September 11, 2008; what a good day for reflections. I started my reflections this morning around 9:00am when I realized that today was September 11th, and that 7 years ago, I was in the military and just getting dressed to go to “PT” (I was on a swings shift) and I heard in formation that the World Trade Center had been hit with an airplane. I had no idea of the scale, in fact, I had no idea what the World Trade Center was. When my normally stoic platoon sergeant was late to formation, we were a little confused, but like good soldiers, we stayed in a loose formation talking amongst ourselves. As the platoon sergeant walked across the field toward us, stopped halfway to answer his cell phone, talked for a few minutes and then hung up and ran toward our formation as fast as we’ve seen him run. He called us to attention and told us that a third plane had hit the Pentagon and we were all to go to our barracks room and stay there until further notice. We saluted as the flag at the front of post was lowered and the gates barred. He told the soldiers who lived off post to plan on it taking several hours to get back on and recommended going home and coming back with plans to stay. He was right, though I didn’t live off post at the time. Armed guards were stationed behind a bunker at the front of the military base and every car was searched, proper identification was required. For the rest of us, we went back to the barracks and called our loved ones to let them know we were okay and that the Army was still protecting it’s assets, us. Later that day, we were marched to class (we had been allowed to either walk or march ourselves before) by a platoon sergeant or drill sergeant and though we had class on that day, much of the time was taken with talking about what was happening and what it would mean for us. We watched the footage over and over again, willing it to sink into our brains that something of that magnitude happened during our lifetime and not on the pages of the history book we were forced to read in high school.
Today, I watched the original footage from Foxnews.com (but I couldn’t find a link, sorry) and it completely brought me back to the moments I first saw the attacks and the days and months of ensuing chaos. I prayed for the families of the victims, that they continue in their healing process and for our country to not forget what it felt like that day, to remember that urge to fight, to defend our country. I was us to remember all the flags flying and how proud we all were to be Americans.