Yesterday I pulled out my 9/11 journal, written that infamous morning and the days that followed in sparkly purple gel pen ink. In 2001 I was a sheltered, homeschooled 17-year-old in my senior year of “high school.” My first love was playing the piano, my second (it now appears) was making overly dramatic statements in my journals.
But I meant every word of what I wrote following the attack that day. And with 10 years of hindsight, I can now see how those days changed not just the world around me, but the very core of who I was and now am, and what I wanted to do with my life.
“Why would these people dare – DARE – to attack the greatest nation in the world!?!” I wrote that morning. It took me until Sept. 13 (and 18 more very sparkly inked pages) to get to this decision: “I wait for the time that I am called to give my life … it will come, but how long [from now?]”?
I wanted to go down in a blaze of glory, defending my nation and freedoms that I love. Despite being nearly as blind as a bat, I decided I would go first to college and then join the Air Force and fly (teenagers don’t know some things are impossible). Over the next year my dramatic bent was tempered by reality and the realization that basic math is somewhat beyond me – and I abandoned the Air Force plan.
But the desire to give, do and be a part of the defense of my home and the idea of freedom never left me. Time may have put it on hold – but it was still a part of who I became the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. And eventually I did decide to put my life on the line for my country – by marrying a Soldier. I did it out of love for my very handsome man, but not blindly. I knew what a sacrifice the military life would be. No, I have never risked life and limb overseas, but along with my fellow military spouses I do daily risk family and future in the support of freedom. I stand behind my Soldier and support him so he can do his job.
Sept. 11, 2001 changed every American in at least some way. If you had told me then that it would eventually make me a military spouse, I would’ve laughed at you. But being one is such an incredible honor – and I am so proud that this is where 10 years have brought me.
How did September 11 change who you were and who you've become?
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.