Michael Bartley holds daughter Emma, 5, as his wife Erin kisses 4-year-old Hanna. On Sept. 13, 2001, Bartley responded to ground zero with Sacramento Urban Search and Rescue. During the wrenching 10-day mission he poured out his emotions in postcards to then-girlfriend Erin. He says the experience made him aware of the importance of family and the fragility of life, and convinced him it was time to start a family of his own.

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