I'm sure most of you, as I do, remember where you were and what you were doing exactly 7 years ago on that fateful and life-changing day – 9/11/01. I was in college, having gone back to pursue a degree in mathematics. Not only did I attend school there, I also worked in the testing center of the college administering tests and grading papers. I had just arrived at work, getting ready to sit down and eat a healthy breakfast of powdered donuts and Diet Coke. The testing coordinator was in her office while I was eating and preparing the testing center for the first students. She called out from the room, "A plane just hit the World Trade Center." Startled, I immediately ran into her office to watch the news reports online. The reports stated it was a small plane, and was an accident. I was standing there with her as the second plane hit. I knew then it was no accident.
In that instant, I thought of my children, my family and my friends. Did I know anyone in New York City? Was anyone I knew supposed to by on an airplane that day? Were all my loved ones safe? Thankfully they were as I checked in with family and friends. My loved ones were safe, but others loved ones were not. I prayed silently for them, for the losses of so many, for the rescuers and for our country.
I knew the repercussions would be severe and the country had been changed forever. I watched as the devastation unfolded. For the next 2 hours my eyes were glued to the online and television reports. It was beyond anything I ever imagined could happen to our great and seemingly safe country. My eyes welled up with tears as I saw pictures, videos and heard horrifying reports. As time passed by I realized I had to get to class. Hard to think, here I was going to class while others were in the midst of utter chaos.
It seems more than fitting that on this anniversary, one of the Stay At Home Mom's (SAHM) groups I am a member of is having a Patriot Day Playdate this evening. We are not gathering to talk about our political views, or converse about whether we need to be in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are gathering to support and encourage our troops that are fighting for our country and the freedom we tend to take for granted. We have adopted one soldier in particular, Alan Kersbergen. He writes:
22 Aug 2008:
I represent a small aviation unit from Ft Hood, Texas. There are a couple female crew chiefs and several male pilots and other crew members. Some individuals have refrigerators in their rooms and others do not, but we all have electricity. My main reason for contacting you is for the junior enlisted crew members that sometimes go weeks without receiving any mail. I would suggest personal hygiene products, perhaps some batteries (aa/aaa) those seem to always come in handy. Other suggestions may be reading material, auto or aviation related. I've also seen a high demand for small finger lights, I think they sell them at wal-mart for like a dollar or two, but they always seem to be in need in the cockpit at night. Some other suggestions may be cleaning supplies for their rooms, swiffer pads, anti bacterial wipes etc; I wouldn’t suggest sending pressurized bottles or large bottles of chemicals. Also small notepads, envelopes, coloring books, black pens, mechanical pencils, erasers, calculators, snack foods, powdered drink mixes, rice crispy treats, movies, I hope I was specific enough, a lot of these individuals have very little here and resources sometimes are limited due to the exchange running out of items and so forth. Thank you for all of your support, I cannot begin to tell you how appreciative we are for the help that is provided.
Ashleigh and I made a trip to Walmart this morning to buy items for these brave men and women who are asking for so little, though doing so much for us. When our SAHM group meets this evening, the moms will be organizing and packing items to ship off to this aviation unit, while the children write notes and draw pictures for these brave men and women. It may not seem like much, but our support and encouragement go a long way to lifting their spirits. It's important to let those who are risking their lives to serve our country just how proud we are of them. Every little bit helps!