I have typed, deleted, typed, and deleted so many times the past few days, just trying to write about 9/11. Yet, what is there really to say that hasn't already been said? We will all wake up in a matter of hours and many of us will relive the horrific events of 9/11/2001. We will think back to the harsh reality of a day that changed the lives of so many of us. Everyday in our house, we are reminded of the aftermath of 9/11. We are still picking up the pieces and sadly, we will always be picking up the pieces...
Never in a million years would I have expected for mine and Kevin's lives to be changed so drastically by the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. As many other Americans, I can replay the moments following the first tower. I still see it all so clearly. I can hear the phone ringing and Kevin asking me if I was watching TV, followed by an awkward silence and him then telling me to turn it on to the news. I remember the numb feelings that swept over me as I watched a plan fly into the second tower and as I watched the towers crumble to the ground. I remember the fear that soared through my entire body as I saw footage of the field in PA, as well as the Pentagon. An unimaginable feeling of sickness stayed with me as I held my pregnant stomach and telling my unborn daughter "everything will be okay", praying that this did not send me back into labor, then getting into my car to head to my dads house. I waited there with him while Kevin was at work. I shook in fear and terror as I watched our nation being torn a part one plane after another. How could someone do something so terrible and destructive? How could we as the United States allowed this to happen on our own land? How did they get past our security? Thousands of innocent people lost their lives that day. Heroes died and heroes were formed...
Following the events of 9/11, Kevin spoke more and more about enlisting in the Army. He was drawn to it. Everyday, he felt the need to enlist a little more, despite my pleas for him to not. At the age of 20, there was no part of me that felt cut out to be an army wife. I had always lived near my family, we had two little girls, both very young, and he was talking about enlisting during a war time. There was no way I was agreeing to that. Little did I know that I would eventually agree to it and he would, in fact, enlist.
Within a few months after talking to the recruiters and everything with MEPS, Kev was boarding a bus and heading to Basic. Our lives all began transforming at this point.
People have asked me if we would live the army life all over again if we knew now what we didn't know then. This always leaves me wondering how to answer and make them understand. Would we do it all over again? As much as I want to say no, we wouldn't because of the injuries sustained, I can't. Yes, we would do it all over again. By enlisting, Kev made the most selfless commitment a person can make. When I mentioned that heroes were formed due to 9/11, I was referring to people such as Kevin. He enlisted when we were at war. Because Kevin decided to stand up for his country and insure our freedom, he is now a different person that what I sent to war. Our lives are nothing as they use to and we are not who we use to be.
A man that use to stand so tall, hard, proud, and confident...is now a man that struggles with the simple things in life, hates crowds, being around people, has nerve/spinal damage, and has been through a real hell for days upon days and months upon months. The man I sent off to war full of smiles and life, is now a stranger at times. I now miss the smiles and the light in his eyes and now live for the small glimpses that pass by of who he use to be. Those small glimpses will get me through the days and weeks of the hard times. There is so much that has been lost in who he use to be. It is honestly a struggle to have the ability to compare the use to be to the now. It hurts my heart to see and know the struggles he now faces and it hurts even more to hold the helpless feelings of not being able to just make him better.
As I sit here and write this, I also find myself reliving so much of the past eleven years. Our family has gained things, and we have lost things. In many ways, I think we as a whole have gained more than that of which we have lost. Yet, as I write that one line, I feel like we have lost so much it is often hard to see the positive in what we do have. I have more anger, bitterness, and frustrations built up in me today when I think on the reasons and ways that Kevin has been injured. There is a part of me that holds a hatred feeling towards others after what he has been through. Yet, then there is the pride that steadily sweeps over me and slaps me in the face. We wouldn't be who we are and where we are in life without all of these experiences. We wouldn't hold on to and cherish the small things in life. Through this, we have both seen our scares with death. We are now living the aftermath of the war and Kev's deployments. But, we now hold on to the smaller things in life.
Too often in life, we lost sight of what matters and we focus on the material things. We spend time rehashing the past and allowing things that won't matter a month down the road to eat us alive. There is no point in that. Will the thing you are angry at or holding a grudge at right now matter in five years? Chances are, it won't. So let it go.
Everyday I find myself thinking back on the last 11 years. I find myself overwhelmed with thoughts on what Kevin use to be life and how he is today. I become overjoyed in pride as it swallows me whole. How can I not be proud of this amazing man that I am blessed to call my husband? A man that has fought like hell not only for his family, but for our country. It is a battle within myself to think back on to how he use to be and then to find acceptance in the man he is today.
War changes people in ways we are never warned. 9/11 changed our nation as a whole. Sadly, people will take 9/11, like other holidays for our veterans and service members and they will use it as their "I'm so patriotic" days, when every other day of the year, they "forget". I honestly hate getting on to social media sites because as of right now, everyone is continuously posting photos and updates of 9/11, when it seems like almost every other day of the year, they never think about it. We don't. Everyday of the year, things like 9/11 stay with us. We live directly with the aftermath of that day. We are still picking up the pieces and always will be. My children grow up in a house so unlike others.
September 11 will always hold a special place within me, so like many other Americans and their families. Our lives were forever changed that day... Now and forever, my heart goes out to the many men, women, and children that lost their lives because of this tragic event. My heart goes out to those that are still picking up the pieces because they lost loved ones. It is a day that our nation will never forget and that so many of us will always play over and over in our heads.
September 11 is a time to honor and a time to remember. It is a time to never forget the lives lost, the heroes lost, and the heroes gained. It is a day to stop what you are doing and give a moment of silence as we think about the day our nation was forever changed...a day that we fell apart and stood back up together as one. Don't chose today to be your "patriotic day"... Chose everyday. Never forget those that we have lost and never forget those that have served.