In addition to our healthcare skills, nurses contributed numerous and far-reaching services at the scene of the World Trade Center on September 11 -- comfort, reassurance, and a human touch, all of which were obviously very much in need. I saw tough, bold men responding with soft, grateful eyes on the verge of tears. Yet these men themselves were in just as much need of human comforting. We all lent a hand to each other. To be a part of the human response of caring was gratifying, to say the least. I believe that everyone on our team came away with an awareness of the extraordinary contribution nurses make to public health. The whole event made the actual and potential roles of nurses more apparent to me than ever, and I was glad to share my experience with my colleagues. I was so inspired by the strength of people coming together; when I returned to work, I tried to bring with me the awe of humanity I experienced at the site. The human connection is never lost in nursing. It is there by one's practice and by the reputation that precedes the profession. From this foundation, the myriad roles nurses have to offer are unique. My vision of the roles for nurses in a public health response has grown since 9-11. Whether it's through a public health response in the local community hospital, in a mass care setting (e.g., anthrax exposure response/prevention), or in a critical staffing response to an Office of Emergency Preparedness, few other professions can make the kind of contribution that nursing can.