As a new military mom, I feel a need to ask myself, “Did 9/11 cause my then six-year-old to now be a strong 22-year-old college graduate heading to serve in the Navy”? I wonder if my lovely daughter would be on a different career path if she had never witnessed that horror that hit so close to our home.
Though many years have passed, it seems like yesterday that the world would be forever changed. This Sept 11, 2017 marks 16 years since that day that began in New York with a beyond beautiful clear September morning.
In a moment, the sun and clear blue sky was replaced by smoke fire, and a day that would never be forgotten. Reflecting back on that fateful day I remember the shock that filled those of us near Ground Zero, and spread quickly around the world.
9/11 Nightmare Remembered
Driving to work like any other day, I remarked to myself just how crisp and clear this September morning seemed to be. The sun could not be shining brighter; the sky was the perfect shade of blue with just a smidgen of puffy clouds hanging as if ready for a photo op.
That 9/11 morning was just as with every day that I drove to my job watching the planes fly over my car in their descent to JFK Airport. In a split second that perfect picture, would forever be shattered. The news came on the car radio that the North World Trade Tower was hit by a plane. My first thought "Must be a small private plane with an inexperienced pilot.”
When the second plane hit, it was clear the U.S. was being attacked. The world was at war is what first came to mind! I walked into my office with my portable radio.
News reports confirmed the horrors reporting more shocking news, that an airplane hit the Pentagon. Suicide terrorists were taking over U.S. planes hijacking them to purposely turn them into giant bombs. A fourth plane was kept from attacking the U.S., taken down by the brave souls who happened to be aboard and gave their lives to fight the terrorists as that plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
A short 25 miles from home was Ground Zero and war. Work and lives were never to be the same again. I simply stated to everyone, "We are at war! I have to go get my daughter!"
I rushed home on that 9/11 in disbelief and shock. As with other parents, my first instinct was to go to my young six-year-old daughter's school to find her. No one knew what was to happen next.
Immediately the United States became a no flight zone. For days, we would only see fighter jets flying overhead. We watched, from the viewpoint of the beach on the north shore of Nassau County, the smoke rise from Ground Zero. Even the stench of war from the smoke of destruction filled the air.
Honoring 9/11 Now as a Military Mother
That six-year-old little girl of mine, that I rushed to put my arms around 16 years ago on 9/11, is now beginning her life journey serving proudly in the Navy. While in college she was sought out and courted by the Navy for her strong academic accomplishments and her leadership abilities.
Now graduated, my forever-little girl will be entering a job that is aimed to protect America and the world. I never imagined that I would ever be a military mom. Perhaps if 9/11 had never happened my daughter would be working with whales and dolphins as she had dreamed of doing her entire life.
Instead, she felt a calling and a need to be part of a solution to gain world peace. As my initial shock wore off we discussed the future. Popop would be proud of his great granddaughter following in his footsteps, as he proudly served himself in the Navy during World War I.
It occurred to me, that in this strange new twisted world, perhaps the safest place for my child would be working in the Navy. With attacks by terrorists in cities around the world who can tell where it is safe and where it is not.
Through 9/11 Hatred Grows Patriotism
The new One World Trade Center building now proudly climbs into the sky, through the clouds, as if in defiance of anyone who would dare attempt to attack again. A hush fills the air on 9/11 each year as the names of the lost are recited, and the song, "America the Beautiful," is played:
"O Beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears! America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!"
9/11 will forever be a day that surely no one should ever forget. As generations move forward so will the remembrance of 9/11. Life will never be the same again as before that day. Hopefully, peace for the world will be found and there will be no need for the word prejudice; for all people of all ethnicities, beliefs, genders, and religions all bleed the same color when cut.
Never be afraid to dance and to live life to help others and add peace to the world; may we never forget!
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First Photo by Carol Ruth Weber
Second Photo Courtesy of 9/11 Photos via Flickr - Creative Commons
Third Photo Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border via Flickr - Creative Commons