Sunday, September 4, 2011

Remembering the Day the World Changed

To most  Americans ten years ago the unbelievable unfolded in front of our eyes on TV. I can remember sitting in my living room in Lacey, WA watching the Today show as the second plane flew into the World Trade Center's second tower. I remember I was feeling a little tired & had just got Hunter ready to take to Kindergarten for the day. I stopped & sat down on our coffee table . I stared in disbelief at the TV screen  to listen to Katie Couric & Matt Lauer discuss what was happening in New York. We where under attack but from who? What did this mean for my husband, what did this mean for my family , & what did this mean for my country? All questions that flew through my mind as my phone started ringing off the hook . 

My neighbor phoned to see if I knew what was happening? I told her I knew only what I had seen on TV. At some point I remember Paul calling from post telling me to stay home & keep Hunter home from school. School by that time I had forgotten to even take him, not that I ever would have let him leave my sight that day. Paul said the post was on High Alert no incoming or out going traffic allowed & he would most likely just sleep at his office. He would call if he had any other information. I remember sitting in front of that TV for hours that day while trying to function & take care of the three boys. I remember crying on the phone with other Army wives and friends over the now uncertainty of our families world. We knew it meant our daily lives where forever changed, but what we could never know is that ten years later it would still be going on for our families. For all military families around the globe the ten year conflict has worn us out both physically & emotionally .

Some of our closest friends have gone off to protect America & never returned. We have watched as their families say goodbye & we pray for our own soldiers still fighting. We watch as our own soldiers continue a viscous cycle of everyother year deployments that have left our men & women scarred for life. Their homes, families never to be the same. The divorce rate sky rocketing among the military who are simply not quipped mentally to take care of the wounded physically or to help heal the invisible scars. We haven't forgotten not for one single day what happened on 9-11 even if it seems most of the rest of the nation has. That they only remember this one single time of the year because everyone puts the images back out in the media. Shouldn't those reminders be put out to our nation to the world on a daily basis ? I know in my home they are talked about regularly & why daddy is gone again?
We don't hold grudges , we know this is his job, no one has to remind us of that - even though they like to point it out on days I seem weary. Weary from carrying the load of being both mom & dad to four young boys who just miss their dad. Sad and on the verge of tears when my youngest doesn't seem to think this is not normal for most families. You see I was pregnant with him on 9-11 but didn't know it yet. In his young nine years of life his dad has been gone four of those years.
Unlike my older two boys who only knew that dad went away for training once in awhile up until that fateful day in September ten years ago. This is our new normal Dad gone for years at a time , all the time.

I don't want this post to be a "feel sorry for me & mine" post, I just want it to be a Loud-Harsh reminder to those of you who don't remember daily of what it has cost our country. Not just the loss of life though it is now over 6,000 soldiers who have given the sacrifice for you to walk around daily in a free nation. But what about those families who live daily with the wounded both physically & with PTSD. Those veterans who are only nineteen years old who can no longer close their eyes at night for fear of what they will see behind closed eyes. The marriages that hang on by a strand because we are a fiercely  proud lot of spouses who know what our best friend, our loves use to be like ,before. How we hang on in hopes of seeing even the smallest glimpse of that person at least once in awhile. Though it can be days, weeks, even months in between that we see our old loves-  in a short brief laugh or smile. Then the shadows come back, the nightmares that wake both you & them up at night. What's the cost been to America?

That day it was a huge vivid picture for all of the world to see & grieve right along side America. Today it a small image or news story the occasional flash of picture of the loss of another American life for most. But for those of us living with ten years of war we see a huge deep bleeding wound that is still running through our nation. We see the cost daily, we live with the fear of the unknown hourly, we are on our knees praying unceasingly are you? Below is some pictures that I have accumulated over the past ten years since 9-11, this is my reality . This is the reality of many of Americans across this great nation - please remember more then once a year - that is all we ask.

I can only locate one picture from a Welcome Home Ceremony in 2004 since we didn't have a digital camera yet.

Welcome Home Daddy Nov 2004

Deployment Ceremony April 2007

Hunter & Matthew second Deployment Ceremony 2007

Last picture I have of Paul with Dave - RIP

Last picture of all the boys with Paul 2006

Goodbye Daddy 2007

My husband & his friends saying Goodbye to a Fallen Brother Iraq 2007

 Recon 2008 Iraq

Paul with Wounded Warrior & friend Jessie Re-deployment 2008

First kiss in 13 long months!

4th Brigade Memorial Dedication 2008

 First time to hug dad in 13 months

Wives at home having lunch & waiting on their soldiers

Goodbye again April 2009

CPT M reenlisting a soldier in Iraq 2010

Fountain reading a card of Thanks that was sent from a local daycare to all soldiers in Aztec Company 2010 Iraq

Welcome home 4th Brigade August 2010 

Welcome Home 1SG Evershed August 2010 

Redeployment Ceremony Early October 2010 

 Proud 2BN23IN Families watching Awards Ceremony

My soldier receiving his third Bronze Star in 3 years Oct 2010 

Loss of a dear friend,father, & husband

Deployment Ceremony to Afghanistan June 2011

Last Family picture before deploying to Afghanistan June 2011 

Last hour & picture together July 5,2011 

Goodbye my love.....July 5,2011

First SKYPE call & time we have seen him mid-August 2011 Afghanistan

Our story like so many other families around the globe is to be continued....... all we ask is that as we continue to support America ,that America's citizens continue to support us a well.

**EDIT Adding this video for those who want to listen**



The Mom said...

Well said. It really hit home for me.

Sasha said...

These are great pictures. I have never heard anyones story that was in the military already when 9/11 happened. Thank you, your husband, and your family for your service.

Ashley said...

I have been reading your blog for some time now and have to say it hits my heart daily. I will be dropping my soldier off on September 11th for a year long deployment. This will be our first deployment with me at home with a little girl and another one due while he is gone. Your story inspires and enlightens me to what the next 13 months will bring. Thank you for posting topics most do not think about or dream about having to go through. You are in my prayers often.

Dad said...

Mandy (or Pumpkin as I affectionately call you) today I am as proud of my beautiful daughter as ever before. Your words, your commitment, your insight, your inner strength and your faith in God will only inspire others to share their thoughts as only a soldier's wife can do. I can see why Paul refers to you as His Hero. I truly love you and Paul and by the way what's with this "my parents are in their late 60's" stuff on your July post. We are only mid-60's we just look mature for our age ha ha. With all my love, Dad

Amanda said...

Sorry daddy-haha I feel like I am getting older especially with every deployment- so therefore you & mom age too!

Amanda said...

Ashley if there is one thing I have learned from all these deployments is that every single one is different from the last. I hope your deployment goes swiftly & is very uneventful. Good luck, you can do it!

Ashley said...

Thank you! I am hoping by having 2 under 2 at home, it will help the days pass quickly. :)