Written by: Bridget Daniels Carlson
Some events lead us to change our “ways”, some events change our lives forever, and some events we will never forget a second of. 10 years ago, one day did all three. September 11, 2001 was a day that most will always remember every step taken, word spoken, and tear drop fallen.
10 years ago I was married to a Marine that was stationed at NASJRB Fort Worth, Texas. We lived in a small apartment near the base. He had already gone into work and I was still asleep. I was awaken by my cell phone beeping (alerting me to a text message). It was an alert from MSN with a brief headline that stated that a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center. The first thing to come to my mind was “What an idiot, how the heck did you not see that big building?”. I rolled back over and went back to sleep. Shortly after that my husband called me for a very brief moment. Just long enough to say “Babe, we are under attack, get up, turn on the news. I love you very much, I can’t talk anymore and may not be home tonight. I will call again when I can”. My thought went back to the plane that hit the tower. I jumped out of bed ran to the TV just in time to see the 2nd plane hit. My heart sank. I felt sick.
It was then I realized we were at war. I stayed glued to the TV with the phone in my hand hoping my husband would call again soon. I was 22 then. A young wife and mother who had only been in this Military life for 2 short years, all of which consisted of peacetime, until now. The most I had ever had to deal with was my husband’s unit going to Turkey for 5 weeks in support of Operation Northern Watch. Now I sat and watched plane after plane being turned into bombs. Lives being lost, feeling somewhat guilty as I wondered when my husband would come home, knowing that many other families just wondered if their loved one was still alive, and others knowing that theirs would never come home. I knew at least for now mine was safe. My children would see their father again. The base had been locked down, but I was still scared out of my mind. Later that evening my husband returned home and his unit was eventually called up to deploy a couple of months later to a location he couldn’t tell me about (that location I now know). I was pregnant with our 4th child when he deployed (he was on the 2nd rotation). I had my first real taste of a deployment then, but I could not write him, send packages, or even know where he was. A little over 5 months later he was returned home to me safely.
10 years later I can still remember every detail of that day. I knew being with a Military guy that there was always a slim chance of something happening but I never dreamed of us going to war. Then in one instance, one split second, all of that changed. It changed my life and my way of thinking forever. I have watched American’s display their flags day after day vowing to keep them up until all our troops come home as a way to come together to show those cowards that hit us on our homefront that our patriotism, our unity, can never be divided. I then watched American’s slowly remove those flags and only fly them on specific days. I have to wonder, what happened. Did you forget? We still have our guys fighting. There were still lives lost. Why do you only remember to fly old glory on specific days?
I am a proud American and proud Military wife. Our flag will always fly 24/7. We fly our flag to remember not only that tragic day, but all the tragic days this great nation has faced, the lives lost, the unity of this nation’s people, to support our Military past and present, and to show we will never forget what has made the United Stated of America, just that; United.