September 11 Focus This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     I live in an area that is judgmental of race, creed, sex and social standing. I live in the South. We do have a unity that I have learned to appreciate, but I cannot ignore that prejudice does stand out here. We are culturally diverse, but not too understanding.

It has come to my attention that since September 11, 2001, our patriotism has skyrocketed! I have also heard some say that people are beginning to forget and again take our wonderful lives for granted. That, I must say, is just ridiculous! We have not forgotten, we are finally beginning to move on, and I am proud of the brave souls who are letting themselves live again.

Here in the South, where we love racial jokes and still don't mind segregation, we have learned to fall in love with our glorious America again. Here, in a place I never expected to see change, I am a proud witness of change every day. I see flags on vehicles belonging to people of all races. I see beautiful memorials where anyone is welcome. I see a certain peace - yes, peace - after those terrible attacks. That peace comes from our shared emotions. We are all hurt, we are all sad, we are all angry, but most of all, we are all strong.

People tend to forget how young our nation really is. It is amazing to me that we are such a huge power after so short a time in the game. But even if we are still a baby nation, we are tough. So for those who say we have forgotten, know that we have just grown. This strong nation has moved on, and even though we know we are vulnerable, we also know we are citizens of the United States of America, and we will protect each other. We are all the few, the proud, and the beautiful.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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