I've asked my blog pals today to use Alan Jackson's Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)? song to help them share their stories. Here's mine.
I was a fool not to write these reflections down five years ago, because I can no longer remember the details. But I want to share with you where we were on September 11, 2001, and how our lives changed.
You were six months and two days old. We had been living in Amity, OR for a little over a month. Daddy had left the Army at the end of July. He didn't want to, not in his heart, but it was either that, or he would have had to spend your first year away from us, in Korea. You were more important. We moved to Amity when he got a job at a prison near there. He hated it. He had to work the graveyard shift, the pay was much lower than we expected, and the job was boring. But we loved the tiny town we lived in, loved walking in the evenings with you, picking blackberries for dessert, loved becoming a family.
Daddy worked the night of the 10th. I can't remember now if he called me when the attacks happened or if I found out when I got up with you that morning and turned on the TV. But I do remember sitting on our couch crying, watching TV all morning, while you rolled around on the floor in front of me, smiling and playing. When Daddy got home from work, he told me he was heading back out to go to the local recruiters to see about getting back into the Army. I was not in the least surprised. From the moment I realized what was happening that morning, I knew he would have to go back in. That's just who he was, and is, and one of the many reasons I love him.
I know we talked to many family members that day, but I can't remember a word. I remember being really angry at Gramma. Seems strange to remember that. You see, Emma, she and Papa Jack were on a road trip in California. I couldn't reach them all day and it was driving me crazy. Then, when I did talk to them, their reactions to the events were so unemotional. I remember saying to her repeatedly that America had been attacked and we would be going to war, her son-in-law would be going to war. But she didn't get it. I didn't realize at the time, that when I talked to her, they hadn't yet seen any TV footage or really known any details, so it wasn't real for them yet. So, you and I waited for Daddy to come home and you generously shared your baby cereal (mush) with me for lunch.
Within days, we knew we'd be returning to military life and moving from our tiny house in the tiny town in the country. You and I went to live with Gramma & Papa until just before Christmas, when we could join Daddy at our new post, Fort Campbell, KY.
Daddy didn't end up leaving for Iraq for another year. We found out December 27, 2002 while we were back in Oregon visiting family. We returned to Ft. Campbell on New Year's Day and he was gone within a couple of weeks.
September 11th was a frightening day for everyone, everywhere. But it played it's part in shaping our family. I am so thankful that I had your happy, silly self with me that day, to remind me that the world wasn't falling apart.