14 Years Ago Today I was driving to my PT (Physical Training) formation on Fort Lewis in Washington State. I had listened to the radio on my way into work every day. Every day but this day. On September 10, 2001, I had installed a new CD player in my older car and was enjoying some music on my way into work. It was a typical Washington September day. The sun was out with a slight chill to the air and everything was primed for a “good day”.
That suddenly came to a screeching halt as I walked up to my company’s barracks as I went to check in on my soldiers. There was a heavy sense of panic going on when one of my soldiers frantically came up to me and said; “Sergeant, PT has been cancelled, get to the IOF.” Still not hearing the news, I asked my soldier what was going on. He said; “We are under attack on the east coast.”
Without getting into the nuts and bolts of what my job at the time entailed, we’ll leave it that I was in the Intelligence field. Yes, I know, Military Intelligence is an oxymoron. I have heard it all. My heart was set on being an 11B, but my brother, who was one, made me promise to avoid that route. I had to honor my big brothers request, so I opted for what I felt was a promising route for post-military life.
Almost everything that we had focused on at the time was linear military v. military formations where lines were drawn in the proverbial sand and each side wore a specific uniform. Though the asymmetric warfare that was about to come was not a new concept for US forces, it was not the norm, especially for my unit, which had prepared for threats in the Pacific region.
During the next few months a lot had changed. America was at war in Afghanistan and the military was buzzing with transformations. I was stop-lossed for the first of two times in October 2001 and the end game for this fight was nowhere in sight.
Emotional may not be the best word to describe every time I hear or see a recap of the events of this day. Emotional, maybe in the sense that I get pissed off. Pissed off that someone had the gall to come to our front door and mess with my family. I swore two oaths of office and have spent the past 17+ years protecting and serving those who I have sworn to protect. It becomes personal when someone gets in the way of your duties and though there was noting personally that I could have done that day, you still feel like you have somehow failed.
Though the atrocities of September 11, 2001 scarred this great land, it did, at least for a short while, do something for our country that has since fleeted away. A sense of Patriotism. American flags were flown proudly everywhere. Soldiers and First Resonders were thanked and deemed heroes. People were proud to support the Troops, Fire Fighters and Police Officers. The American people had realized their vulnerabilities and appreciated their safety net.
So I have to ask; “What happened?” Where has all of the support gone? Have Americans become tired of supporting? Has the country been so blinded by the mainstream media’s arrogant agenda that we have forgotten what happened 14 Years Ago Today unless they want you to remember once a year for ratings? Is there so much hatred of our fellow countrymen that the terrorists do not have to attack us at home anymore because we are doing it ourselves? I love this country, I always have and I always will. I am however, embarrassed and disgusted with how My Fellow Americans are acting.
Regardless of Race, Religion, Age, Gender, Sexual Preference or Political Beliefs, it is time that we need to STAND UP UNITED on our own accord before it takes another Emotionally Significant Event like 9/11 to force us to.
I’ll leave you with the song that my Basic Training Drill Sergeants had us wake up to every single morning. We need more of this today, now more than ever.