Never forget. Those two words have inherited a new meaning since the tragedies of 911, and for good reason. Two simple words that when put together have the potential to dredge up so much sorrow, fear, compassion and anger. Two simple words that are the result of a day that changed the world forever.
I know where I was on that fateful day, but where were you?
I was enjoying a simple cup of coffee and getting ready to plan a simple day off from my job as a Command Post Controller in the United States Air Force. I say simple, because I feel like everything prior to 911, felt simple in my life. It was a simple day to me, until I got the call from my ex, who was a Marine stationed on Camp Pendleton. He told me to turn the TV on and the rest was obviously history. Like everyone else in the United States, I was bombarded with images of planes colliding into towers, collapsing debris, and a chaos that was similar to what my then innocent eyes had only witnessed in action film scenes.
Seconds later, my phone, along with all my fellow military brothers and sisters phones rang. Report to base, until further notice. At the time I was stationed at Los Angeles Air Force Base, also known as the "Hollywood base," because it was minutes from Hollywood boulevard and was quite honestly, the most painless base that someone could be assigned to. Compared to most who were in the military, I had it easy. The most daunting thing that happened to me while in the Air Force was my terrible commute from Orange County to Los Angeles. But, when I got that call, nothing was simple anymore.
I put on my wrinkled uniform which had been tossed in the laundry basket on what I was expecting to be my four-day break. Crisp uniforms became obsolete when the country was under attack. I made my commute, but this time it went by fast because I was accompanied by the rest of the world. Suddenly I was joining forces with strangers who were stopped in traffic next to me, listening to the radio and absorbing the news the same way I was. We may have been listening to different stations, but the message was all the same. America was under attack. As was the person on the other side of me, and the business man who was five cars ahead. And the mom who was driving the mini van two cars behind me with a car full of kids, the grad student in the beat-up car diagonal from me. We were all in this together. We were all receiving a message that would ultimately make us see the world differently.
As to be expected, extra security was outlining my base, which was also only two miles from the Los Angeles Airport. So when I got there I was greeted with a guard who was on high alert, instead of slumped over and waiting for something to happen like in the days prior.
The Command Post was the loudest and noisiest I'd ever seen it and I did more work on that day than I probably did in my entire four years in the Air Force. I wrote and submitted reports to Headquarters Air Force, one after the other, in a whirlwind, all the while I was still trying to grasp what was happening. The world prior to this day looked a lot different to me, as I'm sure it did for most of you. So, in the words of Alan Jackson, "Where were you when the world stopped turning?" Tell me your story.
And on my mission to bring PTSD awareness to the surface, I'm offering my debut novel, Saving Jason, for FREE from September 11-September 15th. I'll also be giving away a few autographed copies.
Please never forget our veterans and military members who face their own war every day, because of the horrors that they have faced.
Get your FREE copy today. And please leave a review to help spread the word.