Category Archives: Examiner.com

America is a land of heroes and honor

Vigil held in rememberance of September 11th

How has our Nation changed since the attacks on September 11th, 2001? Did Osama Bin Laden’s death bring any closure for us?

I had often wondered how our Country would react when Osama Bin Laden was captured or killed and that day finally came.

Now the 10 year mark, or anniversary, of the attack on our Nation is just days away. This tragedy is often talked about and looked at on a large scale as something that happened to our Nation, as one, and in a way it did. Many parts of our national security have been changed.

However, the effects that linger on in our Nation are something that can be looked at individually. Life, for many has taken on new meaning. The individual security we once had, as well as a great deal of conveniences, has been changed. What was once thought to be a simple weekend get-a-way or business trip isn’t the same anymore.

Those passengers aboard United Flight #93 did not hand over their boarding pass knowing they would be called upon to make a decision to save countless lives and go down in history as heroes to so many. Was it a decision or did they just carry out a selfless act as they would have in any situation put in front of them any other day of their life?

At Ground Zero that day, the first responders grabbed their gear and set out to save lives as tragedy continued to unfold around them and around our Nation, yet none of us really knew just how horrific these moments would turn out to be even as they happened in front of our eyes. Like I said, this was unimaginable to us, at the time.

Alongside those first responders at Ground Zero were many everyday men and woman, now referred to as heroes, helping each other and doing whatever they could to assist the city’s firefighters, police and other rescue workers, offering a hug or an arm to someone who was too weak to walk or plenty of people who were consumed by dust. Were they trained to do this? How could they have known they would be needed in this situation? But, they helped in any way they could. That makes them heroes, to me.

On September 11th, 2001, something we never imagined could happen to our Country, the United States of America, did. As one plane after another flew into incredible buildings taking them down and thousands of lives with them, our lives were forever changed.

However, the response across America, overwhelming and almost instantly was brotherhood, heroism, united efforts, strangers reaching out to strangers, and people offering one another peace in a time of grief and utter devastation. In a time of chaos, when people could have been at their worst, the united response was to rise up and come out giving comfort and show that together we can get through anything.

America is a land of opportunity, a land of ideas and solution, heroes and honor. All of this goes together when we all come together, to stand strong, united.

On this September 11th, let’s keep our unity strong so America can flourish, strengthen and together, move forward.

Below is a song/video Tribute “America Stand Strong” – Tribute to 9/11 which you can use this link if the video area doesn’t appear. Please feel free to share your comments on the tribute or how 9/11 affected you, where you were on that day or how you live life differently now.




The song, “America Stand Strong”, was written and composed on September 12, 2001 by Myron Solomon.


Myron is a U.S. Army Veteran who now serves with the Department of Homeland Security


Past article on September 11th attacks written in 2010

“Looking back and moving forward on 9/11”

How much does the media and Hollywood influence voters’ decisions?

It seems campaigns never end but at some point they do. The fact there are 24 hour news outlets just means more coverage of more politics which is why it appears to be a never ending topic. Now, it is back to election time and campaigning time which has brought back candidates, polls, commercials, and everything campaigning tends to bring along. But, not everyone is complaining. If there was a 12-Step-Program for political junkies, there would be plenty of people there to fill the spots (point taken).

With everyone speaking out and campaigning for either their favorite candidate or situation backed by either political party, people from singers and movie stars, talk show host and comedians, past politicians and even religious leaders are stepping up to share their views. The fact is these are influential people giving their opinions and ideas on subjects and people that can really make a difference. But, have they checked the facts on the people they are referring voters to or the subject they are speaking on? Even if they aren’t saying directly, “Vote for this person” the fact is, if they just come out and sing at a fundraiser or a campaign event, appear at a rally or make a commercial, their words or show of support is being seen, remembered and taken note of.

Whether or not this should change the direction of a candidate’s political future, it often does. Should it change a voter’s opinion of a candidate? As a voter, there are campaign commercials that run throughout any campaign cycle in which the sole purpose is to influence the voter’s decision. The candidates have rallies, meetings and different gatherings to make speeches and answer questions to give voters an overall perspective of what they plan to do if they are to win the election. However, what they say is not written in stone. It is to influence the voter’s decision. Ultimately, the choice is up to each voter. The responsibility of finding out the facts is up to each individual voter. The ballot cast is a personal decision that comes down to one person’s decision, the voter’s. It is cast in private. Voting is not only a right but a responsibility. Many of the things voted on now will be in effect for many years to come. What will the votes of today be remembered for?

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Why vote?

Twitter users have been asking and answering that question for a while now under the hashtag, #whyIvote. A “hashtag” is a way of creating a group or a theme on twitter so others can keep up with a topic or add to the topic and #whyIVote has definitely caught on. It became a way of showing party likes or dislikes, candidate approvals or disapprovals and there are those that give the reason why they just don’t vote. Of course, there will be a wide variety of differing opinions and insights as Twitter users range in age from young teens to the elderly, they can come from the Tampa Bay Area, New York, from Europe to Asia and they come from all walks of life and backgrounds.

