September 11th 2001. I was a newly assigned Private with the 101st Airborne Division. Like most days we did physical training, went and showered, ate breakfast and prepared for the day.
This day, I choose to eat at Burger King on base and was sitting in line getting my food. As I drove off I hear on the radio that a plane struck the North tower. I remember thinking to myself how in the hell does a pilot make that kind of mistake? I pull into work and few people are outside. “Hey did you hear?” “Both towers were hit?” Both? As perplexed as I was we had to go to work.
Being a private I did what I seemed to do a lot those days and grabbed a mower to cut grass around our company area. Shortly into the detail one of the sergeants approached us and tell us to go back to our respective areas, the country is under attack.
I went into a very solemn room. The TV was on and we watched the events unfold before us. Watching the towers colapse live on TV is something I will never forget. I can still feel the sadness and rage that went through me.
Fort Campbell like every base around the nation locked down. Helicopters patrolled the sky’s above. Units put C-Wire around HQs. Arms rooms opened and we made sure we had some force protection in place. Nobody knew if it was over or not.
I left the base late that night. When I got home the family was still up. We were not allowed or able to use our phones all day so this was the first time they had seen or heard from me throughout these events. My wife whom I had married a few months before, and our new baby, were looking at me. I knew our lives had just changed forever.
Today marks a day the World stopped and changed direction. It’s important we tell our stories. Teach our youth and never, ever, ever, forget.