September 11th came this year and for the first time in over a decade I wasn’t in uniform. I was a cadet in the Reserve Officer Training Corp for four years and then served six years as an officer in the United States Air Force. For this year, some reason it hit me that this day so many years ago my life changed. The path of who I would become and where I would go would all change as I learned about the planes hitting the twin towers.
No Military Connection
In high school, I did not have a lot planned for my life. I figured I would get married have kids and that would be it. I thought that life was as good as it gets. In high school, I was a cross country and track athlete. I had very few responsibilities and I just didn’t know what was coming or who I would be. To be honest I did not have a lot of goals or plan for my future. And though it took a few years before all the dots connected and I decided to joinn the military. I always looked back at September 11th as a turning point in my life. It was where military life became something I started to think about.
And then I ended up in Afghanistan on a deployment. My first real trip overseas to a place that I didn’t think I belonged. I learned so much about myself and the people of Afghanistan. I was in a place I never expected to be, doing something I did not think I could do, but there I was. Serving my country, giving the sacrifice that was asked of me.
Afghanistan Changed My Life
In the end it was not more than I could do. And I walked away forever changed with a new benchmark in my life. Before and after Afghanistan. If you put all the good and bad of being in the military on a scale I am one of the lucky ones where the good far outweighs the bad. I met my husband in ROTC. I met great friends where ever we have been stationed. And I have had so many great opportunities and blessing and it all can be linked back to that tragic day.
I know September 11th changed so many people lives that day. And everyone’s sacrifice was different. I never expected my life to be influenced so much by this important day. But that is the way life is, the things that hit you the most you may not recognize until one day it hits you what the day means.