Where were you?
It’s a simple question, isn’t? I didn’t ever think I would relive the horrors my parents described that fateful day of December 7th, 1941. We were sitting at the kitchen table and even though fifty years had passed, they knew exactly where they were. My mom was on a date and dad was at Oklahoma State A&M in ROTC. While they weren’t sure exactly where Pearl Harbor was, they knew what it meant. The United States was now at war with the Empire of Japan. In a few short days, Hitler would declare war thrusting the Untied States into the world wide conflict.
Seventy years later, our generation would experience the same dread and anger our parents and grand-parents experienced. We were attacked with no provocation or warning. Tactically it was a brilliantly executed plan. Intelligence agencies knew something was going on but the pieces weren’t coming together. MI-6 and Russian intelligence were also picking up chatter, but nothing added up. The real crime, was how our intelligent agencies, NSA, CIA, FBI didn’t share information for they wanted the glory and credit. They were all vying for political posturing and not the best interests of the country. Sound familiar?
It was a glorious morning. Not a cloud in the sky. I was ready for another day directing crews, resolving problems and bidding the odd job. That changed, when the Station I was listening to broke in with a special report, “A plane has crashed into the North tower of the Twin Towers.. At this time, we have no more information.” I went back to stories I’d read about planes hitting the Empire State building. I thought about pilot error, air traffic controller confusion or mechanical failure. That change when the second report came in. “A second plane has stuck the South Tower of the Twin Towers.” I knew immediately, this wasn’t a mistake, we, like our parents and grand-parents, were being attacked!
I pulled into the parking lot, exited the truck and entered the office. My good friend, Max met me. “Jeff, what do you think?” “We are under attack,” My response took him by surprise and he had served in Korea. “You really think so?” “Without a doubt and there is more to come.” Sadly, I was correct as another plane struck the Pentagon and another crashed in Shanksville, PN.
For a moment, the country came together after the contentious 2000 election and the hanging chad debate. The Stars and Stripes adorned almost every household. To not see a car with a window flag was an uncommon occurrence. Many, like myself, placed a flag in our pickup beds and flew them with great pride. The resolve of Americans had been ignited. Al-Qaeda was going to feel the same wrath the Japanese did seventy years prior. To quote Kurt Russell, from Tombstone when he confronts Ike Clanton after killing Stillwell. “Tell all the other kers, hell’s coming with me.”
We were ready for the fight. We were ready to destroy those who cost the lives of 2,977 Americans. There only crime that day was going to work. Their deaths would be avenged and those responsible would pay the ultimate price.
But as preparations were made and the military geared-up, something began changing. Instead of staying energized and focused, the media took a different stance. Those networks and politicians that felt the 2000 election was stolen began focusing on the trivial. George Jr was reading to a class of 2nd graders in Florida when the news broke. His look was confusion and disbelief. The media portrayed it as a blank, unprepared, out of his element look. And then it got worse. And yes, CNN led the charge. MSNB, NPR, ABC, CBS, NBC weren’t far behind in attempting to ridicule him.
Jr. didn’t head back to DC, he was sequestered in a private location and the media called him a coward, which was the farthest thing from the truth. He was following protocols set-up to make sure the government continued to function. To fly back to DC could have played well in the terrorist’s hands. A shoulder mounted stinger has a range of five miles Who’s to say there weren’t insurgents around the DC area awaiting the arrival of Air Force One. Imagine how many virgins they would obtain if they could kill the leader of the free world.
However, despite their best efforts to mock and ridicule, a large percentage of us refused to listen to their drivel. When that failed, they began blaming Bush for the inferior weapons our troops were going into combat with. They never brought up how Clinton had gutted the military and how the next president would have to start from scratch. But he boasted how he had a balanced budget one year. That happens when you don’t spend money that was appropriated you idiot. But, far too many people citizens believed the lie and still spout it off to this day. Why? Because they have no historical context and refuse to fact check the crap being spewed out!
They moaned about how Humvees weren’t armored. How the body shields were in short supply. There wasn’t enough ammunition or small arms for our troops. Well, duh. Bush had only been in office for nine months when the attack occurred. He was still sorting out all the damage from the previous administrations short-comings when it came to the military.
Despite all the rhetoric and nonsense, Bush rose to the challenge and our military regrouped and became the feared fighting force the world respected, admired and feared. It didn’t happen over-night, but it did happen and once again, America had the greatest fighting force in the world.
Those men and women knew exactly what the mission was and executed it to the best of their efforts, abilities and training. They made us proud again! America was back and we supported them one hundred percent, despite the media trying their damndest to interfere and deflect.
Those of us who remember and stayed the course, know of the sacrifice our men and women in uniform gave. But we don’t know of their personal sacrifice. For twenty long years they went and fought in a foreign land. They fought for the freedoms and liberties we all take much too much for granted. We can’t share their burden of lost comrades, broken bodies and mental anguish.
We cannot fathom the depths of despair and sleepless nights they endure day-to-day or those that deal with survivor’s guilt. We cannot begin to understand their silent, distant distant stares into an abyss we can never imagine. What we can do on this twentieth anniversary is show our pride and respect by flying our flag proudly and remember all those who paid the ultimate price and those who survived yet bare scars externally and internally and let them know they are not only not forgotten, but loved for their service. We can go to a local VFW and thank all those who served in our wars. We can drive to the local VA cemetery and pray in silence letting them know how grateful we are for their sacrifice and undying patriotism.
What the twentieth anniversary is not about, is the media trying to score points with the public!
I will pay my respects by calling my son-in-law and my niece’s husband and thanking them for their service and sacrifice. I will stop by the local Veteran’s Cemetery in Dallas, TX and the local VFW and thank them also. What I will not do, is seat in front of the television and watch those who are more interested in pushing their stories for ratings. That, I will not do!