Yahoo! is asking Americans how September 11 changed them. Below is an account from a reader.My husband was one of those men who ate, slept, and breathed Army...His dad and his dad and his dad before that all proudly served in the Army. My husband served on active duty for ten years. We were married the week that he graduated from Mississippi State. The following summer we began our journey through the ranks at Frankfurt, Germany. From Frankfurt we moved to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and to Dallas/Fort Worth. While he loved being in the Army, I honestly was not happy because I wanted to "settle down and raise our family." We laugh and say that he got out so that he wouldn't be deployed, but he's been deployed ever since.
[Your story: How has September 11 changed you?]He came off of active duty in 1997, but stayed in the Reserves---too much green blood flowing through his veins to hang up the uniform for good and let it gather dust. He was working for the Corps of Engineers as a military person on a Friday and walked back in as a civilian on a Monday. We built a house here and thought we were going to live "happily ever after."...but God had other plans.
His first deployment was to Kosovo for six months. This was the deployment that he was heading out the door for on September 11th. Needless to say, all flights were cancelled. We weren't sure at that point whether he was going to go at all or if he would end up going somewhere else. I think that the hearts of all men and women in uniform and their families were thumping a billion beats per minute---half scared to death for what lay in store and half excited that they were going to get to serve their country..."Duty, Honor, Country"...He and his unit drove from Fort Worth to Atlanta and finished their six-month deployment.
The year after he came home, he received orders for Afghanistan. He was so excited, but I was scared to death. What happened to our "living happily ever after" and "getting out so that he wouldn't be deployed"?! So much for that idea. ... He came back for two years and then received orders for Iraq...He came back for a year and then received orders again for Afghanistan. After being home for another year, he went over there as a civilian with the Corps of Engineers for eighteen months. Working for the Corps of Engineers, he has helped build schools and roads and buildings for the military personnel. I am so very proud of him and his unit, but I never thought that watching the events on 9/11 would change the lives of so many military families for years and years to come.
This last time that he came home, he finally retired. But the saga still continues because now he has been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. To watch a man like him have to go through this has been really hard...someone willing to jump out of moving helicopters and eat grasshoppers, now being afraid to drive on the interstate and board an airplane even to go visit our families for Christmas. He is doing much better now, but that one day in New York has changed our lives forever. Changed our lives negatively because he has missed so much time that he could have spent with our three daughters and is now dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Changed our lives positively because he has been able to truly make a difference in the lives of people all the way around the world..."Some people look back on their lives and ask what they have contributed to Society, military personnel do not have to ask."...and because we realize that each day truly is a gift from God and that we cannot take each other for granted.
- Corps of Engineers
- Corps of Engineers