We’ve all got journeys in life. Sometimes we sit down and refuse to play, but that just means your journey ends right there where your butt meets your desitny. Other take detours they didn’t expect. Sometimes paths change for 100 different reasons.
Like most of you, 10 years ago today my path changed. I was sitting in my cubicle, selling computers on the phone. The folks on the other end were screaming when they answered–no idea why they answered in the first place. That’s where I was when I heard.
Next thing I know like whack-a-mole heads are popping up all over our cubicle farm. Something was going on…a rumor here, a bit of info there…soon it was confirmed. Two planes had hit the towers.
I got up, took off my headset and told my boss Tony, “I have to go to my Army unit, they might need me.”
I was the first one to arrive, I sat in my truck in disbelief as the first tower fell. Then the second. I wondered when the next plane would hit the Sears tower. I didn’t leave my unit until the next day. I knew my role in life had changed. I was like a big goofy irresponsible kid before that. Hell, for years after I was still like that. My transition was slow…I still have fun, but it’s different now. I fight it, but there’s an edge. I resent that about our foe.
I type here now in Afghanistan, working, helping, trying to help prevent tragedies like 9/11 from every happening again. Since 9/11 I’ve spent 50+ months in either Afghanistan, Egypt or Iraq. I’ve been through a place called CRC 6 times (more than anyone I know). I’ve spent over a year in the US training for my seperate missions. I’ve interviewed thousands of Iraqis getting to know them better than nearly everyone you might know. I’ve read, crikey? 100 books on relevant topics. I’ve missed my daughter growing up into a beautiful young lady-my heaviest cross. I’ve had to skip weddings and divorces. I left my youthful strong body somewhere in the desert.
All of this because some dudes decided to start a war they could never win. We had no idea where to find them, or much about Islam or Arabs in general. We were pissed, we were united, we wanted action.
Action has been awarded. First hand knowledge…many bad, evil people; people that want to kill you and your babies have had their lights turned out since then. It’s been rough on all of us. The toll isn’t just US dead, it’s our allies in Spain, UK anywhere, where terrorism occurs. Arms, legs, relationships, peace, too many things to list have been sacraficed since that day.
There is lots to understand about why we are here (in A’stan) and why we are in Iraq. The answers are complex and contradictory. It’s important to remember the sacrafices. Not just from 9/11, but each day after, for 10 years. Even today, a bomb in Afghanistan injured Americans. The fight continues, the sacrafices grow…the heart hardens. Never forget.