In September 2001, I was dating a man I thought the world of. After 9/11 he went off the deep end emotionally and finally ended up taking his life on October 14. I blame 9/11 for his downward spiral.
I had always felt safe; I never imagined we would experience an act of war on our own soil. I had a sense of protection by being inland in Utah, and that our U.S. borders were secure. That evening, I was afraid to go outside. I felt vulnerable, that I could easily be victimized and that was a new experience for me.
I've gotten over that feeling, slightly, gradually. I feel fairly safe again, but I also have the phone number for Homeland Security in my cellphone and I am a lot more observant. I have plans to initiate in case of an emergency to keep myself and pets out of harm's way in my home. Sometimes I have an overwhelming urge to block my doors and windows; I think the fact that we are vulnerable never leaves me.
In the years since, the stories about the CIA, FBI and other alphabet soups not sharing intelligence, I have become a lot less trusting of the government being able to protect us and have an opinion that we must be able to take care of ourselves and our families because I doubt the ability and interests of the "soups" to cover us.
While writing this, I can feel the anger returning. Anger at the instructors of the pilots who flew the planes for being so naAOve; ignoring of intell that warned something was amiss. After all the years in Iraq and Afghanistan, with what seems to me little impact on the world situation, I want our boys home! It seems to me that we are "pouring water down a rathole." I feel so much grief for those who've lost loved ones.
I recently found myself telling someone that I cried the first half of my life over the Vietnam War and now the second half of my life crying over the Iraq and Afghan travesty. I work for the Department of Defense and I am proud to support our war fighters, but I would like to see more of the good from the war and have everyone's loved ones home; sane, safe and sound.
-- Gayleen Bennington