Today is September 11, 2013, so it’s only right that I talk about my whereabouts on that day in history.
Let me paint the picture for you. I was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Home of the Airborne. At this point I’m assigned to 101st Chemical Company, 3rd Platoon, 3rd Squad. Lets just say that I didn’t have a great time while I was there, met some good friends, but that’s not the point of todays post.
Its September 10, 2001, it was the end of the day and my squad leader calls me with some awesome news. She says, hey, you’re the replacement for Staff Duty. The person that was scheduled got “sick”. Yeah right; you go through a whole day of BSing in the motorpool, now its time for duty and you get sick. Gotta love NCO’s right? Any way…….I pulled the duty. After a long night of fighting the Z-monster, now it’s 0730, September 11, 2001, and I have concluded the last of my checks and my runner was taking out the trash. My 1SG walks in, goes to his office, checks his emails and walks out. It’s now about 0830, only 30 more minutes and I can finally get some sleep. The clock strikes 0845 and my 1SG comes running in and tells me to turn the T.V. on. When I turned it on CNN was reporting that a plane had collided with the North Tower of the World Trade Center. I said this can’t be real. I was stunned. The feeling that came over my body was like a feeling I have never felt before. All I could think about was all those people on that airplane and the people in the building weren’t even given a chance to escape. Immediately the post was locked down. If you lived off post, getting back on post would take hours. Every entrance to Fort Bragg was locked down.
The Battalion Commander came down to our company area to talk with our Company Commander. He wanted the everybody in the Battalion to be alerted and accounted for. I then had to look through personnel records to find out who was from New York, then explain to them what has happened, as if they didn’t know already. I had to let them know that they needed to contact their family to make sure that they were okay. No one could go home until every soldier was physically accounted for, so that meant I couldn’t go anywhere. We finally got every soldier in the company accounted for and held our accountability formation at 1900 (7:00pm). It took nearly 8-10 hours to get on post. Once the company was accounted for, our company commander put us in a horseshoe formation and explained what had happened. That 2 United Airplanes were highjacked by some radical islamist and flown into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center. He then explained that another plane crashed into the Pentagon and there were reports that another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania, but he couldn’t confirm that last plane crash. He then said he received an order that we were going some where. He didn’t know where, but we are leaving in support of the Operation, now called Operation Enduring Freedom.
At this point, I’m still in shock. How in the world does this happen to the Greatest Country on Earth? From that day forth for approximately 3 weeks we worked day and night to make sure that all our equipment was ready to be deployed. I didn’t believe we were going anywhere until they issued us DCU’s (Desert Colored Uniform). This is real. The commander pulled all Platoon Leaders and Platoon Sergeants in his office so he could officially give them their orders, basically who was going where. Headquarters, 1st, and 2nd Platoons would be going to Kuwait. Third Platoon would be going to Bahrain. I was like where the hell is Bahrain. Once the information was put out of course, we had to keep to ourselves, OPSEC (Operational Security). They had already scheduled pack out dates for your household goods and chalks were set up for your departure. I still didn’t believe it was real. I called my Mom and told her that we were going somewhere. Now she is worried, because she’s a mother. I explained to her that she had nothing to worry about, because we were trained and ready to fight.
Our day for departure had come, October 10, 2001, my platoon is bused out to Pope Air Force Base and we load our equipment on to a C-5 Galaxy, big ass plane. Get it all tied down. Get a brief from the Loadmaster telling us that we were going to be on a non-stop flight from Pope Air Force Base to the country of Bahrain. Once we landed on the tarmac of the Bahrain Airport, that’s when it hit me, we are a nation at war.
I know that my story was long and drawn out, but my intentions for you, the reader, is for you to mentally see and feel the same emotions that I felt. I know that everybody has their story about where they were on 9/11. This date will forever be a part of American history. I’m not sure and I really don’t want to know how many lives have been lost since that date. I’m not saying that to be mean or a jerk, but I’m not interested in to keeping count of how many lives were sacrificed, how many brothers and sisters were lost, sons and daughters that will never come home again. I hear people say it all the time, you never know when it’s your time to go, so enjoy life while you can. I totally agree with that statement. I’m sure the people that passed on that day, had no idea that September 11, 2001, would be their last day on this earth.
Since that day, our nation has been at war against terrorism. What upsets me that most is that we have our own terrorists in our country, but instead of taking care of home we go abroad to help other countries get rid of their terrorists? While we are fighting in other countries, these same individuals are taking advantage of America and taking every chance they can to humiliate us. There has to be a point when our leaders say enough is enough. We can’t save everybody. That’s an impossible task. As a retired Veteran, all I can do now is sit on the sideline and watch my brothers/sisters in arms continue to do what they do, fight! We are Americans and being an American we are resilient. Yes, 9/11 happened, but the only thing that did for the country is make us stand together against terror. But, they’re not many of us standing anymore, because we have lost faith in our leaders. I know my brothers and sisters in Arms have a lot to say, but they can’t because of the job they do. They don’t have to say it, I will. I’m not afraid of the outcome. What are they going to do, send me to jail for using my First Amendment right? I don’t think so. We as Americans need to come together and stand up and force our leaders to own up to the mistakes they have made and force them to fix them.
I know that I am preaching to the choir, but something has to change or history is going to repeat itself. We may have a whole bunch of technology, but terrorists are getting smarter. Its time for America to repair itself before repairing other countries. I strongly feel that we need to worry about “us” before we’re able to help “them”.