Today is the anniversary of 9/11. I know others will write about this day, many with more eloquence than I ever could, but I feel the need to write.
I will never be able to forget that day. I was a young Senior Airman, serving at Maxwell AFB. Seeing as how I was recently divorced, renting an apartment for for the first time ever and paying off bills from my former marriage - I was broke. Like so broke I didn't have cable. I also worked shift and was currently snoozing on my couch when the phone woke me up. My mom called to ask if I had heard the news. I said no...Mom, duh, I'm sleeping. She told me to turn on the TV and watch the news. I told her I didn't have cable and couldn't get the news. After she got over that shock, she proceeded to tell me that planes had slammed into the WTC towers. My reaction was "what? No way." She told me I should get to a TV. After I hung up I sat stunned. There was no way, what a horrible accident. Something prompted me to get into my uniform even though it wasn't even 9 am and I didn't work until 2:45 pm.
I went to my friend Karen's house. She lived in base housing, but it was off base so there was no monster line to get in. I don't remember much about what we said to each other. I remember her being worried about her husband and her kid ( I think he was in childcare at the time). All I could focus on were the images on the TV...one after another after another. This was not an accident. This was intentional. This was evil. I passed the rest of the day in shock.
Getting on base was time consuming. Why in the world were all these people flocking to an AF base? I mean really?? I would be going the opposite direction personally. (If I didn't have to work)
The area I worked in made it so I would see message traffic between bases...I cannot tell you about them, but I will tell you for the first time in my life I felt helpless and terrified.
As the days passed you saw flags EVERYWHERE! And we were no where near NYC. I was so proud to be an American. I watched our country pull together. I watched heroes do things no one thought were possible. I watched widows cry out. I watched as America went to war.
It is now 11 years later. Once again our country is torn apart by politics and hatred. Our country is divided. The flags have come down. America is no longer at war, even though our military forces still fight and die in a foreign land. 11 years later and my pride in the America that was is gone, replaced by a fear of what is to come.
Osama bin Laden is dead. Yet his legacy lives on. I hope it does not take another tragedy of that proportion to bring this country back together again. I hope we all remember the terrible price that was paid that day. I hope we teach our children and they teach their children to remember, to honor and to respect those who were impacted that day. I hope we teach our children what America is supposed to be about - "The land of the free. The home of the brave."
We pay a price to stay free, with blood, sweat, tears, seperation, fear and hope. That pice is paid by the brave - those who serve here at home, those who serve in the armed forces, those who serve those that serve our country.
May we all find the courage to be brave.