"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." – President Franklin D. Roosevelt
It has been about 76 years since we, the United States, were attacked by enemy forces from Japan. Since then, it was approximately 60 years since we were attacked on our own soil.
I was born in September of 1990. When the attack on the Twin Towers and then the Pentagon happened on September 11th, 2001, I was 10 years old about to turn 11. I remember waking up that day to my mom shaking me. She told me what had happened. I found out after getting dressed for the day that a third plane had crashed into the pentagon. I remember my mom was trying to hold it together the best she could because my brothers and I were young and still needed her to be “mom”.
I still went to school. I was in 5th grade. That day there were quite a few kids missing from class. I believe there was only about half of us in class that day. We spent the day watching the news. Very little classwork was done. I was old enough to understand that what had happened was a tragedy. I was not old enough to understand the impact that it would have or how long it would last.
“This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.” – President George W. Bush, Remarks on the September 11th attacks.
My Uncle was still in the military at the time this happened. I had always wanted to join the military since I was a kid in 2nd grade. I wanted to be like him. I know this was a huge movement that had many of our young men and women enlist in our military to go fight our attackers. I wasn’t old enough at the time to do so. I wouldn’t be old enough for eight more years. In those eight years, my position never changed. However, the service that I wanted to join did. Eight years later, I still wanted to go over, kick ass, and take names. I wanted to go find Osama Bin Laden for my country.
Fast forward to May of 2011. I was in the Platoon Leadership Course (PLC) program in college. The semester was ending and it ended up being my last semester. Osama Bin Laden was located and killed by SEAL Team Six. It was all over the news. President Obama was accredited with the elimination of Osama Bin Laden as it happened in his term of office. I still wanted to enlist as, 10 years later, we were still at war. I wanted to be a part of it. So, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I signed my enlistment papers July 11th, 2011. I went to boot camp in January of 2012. I graduated boot camp April of 2012, and I was so motivated to be deployed that I couldn’t wait to get to my unit. I went through Marine Combat Training (MCT). There we learned the same tactics used while being deployed to fight in an urban environment. We learned many other things as well. That got me even more amped up. After MCT was Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) School. That is where I learned how to be a fueler. I got to my unit in Arizona in July of 2012.
Now, in 2017, I’m almost out of the Marine Corps. Looking back, the whole event seems surreal. Now the attacks on September 11th, are in history books. Kids now are learning about an event from a history book that I was alive in and helped secure my position on joining the military. It’s definitely been a long journey since then, and now look back on how it helped shape my path through life and the choices I’ve made.