I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, 503rd. Maintenance Company. I volunteered at the local fire station. I lived off post, so had to bring my uniform in and clean up and change at the gym on post after morning PT. Everyday, after cleaning up I ate in the dining facility on post, then drove to my shop, listening to the news. On 9/11, my routine changed. I did not listen to the news, I was just enjoying the morning. When I got to the shop, everybody was hovered around the radio. I was pretty upset because we had a lot of work to do. One of the soldiers said a plane hit the World Trade Center. I told him "planes do not fly around there." While I was listening, I heard a lady talking on the phone, live to the radio host. I heard the second plane hit. I was shocked, as everyone else was. After the news of the other two, I went over by myself, in the shop and got on my knees and prayed it would stop.
I was mentally preparing to go to war. My heart was broken, not only did I lose my brother and sister, I also lost brother and sister Veterans. My whole life was for that moment in time. I tried to go to Operation Desert Storm in 1991, but I was in high school. I felt like I had to give something back for the freedoms we enjoy. Now was my chance. Everyday in Iraq, I kept the memory of those lost in the front of my mind. It gave me the drive to do the best and give all I could over there. After coming home, my wife and I created a small non-profit Veterans group, that is still going strong. I committed my life to a life of service, until I am no longer able.
I am reaching back, helping those that are struggling. I want to let people know they are NOT alone.
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