My Thoughts & Memories – 9/11/2001
Today is a difficult day for me. Not because I am battling some sort of upper respiratory infection, although that doesn’t make any it easier. Today is difficult for me because I lost friends in the Pentagon attack on 9/11/2001. Although it has been 11 years since the 9/11 attack, that day and the days following it are still fresh in my mind. Some events are a blur, but the ones I remember are very clear. I would like to share a bit about three of the closest friends that died in the attack.
I worked with Kevin while stationed in Washington, D.C. I always looked forward to seeing him as he always had a smile on his face. He was one of those people who made you feel good just by spending time around him. His happiness and joy was infectious and his smile spread to everyone who met him.
I also worked with Danny. He had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the room when he spoke with you. Like Kevin, he was often smiling and happy to see you. Danny was also a lot of fun. He was always up for goofing around and joking. After I transferred to Virginia, I had a chance to work with Danny on the set up of a video teleconference just weeks before 9/11. He made my day and the work that we had to do to get everything working less frustrating. It will also be a special memory for me as that was the last time I saw him, even though it was over a video screen.
Melissa Rose Barnes
Melissa and I met by complete accident. She had orders to work at an entirely different command. She arrived in D.C. to find out that her orders where no where in the system. She was confused, frustrated, and I am sure a little scared, feeling like a fish out of water. The person assisting her wasn’t the nicest either, treating her like it was her fault that the orders where not in the system.
My command decided to take her and I was sent to go pick her up. Seeing that she was clearly distraught, I offered to stop at the park on base so that she could get her thoughts together before reporting to our command. We bonded immediately. I made sure that she was placed in my barracks so, that she had a familiar face and a possible carpool buddy if needed. As it turned out, they placed her in the room right next to mine. We were neighbors and great friends for six months.
We then decided to be roommates and look for a two bedroom apartment that we could both afford. In the D.C. area, that typically means living a good 30 miles out as living near D.C. is pretty expensive. We found a two bedroom apartment in Dale City, Virginia and moved in right away. I could write an entire book on my memories of that time. We became very close, learning a lot about each other, and developing habits as roommates.
My favorite memories revolve around our weekend morning routines. We had a dining room table that was never used for dining. It was always covered in a jigsaw puzzle :-). On Sundays in particular, she would make coffee and I would get cinnamon buns warmed. Then, we would sit at the table putting together the puzzle, chatting, and enjoying our little special cinnamon roll treat.
I also remember being snowed in one day. Literally. We woke to our cars having been buried into their parking spot and snow many, many feet thick. We were told not to come into work as the roads were practically impossible to drive. We had one very big problem though. We were out of coffee! We hopped into my first husbands truck that I was using. It had four-wheel drive so, we knew it had to be able to get through the storm to the market a couple of blocks away. No matter how much we shoveled or how determined I was to get over the hump in low gear, it wasn’t going to happen. So, even though there was very little visibility, we decided to walk to the store. I was previously stationed in Iceland and coffee was very important, so the huge storm was not about to hold us back. That was one heck of a walk there and back. We spent the entire day snowed in with our puzzle and lots of time to chat.
Maybe some time I will share my account of 9/11 and the days and weeks that followed. I have a lot to tell, from seeing military vehicles driving faster than my (ex) husband and I were driving (over 95mph) to get to the Naval bases in Virginia to calling friends at the Pentagon over and over in an attempt to make sure that they were okay, to not knowing if my (ex) husband’s ship was sent to the Middle East or still in Virginia. But, that is a story for a different time. I’ve already written so much here that I would be surprised if anyone is still reading this. If I simply continued sharing memories of my friends, this would be long enough to count as a college essay.
I will never forget that day nor the people I loved and lost in that horrific attack. No matter how many years go by, it will always be fresh in my mind. 9/11 has affected us all in various ways and degrees. And, although the effect was and is very negative, we all have each other to share with and support.
None of us are alone today.