What really draws attention is an overwhelming amount of inspirational reasons why people vote as well as some common sense reasons behind voting. For those on Twitter, go to the search area and type in “whyIVote to follow this hashtag and feel free to continue adding on. Here are just a few example tweets.

@utbrp “I remember the Joy I felt when Obama was elected President. I cried like a baby. No one can steal that”. #WhyiVote


@isthisamerica “Because I think our best days as a country are ahead of us, not behind us”. #whyivote


@TheHarrisWalker “Because I want to make a difference and you have no right to pass judgment on what happens if you don’t”. #whyivote

So, why vote? Voting has been the way this country has run its democratic process. The locally elected officials go on to represent their constituents both statewide and nationwide but somehow this system seems to be breaking down. In press conferences, the elected officials often say, “The American people want…” or “The American people feel…” but is it really what the majority of American people want or feel? Are they asking the people or… who do they ask? What or who do they follow? What plan of action sets up their goals in office? What happens to the promises they make?

Are the best individuals running for the job? Or, is it a “party against party” vote? Do parties look for individuals to run that are well qualified or do they back candidates that will get more votes, more campaign dollars and overall just get elected, which will bring them more seats in D.C.? What is most important to Party Officials?

To be successful, this nation needs elected officials that are looking ahead to build, empower and design a newer America while focusing on bettering our nation. What America doesn’t need is more politicians taking office to tear down, blame or go back to a system that doesn’t work.

A person that is elected to office is elected by each voter that went in and cast a ballot. That vote doesn’t stop there. Voters can be just as involved following the elections as before the elections. They can show that compromising and dropping the ball is not acceptable and not what the American people want. When elected officials see that their voters want more than someone that can stand up during campaigns and make a good speech and make more of the same promises that are made each year but then afterward nothing happens until it’s campaign time again, maybe it will show them to either make changes to how they are playing their “political game” or actually see that Americans don’t see this as a game at all. This is life.

So, why vote? To be heard, have a say and make a difference. Vote because people have fought for the freedom to vote and the ability to be represented and because this country is a democracy. Vote because you can.

Feel free to leave a comment below sharing why you vote.

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What does Arizona’s law have to do with individuals’ rights?

As it nears the end of July, it would be hard to imagine anyone that hasn’t heard what is going on with the controversial law in Arizona. The SB1070 was due to go into effect tomorrow, July 29th. Legal challenges were filed against the law including one by the United States Department of Justice questioning its compliance with civil rights law and its constitutionality. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton today has *blocked the most controversial parts so those parts of the law from going into effect. However other parts of the law will go into effect tomorrow. Read the ruling here. The SB1070 law either way, has already had quite an impact nationwide.

Although this law is set to take place in the state of Arizona, many other states are looking at enacting similar type laws as well. In Florida, the Gubernatorial Candidates have gone back and forth on where they stand. Bill McCollum in April had been quoted saying, “I think Arizona has its own unique problems. I don’t think Florida should enact laws like this — quite that far out.” He has since released a statement which in part says, “I support Arizona’s law as amended, and if the federal government fails to secure our borders and solve the problem of illegal immigration, I would support a similar law for Florida.”

How would a law in one state have an effect on every other state? The immigration system, however poorly it may be viewed has been a federally handled system. It has been handled systematically across the states. This has been very evident to not be appropriate for many reasons and there are obvious changes that need to go into effect. There needs to be a complete overhaul or total reform of sorts. This needs to have been done in the past but certainly it is long overdue.

Although something may be done with the best of intentions, the citizens’ rights may not be completely protected and when the rights of individuals start getting taken away by laws that were not voted on by voters but instead put in place by politicians who are trying to get re-elected, individuals need to really take a step back and understand that somebody has at one time had to earn these rights, fight for their freedoms and remember that a person’s rights and freedoms shouldn’t be so easily discounted when decisions are being made.

Everyone has a right that just as easily can be taken away with reasons that can begin to be argued. It comes down to which side of the “issue of the moment” someone is on.

The past and future is in the Bay Area’s rich cultural diversity

The Bay Area and its surroundings are what postcards are made of, not only for its natural beauty and historical areas but also for the numerous amusement parks and endless shopping availability. The Bay Area has it all. For the Bay Area’s residents however, this is just a few of the many assets to their advantage.

In a follow-up to my previous article, another asset the Bay Area has is its rich cultural diversity. To go around the Bay Area and its surrounding counties, it is easy to find nearly any type of ethnic cuisine a person would want or any grocery item for a recipe. There are constant festivals going on and this of course, is a popular tourist attraction as well. But, it has been so much more for the area’s history and it can be an even greater asset to the Bay Area’s future.

