All of this changed on the morning of September 11, 2001. I remember being awoken by my mother before 6:00 in the morning (on the West Coast) and was told that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Having not heard of this building before, and assuming it was just some lost Cesena, I went back to sleep. Minutes later, I was awoken again and told that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. Then I knew that something important was going happening.
I cannot say that I was scared, although the people around me were. My mom was afraid that my dad, a Sheriff’s Deputy, would be sent to downtown Los Angeles and might be in danger. My history teacher was afraid for her daughter who worked in the Sears Tower in Chicago. As I walked home from the bus stop, I wondered how big of an impact this would have on our nation. I remember wondering when airports would open and planes would start flying again. I wondered how high the death toll would go. I wondered if the World Trade Center would be rebuilt.
This last questioned stayed with me for a while. What should be done at Ground Zero? If I could make the decision, I would rebuild the buildings in the exact spot with the same design. Except I would make each building one floor taller as a message to the terrorists that they cannot defeat us, that they cannot change who we are.
I knew that we could not let the terrorists win or even think that they had won. We had to be strong and defeat them; we needed to show them that no one can do that to our country and get away with it.
That night, President Bush spoke to the nation. He reassured the nation, and he put into words what I could not. “A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve…America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.”
George Bush and I shared that same feeling of hurt and defiance. I reacted as he did. We both knew that America was worth defending. On that day, I changed from an apolitical child into a law-and-order national-security conservative. And on that day, President Bush became the first president of my political life.
Ever since then, I have been one of the dwindling number of Americans who support President Bush. He has kept us safe in times of danger, thereby fulfilling the first goal of government. He has worked to avenge those who died by fighting Al-Qaida in Afghanistan and has liberated Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. His policies have lead to Libya giving up Gaddafi’s quest for weapons of mass destruction. He has also strengthened our ties with Israel, who I consider to be our greatest ally. President Bush vastly increased humanitarian aid to Africa and US efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.
According to a Stanford Daily exit poll, I am one of just 4.2 percent of Stanford students who supported President Bush at the time of the elections. I invite the other 280 Stanford students out there to join with me and say, unashamedly, “Thank you, Mr. President.” I look forward to the future when his vindication will come and where more people can say those words about this President.