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9/11 Memorial NYC – Remembering The Day That Changed Everything

November 6, 2013
06NOV2013 ImageImageImage
Walking through now for the second time things are so anew. Walking along side fellow veterans and their family members makes this experience so different with more meaning more purpose. We each of had joined for various reasons but I sharing that purpose we share 1 common theme, what happened upon these grounds and the many names (Lives) that line these pools of memories. 
This is where it starts for me, from the campus of Pellissipi State where I watched, in the beginning, unknowingly the attacks happening live. What I thought was a movie I would relax watching while between classes I walked into the auditorium, little did I know how that would become the biggest decision point of my life. This was real, we had been attacked and we would suffer the loss of thousands. Upon it all sinking in I would then put my face in my hands take a gasp of air and think about my family and particularly the youngest additions being my nieces, Anela and Isabelle. With a focus and their lives and feeling a need to protect them I would find my way to the recruiting station to re-enlist not yet knowing what my second life of military service would hold.
Many things would change for me as I’d find out the Navy no longer required the skill set I had been trained for 3 short years ago and that they would “re-rate” me in Great Lakes. Not liking not having control of my own path and not trusting others with my future I walked next door the Army recruiter and said, “what do have, I’m prior service Navy but open to anything”. He sat me in front of a tv popped in a video and said “give this a look”. It was a video for Special Forces and he further described the “pipeline” 18X program or Special Forces recruit. Upon questioning him on the varying skill sets 18C called my name, “I’m in let’s get this rolling”. 18C, basically the guy who either builds things or destroys things, yup that’s what I want to do. I’d have to go through basic training, I didn’t care since I understood the purpose of basic I was fine with doing it again. He followed that up with, “Airborne school” and my response was “awesome” I would later find out how, not awesome (bad grammar I know) static line parachuting in the Army was but would grow extremely proud of being a Paratrooper. Sadly due to injury I would not be destined for the life of a Special Forces operator but my career(in the infantry both Airborne a and leg) in the end was still Special made special all those I had the honor of serving along side.
Due to school, work, needing to get back into “Military” shape and an apartment lease I would be placed delayed entry with an entry PT test in a couple months. Due to the amount of time I had to prepare I would score really well running the fastest 2-mile (11:45) I had ever run to that point, knocked out 106 push-ups and 73 sit-ups after signing some paperwork and swearing in it would now be just 2 weeks till my new journey would begin. 
So circling back:
With what started on such a tragic day on September 11 2001 and today walking the grounds (of Ground Zero) today with veterans of various branches of service and their families, this is for me is a time for reflecting; grasping onto the most rewarding, emotional, humbling and traumatic decision of my life. It brought me new found joys and never ending friendships but also the tragic pain of loss. So to my brothers lost I miss you and will always remember you, to my brother still with us I love you guys with everything I’ve got and to all service members past, present and future those who serve(d) with honor and pride thank you for serving our great nation.


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