When I was in fourth grade, I was confused beyond belief as to why terrorists had attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing thousands of innocent people. In my naivety, I had failed to grasp the concept of the word terrorist, one that my young ears had never heard before.

Unfortunately, I learned more than I ever should have about the evils of the world as a ten year old on that terrible day. As a resident of Northern Virginia and the descendent of veterans on both sides of my family, being patriotic and recognizing the sacrifice made by millions of Americans, both civilian and enlisted, for their country, is one of my greatest duties.

Politics aside, I couldn’t agree more with President Obama’s encouragement for all Americans to go out and volunteer to recognize the 9/11 attacks and honor the victims. Though I was young, I remember being amazed as the whole country pulled itself together and became united as neighbors, friends and family reached out to help and support one another in the wake of the attack. That mentality has fallen by the wayside over the past 11 years, but this Tuesday, take a moment to remember what it means to be an American, and what you can do to give back to your community and nation.

Another great idea is to bake a heartfelt treat for veterans to show your gratitude for all they have done. I’ll be delivering some of my patriotic star cookies over to the veteran’s at the senior center across the street from campus this Tuesday. Also, don’t forget to head over to the 9/11 memorial event Broadside is holding at the Mason Pond on Tuesday evening in honor of all of the victims from the attacks.


Here is my patriotic star cookie recipe:

1 package pre-mixed sugar cookie dough

White icing (or whipped topping for less calories)

Fresh sliced strawberries

Fresh blueberries


Assemble cookies and bake according to package directions. Let cookies cool on wire racks, and then frost with a thin layer of icing. Thinly slice strawberries and arrange in a star shape in the center of the cookie. Top with a small dot of icing in the center and several blueberries.