This time of year was always tough for me. September 10th is my mom’s birthday. A mom I lost to cancer when she was only 54. I was 22. It was a time in our lives we should have been celebrating. I had just graduated college and was on my way to law school. My mom had planned on trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer and joining me there somehow in the next year or so.
My sister was entering her final year of school and my mom was so close to seeing her dream of having both her daughters get college degrees. Education was a big thing with my mom.
So was the American Dream. My boss, who knew my mother quite well, used to kid me that my mom was more American than most Americans. He was right.
My mom understood the gift she had been given by being able to come to this country. She struggled hard to bring my sister, grandparents, and me here. It wasn’t an easy journey, but my mother never stopped believing in her dreams.
I guess that’s what makes September 11 so hard for me in many ways. On a personal level, seeing it happen before my eyes is something that I will never forget.
On a much bigger scale, the events of 9-11 attacked something as dear to me as my mother and my family.
I am my mother’s daughter in so many ways. More American than most Americans some might say. But then again, America has shaped so much of who I am. What I am.
I am the American Dream. I’ve lived it. I believe in it.
My mother always told me that any dream was achievable so long as I was willing to work hard for it.
I still believe that. It may not be easy at times. It hasn’t been easy at times, but yet I still believe because to lose that dream is to lose America.
That’s something I refuse to do.
So on this day, reflect on what America means to you. Reflect on what it meant to the people in those Towers, many from other countries eager to be here. Remember those who sacrificed so much to try and save others, from the civilians in the Towers to our brave firefighters, police and first responders. Remember the heroes on Flight 93 who gave all to save others and our men and women in the Pentagon.
Remember those who sacrifice in other ways to keep us free, namely our military men, women, and their families.
Don’t lose sight of all that America has offered to so many and what it can still offer if you believe in its basic promise: Work hard and your dreams can come true.
Remember and never forget.