Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9-11-01

I am reposting this from a few years ago, five to be precise. WOW where has the time gone?

Last year a friend asked all of us to share what we remembered about 9-11 and how it had changed our lives in the 5 years since. Here is what I wrote 1 year ago tomorrow:
September 11, 2001, well I think I can really say that it is a day that changed our lives forever. But not in the way that someone who lost a loved one that day can say it. Our lives, my life being with the military was totally altered in a matter of a couple of hours. We went from having a fairly carefree existance to an unknown future. 5 years and 2 days ago there was no real "threat" really of losing Jerry or any of our friends to a war, and 5 years ago today that changed dramatically.

I was sitting in my classroom grading papers. It was about 230 almost 3 in the afternoon in the UK. Jerry came in my classroom and said a plane just hit the pentagon, we have got to get out of here and get the girls NOW. I didn't believe him, and he had me go to and that was when I saw it for myself. School was just getting out for the day, so he and I ran up to the office and told the principal and office staff (about that time they were getting a phone call from the base personel, ordering him to send all staff home with orders to stay at home until further notice). Our principal went on the intercom and announced what was going on and that we all needed to get home and wait for further information, and to pray for the families and victims.
Jerry and I left my school, went to the base video store to get a top up card for my cell phone, and the base went from threatcon bravo to charlie. The girls both went to after school care on Mildenhall, about 5 miles away and by the time we drove over to Mildenhall we had gone to Threatcon Delta (basically you had to have orders in your hand to get onto the base, or to get the kids the police had a list of all of the parents and had to check our ids.) Getting to our house was just as tough, and there were police with M-16s patroling base housing, and granade launchers at the gates, and other big big guns watching every move you made, every car was searched with dogs, and mirrors and everything else. When we got home all we could do was sit and watch everything unfold on the TV (mind you the first three planes had already hit before I left work.) I remember sitting on my couch crying, and praying.

That night I got a phone call saying that schools would be closed until further notice, as only mission essential personal would go in to the base. Jerry had to go in the next day (you know those planes had to be ready to fly, not that they did that I remember but they had to be ready.) The base commander had messages on the TV channels saying to stay indoors as much as possible and everything on base was closed. The commisarry did not reopen until the 14th for a couple of hours (good thing as everyone was out of everything by then).

Teachers went back to school on the 13th (but boy oh boy was the base commander pissed about that.) The girls and I had to walk over to school and the gate guard was like what the hell do you think you are doing? My answer "Well I guess that the superintendent thinks that teachers are mission essential personel since I just got a call to go into work." The gate guard searched my purse, the girls bags, and everything else (and remember we walked from housing onto the main part of base, it wasn't like we had come from truely off base.)

Life on base changed a lot. We went from being able to drive on and off base with whoever in the car as you pleased to everyone coming on and off base having to have either a pass or an id. There was a main British road that went between base housing and the main section of the base that they closed off to only base access, which pissed a bunch of the Brits off. We went from being carefree about traveling down to London or to Brimingham or to Oxford, or to Cambridge to having to stop and think about every trip that we made, and where in those cities we were going to be going to.

Since 9-11 I have lost people that I knew because of the war that was started due to that day (Pat Tillman from Arizona State is just one of them.) I have friends that are "playing" in the big sandbox as I type this, and I pray for their safety every day. I have friends that have been hurt in the sandbox and were lucky to make it home, and I have friends that never made it home from thier trip to the sandbox.
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