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Never Forget

The military has been a part of my life for quite a while now. In fact, it was one of the things that attracted me to my husband. I'd known soldiers (my brother mostly) and I deeply admired the honor such a commitment represented. I can still remember my-then boyfriend coming over to my apartment dressed to the nines in his Class A's. I don't recall where he was going, but I won't forget the masculine power that emanated from him and as soon as I saw him in that uniform I was a lost woman.

Not only did it appeal to my femininity, but also to my respect for those qualities of duty, courage, and honor. I saw it as being a part of something greater than self and I loved it in my future husband, but those were days of peace. My childish mind barely registered the true oaths of a soldier, and I honestly didn't really care. I was enamored with the romantic notions of being a soldier's wife.

When September 11, 2001 happened we had been married for less than a year and I was pregnant with our first child.

Everyone asks 'Where were you?' 'What's your story?'

My story is this-- The first words I heard about the attacks were from my brother-in-law calling to ask if my husband been put on Alert yet (meaning that the military calls and requires them to stay near a phone until further details come in). I was so confused, of course I knew what 'Alert' meant but I didn't understand what my brother in law was talking about.

Then I turned on the TV... and I stood there, phone held limply in one hand while the other clutched my round belly. I watched those planes and I knew, I knew, that our lives would never be the same. I knew, as every soldiers wife knew on that day, what sacrifices those planes meant.

Less than a year I had with my husband before the military reached out and took him back.

They say that when you marry a soldier, you marry the military. It's completely true.

The sense of duty and honor that I so admired in my husband became something I dreaded. I knew, before five breaths had ended, and my brother in law prompted me to speak, that my husband would be involved, because his honor dictated that he be. His country needed his help and he'd already promised to be there. A promise given long before he met me.

I didn't know anyone in those Towers, or in the Pentagon. I didn't know anyone on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania... but I knew soldiers. I knew a lot of soldiers. My life was surrounded by soldiers and my heart was currently residing in one's hands.

So today, as I write this, I can't believe it's been ten years. It doesn't feel like it. Not in my home, not in my life. I imagine that some people were able to go back to their lives, but Sept. 11th changed mine. It still is.

This month will mark the third wedding anniversary my husband has missed and nearly 3 years of separation accrued. Our marriage has been beaten and bandaged and stitched, painstakingly, back together. It has been filled with loneliness, heartache, fear, and pain.

But, something has happened along this bumpy little road of ours. Something spectacular! My husbands sense of honor has rubbed off on me. That devotion to country that I loved so dearly all those years ago has become part of the very fiber of who I am.

LOVE my country. I LOVE my husband. I LOVE the military.

I am proud of my husband. I am proud of our sacrifices.

And I would never change that.

Not for all the lonely nights, not for all the tears that I've spilled.

I've discovered what it was that I loved first about my husband--that even at 23 years old he knew that there was something greater than us in this world and that was freedom. My husband taught me that no terrorist, no war-monger, will ever tear that away from us... not in my family... not ever.

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Cannwin spends her time searching for her inner Shakespeare in the hopes that one day she will be able to dethrone the king and take her place as the greatest writer of all time. She just moved with her husband and four children from South Dakota to the sunny SouthWest. You can explore more of her world at The Great and Random Ramblings of Cannwin.

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