This is not a topic I like to discuss. Not outright. Not in detail. It is the epitome of the Big Giant Elephant in the living room. The big issue that everyone will skirt but rarely confront head on. It has been 6 years. And yet, if I sit quietly and focus, the emotions from that horrible, beautiful day are still there. Not quite as raw. Not quite as fresh.
But still there.
Everyone remembers where they were. So do I. That was the day my lifechanged along with everyone else's. I became, on that day, a wartimemilitary spouse. I joined my Grandmother in that legion. It is a clubthat few, if any, long to be a part of yet are proud of theirmembership.
We were in Alaska. About as far away from New York and the Pentagon asyou can get and still be in the United States. MacGyver had come homefrom PT and was in the shower. I was on 1/2 days leading up tomaternity leave and didn't have to be to school until 11am that day. Myalarm went off and it was set to the local country station. When itwent off, I slapped at the snooze button. About a half second after Ihit the snooze button, my brain registered what the DJ had said..."aplane has crashed into the Pentagon. No word on casualties yet. This,in addition to the World Trade Center...".
I remember the words verbatim.
I sat bolt upright in bed and lunged for the radio and turned it backon and sat there for what felt like minutes but was actually more likeseconds listening to the DJ go on about the events that had unfoldedthousands of miles away while I slept.
MacGyver shut the shower off and I jumped out of bed and ran to thebathroom. I about ran into him as he came out and told him (likemillions of other people said that day), "You have to go downstairs andturn on the TV. Planes have hit the Pentagon and the World Tradecenter." That is all I could get out. I still couldn't wrap my brainaround what I had heard and it would be days...weeks, even...before Iwas able to do so.
We went downstairs - MacGyver still dripping wet in his towel and me,10 months pregnant - and turned on the television. We just stood there.I can still feel the sensation of my mouth literally hanging open. Ikept closing it and it kept falling open. And we just watched.
Finally, MacGyver said something about maybe now not being the besttime to bring a child into the world. I said something back to theeffect that it was a little too late for that thought. He then startedmoving very quickly to get dressed and get to work. I remember himgrabbing his A and B bags, not knowing if he would be home. Wediscussed that as well as whether I would even be able to get off post.He suggested I call the MP station and find out and ran through whatdocuments I would need in order to get through the gate should theypost guards. I made sure I had my military ID with me.
It's funny, I do not go ANYWHERE without my military ID anymore. Infact, I cannot remember the time when I didn't carry it with me at alltimes. But before 9.11, I didn't take it with me 9 times out of 10.There was no need unless I was heading to the commissary/PX, thedoctor's office, or planning to come back on post after 11pm when theywould have guards at the main gate checking for drunk drivers. Now Ifeel naked without it.
I called the MP station and, at that point, they did not even haveguards at the gate. So I headed into work and I remember driving outthe main gate thinking that life would not be the same when I droveback through that gate later that afternoon. I arrived at school andwalked around, like everyone else, in a daze. Kids were crying.Teachers were crying.
I couldn't cry. I just couldn't. Shock will do that to you.
School ended and we made it through swim practice, barely. No one wasable to focus. I headed home and it literally took me 3 hours to getthrough the gate. We sat on the couch and just stared at thetelevision, trying to wrap our brains around what had happened. Ourfriends canceled their daughter's birthday party and we all just kindof stood around, not really knowing what to do, what to think, or whereto go. Not like we could GO anywhere since all flights were canceled.The skies were eerily quiet and it was odd to think that there wasn't aplane in the sky anywhere over U.S. airspace at that point in time.
My parents know where they were the day JFK was shot. I know where Iwas on 9.11. The days and months and years prior to that will always beseen, in my mind, with a rose-colored tint. Not because they wereperfect or idyllic but because they were the "before".
A part of me died that day. I'm sure many feel the same way. It was theend of something. Innocence? Maybe. Peace? No. Illusion? Possibly.Regardless, it was the end. Have we lost sight of that day? Have welost sight of the pain, the emotion, the resolve? The unity? Possibly.I don't know and today, I don't care to know. I just remember.