Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - September 11, 2001 - Where Were You?

flags_at_capitalToday is Patriot Day and also marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. I will take a moment today to remember all those lost in the tragic events of that day which changed our nation and the world forever. I also want to take this opportunity to write down, for future generations, where I was, what I was doing, and what I was thinking.
September 11, 2001 started out as a great and exciting day for me. I was stationed at Ramstein Air Base near Kaiserslautern, Germany and I was picking up my mom and sister (Kathy) from Frankfurt airport. This was there first visit to Germany and Europe and we had a busy two-week schedule ahead of us. The highpoint of the trip was taking my mom to visit her Dad’s (Joseph Lucas) gravesite at the Netherlands American Cemetery. He was killed just after WWII ended and my mom had never seen or even known where he was buried until I got an assignment to Germany and found the information.
After I picked them up from the airport we decided to head to a castle that wasn’t too far from my apartment. We wanted to keep a little busy during the day to help with the jet lag that 9-hour flight would leave. We visited the Burg Nanstein castle in Landstuhl, Germany and then headed for my apartment so they could unpack.
While they were unpacking, I was in my computer room checking some emails or something. I had the Today Show on the TV. I remember them breaking into the broadcast to show video of an unknown flight that crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York. I remember them talking about not knowing what happened and what a tragic accident. I don’t think I even had the first thought in my mind that it was a terrorist attack yet; just a tragic, almost unbelievable accident. I continued with whatever I was doing on the computer. Then, as they were showing the scene of the first crash, the second plane crashed into the other tower.
My chin and heart dropped right then. I remember thinking that this isn’t an accident anymore. I think that is when I went into the living room to make sure my mom and Kathy were watching the same thing that I was. Yes they were. The rest of the afternoon, we couldn’t take our eyes off the news coverage and I really had a hard time believing all that was true.
Mom at markerMy vacation was cut short and I had to report back to work and the distance I could travel from base was limited but we still made the most of the rest of their time in Germany. We were not going to let the terrorists totally disrupt every facet of our lives and ruin this time together. We traveled where we could. They made it to Trier, Heidelberg, Rudesheim, Kaiserslautern, and to my grandpa’s grave. The Netherlands was outside my 50-mile limit but I was not going to let my mom leave Europe without visiting her father’s grave and putting a little bit of closure to his death which happened 56 years earlier.
That day will always be a day of remembrance for America so we do not forget those that were killed and why we continue our war on terror. I understand and don’t think the memory of that day and what I was doing will ever fade but I wanted it written so when I do pass, my decedents will know what I was doing.
Have you written down what you were doing on that day?
Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ up that family.
Chris

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