May 29, 2005
On September 10, 2001, I didn’t think once about the Twin Towers. I didn’t think about the rotting Middle East and how it affected me. I didn’t wonder about our troop levels and whether we have enough military to fight a few different wars at once.
And then nothing was the same again. I wanted to hide under my bed. I didn’t want to take the subway because I was scared it would blow up. I didn’t want my brother taking the Brooklyn Bridge or the Brooklyn Battery tunnel to commute to school. Both felt like such obvious targets. I didn’t want to travel or go out. I just wanted to sit on my friend’s couch and ask again and again ‘how could this happen?’
There were those who saw the towers fall and reacted very differently.
They joined the military. They knew that war was coming and that it would last for a long while. These aren’t people who joined during peacetime to pay for college and these aren’t people who were drafted like in previous wars, though I respect all those people just the same. While the rest of us tried to get back to just worrying about our everyday lives, these men went off to fight our battles to allow us to do just that.
We know the names of some of them, like Pat Tillman who left his luxurious life behind and died in Afghanistan. There are so many others who did the same whose names we don’t have ready on our tongues. So, today I’m going to remember the men who saw the towers fall, saw the Pentagon get hit, saw that plane crash in Pennsylvania and didn’t spend the next few months getting drunk with their friends, trying to forget. They heard the call to war and they became warriors. On this Sunday before Memorial Day, I salute these men.