It’s hard to believe the terrorist attacks happened 10 years ago. Or, is it? Part of me feels like it is all a distant memory. Then again, I remember standing there watching the second plane crash into the Twin Towers all too vividly. I stood there, frozen. We were on vacation in Minnesota. I was still a fairly new military wife, just past the one year mark of our marriage. I remember the fear I felt. For our country and the turn it was about to take. Then, as I saw my husband pulling up to the dock, for him.
Today, I think about the training that’s about to start for the deployment my husband will be embarking on. Has life changed for us? Yes, I’m certain it has. I don’t feel the change, though. Military spouses, women, mothers, humans… we adapt to change. It’s not always the change that we prefer, but we handle it. It integrates into our lives and we carry on, moving forward rarely with the opportunity to look back.
It is often said that you can define a persons character not by the obstacles or situations that happen to that person, but rather how said person overcomes the presented obstacle or situation. I have proudly observed many military wives, women, mothers, and friends who have ‘adapted and overcome’ the challenges that were brought forth to us due to the attacks of 9/11 10 years ago, and watched strong phoenixes rise from the ashes and show that they can handle just about anything life throws at them.
I’d like to introduce to you three of those women. One, an Air Force spouse who at the time of 9/11 was herself enlisted in the Air Force, one a Canadian military wife, and a USMC wife. They were kind enough to share their thoughts and reflections in lieu of the 10 year anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
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a Seasoned AirForce Spouse recalls:
September 11, 2001 was experienced by me as an active duty member first and a military spouse second. It changed a majority of our life since that moment in some very personal ways. The country I knew was changed in an instant and forever.
I feared for my life that day as I watched the Pentagon burning, not from my television. I held my newborn daughter in my arms and hoped the next target wasn’t near to where we stood.
At that moment, my husband was in Saudi Arabia on the highest alert. He became invisible. My mind was there, and here, and to what was next.
The families of the victims will never be whole and probably still can’t fathom just what happened that day. First responders have suffered ill health and death as a direct result of their heroic actions in New York City in the days of and after. Citizens young and old stood up to take the same oath that we had taken to defend our country. Some of them are no no longer with us.
Ten years later, military families are continuing to live the post 9-11 life in the number and length of deployments, the permanently disabled and killed in action.
My husband is once again in the hot desert sand. And once again my mind is there, and here, and to what is next.
Kim, a Canadian military wife wrote:
When I woke up September 11th, 2001, it was just another day. It had been just another sleep-filled night while my husband was away on just another training exercise in the military career he had chosen that was just another job. We were newlyweds, just another Canadian couple starting a family together. But as inexplicable tragedy unfolded for the families of 2977 people, there was no more ‘just’. My husband no longer had just another job. And a few months later when he left for the first of 3 tours of duty to Afghanistan, we were definitely no longer just another Canadian family. We were one of the few experiencing up-close the first Canadian war since Korea. A family that has experienced more heartache and felt more pride than I ever could have imagined before that day.
The night of September 11th as I lay in bed, I experienced the first of what has become just another sleepless night, wondering where my husband is and praying he comes home safe.
Amber, a USMC wife, shares her reflections:
It’s hard to believe that it has already been 10yrs since that very horrific morning on September 11th. The events that happened on that tragic morning will forever be engrained into our memories. The imagines that we all watched on TV while in complete shock, were unimaginable and was something that we will never be able to remove from our thoughts. Imagines that are indescribable. Imagines that left you lost in complete confusion and disbelief.
That day was a day that forever changed our countries history in every aspect. It shook our cores and woke us up to what reality really is. Being a military spouse, I now live with that reality every day.
We can all recall exactly what we were doing as we watched the nightmare unfold on TV the morning of September 11th. It is hard to even fathom the amount of lives that were lost that day, along with all the lives that are continuing to be lost in the ongoing war, due to what happened on that September day.