Our thoughts, our hearts, and our prayers go out to the families of the victims of the devastating events that occurred on September 11, 2001. The firefighters, policemen and volunteers who continue to search have been the true shining light in the sadness that has struck us all as a result of these despicable acts against good people. Most of us have never seen such madness, but we have also never been a part of such an incredible rise in the spirit of America and such displays of goodness. We have heard the call of our nation's leaders for patriotism and patience and will support their call.The world is a different place today. We are just beginning to assess what effect this all will have on the drum corps activity. As it relates to events, competition and performance there are certainly more important issues to be concerned with in our society. However, the most significant aspect of what we do, to serve youth, has become even more important than it was before September 11th. In our period of grief for those that have perished we must find the strength to move forward. If we believe as we do that the drum corps experience causes young people to be better people than we must continue even more diligently than ever to ensure we are there for them.We can begin to show our unconditional support for youth striving for excellence by attending events this weekend and throughout the fall. YEA!, www.yea.org, parent organization for The Cadets and Crossmen, sponsors a high school band association known as USSBA where several high school marching bands come together to compete. The Cavaliers, www.cavaliers.org, host an event in DeKalb, IL. Our good partners Bands of America, www.bands.org" have events every weekend through the second weekend in November. Winter Guard International,www.wgi.org, also hosts high school band contests and there are also several independently sponsored university and high school band competitions in each state.We encourage you to lift your spirits by lifting the spirits of some very amazing youth at these events. Bring your American flag and wave it proudly at these events in honor of those that we have lost as well as those that continue their rescue and recovery efforts. I also encourage you to support the relief effort through the various organizations that have been established including the Red Cross at www.redcross.org.Our future is secure and our freedom is intact as long as we embrace our youth with all of our love today.