I remember getting ready for work that morning. My wife was at a retreat with her Mother, Sister, and our Daughter.
I remember glancing at the tv and watching a jet crash into one of the World Trade Center towers. Then, as the camera panned back, I saw the flames and smoke of the other tower. I knew at that moment, this was no accident.
I remember getting into my job at Ft Lewis, WA. The post was not locked down when I went through the gates at 6:30 AM. By 6:45, traffic was backed up, as the security clamped the base down.
I remember being at my desk, when a frantic worker from the Army Community Service office came by asking if I could come to her telephone to take a call from one of our Washington Senators. As with all the other chaos around us, He could not get a line to his local staff, so tried any number he could.
I remember assisting him with whatever I could. I could sense the confusion, uncertainty, and frustration in his voice. I knew then, that this day would be “One of those days.”
I remember, that day, I became an “Essential Employee.” The post leadership had determined that non-essential personnel were to be excused from their jobs for an indefinite period. Those of us in the Casualty Assistance Center, would all become essential. We received a special ID Badge, showing us as ESSENTIAL.
I remember hearing of Flight 93 crashing and the heroism of all who perished on the fateful day. I remember hearing of the crash into the Pentagon and looking for the names that many of knew worked in that wing. Many of us knew someone there. It was indeed “one of those days.”
I remember how my wife and all those at the Pacific Beach Resort and Conference Center were evacuated, as the Navy operated facility was directed to close and send everyone home. I remember my wife’s voice as we spoke and stayed in touch throughout the day. I remember telling her not to bother coming on post, but to go straight home.
I remember how I thought the day would never end, and when I finally left at the end of the day, how it took almost three hours to get off post, because every vehicle was being stopped for a 100% ID card check and random vehicle searches. The same practice followed for almost 2 weeks after September 11th, for incoming and out-going vehicles.
As I put the Stars and Stripes out this morning, I sat and reflected on that day, and where we have been in the ten years since. I am at a point where I do not know how I want to remember September 11th. I am frustrated at the way schools are teaching, or NOT teaching, the events of that day, because it may offend some or may cause undue trauma to young minds. This is United States History that many of us lived through. I want my grandchildren to know the truth of September 11, 2001. I don’t want the history of that being whitewashed as so much history is today.
As I said, I still don’t know what want to do in regards to remembering. I have provide my total recall of what I was doing when that jet slammed into the second tower. I have provided my total recall of what happened to those close to me, my co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Is that enough? Is there more to say or do? I’don’t know.
We are upon the 10th anniversary, anniversary is such a bad term for this day in my mind. I had my own moment of silence. I said a short prayer to all that perished. I remember those from the Pentagon that I had a personal connection. I will remember those that I had no connection, other than we shared a common reality – We Are Americans -.
I will remember this day.
I cannot tell you how I have changed since this Significant Event happend. I can tell you that I have NEVER been more proud of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. Our Military rose to the task of protecting our freedoms. Our Military rose to the task of protecting the freedom of those that would otherwise not know what freedom is. Our Military has been there from the beginning and continues to be there as we move forward.
I remember September 11, 2001. I remember every day since. I remember our Military, EVERY DAY, who still protects our freedom.
Will you remember?