"Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru." -- Charlotte Joko Beck

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I Remember All Too Well

It started like any other morning, listening to the news in the car while stuck in Washington, DC commuter traffic. I was in uniform, reporting to the Naval Media Center at Anacostia for my 2-week Navy Reserve duty.

Heard on the news about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. No details yet, so I'm thinking a small private plane and "how stupid or drunk was that pilot? "

As I approach the gates to the base, the second plane hits. This is no...t an accident, but it makes no sense.

Standing in the parking lot, speaking with a fellow sailor about what's going on in New York when we hear a distant fwoomp. Smoke begins to rise on the horizon. From the rooftop we could see it was coming from the direction of the Pentagon. Holy crap! It's official. We are under attack!

Everything goes into lockdown, and all sorts of speculation about what is going on as news reports of bomb threats, shootings and more plane crashes flood the media. Phone lines are overwhelmed so hours go by before I can reach my wife to make sure she is safe and let her know that I was alright. Everyone else is going through the same thing, especially those of us with friends or family at the Pentagon.

We are swamped with emotions -- fear, anger, sorrow, determination, resolve -- all at the same time. Those first 24 hours were Hell.

My team and I finally were able to get to the Pentagon the next day and we went to work documenting the recovery and volunteer efforts. I don't know how we were able to film things through all the tears, but we did.

Through it all, I can tell you that I have never been more proud of my fellow sailors and Marines at the Naval Media Center. Even more, however, as we learned about the brave acts of those on Flight 93, first responders and citizens in New York, and our fellows at the Pentagon, and how people from all over came together to help each other, I was never more proud to be an American.

Our nation and way of life are both coveted and hated by those who don't have the same rights and privileges we do.

We are resilient and strong. And we will thrive. Because we will NEVER FORGET.

Originally posted 9/11/2015 on my LinkedIn page