Being a US citizen who has resided full time in Costa Rica for 9 years (as of this month, in fact), it can be easy at times to forget the dangers that exist in the world. Living in a tiny country, with no military, where the threat of terrorism seems as far away as a cold winter morning, it can be easy to forget.
But I, like any American, will never forget where I was on September 11th, 2001. And I will never forget the sense of unity and purpose in the days and months afterward. Democrats, Republicans; white, black or Latino – it didn’t matter anymore. No matter your political beliefs, you were inspired by then President Bush’s voice over a megaphone from ground zero. We were one.
And, we were one with the rest of the nations which inhabit the Americas. From Canada to Sao Paulo, Costa Rica to Uruguay, our neighbors throughout the Americas let it be known that they stood with us.
Throughout the countries of the Americas, let us remember that which we have in common with each other is far more than what makes us different. Our differences are those of culture, not fundamental beliefs. Throughout the countries of the Americas, we all share the same basic values. The right to pursue happiness. The freedom of thought, and expression. The value of hard work. Democracy and the freedom of religion. The sanctity of human life. The right to dress how you want. The right to speak out against your government when you disagree. Free enterprise. The list goes on.
Indeed, the differences between us and our neighbors in the Americas are few and far between. Even our cultures are more similar than they are different, and those differences in culture throughout the Americas is what makes it a wonderful place to live.
Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than right here in Costa Rica, amongst the Ticos who welcome us here and accept us as their neighbors and friends, and share their culture and country with us. And whose sympathy, like our own, poured out for the victims of that tragic day in 2001.
Throughout the Americas, let us further strengthen our bonds in the future. There are radical extremists in this world who believe that our way of life – in the US, Canada, here in Costa Rica and throughout the Americas – is fundamentally wrong. Let us continue to prove them wrong – through peace, prosperity, and friendship amongst all the countries of the Americas.
On this September 11th, let us all remember once again all of the innocent victims who lost their lives that day. Including Jerome Dominguez who lost his life while heroically trying to save people trapped in Tower 2. He was a NYC police officer. And a Tico.
Thank you for reading and may God bless the Americas.
Inside Costa Rica