This day 7 years ago I grew up. I joined the Navy to get away from home(and ended up getting stationed back home for 6 years). I had pride in my country, but not as much as I should have, or near the amount that I have now. I was a young spoiled punk kid that took everything for granted. In June of that same year, I got to my first ship. On September 11, the safe little world that I lived in, just like so many others, came crashing down around me.
I can remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember the faces, I can remember the smells, I remember the terror. We were on the mess decks eating breakfast when it grew silent and all eyes went to the TV 's as we watched a plane fly into a building that was standing next to another that already had a plane in it. We watched those towers fall. And then the words over the 1MC. "Make preperations to get underway." There were 3 ships inport that were able to get U/W. There were 3 places to guard, Seattle, Bremerton and the subs at Bangor. We didnt know where we were going yet, just that we had to leave. Once, I found out where we were going, I called my parents and I told my mom, "I am not going to be home tonight. I can't tell you where we are going, but I am safe."
We went to Bangor and stayed there for 3 days. Driving circles, with orders to shoot down anything that flew within 13nm of the base. No questions asked. I had never been so scared before. We had no idea what was happening. We didn't know what city would be next. One night while I was on watch, after all the planes had been grounded, we had an air contact, and the OOD hesitated for a second on an order from the CO, and in the blackness of the bridge, I remember him screaming, "We are in an F****** war here!"
The powers that be, said that we could come back home. I remember the feeling of patriotism just oozing out of everyone I passed on the streets. I remember people standing at freeway over-passes with flags draped over just waving at cars. We were united.
And today it makes me so sad that people have forgotten that feeling of pride in their country. That willingness to do anything to protect this land. The majority now want to give up on a war that is almost won, surely sending a message of defeat to our enemies. That is not what this country was built on. That is not how we became a free country. I am so blasted proud of every single one of those men and women that are fighting for our country. Whether it be over in the Middle East or on a boat somewhere in the Ocean. Thank you. Thank you for your sacrafices you make every day to protect us. To keep the war off of our own land.
Thank you Johnathan, My Maria, J., Scott, Alex, and thank you to all of the spouses that are at home supporting them.
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