To me it is just crazy that 10 years have flown by. Like every other American I will never forget that day. Four years ago I got to add another reason not to forget today's date.
Ten years ago, Chaz and I had only been married for a few months. So I was just getting to know the military system. I also had taken a job as a manager at a Sonic here in Clarksville. Ten years ago no one here in Clarksville wanted a college education military spouse. I was a liability. They would not sink time and money into someone who might move away.
Ten years ago I woke up with a horrible sinus infection. So I made an appointment to go to the doctor after I sent Chaz off to work. I knew I needed help. As I write this, I am wondering if my allergies and sinuses are trying to recreate that same infection. I got moving and got ready to go and my sister calls to tell me someone crashed a plane into a building. I immediate thought oh those poor families what a horrible accident. Then I went on about my business to get to the doctor.
Ten years ago, I got in my car to go to post and as I got towards post I got into stand still traffic. I was rocking out to a CD and just thought, hmm, I wonder what's going on. I sat there rocking out for a few minutes. Then a solider got out of his car and I rolled down the window. He asked if I was listening to a CD and I said yes. He then said you need to turn on the radio we're at war. I looked at him and said excuse me. At that very same moment Little Birds (little attack helicopters) popped into the air. I turned on the radio and got caught up. That plane that I thought was an accident was intentional?! I immediately went to the thought of who the heck would do that?! How stupid are you to fly a plan into a building?! Then they hit the pentagon and fear really took over me. Chaz was on post and of course the phones were blacked out. Chaz's guys were second on the list to be called up if war broke out. Well here it was, so what was going to happen. Oh my goodness we have another Pearl Harbor, was my exact thought.
The Army sent people out to redirect traffic. If you were active duty or lived on post you got onto post, if not, you were out of there. You better have proof that you live on post too. You were not going for a commissary run anytime soon let me assure you. So I went to work. I was scheduled to work that day. When I walked in, everyone got quiet. I was the only infantry wife, and they all knew what was going on. I was fairly good friends with my boss at the time and I decompressed and cried to him. I then sucked it up and got to work.
When I got off work, I went to our apartment and waited. Chaz came in after dark for his TA-50 (everything the Army issues you for deployments). He told me what they knew, which was very little. He said we're up next if they call. If you don't hear from me for more than 48 hours I am gone. I will call as much as possible, just don't worry. (Yeah right, don't worry). And then he was gone.
We got very lucky that his guys didn't get called to leave. Instead they were ordered to protect Ft Campbell. Chaz's platoon got to cover the middle school. It was crazy that his duty station was the middle school. I can still remember all the constantino (totally misspelled) wire everywhere. I remember the first time I drove on post. I had a military ID card, but I had to have the car searched and answer a ton of questions before I could go see Chaz. I took tons of dinners, snacks and food to those guys over the course of the next few months. Just before Christmas, it calmed down a little and I got to have my hubby back a little bit more.
It's crazy to look back and see how the Army has changed so much. It's a totally different Army. Some of it is great and some of it is unrealistic. (I think that's a separate blog.)
Ten years later, my family has a direct and visible result from that catalyst. My Muslim friend was scared to come talk to me. She thought we would be mad at her because of Chaz's injuries. I am so thankful that a big hug and some reassuring words made her understand that we do not blame her, nor anyone of her religion for Chaz's injuries. Chaz was injured by someone who didn't want him and his soldiers there. More than likely it was a male who was a farm owner. We'll never know who it was. But we have peace knowing that God will take care of us and the persons who hurt our family and friends as well. Chaz and I do not blame anyone. Here's how we feel. If another country tried to invade our country and change our lives we'd all fight and plant bombs to protect our families. That is what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. They do not want to change and they are going to resist us. You cannot blame them for wanting to keep everything the same. The way they have lived has worked for so long. Why should they change? Why should we force them? We are the invaders and we are trying to change their lives and they don't want the change and truly don't understand it.
I still believe Chaz was injured for a purpose. I made my peace with it January 22nd. I grieved for his physical changes that day and knew God would give me the strength to carry on and that He would see us through and I haven't been wrong yet.
Fours years ago, 9-11 took on a additional meaning in our lives. My friend, Kristy lost her husband Dave in a helicopter accident that day. We have had the privilege to watch her and her boys heal and grow as Dave smiles down upon them. She has served as an example to me of hope and courage. Please also remember this family today as well.
I know it is hard to forgive the actions of 9/11, but you have to. God will help you, if you let him. You have to let it go. You cannot move on without forgiving. To err is human, to forgive is divine. To me the forgiveness is easy, but I will never forget, none of us will. Those men truly believed what they were doing was acceptable. To me they were brainwashed and truly were not capable of independent thought. We cannot go back and erase it so we must move forward.
Joel Osteen once said "If you notice your rear view mirror is very small in comparison to the windshield in front of you." To me this shows you should always be conscious of what's behind you, but to focus more on what's in front of you. Always remember those families, but carry on and don't let the enemy win. They win is you don't forgive them. They win if you are still afraid. They win if you allow them any control. The enemy is just like that playground bully. Once you stand up they will not challenge you again. Stand up! Live you life! Life is so great if you forgive and extinguish that fear. This is the only life we have, live everyday to the fullest and defeat that enemy by doing so. The Allen family will not let them win and neither should you.
We will always remember 9/11. God Bless those people in the buildings. God Bless the men and women who ran into the fire and the rubble to save them. God Bless their families. God Bless them all. I pray the Lord lifts them up and heals them like his is healing our family.