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Shine On, New York City!

As the memorial for the victims of the terrorist attack on New York fill the airwaves of Israel, thousands of miles away from the city of my birth, I have come to understand why the terrorists chose the city of New York for the sickening expression of their degenerate agenda against all free people. It is because the spirit of New York City represents everything that they, and the ruthless dictators of slave states in the Middle East who support them, are trying to destroy.

New York City is a place where everyone can have an education, and can choose any profession. For fifty dollars a semester, I, and millions of others who could never afford a college education, went through the corridors of the City University of New York, learning about music and art and history and culture and literature and biology and chemistry.

New York City is a place where it doesn’t matter who your parents are, How much money they have, what faith they profess, what color they were born. You can still be a famous artist, a writer, a dancer, a scholar … you can aspire to be anything you can dream.

New York City is a place where the arts flourish. Where any idea is tolerated and explored. Where men and women are free to watch and read and believe or reject any philosophy, any idea any book, any magazine.

New York City is a place where women are in control of their bodies and their futures and their health and their choices. A place where no man can murder his daughter, abuse his wife, slaughter his sister because she does not conform to his ideas of how to act, or think, or dress.

New York City is a place of economic opportunity, where small workshops and tiny factories, and little fringe theatre groups, and corner bakeries flourish. Where every man and woman can pursue a dream, and cannot be destroyed by nepotism and corrupt politicians and war lords and dictators.

New York City is a place where elections take place and men and women go to meetings, march in the street, print brochures, knock on doors, and say out loud anything they want. They can vote in absolute secrecy for leaders, and these leaders can be voted out if they displease the people who voted for them. It’s a place where votes are counted fairly, and ballot boxes are not stuffed and candidates are not murdered, and every man or woman who wishes to offer himself as a leader will be heard.

New York City is open to the people of the world of every nationality, religion and color. Boats and planes filled with immigrants seeking refuge are welcomed. Very few New Yorkers can say that they and their parents lived there for two hundred years. It is a city of newcomers, all welcome, all treated equally.

New York City represents the best of what America has to offer, the best in a world overrun by hate-mongers, dictators, nepotists, thieves and strongmen, who deprive men and women of their right to life, to liberty and to the pursuit of happiness.

You, who have bruised our city, and taken a piece of its heart and trampled it, know that you will never defeat it , because that would mean defeating all that is good in the world. You have succeeded in putting out thousands of lights . But millions more will continue to shine through the horrible black hell you created with your sick ideas and brutal acts of barbarism.

Shine on New York.

Shine on, the lights of Broadway and Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera house and Carnegie Hall and the Empire State Building and Macy’s and the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum and the Forty-second Street Library, the skyline, the bridges, the great hotels off Central Park, the skaters of Rockefeller Center.

Never forget your light warms the lives of good people all over the world who strive to live peaceful, creative, productive lives, free of hatred. Never forget that your enemies hate you for all the reasons that you became, and remain, the greatest city in the world.

With all my love,

Naomi Ragen

(born in the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, educated in Brooklyn College, theatergoer, music lover, native daughter)

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