I suppose 9/11/01 is the marker for my generation like JFK's death was for others. I remember where I was that morning...like it was yesterday.
Earlier that year, in January, I'd given birth to our first baby. A precious baby boy we named, "Jack". On the morning of September 11, 2001 Jack was not quite 9 months old but we'd settled in to a nice and cozy routine. He was a wonderful sleeper and would wake between 7 & 8 in the morning, play, eat his breakfast, play, then go back for a nap. So, we were in the kitchen-family room having a good morning together and I decided to turn the tv on to catch the morning news on FOX.
Within the hour, I was sitting in the chair watching a news alert for breaking news. FOX cut over to the NY camera man and announcer who were on the roof showing live video of what was at the time thought to be a terrible accident, when a jet crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. I remember hearing the announcer talk about how much air traffic there is in NYC and that by all accounts this may be a singular accident. I only heard one brief mention of terrorism and a caution that we shouldn't jump to that conclusion.
I was awestruck by the footage I watched while playing with Jack. Moments later, from the roof of FOX's building in NYC as the reporter was speaking, behind his head, live, another jet roared towards the second tower. Then we knew. No doubts remained. We'd all just witnessed an act of war.
Terror ran through me.
That was the mission they had wasn't it.
I scooped Jack up in my arms and grabbed the phone. I called my husband, father, and mother one after the other to tell them what I'd seen. I'm not sure they believed me...at first.
Then a heartbeat later, like lightening running through me, I thought about my brothers. Both had very recently joined the military. One became an Airman, the younger became a Marine. Both were actively serving at the time of 9/11. Of the two, my brother in the USAF was then serving in Wyoming. I forget his exact title now, but he was responsible for the regular maintenance of nuclear war heads. He was on a base that seemed to be, in my mind, a prime target of another attack.
All I could think about at that moment was, "What would this open attack on our country mean for my brothers?"
I remember feeling helpless and vulnerable for a while as I continued to watch the footage on FOX. I watched in awe as pictures of peopling running in confusion came across the screen. Then as the towers crumbled and the wave of grey smoke and dust flooded the streets drowning everything in its path. Fear gave way to anger as I realized that others would so boldly attack us using innocent people as a weapon against other innocent people. I was shocked that something so common to our daily lives as a commercial jet, would be turned against us as a weapon. To the families who suffered such loss in NY that day, losing loved ones and friends...we remember you today.
The unbelievably unreal became real for us all that day. In a moment we were forever changed as a country.
My generation would see war, again.
But this time, the attack came through the front door.
Since that day, many of us have seen our friends and family members forsake their life for ours and go over seas to fight against enemies who would attack us again given the opportunity. These men and women in service to our country have seen opposition as well as support. My hope is that the support far outweighed the opposition. For their sacrifice of time, and for some the sacrifice of living, we remember and say thank you.
For fighting abroad so that we would be protected at home, we say thank you. We remember.
I remember how it felt when the news came of our Marine's first deployment to Iraq. I remember how we prayed and hoped he would accomplish his mission and return to his precious wife and daughter safe and unharmed. I remember the stress and strain it caused his family. I remember how it felt to hear his voice from overseas or get an email from him. I remember how it felt watching the news seeing video of Marines doing the same job my brother would be doing, and knowing he was in harms way. I remember being so proud of him. I remember seeing the concern on my Mom & Dad's countenances. I remember what it felt like to know many people were praying for him by name. I remember how it felt when our Marine came home.
I remember how it felt when news came of our Marine's second deployment....and third.
I remember how I felt when he would call, write, email...and came home, safely each time.
I remember hearing news of our Airman's deployment to Iraq. I remember my heart breaking for his precious family-his wife and two small sons. I remember watching wife's countenance change as she struggled to find her way without my brother there for almost a full year. I remember how it felt to hear my nephews say, "My Daddy is helping fight the bad guys." I remember the long paper chain that represented the number of days their Daddy would be gone...and watching it slowly get smaller as they'd take off a link each day. I remember how proud we were of him. I remember what it felt like to know many people were praying for him by name. I remember how we longed to have him return safe and unharmed. I remember the excitement that would spread through the family when news from my brother came. I remember what it felt like knowing he was in the air, coming home safe and sound.
I remember the images of those wounded heroes coming home for treatment and recovery. I remember hearing news of people who had to grieve the loss of their Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, & Marines. How those fallen heroes came home to be buried. We remember you.
Today, September 11, 2008 enough time has passed that it might be easy to slip into complacency and be so comfortable that we forget. We cannot afford to forget. The cost was too high. The war was too hard fought...and won. We must not forget.
God, the one true God, please continue to bless America. Please continue to cover her, protect her, and preserve her. Remember us Lord. We remember all that You have done for us.