Today has been declared a National Day of mourning. Our President has asked that we all stop and take time out at 12 o'clock for a moment of silence. I have found it very hard to focus on anything sports related since Tuesdays tragedy. The tremendous loss of life along with the pain and suffering of all my fellow Americans has cut me to the soul. It has forced me to put life into it's proper perspective. Freedom has never been free, civil liberties are just that, liberties.


  Yesterday, I reflected back on my family members who fought in past wars to protect our way of life. My grandfather was a World War II veteran and my father is a Vietnam Conflict veteran. Looking back on our history there is no doubt in my mind that we will come together as a country and show our resolve in the face of adversity. 

 But I feel that we take too much for granted in our great nation. Having been blessed to travel abroad in my time, America is truly the best place to live in the free world. I hope that the tragedy from Tuesday not only unites us for justice for the victims, but also unites us to be better Americans toward all our fellow countrymen on a daily basis.

  As a high school football coach, I am blessed with the opportunity to work with young people on a daily basis. I have never taken this lightly because it gives me the opportunity to influence young people. I believe that we will always remember our parents, our teachers, our ministers, and our coaches as adults that influenced us while growing up.

Tonight before kickoff, the singing of the National Anthem and the pregame ceremonies, will be a moment that these young men will never forget. We have asked the fans of both schools to wear colors that reflect our great nation and not school colors. It's important that we stand as one great community bonded by our pledge of allegiance. But it's even more important that we lead through daily examples toward one another, when we are not faced with adversity, what being a patriot really is.

We are faced with a great challenge ahead of us. Let's not make some of the same mistakes that we made in 1945 with Japanese Americans by painting all Arabs or Muslims with the same brush. Please remember that there were Arab Americans that lost their lives on Tuesday as well. America is a great nation because it is a melting pot that overflows with humanity.

May God Bless and keep each one of you as we go and grow through this tough test of time.

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