I remember precisely where I was the day those planes hit the World Trade Center. It had been three years since I left active duty Army, and I was part of an Army Reserve unit here in Virginia. I did my reserve duty at the Public Affairs office of the Chief of the Army Reserve once per week for several hours. The office was located in Crystal City, and we did a lot of work at the Pentagon.
It was my son’s fourth birthday, and we were looking forward to a birthday dinner for the munchkin, who demanded we go to a Chinese buffet place in town, because it had pizza. (No one said four year old boys had to make sense, right?) I was at the office, working my civilian job and chatting with a friend via instant messenger.
And then all hell broke loose.
We stopped work. We gathered in our conference room. We turned the TV on and watched in horror as the news replayed the scene over and over again.
I tried my military supervisor at Crystal City, but all cell service was down.
I tried my husband. Nothing.
I couldn’t take it after a while, so I left my office and went to pick up my son, whose kindergarten only lasted half the day.
It was hard to explain to that little boy what happened. He knew bad people had attacked us and flew planes into buildings. He knew a lot of people died. He knew his daddy was a federal police officer and was called away. He knew we would not be having a family birthday dinner at the Chinese buffet place.
For years after that birthday, he became hypervigilant. He would demand I help him “clear” his room of monsters. I’d have my gun, and he’d have his little toy guns, and together we would clear his room before bed.
I started training more, and I think I became hypervigilant myself. I was terrified something would happen to my kids. I started writing more about civil rights and joined several gun rights organizations.
So now, on the 15th anniversary of that horrible day, think back. How were you affected by the attacks? Were you affected at all?
You can choose as many answers as appropriate, or add one of your own.