We Will Never Forget

I am unfortunately no stranger to the terror of terrorism. Nine years ago today as a college student, I solemnly noticed smoke rising from the Pentagon while I stood on the opposite bank of the Potomac. Eight months later, I interned for a company directly adjacent to Ground Zero and then joined them full-time after graduation (and have remained a New Yorker ever since).

These experiences have hardened me to be perpetually cautious and vigilant, but have also deepened my appreciation for the freedoms that are the bedrock of America. This is not a nation founded by “Christians” as some observe in order to distract certain debates, but rather a country established by patriots who longed for a place where the government would protect all religious freedoms. In the words of President Obama, “the principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.”

Although roughly two-thirds of Americans oppose the proposed mosque several blocks from Ground Zero, I proudly stand with the President, Mayor Bloomberg, and other brave Americans willing to take an unpopular stance in defense of what’s right.

On all days – but especially today, September 11th – it’s essential for us to remember not only the innocent people who lost their lives to terrorism, but also those who have sacrificed to shape this country into a beacon of freedom and tolerance. If we start suggesting that it’s “not appropriate” or “too soon” for certain Americans to enjoy their religious freedoms as equally as others then we have allowed terrorists to uproot us from our most fundamental founding beliefs.