Where were you on that fateful September day 20 years ago? I was flying a Bowel Wevel contract for Alan and Donna Lawrence in Paducah Texas. We were just a few days into the contract and as you would imagine it shut our flying down. We were back in the air a few days later as things settled down.
It was a Tuesday morning and our crew was gathered at the office watching the news when the station switched to the first burning tower.
I called my wife and we were on the phone as we watched the second aircraft impact the tower. Was that real, was that a replay or what on Earth is going on here? It was confusing but we had just watched an act of terrorism and an attack on American soil by our enemy. The question was, who exactly was our enemy?
This post is not to define who our enemies were then or are today, it is my personal moment in History. Let us not forget and always remember.
Twenty years later my wife and I have had 2 of our sons stand on foreign soil in defense of our country. The oldest was in Iraq serving with a Marine Corps tank division. Our son is still packing shrapnel from a mortar that found him outside of his tank one day. He came home alive but his fellow Marine bled out on the Helicopter ride to a Tent Hospital.
Typical of the Marine Corps they healed our son up and put him back to work. When they came home that fall they could feel the energy of the crowd at the Boise Idaho airport as they walked off of the plane. They came home with Marines having earned the Bronze Star and those that were wounded and one that was paralyzed from the waist down.
Did they make a difference? I can’t answer that but they served their country honorable and unlike the 1983 suicide bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon where over 200 Marines lost their lives, these Marines retaliated.
Our youngest was a crew chief on a Blackhawk in Afghanistan in 2012. He sent us home a flag that they had carried on a combat mission. The story as I understand it was they dropped some Marines off and they went in and brought the local IED maker out for trial. The Afghan government could not find enough evidence to convict him so they turned him loose. When the Marines went in again he didn’t make it out alive. Harsh you say? Maybe but 9, 11, 2001 was harsh.
When Casper Weinburger, the Secretary of State in 1983 neglected to retaliate for the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon we sent a message to our enemies, it was the wrong message. The master mind of that bombing took a 7.62 NATO round through the chest at 1100 yards within a year. There were 3 teams in the field when it happened. Marines, Navy Seals and Army Special forces, who pulled the trigger is not as important as that we sent a message.
Should we ever forget, NEVER, because our enemies won’t.