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Tree Of Tears And Hope

New York Gov. George Pataki, left, poses for a photo with Kevin Hickey, 10, center, and Hickey's mother Donna, right, in front of a Christmas tree at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 17, 2001. Kevin's father, Brian Hickey, a captain in the New York City Fire Department, was lost on Sept. 11.
AP
Ten-year-old Kevin Hickey was barely as tall as the governor's podium, but had to measure up to a duty daunting enough for any adult.

Kevin, who lost his firefighter father on Sept. 11, was trying to help New York's children have a happy holiday season despite the tragedy. He took part in a ceremony Monday to decorate the governor's office holiday tree with ornaments made by New York schoolchildren to honor victims of the terrorist attacks.

Eerie Delivery
A letter recovered from one of the jets that crashed into the World Trade Center could be worth thousands.

It belongs to a New Hampshire woman.

Donna Snyder's letter contained a check to a California vacation club, and is dated September tenth.

A month later, it was returned to her by a New York man who found it on the street after the attack.

The letter has received national attention from the curious and from stamp collectors.

It's believed to be unique. One auctioneer says the letter could be worth five figures.

No one has recovered any mail from the jets that crashed in Pennsylvania or into the Pentagon.

(Source: AP)

"Never forget," said Kevin's mother Donna, the widow of city Fire Department Capt. Brian Hickey.

Most years, the ceremony is just a photo opportunity. But this year's tree-trimming became an emotionally wrenching event as Gov. George Pataki introduced Kevin and two other children, Peter Freund and Britany Rivera, who had also lost a parent in the attack. Therese Stark, who lost her firefighter uncle, also attended.

Thirty-one elementary school students covered the tree with ornaments made by children from 850 schools across the state to honor the victims.

One ornament that adorned the 15-foot spruce in the state Capitol is decorated with a drawing of the flaming towers behind a crying American eagle.

The words "United We Stand" are "Remember 9-11-01" were painted on two other ornaments.

"Each ornament shows creativity, love and patriotism," Pataki said. "So many of the ornaments are moving tributes to those killed in the World Trade Center attack and to the heroes - the firefighters, police and EMS workers who put their lives on the line that day."

By Michael Gormley © MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed