The 9/11 Generation
Last month I traveled to New York City for a conference; before heading home, a group of military spouses had made the commitment to visit the 9/11 Memorial. We are spouses representing all branches, all ranks, and we are all post 9/11 military wives. It seemed fitting to make this stop; after all we would probably have never met if that day did not happen. United by our husbands’ service, motivated by patriotism that we share, and heartbroken by the immense loss of life that has occurred within our community as a result of those terrorist attacks.
When we arrived, it reminded me much of my visit to Arlington Cemetery. It felt peaceful; it felt like you were sealed off from the entire rest of the world to reflect on what this sacred place means to you. Each of my fellow spouses had different things they yearned to see, some lost loved ones whom they wanted to find on the wall, some searched for the Survivors’ Tree, and some just walked around in tears thinking of what this spot represents. We rarely said a word the entire time, we cried, we hugged, we looked at one another with the unspoken words we were all thinking. I think we understand better than most people what the events that happened on those grounds have meant for our own lives. It has meant countless days of separation from our service members, it has meant fears we could not have predicted, and it has meant pain.
It is an honor to love a man who has volunteered to be a defender of the freedoms I love so much. I became a military wife just two months shy of September 11, 2001. At the moment I said “I do,” the world was calm. I knew nothing of places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Djibouti. The only deployment we faced were the Marine Expeditionary Units that sailed ports around the globe, visiting friendly places. On the morning of September 11th, I knew my life as I knew it had changed.
Over the course of 11 years, I have watched as friends have become widows, I have watched as friends have become caregivers, and I have watched as the war we sent our men and women into has become mute to our Nation. Our military community at home has a responsibility to every boot that has touched foreign lands to make sure nobody forgets. Let’s pledge to ensure that the rest of our country does not forget that every day is our September 11th, until every man and woman in uniform are safe on American soil.
God bless our forward deployed troops!