Thursday, September 11, 2008

A day to remember

For those of you who don't read Jason at It Is About The Money, Stupid (sorry, not getting the link to work), you should go over and check out his blog about 9/11.

I'm embarrassed to say, I forgot completely about it. I knew today was the 11th, but I just never associated today with THAT day. It isn't a big day here, for the general public. There was nothing I heard on the radio, or saw on the Internet. People weren't talking about it. I'm sure it was out there, but I just didn't hear it. Which is strange, because it had a profound impact on me.
I was in the Army at the time, stationed in DC. My apartment was about 1 1/2 miles from the Pentagon. I was at the Pentagon that morning, about 2 hours before anything happened, so I was never in any danger. But they did lock us down on Bolling AFB and we couldn't leave until late afternoon.

There are some things I remember from that day. Everyone in my family and my friends knew I was in DC and lived near the Pentagon. I didn't have my address book with me, and I couldn't remember anyone's number. I just never could. I still don't know my own phone number without looking it up. I knew I needed to call someone, so I tried to dial my brother's number from memory. I was off by two digits. But I come from a small town, and I explained to the girl who I was, what was going on, and what I needed. We knew each other's family, and she looked up the number in the phone book, and I was able to get hold of my sister-in-law to let her know what was going on.

Think about that. On 9/11 of all days, some strangers calls you and asks you to look up a number in the phone book for them. How many people do you know who might be willing to do that. Things like that happen, but it still seems to be the exception more than the rule in today's world.

Another very vivid memory I have is sitting out on my front steps for the next few nights and the smell coming from the Pentagon. And it wasn't just jet fuel. Not to be too graphic, but there are some things that never leave you. That's why the rescue workers deserve more credit than anyone could ever give them. I've never see Ground Zero, but I have seen the damage to the Pentagon up close. I don't need pictures. I can see it right here in front of me right now.

One thing I would like people to remember is the fact that over 300 people died in DC. I know the numbers pale in comparison, but it doesn't change the fact that it happened. Everyone knows about the Twin Towers. Almost everyone knows about United 93. But lets remember everyone who died that day. As retired military, it might mean a lot more to me than most other people.

But regardless of where and how, and regardless of politics and the events that have happened since, we should always remember that day. And that includes me. Its important.

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