This has been my first Patriot Day, National Day of Service and Remembrance, since Afghanistan.
I remember that day like it was yesterday, but it sure does feel like it was was thirteen years ago. It does because I was too young to fully understand what was happening.
I remember seeing other children getting picked up from school, not even thinking anything of it. My sister and I got picked up shortly after. Walking to the car as my mom explained to another mother the graveness of the situation. I didn’t see my dad for a couple days, the base was in Force Protection Level Delta (highest possible level, .50 Cal machine gun at the gate, battle rattle and all) and the planes were on high alert/intercept status (flying fully armed/fully loaded up and down the east coast, as far north as the Carolina states and Virginia.
Many hearts and families were broken that day and I hope to never see something like that again. I hope my children never have to something like that as long as they live. My country has never been the same since then. I still take pride though, driving through the neighborhood on my way to the base seeing the little ones waiting for the school bus. So much potential, innocence, and joy - I take pride I doing my small part to protect that. I take pride in the uniform I wear, the flag I salute, and the people and their constitution that I took an oath to uphold and defend.
To all who were lost on September 11th, 2001, the first responders, the service men and women who payed the ultimate price for freedom and liberty since then - may you all rest in peace and I salute you.