Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012

America is my country. My grandparents came here from Russia over a hundred years ago to settle in New York and live in a country which encouraged its citizens to live free. Sure, we have problems. That is what life is all about. But you can wake up on any beautiful morning, like today, September 11, 2012 and say today, I am going to do something to make my life better. Many countries, the only thing that they look forward to is leaving. Last week, I received a note from a woman in Pakistan, miserable about the conditions in her country. She loved her country, but she wanted out. I have always loved America. I have shared that love with my children. Years ago, I fell in love with California and made myself a promise that this is where my family would make its permanent home. I can’t tell you how many times my adult son thanks me for that decision. Perhaps former governor Arnold said it best as to why he aspired to America from his native Austria. I found an idyllic place where in a couple of hours, you could swim, fish, surf, snow ski, water ski, sunbathe, and it was all in one state. What a country! America. And it was this America, who was brought to its knees eleven years ago. In the city I was born, people had come to work on that day, never thinking in their worst nightmare, that they would be jumping from the top floor of one of the tallest buildings in the world to their death. They left behind families who were forever changed on that day. And what did we do as Americans. Stick our head into the sand? No, we rallied behind our America, proclaimed our love and showed a surge of patriotism which few of us had seen in our lifetime. I love my America. That is why when elections aren’t a battle of wits for me. I know that the choices we make will be the one which we believe at the time to be our best decision. It might be the wrong decision. And if it is, four years later, we will get a do over. We have so many things which need fixing in this country; medical, dental, education, mentoring, rights for all of our citizens. And in time, it seems as they always are addressed. I was at a ball game years ago with my daughter-in-law and her father and others. He fought in World War II as a Filipino, side by side with American forces fighting how a Hitler victory would have changed this country. How often do you thank those brave men and women? The San Diego team has a great Sunday tradition where they honor our military by playing patriotic music and asking all veterans to stand. Suddenly, my Filipino contemporary, is standing and as the crowd cheers deliriously, the tears quite evident, streaming down his cheeks. He was so proud of that moment. I was so proud that I shared that moment. I love America. Even when I was 18, and I came oh so very close to being sent to a country where I wished to play no role, a country where helicopters and death would replace music and freedom, I never once thought of abandoning America as my only option. America is my country. My son recently said to me that so much has happened in the course of my lifetime. I have witnessed one president being killed, another being shot. A civil rights hero was murdered in cold blood and the brother of a slain president slain as well as he tried to follow him in office. I have been here for killer hurricanes and jolting earthquakes. I was here when a man landed on the moon. I was here for some of the great events of the latter 20th century. It has been quite a ride. And I am still standing. And I am so proud to say American through and through. For me, America is not only the place of my birth. It is the place of my life and it will be the place of my death. Today, I remember all of those who lost their lives in our battles. Most who died wearing or nation’s colors, but others who carried an attaché case to work on their last day on earth. I think of you often. I think of you today.

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