It is the eve of September 11th. A sober night for our country, and particularly poignant for My Captain, since he was deployed with Maryland Task Force One to join the collapse rescue effort that morning at the Pentagon.
He would spend the next 7 gruesome days on the ground of the disaster as the Task Force Leader of Maryland Task Force One, leading their effort to find any viable survivors.
They found none. Not a single one. Plenty of burning jet fuel and rubble, but no survivors.
One “holy cow” story that came out of his experience that deployment actually happened on 9/12. A man in a military uniform was brought to My Captain during the rescue efforts because he had a NEED to get to a desk on the exact spot the plane hit. It turned out that there was a file on that desk about the very man they knew they had to find: Osama Bin Laden. The military man needed to get to that desk and find that file. My Captain feared there was no way the file or probably even the desk had survived. But they got that man up the treacherously unstable rubble pile, and UNBELIEVABLY the desk was sitting right next to where the building collapsed, and the file was still sitting on it…unscathed. UN-FREAKING-SCATHED.
No one could believe it.
There are other 9/11 deployment stories My Captain shares. We’ll save them for another time. He does share some of them every year with our local middle school on 9/11.
In fact, he’ll be there all day tomorrow, as he has for the past several years, telling the kids about a day they were not even born to experience. It’s crazy that those kids never knew the Pre-terrorist America as we did, growing up.
These thoughts were rattling around in my head as I was methodically doing the dishes this evening. I thought about all of the families that were forever changed in that brief morning, and how all of those people never knew it was coming. They never got one final goodbye. One final hug or kiss. They weren’t ready.
My eyes drifted to this:
and I smiled. Several months ago, I came down one morning and saw a note from My Captain that merely read: “I love you dearly.”
I left that note up there because every time I saw it, well, I felt warm, and tingly, and loved.
And then sometime this summer, I noticed that Varmint had added to it: “I love you more!”
And then sometime later, My Captain wrote: “I love you both the most!”
And then my Varmint wrote: “I call loving you guys infinity!”
It was absolutely juvenile, and disturbing that we can’t even love each other without some kind of competition.
But truly, it makes me smile even bigger than before because, unlike so many of the victims of 9/11, we treat every day in this house as if we will never get the chance to say we love each other again. Partly because My Captain’s profession is one of risk and danger. And partly because of the lesson that was that horrible day.
One we will never forget in our household.
That’s My Captain in the white officer’s shirt at the far right of this picture. If you are wondering why they were smiling, it was because they’d been deployed for 7 straight days and they were being relieved to go home…they were about to see their loved ones. And they knew they were given the great gift to live another day to see those dear ones.
And love them.
Even if it was in an oddly competitive manner.