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God Bless America

As we depart for Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, it is hard to ignore the date on my watch. 9/11.

The memory of this date and what has transpired since evokes a wide range of emotions: profound sadness, patriotism, deep anger. Just thinking about still brings tears to my eyes. I was a Sophomore at Indiana University that Autumn morning. Sleeping safely in the cold dorm of Pi Kappa Phi alongside 45 smelly fraternity brothers, I gingerly awoke to the commotion. Was I hearing it right? No. No way. Swiftly moving through the hallway made of indestructible walls, I found my way to a room shared with 5 other Brothers. All four televisions were tuned to various stations: FoxNews, Weather Channel, CNN, Local ABC. All showing the terrifying replay of that fateful morning.

Trying to understand the magnitude of this horrendous event, we sat around the ‘tube with hardly a word spoken. When it became clear that the plane crashes were no coincidence, that it was an incredibly callous and cowardly act of terrorism, my thoughts were trained on revenge. This feeling of rage stayed with me for days, then turned to a distinct feeling of patriotism. That I lived in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.

Knowing that the world is full of great people – from Argentina to Botswana, from India to Vietnam, from Russia to Jordan – I reckoned it was time discover what the civilized world has to offer. While I am jokester at heart, one thing I take quite seriously is being an United States of America Ambassador. The stereotype going of the USA is that Americans believe they are better than everyone else. And that is what two folks in Peru told me in just 10 days here. Though after spending some time with them, they see ordinary Americans are just like them. We share the same family values, demand respect, and are generally selfless.

Being away from the Stars and Stripes for over 12 months, makes me long for the simple things of life like ordering a burger and actually getting a burger. I will miss so many things I take for granted like sharing a beer with good friends or going to Lincoln Park High School to vote in a fair election.

If September 11, 2001 taught me anything, it is this: while humankind can be cruel at times, the masses share a common goal of freedom and prosperity. And you can’t let the bad apples overshadow all the good in this world.

Feel free to leave your own thoughts or comments below. Thanks for reading and may God Bless America.

 God Bless the USA!

  • http://www.jesyisms.wordpress.com/ Jesy

    Hey Greg (and Ashley),

    This is Jesy (Wenstrup) Herron and we were classmates for a long time at Adena. I just ran across your blog and I have to say I'm completely amazed at the two of you but somehow not surprised that you are doing this Greg. I'm really enjoying starting from the beginning and reading your journeys of travel but this one post has peaked my interest for obvious reasons. Thank your for sharing this journey and I look forward to reading more! George (my hubby) and I are going on a cruise this May to St. Maarten, San Juan and Labadee, Haiti. Any travel advice? I know this is a cruise and not your exciting journey but you clearly have the travel thing down so I'd love to know what you have to offer. Enjoy your travels and stay safe — I can't wait to read more!

  • fofs

    Jesy – The Caribbean cruise sounds fantastic! We gave your question great thought and came up with a couple suggestions. Ashley's cruise advice is to research your land destinations thoroughly before disembarking as to maximize your time there. Sometimes it isn't best to follow the masses to X Beach, when Y Beach is just as great with 1/10 the tourists. Our #1 travel advice in general is this: pack ONLY what you need. If you think you might use something… leave it at home. Enjoy a less cluttered vacation! Greg once packed just a bathing suit, dopp kit, and two t-shirts for a one week holiday. Have a great time in the Caribbean… watch out for Pirates.

    We are interested to hear what you find while visiting Haiti in May. Our prayers are with those devastated people.

    - Greg and Ash

  • http://jesyisms.wordpress.com/ Jesy

    Greg and Ash,

    Thanks for the advice, I've already started my homework and I'm looking forward to exploring the rain forest in San Juan.
    I'm also anxious/nervous to head out to Haiti but I'll certainly keep you posted on what I find.

    Love all your posts and I'm slowly catching up on all your adventures.

  • http://jesyisms.wordpress.com/ Jesy

    Greg and Ash,

    Thanks for the advice, I've already started my homework and I'm looking forward to exploring the rain forest in San Juan.
    I'm also anxious/nervous to head out to Haiti but I'll certainly keep you posted on what I find.

    Love all your posts and I'm slowly catching up on all your adventures.

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