I spent all day yesterday watching TV and remembering 9/11 all over again. This is my first 9/11 since visiting Ground Zero last November. It's hard to believe I walked those same streets. The same streets that so many of my fellow Americans died on..cried on..bled on..ran for their lives on..stood in disbelief and horror of what they were witnessing. To say I have actually been there and walked on hallowed ground.it seems unreal to me. Maybe because 9/11 is the day that forever changed my life. I know it changed almost everyone's life in some way, but it had a profound effect on me. Having lived in a military town all of my life I had taken it all for granted...well all that came to an end. I got to see up close and personal the sacrifices that were being made by the men and women in uniform I had shared my community with. I knew it was time for me to give back. It was my turn to do something for them. I began sending letters and care packages over seas, then joined USO..and here I am..still going strong. The irony of all of it is yesterday was 9/11..the day that started it all for me. The day that caused the War on Terror to begin..and tonight 9/12, I sent off a plane of soldiers to go fight that war. Most of them only 18-19 years old. Most of them going for the first time..most of them quiet..some of them scared...none of them happy to be leaving their families. So in groups of 20 they walk in single file lines to the waiting plane. It was a beautiful night on the tarmac..a full moon with a few white clouds..a nice breeze. I watch as each goes up the stairs. A lot of them have tiny American flags stuck in their helmets. I can see the outlines of the flags against the full moon behind them. An incredible sight to see. And inside I'm dying..I have done over 400 flights..and I will never get used to seeing that line of soldiers leaving. The brave faces they try to put forth..and the ones that just can't take it and tears fall down their cheeks as they go by. I stand and wonder..yesterday was 9/11..and today they're going off to war..do they put the two things together? The whole reason they're going is because of yesterday..because of what yesterday meant. Then I wonder how many people put those two things together? Way too many people have forgotten 9/11..they moved on with life and put it behind them...yet here I am all these years later still sending young people off to fight the same war. The exact same war everyone supported 7 years ago. How do people forget? How can you forget?
So the plane is loaded and ready to go..I stand off from the crowd like I always do..I stand alone in the light so I can be seen. And I wave. I don't want them to think they have been abandoned. My eyes filled with tears when I saw a single window shade go down..then up..then down..then up..then I realized it was one of them letting me know they could see me. Then I saw other hands waving back and forth..they could see me and were waving back. I had to choke back sobs..they were actually waving back..not one or two..but several! It was at that moment that I knew I was where I was supposed to be. Call it fate, destiny, or just dumb blind luck..whatever it was..I was meant to be on that tarmac tonight..9/12 2008. God please be with them and bring them home. I will never forget..the troops are counting on me to remember.
September 12, 2008
The Troops are Counting on Me to Remember
I keep in touch with a wonderful lady who goes to the airport to see off our troops. I can still remember the day that I went to the airport to go off to war, I was scared as hell. Paulette's Rambling Mind is where you will find her blog.