As I sit here this morning reflecting on the events of 20 years ago, I remember them so vividly. I had just arrived back home (2 days earlier) in the United States after 6 months in Saudi Arabia. I was in Virginia Beach with friends on my way back to Okinawa. My friend Jerry Reynolds and his family were kind enough to host me at their house as we enjoyed some R&R after our tour in the desert. It was just about this time of day.
All of a sudden the TV starts broadcasting on every channel that the World Trade Centers in New York were hit by a plane. Everyone was confused, no one had any idea what was going on. There was a sinking in our hearts. That sinking feeling seemed like it was accelerating as the next plane hit the second tower. Then the Pentagon. Then Pennsylvania Flight 93...what was going on.
We could start to see what was unfolding. The United States was under attack.
My friend Jerry and I immediately called back to our home base in Okinawa, reported in that we were safe and let them know that we were in Virginia Beach, ready to report for duty. Fortunately or unfortunately we were not activated while on our vacation.
A few days later on the 15th I went to see another one of my firefighter brothers up in Greenwich CT. I took the train up and through NY. As we got to his house we went out to the Long Island Sound and we could still see the smoldering fire from the remnants of what happened this day 20 years ago.
I will never forget the sinking feeling in my stomach and the spinning in my head as I attempted to put together what was going on. What was going to happen next as an attack had come to our soil. To say I did not feel uncertainty or panic at what was going on would be a lie.
What I relied upon is the Lord, my family, friends, fellow firefighters, service members and countrymen beside me. What I witnessed in the days after 9-11, when American flags flew off shelves, there was not a house without an American flag on the front porch. We saw neighbors doing everything they could to help and aid one another. People were united and helping one another regardless of political ideologies.
I will never forget, but I say that many of us have forgot. Why must it take a tragedy to pull us together as a community, a state a country.
When I see the lack of leadership and unity in our community leaders, when I see the violence in our streets, when I have American flags torn off my front porch. I say "We have forgotten". What we have here in the United States, freedom, liberty and a representative democracy is fragile, we must never forget. We must remember. United we stand and Divided we will fall.
Please take time this day to remember and Never Forget.