I know firsthand that immigrants make enormous contributions to our nation, but I also know that we need to secure our borders and make sure that those who came here illegally wait their turn, pay a fine and any unpaid taxes, and pass a criminal background check before becoming citizens.
Nobody wants to be on food stamps, but when my family lost everything, we were grateful for it. I was grateful the program was there so I could concentrate on my schoolwork and not on my empty belly. We were grateful that we had the support we needed to roll up our sleeves and rebuild our lives.
As I recovered at Walter Reed, I worried about the soldiers who pulled me out of my helicopter that Friday afternoon. Would they make it back okay? And what about all the other soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who were also putting their lives on the line every day?
I know from personal experience that engaging with your community and helping others helps foster a sense of shared sacrifice and - at a time when our politics seem more focused on tearing us apart than bringing us together - that shared sacrifice will help us rekindle the national unity that has made us the strongest nation in the world.