Ten years later…

This one took some effort to write.  So much I want to say and just don’t have the words.  If you haven’t lived it, you will never truly understand it.

You can’t escape it.  It’s in the news everywhere you turn.  Now, that alone should be enough to keep people from reading this.  With all the major news outlets milking a ten year old travesty for all it’s worth, I wouldn’t blame anyone for seeing this and skipping over it.  Fair enough, my feelings won’t be hurt.  This is more for myself than anyone else.

Fair warning to those who read this:  There’s a good chance some part of this article will offend you.  At the very least, you may think “did he really just say that?”.  Yes, he did.  And yes, he means every bit of it.  While I am a husband and a daddy, I’m also an unapologetic veteran of a war that started on October 23rd, 1983.  I am loving and gentle with my wife and daughter, I am hateful and merciless to those who seek to oppress and destroy my Nation.  Call me callous if you will, but not all human lives are equally valuable in my eyes.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 -Do you remember where you were?  Do you remember the fear, the helplessness that you felt?  Did you hate feeling like that?  I remember wanting revenge so I enlisted in the Army.  Seemed like everyone in the country wanted retribution in the following weeks.  At least until the Christmas commercials started airing.  The American public has the attention span of a fruit fly and it has never been more evident than it was in November 2001.  Sure, you hear about it every year, but one day a year doesn’t cut it.  1% of the population is actively defending this Nation.  Think about it.

Have you been to Ground Zero?  Have you stared down in that gaping hole and cried while total strangers comforted you?  Or did you go numb and cold, then feel anger rising?  Did you let the rage build while you silently vowed that you would never let such an act happen again on your watch?  Speaking from personal experience, that anger will sustain you for approximately one year.  Twelve days after I stared at that open grave I deployed to Iraq with a Division made up of many of the first-responders that day. Men and women who showed up that day wearing the uniforms of NYARNG, FDNY, and NYPD. Young men and women who were attending NYC high schools that day. Men and women for whom the fight is personal deployed with a simple motto: Never Forget.

For the past ten years, I’ve been in the game in one way or another.  I’ve mourned the death of my brothers and sisters in uniform and celebrated the deaths of those who would harm to us.  Yes, celebrated.  The day after Saddam Hussein was hanged, I drank a toast with my teammates and wished him a swift journey to Hell.  The minute we heard that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had met his fate as two 500lb bombs came crashing down, we performed the same ritual.  Years later, when President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been found and dispatched by United States Navy SEALs, it happened again.  All three of them celebrated the deaths of 2,819 people in New York, Arlington County, and Shanksville.  They deserved no better.

Understand that the men and women who have fought and died in the last ten years have done so willingly.  Despite what you may believe, we are not martyrs nor victims.  Though politicians, activists, and the media may portray us that way, we have never been victims.  We chose this.  We knew the risks and accepted them.  We are the spiritual descendants of the Spartans, the Centurions, the Minutemen.  Our grandfathers fought in World War II and Korea.  Our fathers fought in Vietnam.  We are free men and women who refuse to live in slavery.  We will not bow to tyranny and we defend those who cannot defend themselves.  We are not sheep.  We are sheepdogs, and we will destroy the wolves.

Much of the Nation has no skin in this game. They risk nothing. The men, women, and children who died that Tuesday morning lost it all. The passengers of Flight 93 risked it all. Remember that when you look down into that crater in Lower Manhattan, when you see the new Indiana limestone on the Pentagon, when you stand in that silent field in Pennsylvania.  Remember the 2,819 people who died.  You will be filled with sorrow and/or a terrible resolve.

May those who perpetrated that execrable act upon our Nation have death and destruction brought to them and their bloodlines erased from this earth.

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