Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Life Re-Defined

I was happy to receive this month's shipment from the coffee gurus at Boca Java yesterday. I needed several cups of their Brew of Bravery this morning. "A portion of the proceeds support the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund honoring the bravery and dedication of our Armed Forces by providing educational schlorships to the children of fallen heroes." Seems appropriate today.

So, as I see a video clip of Rep. Dennis Kucinich's trip to Syria, doing a little war on terror bashing as he campaigns for the presidency of this country, I reflect on this day, six years ago.

It was a Tuesday, as it is today. I was standing in the parking lot of my son's school, watching the two classes of sixth graders of his small, private school board a chartered bus to transport them to the site of their 'outdoor education' excursion. It was to be a 5 day camping trip to Enchanted Rock. I waved them off and went inside to visit with other moms there. I was a Room Mother, so I was probably on the lookout for a willing volunteer for something. One of the other moms, the mom of one of my son's good friends, asked if I'd seen it. Seen it? Seen what? She had an SUV with a tv screen in the back seat and while watching the morning news saw the breaking news. One plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, she said. "We are a nation at war."

Well, I thought she was horribly mistaken. She is a highly educated woman, a graduate of Harvard undergrad and of Law School, but at times can overreact to a situation. I was so stunned I couldn't think straight. She said she made the kids turn off the tv and went into the school. I went into the school library. I was also a volunteer in the library and it wasn't particularly odd for me to stop by there and chat. Same story there. They had shut down the Internet availability there so the kids wouldn't come in to check it out.

I drove home and as I walked in the front door I glanced up and saw my mother, who was living with us as I was her caregiver in her later life, and she had such an odd look on her face. The cable news was on, as it usually is during the day around here and she had seen both planes hit the World Trade Center by now. I sat down and we both just watched in silence as the network ran it over and over as the latest videos became available.

I felt so strange. Just weird. My son was on a bus to the middle of the state. My husband was on the other side of the world, on his way to a location in China. We were scattered all over the place. My sister in Montana called. My sister in Indiana called. Our taxi driver called. Huh? Yeah. At the time, with my husband travelling more than he was home, he had established a rapport/friendship with a wonderful man who was training to be a Buddhist monk. He was from Vietnam and with my husband's service during that war could talk to him about the country. He was a lovely, kind man who I am sure is making a fine monk now. He moved to California to complete his training about 2 years ago. He invited us to his daughter's wedding before he left town so that my son could experience a Buddhist wedding and reception.

He was a reliable ride to the airport, any time of day or night.

Anyway, this man had taken my husband to the airport less than 24 hours before and knew my husband was going to Newark to connect on his overseas flight. He wanted to make sure my husband was ok.

Then the Pentagon attack happened. Then the flight in Pennsylvania went down. It didn't seem all that long before the F-14's or whatever they were began flying, keeping an eye on the city. That would continue for several months here. My city was a targeted city that day, had the whole plot been carried out.

My son's school was struggling to decide if they should have the bus turn around and bring the kids home or let them continue on. Most of the parents wanted the kids to just come home. So, by afternoon they were on the way back to be picked up. They re-scheduled the trip so the kids
went in the spring. Frankly, I was relieved to have the boy home with me.

My husband called from Hong Kong that afternoon. A co-worker found him at the hotel and woke him up to tell him to turn on CNN International. When I answered the phone all he could say was, "What the hell is going on there?" "Is everyone ok?"

We were physically. I haven't been the same intellectually since.

I am just as guilty of being asleep as anyone else leading up to that day. We knew a terrorist named bin Laden was out there, 'over there', and executing attacks on our embassies overseas and had been behind the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Clinton treated it as a legal, criminal act and issued indictments. His justice department wrote laws that the intelligence agencies couldn't put there findings together to work together. They had to remain separate. We learned so much more, of course, in hindsight.

Since the fog lifted and life continued on, our national security has become the single most important issue to me. As a policy wonk and a political junkie I have a renewed interest in foreign policy. I find the counter terrorism aspects fascinating. What can I say? I grew up loving to read Nancy Drew books. She was awesome.

I am not a big war hawk kind of person by nature. The people of my generation grew up with the Vietnam War and the thoughts of war tend to make my stomach cramp up a bit. I love my country and have no problem with anyone thinking I'm some kind of square for supporting it and flying a flag. I have the highest admiration for the military. All of the older men in my family are veterans of one branch or another, including my husband. That's a source of pride around here.

I have to say I have been disappointed with this administration's war effort in Iraq and think that the battle in Afghanistan should have continued on a little longer. Our military missions have been accomplished. I never doubted that they would for one minute. I'm no military expert.

I want bin Laden's head on a platter. Behead him as his thugs do our citizens.

All that said, I will say with certainty that I will never again even contemplate voting for a Democrat for the Presidency of this country. They are not worthy. They are cowards and poll watchers. There is no moral compass and the best interests of this country are the farthest thoughts from their small minds. I will never forget how they have turned their collective backs on our military and country at its greatest time of need. I will not forgive them.

The next attack will come. We are told over and over that it is when not if. I'm a believer.

Never forget.

Never submit.


Paul is a Hermit said...

The Democrats can't please anyone, not Republicans, not MoveOn, not even Bin Laden who is counting on them to make his job easier by intimidating everyone into submission and inevitable acceptance. Even he's not happy with them.

We are a country besieged right now, kept alive by our military and our wealth. I dare say Democrats have been doing their best to destroy our military and both parties are set about squandering our wealth.

Almost from the beginning, certain organizations have made it their live's work to care for and protect our enemy. To cater to and foster opposition to anything put forth by our commanders, civilian or military, to place as many roadblocks in their paths, to encourage any opposition to them, to even expose when possible, plans and undercover operations designed solely to protect us within the law. Over and over again.
Worst of all, voters forgive and forget just as often.

Debbie said...

Thanks for sharing your personal experience of Septemer 11.

I agree with you, that Bush has not handled this war the way it should have been handled. Well, the beginning was a huge success, but the aftermath was not anticipated or planned for. That's a big negative for Bush et al.

Now we have Iran nipping at our heals, how will we handle that?

wordnerd said...

Well done, Karen. I remember where I was when it happened and how it felt when they started evacuating our building due to bomb threats.

I'll never forget.

Incognito said...

Amen to that, Karen!

And that's why it is so important to vote for a Repub. nominee that can win the presidency. One who is ultra strong on defense. Social issues are irrelevant at this stage in the game.