Thursday, September 11, 2008

What does 9/11 mean to you? Where were you when it occurred?

I remember that I had just dropped off Bell at school and was driving on 7th East in SLC and I was listening to 107.5 (The End) when it came over the radio that the 1st tower had come down. I was in were most the way that they were driving, rather rudementary from time to time. It was a very somber and sobering moment that will forever change how we look at life itself and where our futures will go.

I was already in the process of joining the US Coast Guard at the time. I remember that when I went to work at Jordon Commons in Sandy, my boss (Mr. Joos)asked me if I was sure I still wanted to go. I am putting his name out there, because it was very typical of who he is as a person. That said, most people at my work were very supportive of my new opportunity to serve my country. I remember watching the horror on the big screen and my stomach churned as much as everyone else's. I remember the hurt that I felt and the lack of understanding but since there were attacks on that building in 1993, I guess there was a very disgusting feeling of closure. They finally achieved and not just once, but twice on our country. It was very offensive and painful to deal with. I, in fact, could not be any more proud of my decision to join the military. I would do it all over again without flinching.

In the months following, nothing else mattered. You could not see a car go by that did not have a decal. Everyone was as nice to each other as I have ever seen in my life. People simply respected one another. The richest and poorest Americans would never even consider treating each other with less than the greatest respect. it is a shame that now, we need the olympics and this war for us to feel any patriotism as an overall country. I saw today on CNN that the threat for another attack is under 35%...that creates more fear in me than a lot of things. I think that is proof that we have indeed forgotten 9-11. It is always when we expect it the least that these moments occur. I am grateful that we have not had to deal with it, but I am always distrusting and leary of gaining any sense of confidence against terrorists as they are very untrusting and volatile people who can go off at any time. I hope that we will NOT forget 9-11. I do not think we need to create a sense of resentment towards those of the same religion who fear Al Qaeda as much as we do. I think they too have the same feelings that we do, for the most part. Iraq has lost 3 times as many people as we have and I am sure that they are capable of seeing how extremism is simply what it is.

During basic training, the Anthrax scares occurred and that was troubling as well. When I was in San Francisco at Golden Gate, many people looked at that unit as a station vacation. Nothing could be further from the truth. That is a very very busy small boat station that should be lauded for all that it has to deal with on a daily basis. Their efforts are often underappreciated and underestimated. I received only the best training when I was there. Watchstanding included taking care of the bridge itself. There was a HUGE sense of pride and I look at that time as a huge growing opportunity for me. I grew more as a seaman in San Fran and as a newlywed than at any other time of my life. The threat of terrorism was at its highest and the fact that we worked around the clock to save people, took care of the bridge and kept the station looking its best was a pleasing way to serve our vulnerable and victimized country at that time.

Now years later, I find myself here in the Bay Area where I feel many times we have truly forgotten 9-11. I am taking classes in domestic and international terrorism and I have been learning this as training for my job. Now, I am a Yeoman. We are not known for being in counter-terrorism. We are best known as Human Resource Specialists. I am first a member of the military, I am second a YN. I will do whatever I am asked to do and if my knowledge in the matter can be of assistance to any unit, detachment or operation of the Coast Guard, I will offer my services where I can.

I am grateful for my opportunity to serve my country and I will never forget 9-11. I will never regret serving my country and I will never look back, only forward!

Semper Paratus!

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