8 years ago life changed. I was living in Alaska where I was stationed at Eielson AFB about 20 miles south of Fairbanks. I vividly remember that September morning in 2001. When I awoke it was very still. There were no birds chirping, which wasn't too odd for middle Alaska in September. Yet that is something I remember, how quiet it was outside. It was clear and the sun was rising as I walked across the street from my dorm room at 0600(1000 hrs Eastern Time) to the chow hall. I wandered into the chow hall and found most of the cooking crew standing out in the dining area staring at the TV's. It took a little coaxing for them to retreat back to the kitchen to fill my order of eggs, hash browns, and some pancakes. The cook was saying something about a bad thing going on in New York City. I shrugged it off as something that was being blown out of proportion about CNN.
Armed with my food I sat down and proceeded to attack the eggs with gusto. I was half listening to the stumbling commentary by some unknown CNN reporter (who happened to become famous for her reporting that day). I glanced up and then things started to sink in. I watched in complete disbelief as replays were shown of the first plane hitting the towers. Then the second plane slammed in. That's when I really started paying attention. I quickly started to lose my appetite. Then reports started coming in about the Pentagon possibly being hit by another aircraft. That was when I became sick to my stomach. I couldn't stand the site of food and all I could think about was getting to work.
I was only a lowly E-4, so there wasn't much I could do once I got to work except respond to orders. Yet when I showed up I was one of the first people to make it to work. We had entered THRETCON DELTA. Back then THRETCON meant "Threat Condition", it has since changed to FPCON (Force Protection Condition). DELTA is the highest state of alert. An attack has taken place on American forces and all means of security are to be put into action no matter what is going on.
So even in Alaska, a full 5,000 miles away from the burning buildings in NYC and DC life was thrown from normal to war in a matter of minutes. Eielson is home to F-16 fighter jets. Most of those jets were being loaded with ordinance (bombs) shortly after the drop of DELTA. Everybody that could be at work was at work. The people that lived off the base sat for hours in traffic trying to get onto the base. The whole day everybody walked around the shop in numbed silence. There was no laughter just an intense steel and a desire to do some damage to whoever had taken out this attack on American soil.
All the sudden life went to easy living to wandering when the next attack would take place. Thankfully the next attack hasn't happened yet. Unfortunately the general American public is being lulled back into that false sense of security. All the people that want our men and women to completely pull out of the Middle East keep forgetting why we are over there in the first place. Do you want the intense fire fights with bullets flying around the city streets of America (this in addition to "usual" gang wars in America). Sure we have problems in America. We've always had problems. If people would get their heads out of other parts of their anatomy and realize they are fighting against their brothers on American soil life would be a little easier. Just imagine having an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) whistling past your car as you cruise down the Interstate. Even worse as you cross an intersection and drive over a freshly patched piece of asphalt to have your car explode as a IED (improvised explosive devise) goes off.
Be thankful of what we have in America, but never lose your vigilance. In my opinion we are ripe for things like IED's and RPG's to start popping up all over the US. I am actually surprised it hasn't happened sooner with all the crazy people looking for the spotlight. If I scared you then I did my job. This is something you live with as a member of the armed forces. Don't let the people who hate America kill the freedom we have. Even though America is an ever fading dream we can band together to bring America back to it's previous glory. NEVER FORGET!!