Every year in September I have the same kind of day.
A day just once a year, when I am filled with sadness.
When a hole opens in my chest.
When I wonder what if.
When I look back.
I was too young to fully understand what was happening on September 11th.
To be completely honest at the age of 14 I wasn’t even really sure what the World Trade Center was.
So I went to school and every thing was hectic.
And then my sister ripped me out of school.
And then we got home and I saw the news.
I knew my world could quite very well change.
Quickly and drastically.
My father had just retired from 23 years of service with the United States Marine Corps.
What if they wanted him back?
What if my dad had to go to war?
And now 11 years later I still wonder what if…
What if instead of tragedy and despair on September 11th 2001,
It was just another day.
Would I still be married?
Would countless families be unaware of the loss and pain of losing a loved one?
Would I still spend my days worrying, praying, and thinking about my friends, some of my closest friends and family even, being in a place where danger is hiding around every corner?
Would I spend more money at the post office than I ever thought possible?
Would I know what baked goods stay good for the 10-day shipping period?
Would I know of the pain and emptiness that fills your heart when the person you love is gone?
Would I know of comforting friends as they worry about their husbands?
What would our lives look like if that day had never come?
If it had gone on like every other fall September day…
What I do know is, that I am proud.
I am proud to have been married to a man who served his country.
I am proud to say that I have a father who is a Marine and had 23 years of active duty service.
I am proud to say that I have a grandfather who spent 30 years in the Navy and did two tours in Vietnam.
I am proud to say I have an Uncle who was an Airborne Ranger for over 25 years; a man who spent the better part of his life in a war zone.
I am proud to say I watched my cousin receive his officer rank after completing 4 years of military college and rigorous training, as his bars were pinned on him by his own father they both struggled to hold back emotion.
I know that I am proud.
I know that while I wish more than anything that those men and women were at home with their families; safe and sound out of harms way, I will stand behind them and show them respect and gratitude.