I am a New Yorker. I do not live in the 5 boroughs, on the Island or Upstate. I may live hundreds or thousands of miles away, but I am a New Yorker.

I am a New Yorker. Whatever took me out of New York, business, family or hating the cold did not take New York out of me. My accent may have faded and my pace may have slowed, but I am a New Yorker.

I am a New Yorker. I was raised on Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Rockefeller Plaza, the Yankees or the Mets (Giants or Dodgers), Jones Beach or Rye Beach or one of the beaches on the sound (Orchard Beach). I know that "the End" means Montauk Point. Because I am a New Yorker.

I am a New Yorker. When I go on vacation, I never look up. Skyscrapers are something I take for granted. The Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are part of me. Taxis and noise and subways and "get outa heah" don't rattle me. Because I am a New Yorker.

I am a New Yorker. I was raised on cultural diversity before it was politically correct. I eat Greek food and Italian food, Jewish and Middle Eastern food and Chinese food. Because they are all American food to me.

I don't get mad when people speak other languages in my presence. Because my relatives got to this country via Ellis Island and chose to stay. They were New Yorkers.

I am a New Yorker. People who have never been to New York have misunderstood me. My friends and family work in the industries, professions and businesses that benefit all Americans. My firefighters died trying to save New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers. They died trying to save Americans and non-Americans because they were New Yorkers.

I am a New Yorker. I feel the pain of my fellow New Yorkers. I mourn the loss of my beautiful city. I feel and dread that New York will never be the same. But, then I remember: I am a New Yorker. And New Yorkers have tenacity, strength and courage way above the norm. Compassion and caring for our fellow citizen. Love and pride in our city, in our State, in our Country. Intelligence, experience and education par excellence. Ability, dedication and energy above and beyond faith--no matter what religion we practice. We are New Yorkers.

Terrorists hit America in its heart, but America's heart still beats strong. Demolish the steel in our buildings, but it doesn't touch the steel in our souls. Hit us in the pocketbook, but we'll parlay what we have left into a fortune. End innocent lives leaving widows and orphans, but we'll take care of them. Because they are New Yorkers.

Wherever we live, whatever we do, whoever we are, there are New Yorkers in every state and every city in this nation. We will not abandon our city. We will not abandon our brothers and sisters. We will not abandon the beauty, creativity and diversity that New York represents. We are New Yorkers.

And, we are proud to be New Yorkers.