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Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Ten years laster

A day that I will never forget is September 11, 2001.  There are others.  Everyone has their own version of what they remember of that day and everyone's is unique in it's own right.  But I want to tell you a different type of story.  One that you may not have heard before if for no other reason than it is my story.
See 10 years ago I was on this Ship.  I was still active duty in the US Navy.  I was worried about things like advancing to the next paygrade and getting qualifications done.
Getting these pins was important to many sailors at this time.  I was proud that I earned them.  But on 9/11 for the sailors aboard the USS Enterprise a different feeling was felt.  See for us it was 5pm as we were floating a few time zones away.  The morning of the 12th was to be a great day for many sailors as we were going to be crossing the equator a big milestone as young sailors like me become shellbacks.  But as luck would have it that honor has never been bestowed upon me.  I am still a Pollywog.  I am sure you are wondering what in the world that has to do with 9/11 right?   With so many people loosing their lives or fighting for them who cares that a sailor miles away isn't going to get to cross the equator but for us it was so much more.  Not crossing the equator meant we weren't going home.  See that was just the beginning of our long journey back home from a 6 month deployment.  We were going to cross the equator and then go around the horn of Africa.  When that first plane hit those plans were cancelled.

I started my day at 5pm as I was working nights.  I was getting ready for work at the time.  I worked in the ships Brig.  Yup thats right this gardener was a prison guard for the US Navy.  Looking at that picture of me above it's hard to see it.....but I was.  As I was getting ready the Captain came on over the ships loudspeaker to announce that a plane had hit the world trade center.  I could begin to feel the ship turn.  See the Enterprise is a Aircraft Carrier.  A very big ship that is basically a small city and for the most part you didn't feel her turn or move.  But that day we did.  By the time I was dressed and ready for work and down in the ship's Brig the second plane had hit.  We did have a few prisoners at the time and due to the situation they were on the lower level watching CNN.  As I got to the lower level the first tower fell, then the next.

For the crew of the Enterprise the next month was hard.  We couldn't sent emails home or call home.  When they did let us email we had to send that email to our boss who read it and sent it on to his boss who read it and usually sent it on home.  Security was very tight.  Eventually we just kept on working anything to keep our minds off what had happened.  Until the day that after lights out the Captain came on the 1MC (loud speaker sorry) to inform the crew that an hour ago one of our sister ships began launching missiles at the enemy.  You could hear the cheers from all over.  Smiles on everyone's faces and a new drive to get work done.

These events changed a lot for the sailors on board.  Knowing that finally after a month of silence we were doing something and that soon there would be a date set for our return home.  See my version of the events of September 11, 2001 are indeed different from others as it wasn't just one day.  For us it was over a month long.  I have since gotten out of the Military (2009) after serving 11 years.  And now 10 years laster after that day I still remember it like it was yesterday.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones and to those that were helping to keep our country safe.  Even though that was me at the time I thank everyone who ever served even for a day in the Military and thank those that still are.  I know the sacrifices that you and your family have made and understand the importance of the job.  God bless you and I pray you are safe where ever you are.

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