I was just about 18 when this awful day in history occurred. It was my first, and only, touch of war. History books and television cannot give you the reality of war, of hatred, and of death. Now, eleven years later, here I stand around hundreds and thousands of women in my army base town who have seen and felt so very much more.
Hearing of moments of births to be tended to alone, or deployment just two weeks after a child his or her child entered this world, holidays alone, birthdays without, anniversaries celebrated by a phone call, and everything in between is bewildering and daunting to say the least. But what worries me more is the day-to-day. Their strength is uncanny. Their patience must be so deep. Their smiles… can they be real? The camaraderie of those who understand surely is. The battle of wills they face everyday, without a doubt is truth. And the constant paranoia of injury or worse? I am not sure I could keep it together.
Each year since the buildings collapsed I, along with the rest of the nation, have pondered what it all meant. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a side. But, each year for me, I feel I have been in a different enough place to have changed my mind all together on the widespread this destruction. Just to have it change back again the following September.
I don’t pretend to be informed (any longer) of the political debate. I am not one to wildly wave a flag either. This year, I silently mourn the loss of those that went too soon on this day so unreal it sucked the tears right out of you. Dry sobs. I feel the pain for those individuals and families who are left to live in worry while their son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife is far far away. In a land they can’t envision. Doing something they don’t understand.
I meet these women everywhere. playgrounds, grocery stores and picnics. Child in tote. One in their belly.
And I want to thank them. They are who I relate to. They are who I feel for. September, for me, is a month filled with birthdays and the freshness of autumn. But, I see that for too many it is tinged with the taste of fear and anger and of course duty. I am sorry. I wish I could make it go away.
Thank you for your service, those over seas and those left to wait. I am in awe of you. And I honor you whole heartedly. Because of you, there are still times like these.
So thank you…
for your sacrifices.