Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom Isn't Free

10 September 2014

Home of the Brave

   America.  The Home of the Brave.  The Land of the Free.  That's what I think of when someone mentions our country.  It truly is the Land of the Free because it is the Home of the Brave.  And the Brave are our nation's Veterans.  Every Veteran, in my opinion, is brave.  Yet, do you have to be a Vet to be brave? 
   Pardon my wandering mind in the opening section, but it's a question that I have in my mind.  There are so many memories that swirl around this time of year.  Tomorrow is the 13th anniversary of the attacks on NYC, the Pentagon, and rural Pennsylvania.  All of The United States of America really.  I've also lost 9 Brothers-In-Arms in August  and September over the past 9 years.  Two others  have been horrifically wounded in that time span.  And I have still have Brothers (&Sisters) in-Arms still serving.  One just joined the military in the past year.  That's Bravery for you.
   And, at times that are troubling, bravery is carrying on.  I remember the attacks on September 11th vividly.  I was in the PA Army National Guard at the time.  My civilian job was working for a telecommunications company doing telecom relay, a service for deaf and hard of hearing people.  I was working a split shift that day in 2001.  I would work 4 hours in the morning, have four hours off, and then come back in to work for another 4 hours.  Well, my shift that day started at 9 a.m.  Before going on the "call floor" I saw the news reports of the planes hitting the World Trade Center Towers.  I was so shocked that I unconsciously dropped a bottle of Mountain Dew I had just bought out of a vending machine.  The next few hours were chaotic evil.  No one knew what the hell was happening.  Operators on the floor were trying to piece together what was happening.  We didn't have a t.v. to watch for news updates.  All phone lines to NYC and the surrounding area were down.  As relay operators we had to type verbatim what we heard.  So, when an error message said that a tornado had hit New York City, we had to type that.  Of course that didn't make sense to our customers but you weren't supposed to interject anything.  Federal rules.  Rules which I and others broke that day as we explained that phone lines were down because of an attack on New York City. 
   The calls were numerous that day.  And not all of it was for New York.  Georgia was a state that we had the contract for to provide relay services.  Lots of people in the state were worried that Atlanta might be the next target. 
   When it did come time for me to leave after my 4 hours, I at first took my backpack which contained my headset and other stuff for the job with me.  When I walked back onto the call floor and left it near a wall, one of my friends said "Good, that's positive thinking."  Myself and others were wondering if I would return to work that day.  After leaving the building I saw my wife pushing my then not quite 3-year-old daughter in a stroller.  She was hurrying and when we saw each other we both dashed into the street to hold each other.  It sounds like almost suicide, but it wasn't.  The streets were practically empty.  The local mall was closing early.  It was deserted.  People were glued to their televisions.  And they were afraid.  When I held my wife, it was then that I learned (this was almost 1 p.m. Eastern time) that the Towers had collapsed.  I couldn't believe it when I was on the call floor and heard it.  Later I would see the awful pictures that are forever in my memory.  For the record, yes, I do think we should show those images.  Not just once a year either.  You can't remember something if you've never seen it.  For my son's generation, I hope they will never forget what happened on that September morning.  And what has happened in the years that have passed since then.
   Later on, I would report to my unit.  I wasn't needed and we weren't going to deploy (at least not at that time).  I donated blood.  I watched in disbelief and horror.  Later, I went back to work.  It was more chaotic times, but, that's bravery for you.
   Now, it's 13 years later.  It seems like some people are still afraid.  They don't want to do too much on September 11, 2014.  Well, I have to ask the question why?  We are the Home of the Brave, after all.  And, we cannot be afraid to do something on the anniversary of the terror attacks that struck home all those years ago.  Like a character says (and I am not quoting here) in the movie series Harry Potter, "fear of (a thing) only increases its power."
   Well, as my Dad would say, To hell with that."  My son's Boy Scout Troop is holding their regular meeting tomorrow night.  He wasn't even alive in 2001.  His generation will never know what it was like to see the Twin Towers in the skyline over New York City.  They have never known what it is like to not live in a world threatened by terror attacks.  To me, every single kid his age is brave.  I never even knew what a terrorist was when I was born in 1967.  Now, every single day, that word is mentioned at least once on the nightly news.  But these kids are going out and doing something on September 11, 2014.  That is bravery for you.
   So let's prove this is the Home of the Brave by doing something tomorrow.  Anything really.  Play outside.  Go for a walk.  Anything.  Because my friends who have died because of the 9/11 attacks didn't die in vain.  Tomorrow, and everyday, I work, play and live to honor their sacrifice.  HOOAH!


   Brave in Mexico.  Another example of bravery is Sgt Andrew Tahmooressi.  Still in jail in Mexico, he is a Combat Veteran who is still putting in his time in hell.  As of yesterday, he had another hearing.  His lawyer seems optimistic.  We can only hope and pray for the best.  Like I said, he's already served his time in hell in combat.  He doesn't need to spend any more time there.  Please continue to call your Representatives to voice your concerns about Tahmooressi's confinement and to ask them tell them to support House Resolution 620 and to help make it a bill by passing it.  As to whether or not that will do any good, I don't know, but it's the best thing we can do to show our support for a Brave Marine.
   That is all.


  1. Well said, my friend. I will always remember vividly where I was and what I was doing that day.

    For us, 9/11 is like the Kennedy Assassination was to our parents...we will always remember...

    Thank you, and all those who have served, and continue to do so, for your service.

  2. Wow. Thank you for this. I remember trying to call my parents in Canada and I couldn't get through for a couple of days. They tried to call me too that morning. I remember how quiet it was for days after, we live near an airport. It was eerie. The first time in my life I never heard planes.

    My son was 11 months old when it happened. No, none of those who died since has been in vain. It's because of them, and all of you that we've been free from attack since. Our kids may know what terrorism is, and live in an age where there's never not been a war, but I thank God my son knows why he and his family and friends have never had an attack since. Thank you to all of you is never going to be enough, but I will always be so grateful. Thank you.

  3. I day I will never forget... GODBLESS you my friend...