Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Tuesday morning

September 11, 2001. A day that changed the face of our country and the lives of those living here. I remember feeling like I was in a daze for a week after. The safety and security I had always felt had been shaken. I was a first grade teacher at the time. I remember having to look into those innocent faces and try to explain to them that there is evil in the world. A fact that, until that point, most of them had never been confronted with before. I was stunned.

The following year I was engaged to a soldier and we were discussing wedding dates. We were also discussing death benefits and wills, just in case. We knew that it was looking like our country may go to war, which meant a potential deployment in our future. I was proud.

The following year we married. We bumped our wedding date up 3 months due to the fact that Major Hunk's unit had been activated. We got married on 5 days notice with our families blessings. One month later I sat on the couch with my new husband and watched the "shock and awe" attack that began this war on terror. I sat there trying to let the reality sink in. My husband of one month could leave for war on 24 hours notice. I could become a widow at age 27.
The reality was that his unit was deactivated by the end of that year and it became a waiting game. I was scared.

As the next few years passed, we went on with our lives. Living in such a way that denied, once again, that evil exists in our world. I was always waiting, watching for the signs that would tell us it was time for him to go. The soldier in him wanted to go. The husband in him didn't want to leave me. The patriot in me wanted him to go and serve our country, to use the training he had acquired over the past 13 years. The wife in me wanted to hide my head and not answer the phone, ever again. I was conflicted.

It wasn't until 2005 that we began hearing that he would be deployed within the year. I did the mature thing and didn't tell anyone. Because isn't it proven fact that if you don't talk about something, then it won't happen? Well, that theory was blown out of the water. When he got his orders, I was about 7 months pregnant with our daughter. We had to tell our family. I made it through Christmas and Cpl Cutie's birth. My post-partum period was out of control. I was in denial.

2006 and 2007 were consumed by deployment training and in-theater service. My life changed in ways I never imagined. But, I hope one thing will stick with me from this time: I hope I never again take our country's freedom for granted. My husband looked evil in the face. He saw things that I didn't even know existed. And I am certain that he saw things that he will never discuss with me. In 2008, he returned home to me safely. I was relieved.

So, seven years later, I have more gratitude for our country and the freedoms that it stands for. I love my family deeper than I knew I could. And I have such a deep rooted respect for the military families who serve our country selflessly. And to those who have lost a loved one in this fight for freedom: I have a gratitude that I can't even express for the sacrifice. It was not in vain. I am grateful.

September 11th : You changed my life. I will always remember.


Anonymous said...

your post is beautiful! i had an uncle in the pentagon(luckily he was not harmed) but i am truly thankful to men and women like your husband who have kept us safe since then! may God bless your family!