Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven years ago...

...On a beautiful September morning, a glittering arrow sailed through the clear sky. Millions of New Yorkers going about their business pause to look up, wondering about the low flying airplane where none should be.

On the far side of the country, a slightly younger, and vastly less mature, Aaron is trying to get his hearing test done so he can join the rest of his unit on liberty. His Chief sticks his head into the room.

"Turn the TV on."
"What channel?"
"Doesn't matter."

Chief stood there quietly, long enough for me to absorb the enormity of what happened.

"Get 'em back here, and get us ready to go."
"Chief, I don't have the authority or quals to..."
"You do today, get a move on. I'll have my duty pager if you need me."

So, as a twenty year old third-class I had to get forty people back from all over western Washington and take care of all predeployment preparations, all in just a few short hours.

Five days, and several lifetimes, later, I turned twenty-one. Hard birthday to forget.

"May God have mercy on their souls, for we will not."

Never again. Never forget.

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