Remembering 9/11: I almost forgot

  • Published
  • By John Ward
  • 412th Test Support Squadron
As I left work Monday evening, my thoughts were on the progress I needed to make this week to stay up with my work schedule. I went to bed with thoughts of how to catch up on my workload at the job. 

As I woke up Tuesday to the sound of the morning news, I realized that the day was not just "Sept. 11." It was "9/11," and I almost forgot about it. It was the day that was supposed to live forever in the minds of all Americans.

I almost forgot that America suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history just six years earlier. As the news aired the many celebrations around the country to commemorate that unforgetful event, my memories came back to me. 

Like every American, I remember exactly where I was when this terrible event occurred. I recall being at a hotel in Independence, Calif., on official travel with fellow Air Force Flight Test Center colleagues as I half-watched the news while looking out the window at the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range. Then I remember staring in disbelief at the instant horror shown on the morning news. I recall the fear of uncertainty that gripped me as I tried unsuccessfully to contact my wife at Edwards or anyone else at the base -- or even my family members still living in New York City.

I remembered growing up in New York City and occasionally looking out my window in Harlem and seeing a glimpse of the twin towers that dominated the Manhattan sky from as far uptown as I lived. We took school trips to visit the twin towers and rode up its huge elevators that seemed to go as high as the heavens. As a kid, those towers seemed to represent a certain strength to me. It seemed like nothing could ever hurt New York City. Yet, 3,000 miles away and many years removed, there I was watching not only New York City, but the entire nation bent to its knees.

I almost forgot the promise I made to myself that every year I would stop to think about not just what happened on 9-11, but also how great this country still is. With all the problems we face today, it is easy to forget what we love. 

As we celebrate the anniversary of 9-11, let me declare today that I love my wife and kids. I also love the diversity of America; I love the opportunities of America; I love the God that protects America. Simply put, I still love America.