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I’m a New Yorker

September 11, 2013

Dear New York City:

You own a piece of my heart. I grew up on your tough streets. I spent many hours on the green grass of Central Park seeking shade from the ruthless summer heat waves. I sludged my way up and down Broadway on many winter days and escapes to your subway for transit and shelter.

My first kiss, my first heartbreak, my first triumph all happened on the corners of your streets.

I watched buildings get built and can mark my life and milestones by the changes in your landscape. But your beauty, that inner grit with a glossy top coat, your undeniable air of beauty always remained.

I’ve lived many places and traveled the world but I’m a New Yorker no matter where I am. You have a piece of my heart.

And I was there that day. Twelve years ago today, when the darkest evil revealed itself in a direct blow to my city. I remember the sounds and the smells like it was yesterday. I remember the fear and the pain and confusion. The image is never hard to find tucked away in the banks of my memory.

I didn’t know what to do or what was happening. Like so many, panic and confusion took over and my instinct was to run. But many heroes didn’t run away, they ran into the towers to help.

I also remember what happened next. As we came together as a city to not just restore the skyline and erect a new building, but as people dug deep like only New Yorkers can and helped each other up. With a meal, a hug, a prayer. Whatever we could do, we did for each other on that day and since.

I’m returning home to you today, New York City. I’m coming home with a heart filled with joy and stories of new adventures and next chapters of our lives. But know, in my heart, I will never forget what you gave and lost that day my New York and will always be grateful for being able to say I’m from NYC.

I often think of my tough city and how this scar will always be there, it will be part of the story of New York and it’s part of my story. But I also think of how the story didn’t end there. The story is still being written. And it will end in a way that only a New York story can end: with grit, beauty and triumph.

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