DEAR ABBY: My brother was one of the New York City firefighters who were missing in the World Trade Center disaster. For two months my family agonized about his whereabouts and what happened to him. One night my mom told me about the "pennies from heaven" letters in your column, and I began wishing that Mom could find a penny with my brother's birth year on it -- or some other sign that he was at peace.
In late November, I got a phone call from my sister-in-law that my brother's body was found. When she was given his belongings, she was surprised to see his Saint Florian necklace, which we had never seen him wear. (He must have put it on only when going to a fire.) He had a couple of dollars in his pocket -- and one penny.
When I relayed this news to my mother, she jumped up and said, "That's my sign! He's at peace." I sometimes wonder if we are just looking for signs, but as time goes on and I speak to other families in our situation, nothing feels coincidental. -- SUZANNE AULETTA, HOWELL, N.J.
DEAR SUZANNE: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the tragic loss of your beloved brother. He was not only a hero, but also an innocent victim in a war we are committed to win. If the penny brings comfort to your mother, then it has more than served its purpose.