I still feel disconnected from this day. When I hear people say they were forever changed, I'm at a loss.
I was in Bahrain, I had worked the night before and spent all day with the Marines at the range (all though I never did get to shoot) so I was exhausted and went straight to bed when I got home. When I finally answered the phone I remember telling the dispatcher I had swapped days with someone else and was not coming in and he told me what happened. If memory serves correctly the towers had not yet fallen. My Chief had me come in although he didn't allow me to arm up, I spent the next 12 hours or so sleeping in the conference room or on the smoke deck chatting with everyone.
I remember thinking how it was such a tragedy and I may have even remarked about how we, in the Middle East, weren't the target for once. I'm sorry if that sounds cold.
We spent the next several days in Delta, working and sleeping, not much time for anything else. I missed most of the aftermath, the searching and not knowing.
I was back in the States for the first anniversary and that's when I found out how it affected everyone and how America seemed to change.
My heart and prayers are with those who wake up everyday mourning someone they've lost. My heartfelt gratitude goes out too all who still serve and to our first responders everywhere. God be with you and your families.