9/11September 11, 2012
I need to find a copy of what my father-in-law wrote for T1′s class last year about the tragedy 11 years ago. He was in Crystal City and his military command was where the plane hit the Pentagon. I don’t think that fact hit me until we took a tour of the Pentagon with the Chief’s sister and her family and my FIL & MIL. He quietly told my girls as we entered the Memorial that “so and so’s desk was here. I worked with him.” I will always be grateful he wasn’t there that day.
I’ve mentioned before that the Chief had his leave extended for at least two weeks because he filled in for someone else who had a tragic death in the family back in August. Of all the emotions tied to the event, all the horror and fear, on top of that I had to feel guilty that in my mind popped the thought “He could have been on one of those cross-country flights … but he wasn’t because someone else had a tragedy a month ago.” Absolutely there is no way to even begin to know if the Chief would have really been on one of those flights. We don’t get firm call-back dates; you can never say for sure when they’re coming home or when they’re going. But that thought still popped into my mind and I feel bad for feeling grateful someone else had a tragedy.
If I feel bad for that thought, I can’t begin to imagine what the survivors feel. Survivor’s Guilt is a very real and powerful thing to try to overcome. My mother has told me that my father will not go to the Vietnam Memorial to find the name of his best friend–because my dad never saw combat. In fact, the only casualty in the topo (map making) unit was human error (I believe he fell into the printing press). I have not heard this from my father so take it with a grain of salt.
The events of 9/11 triggered many of my PTSD responses. I still cannot watch for prolonged periods any of the footage.
My BIL posted this as his status today:
It was nice to see at least the TSA draping the large flag over the side of one of their buildings facing the Pentagon this morning. In the years shortly after 9/11, most of the buildings in and around Crystal City would do such a tribute. I miss those days….
I responded: Sadly, in a few more years, 9/11 will have the same significance and meaning as Dec. 7th. Last year T1′s teacher pointed out that hers was probably the last class to be able to say they were alive on 9/11 and the memories they have of it will solely be those of their parents.
Let us never forget or become complacent. God Bless the victims, the survivors, the first responders.