I spent a good portion of my life working in Washington, D.C., as a congressional press secretary and during my time in our nation's capital witnessed evil in many forms. In fact, I was in my office when an American terrorist destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma City.
Today's acts of terrorism in New York City and Washington, D.C., brought back many of the old feelings I thought I had suppressed. For weeks after the tragic bombing in Oklahoma City, my co-workers and I suffered sleepless nights and feelings of depression over the loss of our fellow federal employees in that massacre. Today I felt myself battling familiar tears and emotions as I worried about my friends and former colleagues in both Washington and New York.
Secondary only to the fear we all felt at the time was an anger unlike anything I had experienced in my life. I was horrified that anyone could attack us that way and kill men, women and children without prejudice. Today, I again felt that old bitter anger well up in me as I watched unbelievable images of carnage. A huge aircraft slicing through the south tower of the World Trade Center … the image of the two towers collapsing down on the men and women trying to rescue those attempting to escape from the towers … the image of our Pentagon building in flames … and the scene of panic in the financial and political capitals of the world.
I remember the feeling of helplessness we all felt at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, and that, too, is an old nemesis that has revisited me. At the time, we were all quick to blame Arab terrorists for the destruction of the federal building in Oklahoma City, and I hear that same rhetoric repeating itself today. As it turned out, it was not a foreign enemy which caused that destruction in Oklahoma, and I hope that our response to this tragedy is tempered by our experiences then.
We must not lash out at our Arab neighbors, especially Americans of Arab decent, when it is unclear who is responsible for what happened in New York and Washington. When a terrorist succeeds in making the American people and government forget the freedoms and liberties for which generations of our brave military have fought and died to preserve, then they win.
I hope that all Americans show restraint when it comes to turning on our Arab neighbors. People of all faiths and backgrounds must respect each other and only place the blame with individuals and not paint an entire group of people with broad brush strokes.
I intend to do what I can from here in the Virgin Islands, and that is to pray for my friends in D.C. and New York and for the leadership of our nation from both political parties who must lead us in the aftermath of today's events. I encourage all of you, in whatever form you choose, to send positive energies or prayers for the people hurt and killed, their families and friends and our nation. Today's events have changed the world forever, and I just hope that our American system of freedoms and liberties survives this tragic day.
If you want to help, then I encourage our territorial leaders to organize a blood drive to help our American brothers and sisters who have been injured in Washington and New York. Blood is in short supply in those cities, and the people of the Virgin Islands should come together and send our own life's blood to help them with the assistance of the territorial government and, perhaps, the American Red Cross. It is probably the best way we here in the USVI can help ease the pain of this horrific day. America has helped us recover from the tragic destructive power of Hugo, Marilyn and Lenny, and it is our turn to return the favor by helping our fellow citizens recover from this man-made destruction.
God bless America, and may whatever powers that you believe control our human destiny guide us through this, one of our nation's darkest hours.

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