Today holds many different emotions for me. Sadness, Anger, Pride, Danger, Flight or Fight, Exhaustion, Confusion, Wonderment, Disbelief and many, many more that I can’t seem to find words for.
9/11, the day the world stood still.
I was a Corpsman (Navy) stationed at the U.S. Capitol in DC and was assisting in a procedure on a member of congress who just so happened to be from New York when we got a call into the room stating for us to turn on the TV, there has been an event in NY that just happened. I cleared it with the Doc and the moment we turned on the TV, not 20 seconds later, the 2nd plane flew into the 2nd tower. The Congress member shouted an expletive and jumped out of their chair…as the doc and I stared at each other in disbelief.
The alarm to evacuate the Capital rang out and we were thrusted into action. Every individual in my command, there were only 12 of us, had a job to do in these types of emergencies, but all were centered around the safety of the Members of Congress and the Senate, with little to no concern for our own. I was on the first team that ran out to 1 of our 2 ambulances on the grounds. As we did, the plane that slammed into the Pentagon, flew right by the Capital and circled around to the Pentagon, as evident moments later by the black plume of smoke that raced towards the sky at the Pentagon.
Confused, we all had a job to do, and at that moment, adrenaline kicks in, your job duties become automatic and everything seemed to go in slow motion, even though they were happening really fast. I have never seen so many members of Congress, or the Senate in a state of “panic” before and as I surveyed my surroundings, I have never seen so many Snipers in my life either. They seemed to come out of nowhere and were positioned in very strategic “roof tops” around the Capital and surrounding buildings.
The day was a blur, but as I relive that day, over and over again, today seems very bitter sweet to me.
How this country has moved from being the most Patriotic country I have ever seen, to one that has become so complacent in the years following. We seem so Arrogant, so “Look at us”, so “Never Again”, that we aren’t prepared for something like this to happen again. The Boston bombings…remember that?
I was in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, I am a Veteran and I am deeply concerned about the future of our country, the very country I protected for 20 years of my life. What is it going to take to keep us Vigilant, Humble and thankful for the freedoms we have?
My Dissertation is focusing on our Military Veterans, and I want to thank each and every single Veteran, Active, Retired or Reservist that put their lives on the line each and every single day to protect this country.
9/11…where were you?
Feel free to share your thoughts and respond to this post.
Semper Fi and Semper Gumby,
Lance “Doc” Chennault