I am a foreign-born, naturalized citizen living my parent’s hope of the American dream. I have been a federal employee for 34 years. After Sept. 11, 2001, I saw federal employees come together to help each other through the most difficult of times.

My son joined the Army in January 2001. He married his beautiful bride on Sept. 11 a few years later. Nine months ago, he was killed serving his country. My federal colleagues supported me through each of his four deployments, and now they have given me the biggest shoulder to cry on. They have donated generously to the Wounded Warrior Program in my son’s name. My work group bought a brick at a local memorial park in my son’s memory, so I have a place to go to honor him. I am so grateful for all of this.

Sept. 11, 2001, affected all of us differently. Through it all, I am still proud to be an American.

Venetz is a case advocate, Taxpayer Advocate Service, IRS Brookhaven Campus, New York.