my kids really thought. And all in all, it made me -- because of how it changed me -- a better man. Ironic, huh? Your turn.