Today marks the very sad 11th anniversary of the attack on American soil of the World Trade Center, Twin Towers, The Pentagon & Shanksville, PA (Somerset County). This day has a very huge impact on many Americans as well as my life today. Many of you who are reading this probably already know what happened, but I want to tell you all how I learned of the attack and the effects it has had on my life.
September 11, 2001 I was still living at my dad and step-moms house. I had just graduated high school in May & went to Gulfport, Mississippi for military training. I was sleeping and awaken by my stepmom, Ginger. She came into my room to wake me and tell me that a plane had flown straight into one of the twin towers in New York City. I was currently working as a receptionist at the local veterinarian clinic. If my memory serves me correctly this happened on a Tuesday morning. I was due to be at work later that day. The phone rang soon there after from my reserve unit to put us on stand-by for we didn’t know what was going to happen. Being an engineer, we didn’t know if we would have to go to NYC to clean up or what. I called into work to let them know that I wouldn’t be able to make it in because my unit had called and we were on stand-by if we got called up.
I didn’t know what to think about all of this. It was a lot to take in. Right then, the second plane hit the other tower. I was in pure shock. I didn’t quite know how to process all of this. All I knew is that must have been a dream. Was I still sleeping? No, I sure wasn’t. Emotions took over my body, not knowing how to handle this. All the families that didn’t know the status of their loved ones. What did this do to them? Like I said, it was a lot to take in.
My unit, A. Co. 980th Engineering Battalion was on call, but not called to war until 2003-2005. Not deploying to a war zone before I didn’t know what was in store for me or the others that were going to Iraq with me. I was only 20 years old, I am my father’s only daughter, what was about to happen? All this training that the Army had taught me was about to be put to the test.
I was living with my best friend Gina in Houston, TX when I got the phone call. “SPC Grimes you are being deployed with the 980th Engineering Battalion in December 2003.” I ran down to where Gina was and told her what was said. Then I called my dad to tell him. His encouraging words were, “this is part of u being a Soldier.” I moved back to Dallas, to stay with my dad & Ginger while my unit was training & getting ready to deploy. I was so scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen over there. It was Christmas Eve morning when we all got called to formation while we were mobilized to Fort Hood, Tx where we were told that Saddam Hussein was captured. This was a sigh of relief, with the questions posing, “did we still have to deploy?” The answer was yes. None of us Soldiers were happy about that, however defending our nation is what we signed up to do.
As March rolled around I made one last phone call to my dad telling him that I loved him and I would see him soon. The next phone call he got was about a week later telling him that I was in Kawait, letting him know I had made it alright. By April we had gone North. A year passed and now I have completed the most honorable task that I had ever been asked to do in my life. As a 21 year old female in the United States Army I was honored to protect the greatest nation of all.
As I sit here this morning, September 11, 2012; 11 years later, I listen to American Soldier by: Toby Keith and shed tears knowing that all those families & friends that were effected by this day 11 years ago will never be the same. I continue to pray for all who lost their lives in the biggest hit on The United States soil. Not to forget all my brothers & sister in arms that gave their lives to defend.
Remember what this day means to you. Where were you when this happened 11 years ago? How did you learn of this disaster? What are you doing today to remember this day?