Originally posted 9/11/2005
It was a nice day, and even sunny. Several of us went to the annual Technology Expo at the gym, mainly to pick up neat toys for the office. As I did everyday back then, I went to the gym that afternoon to work out as there was no way I was going to buy new uniforms when I had less than a year before I could start terminal leave. I would get there about 1:45PM, so I would have just enough time to change clothes before Dave began cleaning the women’s locker room at 2, and then would be finished with my workout about the time he got finished. It was Tuesday, and that was elliptical day. As I came down the stairs, I saw a towel on the good elliptical machine. As I walked in the room, I saw the towel’s owner in front of the TV. He turned to me and said “A plane just hit the World Trade Center.” I said something like “Oh wow. Those poor people.” Got on the bad elliptical and started my workout. So now he gets on the good one and starts his workout. So there we are watching an interview with a witness when I notice a plane in the backgroud which seemed to disappear behind the towers. I thought “What the ___?” (I don’t remember exactly which 4 letter profanity it was.) Then it started to hit me that there was an explosion about the time the plane disappeared. Now the reporter notices and reports that a second plane just hit the other tower. As the sickening feeling started, the guy next to me said “It’s terrorists.” I started yelling at the TV (as if it would help) “Get the ____ planes out of the air!” Again I don’t remember what profanity spewed within that statement. This was followed by the big picture sinking in with the thought “Well that’s it. I’m gonna be stop-lossed.” I went ahead and completed my workout on the cross-trainer, but opted not to do the additional weights that I normally did. I changed and headed back to the office. Everyone was standing in front of the TV when I topped the stairs and I was informed that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. At this point we all know the THREATCON level was about to go up significantly and that we might be at work for a while that night. I called home to tell James to pick up the kids from daycare as I didn’t know when we would get released. He had no idea what was going on. I said, “Turn on CNN.” I was on the phone with him when the first tower collapsed. At some point, the smokers headed outside, and I followed because I really wanted a cigarette bad. I didn’t smoke one thanks to Heidi. She wouldn’t give me one of hers and threatened serious bodily harm to anyone who would dare to give me one. I was pretty pissed at her for about a minute or two, but since then I have always been grateful that kept me from falling off the wagon that day. I don’t remember when we finally got released, but there was a line of us heading back to Alconbury together on the back road. Just past the poop farm and just before the woods, I started crying. I had composed myself by the time we got to Alconbury village, but was still a wreck when we got to RAF Alconbury. I noticed as I sat in line at the gate that I wasn’t the only one that cried on the way home as some still were. There would be little sleep that night. Every time I heard one of the fighter jets fly over, and that was all that was flying that night, I would go on personal alert wondering if it was really one of ours or if a big plane was going to obliterate base housing.
The next day, 2 or 3 of us walked to the shoppette at lunch. On this day, which again was sunny, I had been in the UK for right at 2 ½ years. At no point prior to that day had it ever been as quiet. It was like we were the only people in existence.
I wrote this originally a year ago, or maybe two. I forget exactly when. What I don’t forget, is 11 Sep 2001. I still remember the events of that day as if it were yesterday. I remember that night chatting on AIM with Brenda who was at work in Arkansas. She called my mom while we were chatting to let her know we were all ok.
When I headed home at the end of the day on the 12th, I noticed something different outside the gate. See, there is a fighter jet on display just outside the gate, though the airfield is closed. The local Brits had come by throughout the day leaving flowers by the plane for us. There were LOTS of flowers there. I can still see those flowers, though they are long since gone, and I still cry. I still see that second plane, and I still cry. I still see the towers fall, and I still cry.
But I’m still angry. I’m still angry at the bastards who hijacked the planes. I’m still angry at everyone in the Middle East who danced in the streets rejoicing that America was suffering. I’m angry at all the damn political correctness the bleeding hearts of this country still hang on to thinking it will save them from the boogeyman.
9-11-2009: I was going to add more, but I will let it stand as is for now.
But I will never forget. Ever.