The evening of Monday, September 10, 2001, we had a weiner roast for our family and friends in our barnyard at the farm because Gunny and his then 5-year old son, Jay, were here for a short visit. I don’t remember why we had to have it on a Monday instead of over the weekend, but I do remember that we had a great time, and it didn’t break up until late in the evening.
After everyone had left and Jay had been put to bed, Hubby, Gunny and I sat around the bonfire, reliving old memories of Gunny and DD’s childhood and other fun times at the farm when Hubby’s parents had lived there, and just catching up on what was going on in Gunny and Dilly’s lives.
It was such a beautiful, perfect night. A little cool and beginning to feel like Fall. Is there anything prettier than a bonfire that is gradually going out? The smell — the crackling sound — the radiating warmth — the tiny bits of ash occasionally floating off into the dark sky — the way the embers brighten and rekindle when you poke them with a stick.
A perfect night that, we realized the next day, we would always remember as the last night of “innocence.”
I was born the year after World War II ended, 1946. And, I was a very small child during the Korean War so I don’t remember anything about it except what I read in history books and heard from veterans later. The Viet Nam War, while it happened during my young adult life, happened at a time when Hubby and I were just beginning to raise two little kids and struggling to make ends meet, with him working as a bricklayer and me as a stay-at-home mom. So, while I’m sure we were concerned about it, our lives were hectic and I just don’t remember feeling “involved” in it. We were more “observers.”
But when the attacks came on September 11, it was real to us. We watched the news for hours in disbelief. We called to volunteer to give blood (there was a three day waiting list!). The rumor was that gas was sellng in Indianapolis for $5.50 a gallon! I think gas was usually below $2.00 then. Our “world” was in chaos and the overriding thought was, what happens now?
What happened is that we fought back.
My heart aches for those who lost innocent loved ones on 9/11. And it aches for the families of brave men and women who have lost their lives fighting this war for us.
But, most of all, I want to remember how awful the day of September 11 was, so that I will also remember to be thankful for the people who serve in our military to defend us.
Truly “freedom is not free.” God bless our troops. May we never forget why they are fighting and what they are fighting for — our freedom.
God Bless America! Let Freedom Ring!