Ever since I was thrown into the spotlight for my actions on the worst day of my life -- September 11, 2011 -- I've had my struggles. I'm continually asked the question, "Why do you do it?" and "Why don't you just live your life and not worry about what people say?" I'll tell you why. Growing up, every time I had a dream to do something great, I was never encouraged. Instead, I was told the millions of reasons why I couldn't do something. But I always had one person I looked up to and that person was my dad.
I'm well aware of how fortunate I was to have someone to look up to. I know that a lot of kids out there don't have that. There are a lot of people who write to me, like Caleb. The words that he wrote at the end of a lengthy letter will always strike my heart: "You have been and always will be my hero." Comments like these keep me motivated to take up new challenges every day. I do this because if I don't, there might be someone out there who sees me as a hero and I don't want to let them down.
If anyone knows how hard it is to stand up against all of the people out there trying to tear you down, it's me. Too often we get caught up in the politics or the few negative headlines, and we quickly forget how lucky we really are to have heroes and people who inspire us to be great. For me, those who proudly serve our country and our communities, our veterans and first responders, are my heroes. Each day, they stand up and put their lives on the line because freedom isn't free. These men and women give their all... for us. So, let's make sure they know how much we appreciate them. Let these men and women, who sacrifice for all of us, know how truly grateful we are for those sacrifices. Let's let our heroes know they're heroes. Do this For Those Who Gave All.