Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th

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.

Dear Emma,
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.

Love you,


carinc said...

This will be an important piece of her history to have, especially having a military Dad. A very touching piece.

Bonnie said...

How nice that you put it in a letter to your daughter. Very sweet and something i am sure she will treasure so one day. Thanks for this prompt today Meg, it is good, if we can do nothing else, to reflect, and think on things like this and remember those lost.

glynis said...

This is perfectly said. Families like yours are what makes this nation great. Thank your husband (and you of course) for your service. God Bless you.

Tink said...

I love how you wrote the letter to your daughter to explain what was happening and how you were feeling.

Laura said...

What a nice way to journal your story to your daughter in a letter. Hope you scrap it with her photo. Thank your husband for keeping us safe.

heather said...

I can see that 9/11 had a huge impact on your family. You have given a very real insight into the selflessness and courage that resulted (from such an event). Great post Meg.

loonyhiker said...

I love how you put your feelings into a letter. Your husband was one of the many heroes who returned to the military to keep us free. Please give my sincerest gratitude to your husband and all those who work with him for putting his life on the line for me and my family.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful that you put this into a letter to your daughter. We have to tell the story, they have to know...its so sad that so many seem to have forgotten already. Thanks to your husband for serving our country...and to you for supporting him. -Trish

Pam said...

Bless you and your DH. My father was home from WWII long enough to get married and have two children when he, too, went back -- for Korea. I was raised with the principles of ethics, honesty, and patriotism. Men stood tall to protect us - many still do. Thank you.