Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA
Seven years since we awoke to terror hitting us squarely in the face, at home - and all three locations became home to us all.
Where were you?
It was about them. His brother firefighters. He knew instantly that many brave men were storming those buildings, going in while everyone else was running out, trying to help, to rescue, to give aid and comfort. And he knew a lot of them were not going to make it home.
As the next few, surreal days wore on, we remained stunned but did our best to resume our daily lives. The news in San Diego was grim, between the Navy and Marines who we knew would be heading out to fight enemies as-yet unknown, and as experts warned that a chemical attack on San Diego would be so easy...a boat full of poison, an onshore flow...for the first time in my life, I was scared of forces and things I could not see. I was depressed, scared for my family and for my country. But I was also in the midst of expert depositions a big construction defect case 63 miles from home, up in Temecula, CA. So I had to leave home at dawn each day, wondering if the Beloved and girls were going to be safe. Then, in the middle of a very contentious exchange (it was me for the plantiffs vs about 15 defense attorneys who were piling on every time I tried to ask a question), my cell phone started vibrating.
It was the Beloved.
I asked for a recess, my hands shaking, and a few of the guys in suits said "No!" and insinuated that I was stalling or trying to coach my expert. My expert, who knew me well and knew what the Beloved did for a living, launched out of his chair, went up over the table, and lunged for someone's throat. I stood up, yanked him back, swore rather viciously on the record (it was left off the transcript, thankfully) and said we were taking a break, and f*** 'em if they didn't like it.
I ran into an adjoining conference room, took the call, and got the news. "I'm leaving in 30 minutes. We're loading the plane. Kuwait, and then someplace called Tajikistan, I guess." I sank to the floor. I was a mess.
I am fairly sure I said all the right things, love, goodbyes, and all that. Then I looked up and saw several of the defense attorneys looking in at me through the conference room windows. The worst a-hole among them came in, kleenex in hand, and helped me up. "I'm sorry. Pete just told us what's going on. Is your husband leaving? ("Yes, in less than an hour.")We've postponed the depo. Go see if you can catch him. And tell him we're proud of him." He was no longer an a-hole, he was an American.
I flew, at about 90 mph, all the way back down to Miramar. (I should not have been driving, really.) I got there 45 minutes after the call...only to wait in line for an hour to get on to the base. I was hoping against hope that the Marines were operating on Marine time, and I might get lucky. I got to the 3rd MAW buildings, and they were deserted. I sat in the car, head on the steering wheel, and sobbed. Then I looked up and saw a lone figure in cammies walking briskly toward the car.
"Hi. What're you doing here? Why didn't you answer your phone?" (Oops, conference room floor...) All the guys had parked their cars in the storage lot, and then got called in for a briefing, which ended right when I got there. The deployment was postponed, based on new intelligence, for at least 30 days. Then another 30. And then...well, that's another story.
I know all of you out there reading this are prayerful people, so I know without asking that you will pray for all the lost souls of September 11th and for all of those lost in the war and chaos since that time. But please take a moment to say an extra prayer to St. Michael the Archangel for all the lost first responders...98% of whom were our Catholic brothers and sisters, living out their vocations of love and service to their fellow man.
Saint Michael the Archangel,defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
One last prayer request - for the repose of the soul of Mari-Rae, a classmate, who was on the flight that hit the Pentagon. Click here for her remarkable story.
God Bless America and keep her free.