Never Forget

There are few events in every generation that everyone remembers. Those moments frozen in your mind, the ones you will remember forever. For our parents, it was the JFK Assassination, for others it was the Challenger Explosion, and for my generation it is September 11th, 2001.

As a child, my biggest fear was that my brother would get drafted into the army and would never return. Anytime there was a rumor or a story of a war around the world, I would get nervous.  The day he called me to tell me that he had joined the army is burned into my memory. The day he left for basic training was a miserable day for me.  After seeing how God was protecting him and helping him succeed, I began to calm down and realize that the chances were that he’d come home.  So the day we dropped him off to report for duty at Ft.Bragg, I didn’t think much of it.  That day was September 10th, 2001.

The next morning, I was on my way to 3rd period Bowling Class (gotta love senior electives!), when I heard rumors that something terrible had happened.  When I got to the gym, our teacher told us that we wouldn’t be bowling today, but that we needed to see something.  He lead us into the Health Classroom and turned on the TV. We saw the first tower in flames, smoke pouring out.  Then the 2nd plane hit. I remember staring at my gym shoes sitting on the desk, I couldn’t bring myself to look at the tv, to imagine what it might mean.  We stayed in that classroom for the rest of the day, watching, discussing, asking questions, making phone calls, crying, … praying, probably for the first honest time.

The night before, we had dropped my brother off at 11pm, so for the rest of the night and the following morning he sat in an office waiting for his paperwork to be processed.  He knew nothing of the tragedy that was unfolding. About 9am, when one of the officers came into the room, all he said was, “Welcome to the 82nd son, we’re going to war.”

sean2

Our world has changed greatly since that day. My brother has been deployed twice, to two different countries, and has come home.  It hasn’t been easy for him, he’s suffered a lot.  I’ve never been so proud of someone in my whole life.  I’ve never been so proud of my country.  We witnessed a great tragedy that day.  We must never forget. We must never forget the men and women who have faithfully served to keep another attack from happening; the men and women who have worked, trained, sweat, and bled to serve those in other countries who could not serve themselves. We must not forget to thank them, to love them, to honor them.

We must also never forget September 12th, 2001.  The day that our eyes were opened, our hearts were softened, and our hands reached out. While the 11th was a tragic day that can’t be forgotten, the 12th represents a way of life that should remain.  On the 12th, as the smoke begin to clear, we begin to see our neighbors as friends, our fellow countrymen as family no matter how far away they lived. We were AMERICANS that day.

WE CAN NEVER FORGET.

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4 thoughts on “Never Forget

  1. Jennifer, those were almost the same events that happened to me that fateful day. At work that morning I was having good thoughts of my son, Sean. He had enlisted and I was real proud of him for doing something that would change him mentally and physically. I was telling everyone I saw in my department that my son was enlisting and would be the best soldier he could be. I did that for about 30-45 minutes, then some fellow employees at the HMO where I was working told me to go to the end of the hall to a TV showing some breaking news. I stood dumbfounded as I saw one tower after the other fall and the carnage that resulted. My thoughts of Sean turned to fear for him as well as for our country. My boss, a Jordanian, was frantic not knowing what to tell his American wife, expecting their first child.
    So now, everytime I see a soldier I thank him/her for their service and dedication to their specific job. I know Sean is really thinking about his re-up decision now. He should be. A lot has happened since the new president has taken the helm. I trust that God will speak to him concerning it. I trust he will do the right thing.

  2. 9/11/2009 will never leave my mind bc I was in NYC working while it happened. I remember having to walk miles and miles and miles to get to the downtown Ferry. I had to even walk right past ground zero. Everything was shut sown– all forms of transportation!So we walked for what seemed like hours in the blistering heat. I had soo many blisters due to me walking in my heels and yet it didn’t compare to the pain my friends were experiencing at that very moment. I remember my cell going crazy and everyone calling me to make sure I was not near the towers. It was an insane day. Truth be told I actually got to work early that day. Go figure….However, its interesting bc here in the South everyone is sooo mournful for our soldiers and in NY it’s all about the people that died. Moving here changed my perspective a bit. See when I was in NY i was pissed at the country – I thought this country allowed us to lose friends and some of my friends– their family members. See New Yorkers had lost their jobs their relatives their sense of security. For them it wasn’t about america. It was about ME! How much this has affected my life and how things will forever be different. It was about people going crazy looking to move out of NY not sign up for war, it was about people going to therapy bc of the trauma, it was about kids staying without parents and spouses wihtout their partners and companies wihtout their best. Even the empire state building employees started looking for different jobs bc they no longer wanted to be in a high rise. But, being here I have been able to understand the country pride. So thanks to all of you who helped me get here and thank you to your brother and my brother that are currently serving our country.

  3. I love how you said, “the day that our eyes were opened, our hearts were softened, and our hands reached out”. Beautifully said! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, so glad you left the link on the (in)courage site!

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