Tire dealers, like all Americans, watched with outrage at the horrific terrorist attacks that took place on our nation Sept. 11.
The scope of the terrorists' barrage on the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in the skies over Pennsylvania was unimaginable. To those of us watching these happenings on television, it was as if we were viewing a horrifying motion picture.
But it was all too real, with terrorists hijacking airplanes and flying them into buildings, likely killing thousands of innocent people-and shaking the sense of security we as Americans have enjoyed.
But if the goal of these barbaric, cowardly, faceless extremists was to create chaos in America or weaken our democratic resolve, they have failed miserably.
Yes, their acts have shaken us all and will disrupt our lives and perhaps lessen the liberties we now take for granted.
But despite these vicious attacks, the business of America will go on, including the making, distributing, selling and servicing of tires and vehicles.
Tire dealers, as independent businessmen and women, typify the strength and resilience of America in many ways. Independent dealers have experienced two world wars, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, as well as the Great Depression.
They've weathered threats to their survival as business owners from a host of sources and have always come out on top.
Tire dealers and other independent business people are tough and not apt to be intimidated.
In the coming days and months, there will be interruptions, inconveniences and frightening situations with which we must deal. But expect tire dealers and the tire industry at large to be among those to rise up and help their fellow Americans in need.
Already the major tire companies, national tire dealers and retreaders associations, the Rubber Manufacturers Association and various wholesalers and marketing groups have made donations and established fund-raising activities in response to the tragic events.
As Jim Micali, president and chairman of Michelin North America Inc., put it: ``Although the Michelin Group had no personnel directly injured in the attacks, the company wished to respond directly to the events.''
Many of us feel the same way.
Individual dealers, too, can help in the relief efforts by making their own cash donations to disaster relief organizations and by donating much-needed blood.
The days and months ahead will be difficult ones for our country, but it's worth remembering that America has been wounded before and returned even stronger. A comforting thought during these troubled times.