15 September, 2006

9/11 and Mission Complete

I wasn't able to do a post on 9/11 as I had planned to because I was at MEPS. Now that it's 3 days later I feel almost foolish and silly talking about it - but better late than never.

There isn't much I can't say about 9/11 that somebody hasn't already said, probably much better than I could. But like everybody else I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday....

I had been in the Guards since 1999, my senior year in High School (I just made a lot of people feel old didn't I?) and was getting ready for my first State Active Duty Mission. I had missed last floods in Fargo/Moorehead because I was still at training. I received my orders to report to Camp Ripley at 1800hrs on 9/11/01 for pre-deployment training. I was in college at the time and decided to skip all my classes that day so I didn't have to worry about getting to post late - so I was sleeping in. While I was sleeping I heard my cell phone ring - I ignored it wanting to get some much needed sleep. Suddenly it rang again - this time I sent them straight to voice mail; I figured if they really wanted to talk to me they'd leave a message. Not 10 seconds later my cell phone rings again, this time I figured it must be important. Groggily I answer the phone hearing my mom on the other end telling me to turn on Fox News (she knows I watch nothing else). I'm still pretty sleepy at this point so I have no idea what she's talking about. She tells me to turn on the TV and I ask her why. "Because we're getting attacked at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon! That's why!" I turn it on and tell her what the TV is saying. She tells me to watch it and she'll call me back in a little bit for more details because they don't get much information at work. I'm watching the TV trying to figure out what the hell is going on, not knowing that America knew just about as much as I did at the time. As I'm watching, I see the camera zoom in on a plane flying fast over the NYC skyline - then the terrible happens. I watch the plane crash into the 2nd tower.......

Anybody who knows me will know that the first words out of my mouth were "What the FUCK?!"

Right away I knew something was wrong - America was under attach and now we're at WAR. I picked up the phone and called the Armory to find tell them I'm there in 18 min if the call comes. Some may think this is a weird reaction, but it was the only one I had at the time. The way my mind saw it, I joined the Army National Guard to serve my Community, State, and Country - all 3 were under attack in my eyes and I was ready to go.

Unfortunately that call never came - the only call that came was my unit telling me that the pre-deployment training was still on.

I watched the news as much as possible, but then eventually it came time for me to finish packing and leave. I put on my uniform and stepped out the door only to be hounded by every neighbor on my block. I don't blame them, they're watching America get attacked on live TV, then they see a guy in BDUs throw duffel bags in his car. I could see the desperation in their eyes. They needed answers, and they needed them now. Some had family in NYC, some just felt insecure. I didn't have an answer for them, so I politely explained that I know as much as they did and that I have to go.

The next few days were a whirl-wind of training and watching the news - at every meal the chow-hall was dead silent as everyone stared at the TV. All I knew is that I had to go fight whoever did this. I knew that it was my duty to go over and avenge this horrid attack. Unfortunately that chance never came up either because it wasn't much after that, that I had a hernia and was un-deployable.

I know I was young back then - 19-years-old to be exact - but I was mature enough to see how much America had changed because of that fateful day. I saw an America that I had not seen in my life. I saw a united America - an America PROUD to be American! I saw the America that Ronald Regan had built but I had only read about in history books.

Looking back on that time 5 years ago I am saddened to see that the America that emerged after 9/11/01 is no longer here. It has been buried by partisan politics and a hateful media. America is once again a divided America. This division, in my point of view, is what is causing America to be less safe - not Operation Iraqi Freedom. While we're busy fighting and bickering amongst ourselves about things that don't really matter, the terrorists are still plotting how to hit us once again. And while we all look at the left and look at the right, most Americans aren't realizing that the enemy is sneaking up behind us about to slit our throat.

In the end, it doesn't matter if you're a liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, rich or poor - the terrorists want us all dead. If people only paid attention they would realize that the message the terrorists are sending is, "Convert or die". If the media only reported it people would know that there is no easy way to deal with this and that if we let our guard down for just one minute, they will attack again without regard to your political affiliation.

We must not ever forget that day 5 years ago. It was a day that so many innocents needlessly lost their lives. It was a day that brought to head a war that had been waged under most people's radar for years. It was a day that brought America together to appreciate how great America really is. It was a day people realized that freedom isn't free. As we remember that day, lets not forget the lessons that came alone with it or the brave men and women who lost their lives that day.

So 9/11/06 was a little different for me - I spent most of it in the car driving here and there for my schools and getting source documents for my applicant, then finally driving to the cities for MEPS. Luckily I have XM radio in the car and was able to listen to much of the coverage of the day. After I got to the hotel I had really had too much of it - I needed to turn it off and let my brain settle down from all the emotional and informational overload it had suffered throughout the day. I ended up hanging out with my NCOIC the whole night and we never even brought it up - I think we both realized that as much as we need to remember that day, we also need to move forward.

The next day my guy enlisted making 24 contracts for the year in my database - 27 contracts actually written but because of some drug deals that were made in years past I only get credit for 24. I have finished my yearly mission (finally). Our fiscal year doesn't technically end till 30 Sept but our command has it ending on the 18th for various reasons. I'm kind of happy because anything after the 18th counts towards next FY. I am now trying to find 1 or 2 people to go down Sunday for Monday because I want to be +1 for the year, but I'm doubting it'll happen.

Anyway, yay for me, I finished my yearly mission. Only one more year left..... "Too easy!"



Station Commando said...

Oh waht I would do for a yearly mission!