Every time I walk into a polling booth, I think about the first day I voted — September 11, 2001. An hour before the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center, I had walked over to my local public school to cast the first vote of my lifetime. For 17 years prior, I had lived, worked and studied in the United States, but in December 2000, I became a citizen, making me eligible to vote at last — to participate fully in American democracy.