Over the past week, I've gone through many emotions: shock, terror, rage, grief and disbelief. I've seen things that I never could have imagined, and hope that no one will ever see again.
My mind and my heart cannot comprehend that the twin towers, symbols of American ingenuity and determination, no longer grace the New York skyline. The Pentagon, the mightiest symbol of our nation's defense, remains standing, but it is forever scarred by the wreckage of that doomed airliner and its unsuspecting passengers.
However, every dark cloud has a silver lining. We, as a nation of free people, have more power than we have ever held before. We have the power to show the world what we are made of. We have the power to show all other nations what a free society can withstand in the face of adversity. And we have the power to use this horrific tragedy to make the world a better place for future generations.
This nation was built on the foundations of liberty, equality, justice and democracy. We, the current torch-bearers of Lady Liberty's light, must rise above this tragedy with our heads held high. We must never cower in fear, but rather stand tall in place of those majestic towers. We must be firm in our resolve to provide strength to our people, and the other nations of the world. We must never surrender our ideals or our freedom.
BRIAN S. STRICKLAND