In September of 2001 I was in the Army, stationed in Korea. Our day was normal. We got up, went to work. We laughed and told dirty jokes. We gave each other grief and at the end of the day we went home and had a beer…
Being 13 hours ahead of the U.S. we had no idea that our world would change, at 9pm.
I remember Sgt. Babino calling me over by her room door to see a plane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. I sat there watching and thinking what a terrible accident. Just stunned.
Thats when the second plane crashed into the tower.
I know I’m not the only person in the world to feel helpless right then, but I stood there thinking, “I’m so far away! I just want to help!” I stood there, knowing it was an attack and not an accident. Silently I thought, “How could we not see this coming?”
I went online to talk to my friends. They kept asking what was happening and what they should do. I felt more helpless. Being in the Army and having no information and no way to do our job, defend the nation. Everyone around me, friend and foe… everyone… felt helpless. All our quarrels seemed so distant and far away, the whole of us soldiers were confused.
I write this only because it is a memory. Some of it fades year-to-year and some of it feels like yesterday. I can still remember certain things someone said to me. I can hear the voices and before my eyes I can see the words appear on the screen of the computer as I talked to those at home. I remember people walking in and asking if they could email their families and tell them the generic response we were told to give.
I think we all want to forget in a way, but we want the new generation to remember, this is what we fight for. Freedom has a cost and this was the reminder of what happens when we are derelict in the duties that are required to remain free, without fear and terror daily.
Every year I watch the specials on TV and see those same pictures and same moments, not because I dwell on bad, but because I simply cannot turn away… and it gives me hope. All those people, everyone after gathered together as one nation, under distress, under God… we stood together… and I hope in the future we Americans can do it again without the senseless tragedy.
To the men and women everywhere that go to work daily as first responders, firefighters, police officers, and all other public service…. To the men and women everywhere defending not just our freedom, but freedom in general… To the soldiers who wake up and do it because it’s what you do… Thank you. It cannot be said enough.
May we forgive and forget the evil, but remember the lessons of hope and unity displayed before us.
I apologize that this isn’t a standard race blog, that I do not offer a reprieve from the emotions of the day. Sometimes I even agree there’s more to life than racing.