15+ Nearly 21


It took a few days for me to sit down and focus on this topic.  Every time I tried to envision what I would say, a tidal wave of emotions would surface and halt any progress.  I considered not saying anything but that would not really fair to my own need of saying it… of remembering it.. of dealing with it.  Even if it is only once a year.

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I spent almost 21 years preparing for what happened 15 years ago. In spite of the amount of training I received, I never once thought I would need to put it to use. NEVER!  This event affected every single part of my life.

I was a single parent of two young girls putting myself through university.  I had a routine of getting up in the morning, doing yoga, having coffee, relaxing for the very short portion of my day that did not involve chaos and movement.  I would play music while doing yoga, then I would turn on the news and grab my first cup of coffee.

On this morning, I turned on my television and as I turned towards the kitchen to get my first cup, I saw what looked like a burning building in NYC.  I thought it was strange because my tv didn’t have special movie channels (I was too broke to afford that package) and it was ALWAYS on the Today show at this time of day.  I glanced back toward the tv trying to work this out when I saw the second plane hit.  Thus began the beginning of the end of my life as I knew it.

I was in the Navy reserves and had been for close to 15 years by that time.  In the beginning I expected to be called up immediately.  Every day I held my phone with me for 24 hours a day just waiting for it to ring with that call.  I went through each day, with my nerves on edge, my breath held, and eyes on the news at every opportunity with shock a constant emotion that made it difficult to think and act normal. My oldest daughter told me to stop watching the news because it made her sad.  Like an addict, I would sneak peaks of the news while the kids were sleeping our out playing.  This seemed to go on and on and on.  There was no break from it. So much unknowing.

After about a month, I relaxed.  I expected that others had been called up and maybe I would be allowed to continue my very average life, maybe there had been some resolution and things were just winding down.  I slowly started letting my guard down and gaining hope that life might indeed return to as normal it could ever be again, for myself and for the nation.  Despite the horror, we would carry on.

About a month and a half after the towers fell, I was waiting in line to get some take out sushi for my kids.  There was some soft Japanese music playing in the background of the main restaurant, pop music playing in front of me, and the sound of water trickling from a fountain in the entrance.  My phone rang, I answered it thinking it was my kids wanting me to change their order.

The world stopped, but the sounds around me continued on as I was given the notice that I would have three days to pack out my life, put my degree program on hold for an undetermined amount of time, and get my children to the east coast to live with their dad while I moved to an undisclosed location.  The world continued to move around me at lightening quick speed, while at the same time it seemed to be going in slow motion.  Chaos and turmoil intermixed with a numb silence. Back and forth..forth and back.  I have never been able to completely express the madness and calm that encompassed my life during those 3 days.

Over the next 10 months I made friends in a distant location, I had experiences I will never forget, and most importantly we all survived.  We were all changed. Irrevocably changed, but we survived.  About 5 years later, I was mobilized again, and again I was changed.  My life, my plans, my kids, my employment.  Everything changed.

I had nearly 21 years of service by this time and decided it was time to retire from the military.   I do not regret a single moment of the time I served.  I am usually not the type of person to want to go back and change the past.  As if you could.  I am proud of my service and proud of the people who served beside me. I believe that everything from my past has made me into who I am today.  Though I am a new person…for better or for worse…I will never forget the before sam..the before people of our nation…the before world.

I overheard someone recently say, “Oh boy, it’s almost that time again.” The person next to him said, “What time?”  He replied, “You know…9/11 memorials.  We won’t be able to do anything without having to hear about that.  It’s going to mess up a lot of plans I have.  I wish we could just get over that.  It’s not like it’s going to happen again!!”  At first I was angry and a little shocked.  Then I relaxed and realized that, I too sometimes wish we could go back to that mentality.  That innocence. That ridiculous feeling of untouchability. We can’t do that.  We should NOT do that. We do not have to live as victims and in fear, but we should never forget what happened and how easily it happened.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  Santayana “The Life of Reason. 1905”

Nearly 21 – years of service.  All of it is remembered fondly.  Never can forget.

Some of my favorite posts about New York.  One of my favorite cities.  Always will be.  I hope you enjoy.

Growth

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Perspective – New York Adopt Me;      A tale of two cities;      A city;    NEW York;   In the background;    Peace youse;    All aboard;

Till they all come home….


Whether you support the policies or the politics, conflicts or peaceful resolutions…Please support the people… Hate the game not the player

Happy Memorial Day…

This video was created by Joe Curtain.  He is still an active Navy officer… The only link he has is his Twitter page. His Twitter handle is: @FR33SpeechMusic

I spent 20 years and 9 months in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves.  I joined when I was 16 years old and went to bootcamp between my junior and senior year in high school.

I spent a year on a ship and visited dozens of foreign ports. I learned how to create and be a part of an extended family that your biological family may never even know about.  Like a biological brother or sister, sometimes you hated them and sometimes you loved them but you always supported them.  I was trained to have very high work ethics for self and how to expect and obtain the same from others. I grew up to be adaptable, creative and accepting of others and to reach out a helping hand to those life long friends I have made over the years as well as to random strangers on the street.  I made friends I may never, ever see again but know that at the drop of a hat if I did see them we could reunite as if no time at all had ever passed between us.

I was trained to give and receive orders.  I took entire courses on how to build things and how to immediately tear them down.  I practiced the art of self-defense and learned how to shoot a variety of guns, studied crowd control measures and sometimes fought the art of self-control. I had to practice how to never use these skills unless under extreme duress and then I was trained in how to handle extreme duress.  Most of the people I have worked with over the past near 21 years have considered themselves peacekeepers and not war mongers.  Through all of these times I was fortunate enough to mostly serve with people who could laugh at themselves as often as they laughed at me.

We have all believed in our country and gave up a lot to support it.  Most of us would do it again if asked with absolutely no hesitation.  We do not expect everyone to agree or believe in our purpose when we leave.  However, we do hope that we will be accepted and welcomed home on our return.

“I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.” 
― John F. Kennedy

There are always two sides to every story. Two opposing thoughts to every situation.


We must never forget why we have, and why we need our military. Our armed forces exist solely to ensure our nation is safe, so that each and every one of us can sleep soundly at night, knowing we have ‘guardians at the gate.’ – Allen West


“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


“The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country”  ― George S. Patton Jr.


 “As long as a population can be induced to believe in a supernatural hereafter, it can be oppressed and controlled. People will put up with all sorts of tyranny, poverty, and painful treatment if they’re convinced that they’ll eventually escape to some resort in the sky where lifeguards are superfluous and the pool never closes. Moreover, the faithful are usually willing to risk their skins in whatever military adventure their government may currently be promoting.”

― Tom RobbinsSkinny Legs and All


“This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor… This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!”

― Albert Einstein


So long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home. – Barack Obama


The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution.–   John F. Kennedy


I started to make a study of the art of war and revolution and, whilst abroad, underwent a course in military training. If there was to be guerrilla warfare, I wanted to be able to stand and fight with my people and to share the hazards of war with them.   – Nelson Mandela


The U.S. Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they’re protecting us.   –  Tom Clancy


We shall listen, not lecture; learn, not threaten. We will enhance our safety by earning the respect of others and showing respect for them. In short, our foreign policy will rest on the traditional American values of restraint and empathy, not on military might. – Theodore C. Sorensen


  1. How America Treats Illegal Aliens vs. Veterans
  2. Friday Night Think Tank:  Memorial Edition
  3. Growing up after Graduation
  4. What Heroes Gave
  5. Memorial Day is not about your aunt
  6. To all our service members
  7. Thanks Dad