September 11, 2001, we dropped off our two kids with their great-grandmother, and started the drive to school. We were in our final years of completing our undergraduate degrees and in the early stages of building a better life for our young family. Like many others on that day, we were listening to the radio while driving to school. That’s when we heard the reports of the planes hitting the Twin Towers.
During that 30-minute drive to school we heard all the speculation of who might be behind the attacks, if there were other sites being targeted and if our city of Greensboro, NC was safe.
There was a huge knot building in the pit of my stomach and I felt terrible, because in that moment I couldn’t help but think about what this was going to mean for my family. I was fearful, and all I could hear was the Army Reserves recruiter’s voice in my head telling me that I should sign up because “we will never go to war again.”
I did not sign up for the Army Reserves, but my husband did to help with the expenses of college and starting a new family.
Classes were cancelled as soon as we arrived at school, and we were told to go home and be with our loved ones on that day.
That is precisely what we did.
We went to pick up our babies and headed home and watched the tragedies of that day replayed on television. I couldn’t shake the feeling that my life would be forever changed by the day’s events and I didn’t understand how. I personally did not know anyone in New York, DC or on any of the planes. It wasn’t until 9 years later that I found out exactly how it would change.
My husband received news of the letter that we thought might not come when we were at our son’s baseball practice.
We were just getting adjusted to moving to Los Angeles in 2004 and had recently learned that we were expecting our third child.
The letter contained instructions on where he was to report for his deployment to Iraq, he had been stop-lossed on his expiring contract with the Army Reserves.
He left for his deployment and I chose to stay in Los Angeles and continued to establish our new home. During that year-long deployment to Iraq we welcomed our new baby girl while he got to be in the delivery room via telephone.
Once he returned home from Iraq he struggled silently. The job he had lined up before his deployment was no longer available. Our family lost a huge income it once had and times were hard. He put on a good face and tried to provide the best he could, but he was hurting. The depths of his pain wouldn’t be revealed until some of his actions to self-medicate would cause our marriage to fall apart and end.
Through a renewed relationship with God, he is now in a much better place and continues to be a great father to our four children. Even though I didn’t know anyone personally that lost their life on September 11, 2001, those acts of terror against our country affected me and my family - who were several hundred miles away - and changed our lives.