September 11, 2001 — I will never forget.

It was the most sad, shocking, and heartbreaking day. However, despite all of the evil and terror something good did come out of it which changed my life forever. The peace, unity, love and rise of the American people after 9/11 is something I will never forget.

I was 13 at the time and like most people I remember play by play of how the day unfolded. Being I live in New Jersey I even remember my somber and heartbroken dad outside of the house on the front steps explaining that the dark clouds in the air was actually smoke and debris. My dad’s reaction, face, and spirit that day was so different and also became something I would never forget nor would ever want to see again.

Following the next few days and probably weeks I remember watching TV and all the news programs. I was watching anything and everything that provided me with content (even back then I liked to get as many details to the story as I possibly could).

It was as if America was shot in the heart with a missile. Besides all of the horror, screaming, and sadness during that time something stood out to me. Something positive, something different, something I have rarely seen and would never forget… people were coming together. We Americans were coming together to help heal this open wound. Everywhere I looked people were comforting one another, mostly strangers nonetheless. People were: sharing houses, food, clothes, shoulders to lean and cry on. So many people were empathizing the pain of losing a loved one. Many others were sympathizing as much as one possibly could.

I have seen disasters and watched people come together before, and after 9/11, but this was different. It didn’t matter the color of your skin, your age, gender, where you were from, anything. There was substance of pure love and no judgement. I remember thinking about these terrorists; yes they caused terror and harm, lots of deaths and pain, families were lessened, but something happened that they didn’t intend on and that was people becoming closer. Communities were rising. The love of America and Americans became deeper, stronger and more connected.

The “God Bless the USA” song was playing on loop on our computer and the Proud to be an American theme was everywhere. Sadly though after we stitched up the gaping wound and time started to heal it, the connection and feeling of community slowly distinguished.

Even though I am 27 now and 9/11 happened 14 years ago, I never forgot the peace, unity, love, and rise I felt and saw during that time. It’s with me every night when I pray. It’s reflected in my current project/mission to connect and unite America (coming soon!) and you can see it in my clothing brand, OGCJ. A few weeks ago I went to the local library and stumbled upon a huge book on 9/11. As I flipped through the pages tears filled my eyes with the same feeling I felt on that day. However, this time these tears flowed to my heart and ignited my reassurance that what I am doing is necessary and has a great chance of success. Especially when I saw the pictures of people most likely strangers, holding hands and helping one another. This can be us, now… it should be us now… God please help us.

I understand we are a country filled with every single different type of person, and God, but at the end of the day we are Americans and we are supposed to be United. It saddens me that the only time I have truly felt this in my life was during an unimaginable, but realistic time on September 11, 2001. I will continue working and praying so that it won’t be the last, and that we won’t have to wait until terror and tragedy strikes again. I will never forget, and I will never stop trying.

I can’t finish this without mentioning the bravery I have also learned through 9/11. To see and hear the stories of the firefighters, police officers, medical aides and anyone who ran towards the towers that day have the highest honor of bravery in my eyes. To see people want to help other people considering the risks and that type of circumstances I have few words… May God bless them and their families always.

God Bless The United States of America.

Rest In Peace to all of the Souls / Angels. ❤️

September 11, 2015

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