This is the day for everyone in the US to post memories of where they were and what they were doing on September 11th, 2001. Much like older generations do for the moon landing, D-Day or Women’s Suffrage. Usually I am just get irritated about all the “patriotism” that is thrown around. People who do not have any real connection to the event using this as an excuse to fly the US colors, like it is the 4th of July. People remembering the way their friend reacted to the loss of a friend of a friend. It just makes me roll my eyes, band-wagoner’s.
This year I am going to push aside my irritation and share my story. Usually I do not care to remember what happened. Not because I want to forget, or that I place no value on the lives of those that died or served during the event. I do not care to remember because nothing happened to me or those that I was(am) friends with.
At the time I was stationed at Bolling AFB. A base a few miles from the Pentagon. Home of two alternative targets, the DIA and the tallest dorm in the AF (since removed from what I understand.)
On September 11th, I was closing up my till from a long and quite night at the Military hotel I was stationed at. I was in my blues (Air Force business uniform for peace time operations,) and I my only concerned was ensuring my cash transactions balanced. I went to the gym after I got off and then went to my dorm and went to bed. A normal day for me.
I was awoken when my mom called to make sure I was okay. I had no clue what was going on. Everything happened while I was asleep. I turned on the news and got a quick sight of what happened. Once I confirmed with my mom that I was alright, and would remain so, I called my friends that worked near the Pentagon. Thankfully they were alright. I called my supervisor to make sure that our schedules had not changed and went to bed. It was going to be a long night.
That is my September 11th story.
Kind of anti-climactic right? There are hundreds if not thousands of us that have similar stories.
My life did not change greatly after this event. My uniform and schedule changed. Our base was on lock down afterwards. My mission went from getting rooms for vacationing military to finding rooms for exhausted rescuers. Over all my routine and life did not change any more than that of a new enlisted person at any other military installation on the west coast did (yes the others side of the country reacted as well.) The only real difference for a east coast base and west coast base was how long we were on lock-down and how long we screened people and vehicles. I still saw and interacted with the world the same way.
Now, one must understand that I was living In DC. Right after 9/11 we had the anthrax mail terrorist issues and the DC Sniper. Both had more of an impact on my daily life and the routine on the base than the events of 9/11.
Thanks to September 11th, I was no longer at a non-deployable base. I was able to go to Germany and Iraq. I served as an augmentee for Security Forces (AF Police.) I met so many new people, and new types of people that I would never have met. I learned more during that time and subsequent deployments than I would have ever learned before the event.
To me (and many others) the events that occurred during the latter half of 2001 were a wake-up call. A punch in the face to a country that had been dozing. The Military had to step up its game. US Citizens, those who normally hated anything “patriotic” especially, started to realize that they belonged to a nation, and that they had been sleeping, ignoring the world.
It has been some time since all of this took place. We still “sit around the fire” and talk about where we were 10, 11, 12, 13 years ago. Each year the feelings that we draw upon get dimmer and dimmer. All those that realized they were a part of a nation have gone back to dozing. The US Government has started to doze as well, feeling safe in the knowledge that the events are over and that it has apprehended the culprit(s.)
Today, September 11th is just another day for people to wonder why. Why do we have this day off? Why is it on the calendar? What are we remembering? Why does it need to be remembered? September 11th is a ‘thing’ for people to use as a tool that is warped to suit their agendas. We have lost the feeling of brotherhood that we had as a nation. We have lost the faith and trust we had in our government. We are back to dozing, waiting for someone to punch us in the face again.
This is why I do not “celebrate” September 11th. It has no meaning any more. It is just another day, one of three hundred sixty-five days.