To grow up around diversity is to have a chance of growth everyday in one’s life with the development of key skills necessary in life such as compassion for others, tolerance, understanding and the desire to reach out to learn, educate, help and be there for each other every day for anyone. It’s a chance to build core values as well as to learn about different cultures having not even traveled to those distant places. It is having a chance to see a friend as a friend and a doctor as a doctor and not looking at them differently because of where they may be from but smiling and loving them just because they made you feel better. That’s what it was like for me growing up in the Bay Area.

The future of the Bay Area and its opportunities are all still there and even more so because of the growth that is happening by leaps and bounds. Also, the cultural expansion is even more diverse than ever before. When someone brings their profession from someplace else, let’s say to the medical field, engineering, communications, etc, they bring with them their outside expertise. As an American travels abroad to work, they take their expertise with them to help overseas. This is the same thing, yet reversed.

The Bay Area has the opportunity to be the leader in how to make diversity work for everyone and to show this both locally, nationally and internationally. Although than words can make changes, actions will make a remarkable and lasting difference. By making efforts in the work place, in schools and just around town, word will spread. Changes can happen on Twitter in 140 characters or less quite rapidly as everyone has seen. Good changes are the ones the Bay Area wants to get noted for and right now, the U.S. can use positive example. Tampa can be the positive influence for the state, the nation and the world.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

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One of our community’s biggest assets is our youth

If everything is going well and people are happy with the way things are in their community and Washington D.C., then campaigns and candidates should continue to run the same pattern they always do, right? But, if something needs to change then it should start at the beginning of the cycle. This means to start at the process of choosing the candidate, the style of campaigning and the effort put into researching each candidate as well as understanding the reasoning behind the choice of each person’s vote. Is the choice being made by qualification and belief in the person or is it based on party?

What goes on in Washington D.C. begins with local elections just as much as the presidential election, often times even more. What is going on in a local community on a daily basis has a substantial impact on everyone’s daily lives in that community and can greatly improve in a short amount of time once given an opportunity for advancements and growth. But, the opportunity comes from the community itself more than from anyone on the outside or their promises.

One of a community’s biggest assets is its youth. If you look around the Bay Area, there are a great number of talented youth off for the summer. Many may have jobs but due to the economy, those hours may be limited or they may not have been able to get a summer job for a number of reasons. Our young people today are extremely creative and talented and many are also very active within the world of social media. Social media is not just something for chatting but if used wisely, this can help a large number of non-profit organizations and businesses network and reach millions of people they may not be reaching. This is one way a young person, or anyone can touch a lot of lives in a little bit of time.

The more involved our youth are today, the more involved they will be in the future. Who will be running our country in the future? They will become our future leaders. Our young people are watching how campaigning is being done, how politicians are “following through” with their word and how our communities are utilizing its own abilities to participate and better what we are capable of bettering for ourselves. We don’t always have to wait for things to happen for us. There are many things right around us we can do for ourselves as a community.

The best step forward is the step we take on our own initiative.

Stay tune for more to follow on this topic. If you would like to know of local non-profit groups you can assist with, please feel free to email me with “Non-Profit Group Info” in the subject line or feel free to comment with info.

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What gain or loss has social media brought to a political candidate?

With elections going on across the country, campaigning is again in the local media, mainstream media and across the social media. Around the nation people are talking, debating, discussing, tweeting, texting and blogging about politics. In 2008 the U.S. had one of the biggest elections ever and the fact was whether Barack Obama or John McCain won, CHANGE was happening in America.
The “winds of change” are often difficult for people to get used to or work with but the fact is times are always changing and people are always growing and reinventing themselves. Look around. A person’s day to day life has taken on a new look. For example, the daily newspaper is becoming more digitalized and turning to online editions. This allows a reader the ability to have continuously updated information. The ability to communicate worldwide has completely changed with new mobile gadgets and high speed internet ability as well as social media. People are “plugged in”. Change happens.

With elections coming up and campaigns seeming to never really end, politicians have turned to social media as well as their constituents using their own social media circles to reach out to millions of people on a daily basis, not always trying to spread a message but often just trying to keep their candidate of choice in the headlines and being discussed. Social Media has been one of the biggest changes that have come along and those who understand how to use it both in a good way or a negative way can certainly make a difference in a campaign.

The question is, are they spreading a relevant and truthful message as well as something they will stand behind in the coming months and years if they take office? Or, are they just trying to catch the attention of the voters, get the headlines forwarded to reach more viewers and ultimately win the largest number of votes? But with social media, another question is do their constituents know this and allow this to happen? Do they become part of the process by pushing their candidate’s messages in the social media outlets while sometimes knowing the message may not be completely factual or actually promoting lies just to promote their party of choice?

Social media can spread the message of a candidate over night and help them gain political points while at the same time, spread a message of half truths or lies but through the same process this tool can be used to hold a candidate responsible for sticking to the facts during a campaign and long after.

What spreads through the internet often comes back later to hold a candidate responsible but also those that put the message in the media to begin with. Some things never change and one of those things is that one’s words can come back to haunt them and social media just means that more people have seen, heard or watched a message or video and will be able to pull that up again at a later date. A person’s words or a person’s message should be something they want their name attached to for a very long time.

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