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Today, I woke up as a true American. As with many others, I had taken for granted the freedoms, privileges and rights associated with this great nation, without ever paying a price. I know now the cost of these freedoms, and my mind is reeling with the victims who had to pay the tab. For the first time, I woke up and knew myself without a description. I wasn't Irish-American, African American or any other hyphenate. It doesn't matter if I was a Democrat or Republican, if I was straight or gay. I can't remember if I was for or against the tax rebates, because I woke up this morning certain in the knowledge that none of these petty things mattered anymore. I woke up American, as did everybody else in this country who was lucky enough to see the dawning of the new day. As an American, I finally understood what it meant to be in the presence of evil, and to watch, dumfounded, as people from nations far across the globe celebrated the deaths of my brothers and sisters. I watched them, in their American clothes, throwing American candy bars around in triumph, overjoyed at the murder they had directly or indirectly committed. It matters not if their hands are bloodstained, for they showed their solidarity with evil. Therefore, they are guilty of the brutal murders of my brothers and sisters. For every drop of American blood shed yesterday in the heinous acts of cowardly terrorism, a price must be exacted from those who waged this insidious war against innocent citizens. Indeed, they even used innocent citizens to kill others. Those who harbor, give refuge, supply funds and arms must be held no less accountable that the actual perpetrators. The time has come to act, not to debate. We woke up this morning as UNITED Americans, for the first time in many years, knowing that our lives and our freedoms were in jeopardy of being irrevocably lost forever, and we will not stand for that. We will not bow to the will of fanatics, who seek to impose their beliefs on us by acts of violence. We shall not accept politicians who advocate diplomacy instead of righteousness. And most importantly, we should not ever forget that this morning, thousands of new American heroes were born, some of whom we don't even know their names yet. But we will, and in their names, we shall fight to reclaim our God given rights as citizens of the greatest nation on the face of this Earth. Stand tall and do not be afraid of evil; we are Americans and we will show the world how we protect our own. We will show the world why we are unbeatable, even through our darkest hours. Wave our glorious flag, sing our patriotic songs and remember our fallen brothers and sisters as heroes and we shall emerge victorious. If we show the world how we rise from the ashes, then the terrorists have lost, where they want to see anarchy and outrage, we show will and resolve. When they want to see a city in chaos, buried in ashes, we show them New Yorkers giving blood by the thousands, and rescue workers who refuse to bow to fatigue. We show them the rescue workers in Pennsylvania, working to find clues. We show them Pentagon workers, back in the office today, no doubt planning the demise of these cowardly terrorists and those who hide them from view. We shall overcome, and I see it coming together in ways that should make us once again, proud to be American. In the coming days, we will face more grief and tragedy and trying times. I ask that all American's band together and put aside all the silly things that would normally cause us stress. I beg of you to teach your children the lessons of responsibility about being American tell them that because we live in the best place on earth, that horrible people will try time and again to defeat us. But tell them it will never happen, because we refuse to bend to the will of madmen and their followers. Tell them that their families, neighbors and friends will protect them with their lives if necessary because that is what American's do best. We protect our own and when we can't, we find the courage to exact a retribution for spilling the precious blood of any American. It's never an easy thing to do, but it is the ONLY thing to do. An act of aggression, an act of war or whatever you want to call it, it can have only one solution. Strike hard, fast and mercilessly so that American citizens never have to live in fear again.

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