On 9-12-2016

I remember... The TV monitors were in my cubical, and in the Colonel's office...
I yelled across the office in our military Headquarters building... In full "Command Voice" :
"We're Under Attack!".
Then we sat and watched... our Joint Operations and Intelligence Center was in touch with our folks "downrange" and our brothers and sisters in the Pentagon, even as we saw it getting "hit", too.
We didn't use our office phones for outgoing calls, really, except internally. The cellular systems and office phones were mostly jammed up by eager and confused civilians and local media, and the people we really wanted to talk to were... kind of busy.
There's many memories from that day that are forever lodged in my mind...
My ex-wife calling me for comfort and information, because I was the (retired) soldier that she knew the best and still trusted, at least about matters like this... as if there had ever been such a thing, before.
I remember the eerie silence of the nearby airport, in the afternoon and evening of that horrible day.
But one of the strongest images of that day is still clear in my mind and still makes me grimly resolved...
It is the image of a pant-suited woman falling from a great height to her death on a Manhattan street that was soon to be covered by the rubble of the collapsed towers.
I have images of other " jumpers", too... after their falls... they're stuck in my head, and I don't want them there...
But then, who wants any of this... except those... murdering monsters... that still roam our planet, to my sorrow.
I have always believed that she choose to jump and die that way, rather than to burn or suffocate in the horror created by those particular fanatic followers of the prophet.
But I cherish that image of her, in a way.
I keep it in my mind as a reminder of hard choices in the face of great evil.
We did not choose this conflict.
It existed before that terrible day and it's still ongoing.
But we have a choice as to how we are going to react to those that have set our world on fire, and that are murdering thousands more even as I write and you read.
And at least partly because of my memory of that lady in the air, I choose to fight.
I do not choose to merely hope the murderers choose some other target or to argue for compromise with them in hopes that they will spare us further hard choices.
I choose to fight with all weapons and capabilities at my disposal... with my words, with my vote, with my money, with my prayers, with... everything.
I may not have a choice as to where and when or even exactly how I will fight them, or whether I will make it out of the fire, or fall, or just fade away before the battle is done, but as long as I have the choice to remember, I will remember her... I will remember all of them.
I am a 9-12 American... still as resolved to remember and redress that great wrong as I was 15 years ago, today.
Remember her, remember them, remember your choices.