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Children shall lead

Published January 14. 2011 05:00PM

It's been an emotional week regarding children headlining the news.

For the last six days, Americans have been gripped by the story of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, the youngest victim in last Saturday's massacre in Tucson. Christina's life began on 9/11/01, one of America's darkest days in history, and ended in Tuscon on /11, another day which will forever carry the scar of national tragedy.

One of the most somber moments in yesterday's funeral for Christina occurred before the service, when the little girl's family and closest friends gathered under a huge American flag recovered from Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The mourners paused for a moment of silence, holding hands and weeping for Christina, who was remembered during the funeral service as being an avid swimmer and dancer, a budding politician and the only female on her Little League team.

Australia is also suffering tragedy this week because of destructive floods sweeping the nation. Emerging from the carnage is the story of 13-year-old Jordan Rice. Jordan, his 10-year old brother Blake, and their mother were driving in shallow water when the water rose so fast it shorted the car's engine.

Stranded in the rapidly-rising water, they climbed atop the car and cried for help. When a truck driver made his way to the vehicle, Jordan, who could not swim and was terrified of water told the rescuer to "Save my brother first."

After the youngest boy was rescued, Jordan and his mom were swept away by the flood waters and drowned before the man who saved Blake could return for them.

Jordan's final act of sacrificial love for his brother is an incredible story for a nation in the midst of catastrophe.

Yesterday's news cycle also included some more positive news regarding Amber Alerts and abducted children in our own state. Authorities announced that abducted children will be displayed on the screens of self-service lottery machines located in the more than 8,700 retail locations across Pennsylvania.

This means that within minutes of state police activating an Amber Alert, a missing child's picture and other identifying information can be displayed on the 17-inch screens at convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, bowling alleys and grocery stores throughout the commonwealth.

According to state police, Amber Alerts have played a role in the safe recovery of 32 kidnapped children in the past nine years.

Incorporating the Amber Alerts with lottery machines is an important use of existing resources by the state and adds a valuable crime fighting tool for law enforcement.

By Jim Zbick

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