'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

11 September 2009

Remembering 9/11, DO style

We all remember where we were on the 11th of September 8 years ago. We all have stories to share of calling friends, watching the news, waking up to a changed world; my story is a little different.

I was an Intelligence troop for the Air Force, in England, at an F-15 fighter squadron. It was early afternoon and I had one of my Aircrew come running in asking what I knew about the attack on the Trade Towers.

I scoffed at him.

That was years ago, I commented.

He didn't think I was funny, and so we went and looked it up.

I was in a classified vault with no cable, in a foreign country, thousands of miles from where my country was under attack, with only a slim idea of what was going on. The majority of our Intel was comming from the choppy web updates on CNN and from the wife of one of my coworkers who was at home watching Sky TV. This was not a situation built for strong striking visual memories.

We heard, via a phone conversation relayed to use, that the towers were falling. Pictures were scarce, there was no video.

I didn't see it happen.

My base commander was suppose to fly that day and came running into the vault to talk to his staff via our secure phones. Calm and cool, he set about locking down his base and securing his people. He was an inspiration in his mode of leadership that day.

We went into Delta, meaning where you were was were you were staying; hope you brought lunch. For weeks and months afterwards life was strange. We ramped up security everywhere, doubling and tripling the bodies covering family housing, flightlines, and inspecting vehicles entering the base.

Honestly, my most vivid memory of the 9/11 era was the phone call I got at 5 in the morning on a Saturday calling me in to work. We were going to war. The next day, on my way to the Post Office, I looked up and the entire base stopped. An eerie calm engulfed the entire area as we watched our jets launch, with live missles, and fly to meet the enemy.

We sent them to fight, to defend, to scream our anger, and to rectify a wrong.

I sit here now, a married woman, a mother, and a person a light year from who I was then. I have lost a beloved family member in Iraq, and sent countless friends to Iraq and Afghanistan. I know full well the cost involved in what we are doing. Yet from the view point of a Veteran, a mother, a niece and a spouse, I believe.

I believe.

It's right, it's just and it's our chosen path.

We brought the freedom to disagree to millions. We brought the freedom to throw shoes.

WE did that!

8 years ago the Iraqis didn't have that freedom.

So, yes, you have the right to say how we are warmongers, you have the right to vilify us.

But I have the right to throw a shoe.

-The DO


The Six said...

Good post Jen. Thanks for the reminder. It was well said and we need such today.

Pop said...

Well done, Thank you for remembering.

Doohickie said...

I remember where I was: at home with a sick kid. Up until my wife called from work to tell me what happened a few hours after the towers came down, the worst thing that happened to me that day was that a dog we had adopted the night before had bitten me.

The dog was penitent and we kept him on.

The most profound memory I have of those first few days was the total absence of air traffic of all kinds. I live near a major airport, a military base, and a few blocks from a private airport. Seeing a totally empty sky was just unreal.

The Six said...

I worked that day. It was spooky quiet. Very few calls. Lots of people came up to me and asked what I knew and what was next. The airport was closed, no buses were running, nothing was moving.
Contingency plans were made for things unthinkable just a few short hours before. I followed the news through the day as best I could then glued my self to the TV when I got off duty.