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Four Years Later...

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Four years.

For some, this feels like it was a lifetime ago. For too many Americans, however, the fateful morning of September 11, 2001 feels like it was just yesterday.

Whether you were at Ground Zero, a coffee shop in Los Angeles or walking along the streets of London, the world as we knew it changed that day.

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While it was unquestionably one of the darkest hours in America's history, it also served as a defiant foil to the ugly side of humanity. For a brief moment, the country united. Love, tears and aid flowed to the heart of Manhattan. In the eye of the storm, we put politics, race and class aside to help each other. We were all New Yorkers.

Four years later, the domestic landscape couldn't be more radically different. We are a country at war. The President's approval rating is at an all-time low, while gas prices are soaring through the nonexistent roof. Despite the dollars, soldiers and money allocated to the War on Terror, most Americans don't feel any safer now than they did four years ago. The events in New Orleans only underscore that fear, irrational or otherwise.

The Katrina tragedy is a painful reminder that life can change in the blink of an eye--be it at the hands of another human or through the random whims of mother nature.

So what can we do? We must remember what happened. As painful as it is to recount tragedy, history can (and will) repeat itself. We must learn from our mistakes. We must take accountability for what went wrong. And finally, we mustn't lose hope.

Hope is the best salve for this wound. Why? Hope defies logic. It lifts our heavy hearts and reminds us we're not alone. It's the only thing that keeps us from becoming... them.

Today, let's simply remember. And hope.