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I was debating on writing this, as I was wanting to share my personal perspective of what happened on September 11, 2001. However, I did not want to turn America’s greatest tragedy into thoughts about myself alone. Yet, I want to tell you where I was that morning. I wasn’t at Ground Zero, and my heart goes out to everyone there that lost loved ones, and those that went to rescue others in need. I wasn’t at the Pentagon, but my thoughts are with those that are missing their brothers, sisters, friends, husbands, and wives.

I was starting my professional career that day. It was my first day at Pacific Sunwear as a designer, and as I would come to be known, a developer. It was a surreal morning, listening to the news on the television as I got ready, and hearing nothing but horrific stories that were happening on the East Coast of our nation. I remember walking into work, and it being a very somber setting, as normally a pretty jovial group, had their faces flushed as we all continued to listen, and watched what was happening. Every one of our thoughts were set on the victims, the police, the fire fighters, and the families that were losing members. This isn’t how I picture the first day of my professional career, but perhaps it can be used as a beacon for something more.

Today, as we reflect on the worst event that has ever happened on American soil, please remember those that gave their lives to save, as well as those whose lives were effected because of this event. Please remember our Military that is fighting over seas in Afghanistan to ensure that those who committed these acts of crime, will never forget that they attacked the wrong country. To add, please remember the civilians in those countries, those that have condemned the actions that were brought on us, as they are also effected and are living through hell as well. Please remember those that are of a different race or religion, that we must show love, instead of hate today. Some of the lives of those who follow Islam have also changed, and we must remember that a religion did not attack us that day. Extremists did, and those that took an oath of their religion to a despicable and heinous level, where their religion was never meant to be taken.

We must learn from history, to point the finger of justice towards those that committed the crimes, and not those that simply look like them, nor even those that practice the same culture. This has happened before during World War 2, and as American’s we are bigger than that, and we owe it to ourselves to respect every member of this nation, as those of a different color of skin, and those of a different religion are mourning with us today. If we don’t do this, as a small gesture of eliminating hate between different cultures, then we will only weaken. However, even in our darkest hours, I believe there are those that deep down want to make changes to improve the United States, restore it to full glory, and continue to set the standard for other nations to follow. We can only look in the mirror for the solutions to issues however, and by that commitment to ourselves, we can only accomplish our goals by unity.

Today, remember those who gave, remember those who lost, remember those who rescued, remember those who fought, and continue to fight, and remember each other. The United States isn’t made up of one culture, one religion, or one color of skin; and I firmly believe that that notion is our strongest asset, as long as we remember to love and be kind.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families effected, with our military over seas, with our fire and police departments today, as well as President Bush and President Obama. May we continue to persevere, and continue to show the world that the United States has not been pushed towards negative boundaries, but just as others have said, a sleeping giant has begun to wake up.

God Bless America.