On September 9th I took my husband to the airport for his first international business trip. Our two boys and I walked him all the way up to the gate. We sat and watched airplanes taking off and landing as we waited for his turn to board the plane and head off across the world. The trip was scheduled for two weeks but the others that had travelled before shrugged it off saying they always came home early. He boarded the plane after hugs and kisses and was off.
Two days later as I was still in bed my phone rang. My mother simply said to turn on the tv. I watched in horror as they replayed what had happened and like much of the world sat in shock as ANOTHER plane hit right as we were watching. Neighbors came home from work. Others picked up their children from school and many travelled to be closer to family...and further away from the Air Force Base near by. Nearing afternoon I got a quick phone call from my husband. He just simply stated he was fine, they were safe. I asked if he had heard and he made no comments on the situation. Two hours later someone from his office locally called to also tell me the men overseas were all safe. I also had made several phone calls ensuring the safety of friends that live in New York. All were safe, one was even in the hospital delivering her first child.
Living in an Air Force town with an airport as well the skies are always busy. It was quiet. For days it was quiet and then one morning there was a plane. It was early and I walked outside to see the airplane flying East. As I looked down the street I could see many of my neighbors also standing silently - watching the plane fly through the beautiful blue sky. Life was slowly turning back to normal - or at least the sky was.
Six weeks after 9/11 my husband returned. As we went to the airport to pick him up there was no going to the gate. There was no sitting and watching planes land while others were taking off. We stood downstairs waiting for him to walk down the stairs. My boys were 2 and 4 and the two year old took off running at the sight of his dad. He crossed the "do not enter" area and put some security personnel in a bit of a panic. Fortunately others were very understanding that he was just a little boy who missed his daddy.
For three more years my husband travelled. He was often gone for 4-6 weeks only to come home for two weeks and be gone again. He doesn't wear a uniform. He doesn't fly airplanes or fight in battles at the front lines. He stands along side many like himself - his uniform is most often a pair of Levi jeans and an In-n-Out t-shirt. The average Engineering Geek. However, he is not average - he is clearly above average. And to him and all of the others that we do not see, do not hear about, perhaps we don't even know they exist. I say thank you!
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