Originally published in The Times Herald-Record on Sunday, November 11, 2001

  Suddenly, heroes aren't the ones hitting 70 home runs in a season or performing on the big screen.
   They're not making millions of dollars every year or having their faces appear on a box of Wheaties.
   And kids don't necessarily want to be "like Mike" anymore.
   They want to be like the Dennis Devlins, Marc Whitfords and John Ginleys of the world, all of whom who gave their lives to save others Sept. 11.
   Firefighters, police officers and emergency workers have become the new Mark McGwires and Michael Jordans.
   Firefighters' and cops' costumes were flying off the shelves for Halloween.
   At elementary schools, kids cheered and crowded around ordinary men just to touch the hand of a real-life hero like Mike Sitler, a New York City firefighter with Engine 223 in Brooklyn.
   The children of firefighters already knew their fathers were heroes. Now they share their personal heroes and role models with the world.
   And the world's kids, and their parents who search for positive role models, are ready to embrace them.

   Kristina Wells

© 2001 Orange County Publications, a division of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., all rights reserved.