Saturday, September 11, 2004

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2004

Three years ago the world changed, but more significantly to us, America changed. We no longer believed we are invincible. We woke up on the morning of September 11, 2001 and had no idea that when we went back to sleep that night, our lives would be forever transformed by the events of that day.

I’ve heard over and over again people say they will never forget what they were doing when they watched those planes crash in to those buildings. The same holds true for me. I will never forget watching the events unfold, live on television, for the entire world to see. I will never forget those devastating images, the unimaginable pain, and the feeling of helplessness.

I knew the name Osama Bin Laden, but I didn’t fear him. I knew about terrorism, but I didn’t fear it. I knew there was hatred and evil in the world, but I was never personally affected by it.

Fast forward three years and all of that has changed.

I not only know of Osama Bin Laden, but I am now serving alongside brave American men and women who disbanded the Taliban. I am now dealing with terrorism on the front lines in one of the most perilous areas of the world. I am now personally affected by the evil and hatred of the world, and more than one thousand of my battle buddies have died heroically trying to absolve it.

As each year passes, it’s inevitable to reflect on what happened on that horrible day. But for those of us in uniform, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, we don’t need an anniversary to remind us of those catastrophic events. We witness every day the same kind of hatred that flew those planes in to those buildings. For us, every day is a reminder of September 11, 2001.

The images ingrained in our memories that day are, unfortunately, what motivate us to continue the fight. I have personally questioned the choices we have made in the War on Terror. I have wondered if the sacrifices we have made are worth the risks we take. I have wondered why Osama Bin Laden and Afghanistan suddenly turned in to Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

Regardless of where I stand on this conflict, my resolve to make this world a better place and to free it of terror is strong. It is our right and, I think, our responsibility to question the tactics. After all, it’s America’s citizens picking up the tab. More importantly, it’s our lives we’re risking. We should question it if our lives are on the line.

I felt helpless on that day three years ago. But fast forward to today and I no longer feel so inept. Although I am not raiding homes in Najaf or ambushing militants in Fallujah, I have empowered myself by sacrificing my time and my life. I am proud to do it for you. We’re all proud to do it for you. That’s why we wear the uniform.

This weekend, journalists, politicians, and families around the world will be talking about what happened to all of us three years ago. It’s important to reflect, to question, and to mourn. But it’s easy to forget when anniversaries aren’t there to remind us.

Three thousand people died that day and thousands of lives transformed. Since then, over twelve hundred brave American heroes died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands have been injured and thousands have served. Let’s also not forget the price innocent Afghans and Iraqis are paying – they have lost thousands upon thousands of their friends and family – summed up as collateral damage.

This fight will continue long past the fourth, fifth, even 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001. We’re proud to fight the good fight. We only ask that you continue to believe in us, support us, and pray for our safety. There are thousands of angels praying alongside you.

With Love,


Post a Comment

<< Home