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9/11 Changed My Life Forever.

I used to live in San Fernando Valley, and because of where I lived, I chose not to send my son to school in the Bario, so I commuted him to school about 25 miles North of where I lived. He was 10 years old. We had to get up early and this day we got up extra early because I had to make a stop.

I called a dear friend on the phone and asked her what she was doing. She told me she was watching the news,  that an airplane had flown into the one of the World Trade Centers. She talked to me for a few minutes and then said “Oh My God! Another plane just hit the second Trade Center!” And she clicked off the phone. 

I sat there and because I am selfish and self-centered, my first indignant thought was “she just hung up on me!” Then my skin crawled as I realized what she was saying. It dawned on me very quickly that one airplane into a building might be an accident, but two?
Holy Shit!

I cut IKE off in the middle of his sentence, telling him to be quiet as I flipped through the stations on the radio, trying to find a news channel. Within seconds, I heard. My heart pounding, I called one of my closest friends, and woke her up. I told her to turn on the news, That America was under attack. She was groggy, and couldn’t understand what I was saying.  I yelled into the phone “WE ARE UNDER ATTACK. GET UP! CALL YOUR FAMILY!” And then I hung up. I tried to call other friends and family, but my phone no longer worked. All I got was a quick busy signal, letting me know the lines were jammed. Fuck. I couldn’t call BTM.  Where was he?

 In shock, I continued driving IKE to school. Because I didn’t know what else to do. He started asking questions, and I kept telling him to be quiet and listen to the radio. He got nervous, and I told him I would pick him up from school later and we went over our emergency plan. He asked me why we needed to go over the plan. I remember trying to explain that America had been attacked, and that we were now at war. He didn’t understand. He comprehended, but he didn’t understand.

I hugged him goodbye, and I drove to a class I was taking. By the time I got there, I had a pretty good idea of what was happening. Then inside, I panicked. What had I done? My kid was now 30 miles away. If something happened in the Valley, I would never get to him. I rushed out of class and drove frantically to pick him up. When I got to the school, the line of parents there to pick up their kids trailed through the door. You see, we live in Los Angeles, and if New York was attacked, we would most likely be next.

I finally got hold of BTM, and he was pretty calm. He said he wasn’t leaving work, no matter how much I pleaded. He said he wasn’t scared, but a bunch of guys asked if they could go home. It took 2 days for it to hit him fully, when he stood in line at the market and saw a picture of a man and woman holding hands, jumping from the building. He called me, sobbing.

When I got home with IKE, I turned on the TV, and for the first time I saw what was happening. I cried, and IKE sat there in horrifying awe. Then the news showed people in Pakistan, cheering and clapping. There were children his age in the footage. He asked me why they were happy. I told him that it seems those particular people in the news at this moment are our enemy. And then I tried to explain to him. And I watched, in front of my eyes, this 10 year old boy completely lose his innocence. His eyes got wide, and then hard, and he became quiet. Ike had nightmares for 2 years after that, He would wake up, sweating and scared, thinking we were under attack. And 9/11 forever changed his life too.
He grew up and joined the NAVY. A fairly safe branch of our Military. However, IKE is not a docile man. He signed up for the part of the NAVY that is dangerous. He says that America will never be safe, and we will always have enemies. And if he can prevent another 9/11 so that we can go about our lives, playing baseball and eating hot dogs in fairly ignorant bliss, then that is what his purpose is. And I am scared for him. And for me. But proud too.

And I know that if we are attacked again, then bad asses like my IKE will rise up. And then GOD help the enemy.


Coolie Schwatz Diaz said...


Joy Gorr said...

We are blessed if IKE believes this much in his purpose. WE ARE VERY BLESSED!!! I've never met him, but I'm grateful!!

Katya Askar said...

I love IKE

Laurie Peck said...

Good post, but that picture you posted of the man and woman holding hands as they fall is, as they say, worth a thousand words.