The End of Innocence


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! 

11 Responses to The End of Innocence

  1. karen says:

    What a wonderful post, Sandra …

    Every year, back home in NZ, just before ANZAC Day, we have Poppy Day. That’s the day that returned veterans, etc sell these minature poppies that you pin on your lapel, especially on ANZAC day. Pinned to each poppy is a little scroll that read ‘Least We Forget’. That is something we can never afford to do about the events of 9/11.

    Poppy day also happens in other Commonwealth countries, like Australia, British Isles, Canada, etc..

  2. Linda says:

    Sandy, this is a wonderful post. We must NEVER forget that day or let down our guard, lest we open ourselves to more of the same.

    I looked back in my trusty journal for that time, to refresh my memory. Gunny had come home to help his dad organize a skeet shoot. He was also going to take some furniture back for the new house he and Dilly were were having built. And as for the gas prices, they jumped from $1.639 to $2.209 between the morning and the evening of the 11th. Many gas stations had long lines, as people nervously sought to be prepared for whatever else might be coming.

    As our nation tries to remove God from every aspect of our lives and government, I believe God is pulling back His hand of protection for this great country. As a result, we are seeing more and more devastating natural disasters and other crises. The casualties from 9/11 were terribly high; but early estimates had been as high as 50,000. A terrible tragedy might have been much worse, apart from God’s intervention. Thank God that He has not completely removed His protection. May He never.

  3. Linda says:

    Sorry. I guess I got a little preachy there. But your post touched a chord.

  4. Hilary says:

    It’s something none of us will ever forget. Lovely post, Sandra.

  5. Cyndie says:

    We woke to a phone call from Dad to turn on the TV. We watched the second plane hit the towers and the one hit the pentagon. It was frightening and bewildering as to how this could have happened. Then we wondered who would be next – we have relatives in Chicago and Houston and began to worry for their safety. Later, we learned my sister, had they still been living in DC, would have been at work in the pentagon in the area that was hit. Yes, life as we knew it changed that day forever. I agree with what Linda said about God’s protection and wonder how far this country will go before it too late.

    God Bless America!

  6. Sandra says:

    Karen — I love the idea of poppy day! And I think What I like most about it is that because it is the veterans themselves selling the poppies, it clearly identifies them as veterans, so I would guess they get lots of “thanks” along the way. A great idea.

    Linda — Thanks for using your journal to help me remember the details. I wish you would have started journaling when I TOLD you you should! Oh, wait a minute. It was the other way around, wasn’t it. Well, I’m doing it now — it’s called blogging! Don’t apologize for getting worked up over this — we all do! Thanks for your insights.

    Hilary — Thank you.

  7. tz says:

    Beautiful post…I’ve been watching 9/11 stuff on the history channel off and on today. It’s good to remember.

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