You must first believe that America is the greatest country in the world. 

Then you must believe that you, as an American have a responsibility to uphold that reputation. Every decision we make, especially in our businesses, communities, and families, has a ripple effect on how we are viewed by the rest of the world.   

Yesterday Mark and I ran the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run in New York City. It was to commemorate the firefighter who ran from his home in Brooklyn, in full gear, through the Battery Tunnel to the burning twin towers on 9/11. He was a father of five, and a loving husband. He died in the towers that day. Along with 342 of his co-workers. Risking their lives by saving our spirit. 

alg_firefighters25,000 runners and walkers soaked by rain – some of us thinking we should have trained harder and probably not had that martini the night before – were greeted emerging from the 1.7 mile tunnel by the most amazing site.  Standing in the pouring rain were 343 uniformed men holding a banner with the picture of each firefighter killed on 9/11. Across the street were 343 uniformed men holding an American flag. They created the most inspiring tunnel of patriotism that people began to chant “USA! USA! USA!” I had trouble breathing, not only because we just ran up a hill, but because I was so choked up. 

Saturday morning before we left for the city, a venerable NYC company – Macy’s  – sent me a notification of change of terms. Seems I had to “opt out” of a new interest rate of 63%, should I ever be late on my bill. To opt out meant writing a letter or calling an 800 number. It’s not easy to opt out. And that’s the point. 

Stephen Siller had the day off on 9/11 and was on his way to play golf with his 3 brothers when he heard the towers were hit. He opted out of the game and instead turned around. He couldn’t drive through the Battery Tunnel because it was closed by then. So instead he opted out of laziness and excuses and ran the three miles with 74 pounds of gear on his shoulders.

He was last seen at West and Liberty Streets. 

These are tough times indeed. It’s easy to sit back and watch. To hope someone else will fix it. 

Opt out of apathy. Fight for our liberty.