11 September 2001
Not a favorite day to remember or think about. It was a day where Americans were at their individual best while we as a nation took a huge bloody nose.
I still hold a grudge, even if the "Move On" crowd feel that we should let bygones be bygones...
Ten years ago, when my retirement date was imminent I received a call from a Navy Captain in DC, who wanted to know my post service plans. If I was available for work, they had a position in DC at the Pentagon as a GS11 (To become GS12 in a year) working for the same people I worked for in London. (Don't bother asking)
This would be an incredible opportunity, decent pay and another pension when I reached retirement age. We could still live on our boat in Annapolis and we would be able to enjoy boating in the Chesapeake. I was kinda for taking the position, since I wouldn't have to actually look, apply and interview for an unknown job in an unknown location.
"It snows in DC, and the Traffic is world famously bad," sayeth the Spousal Unit. "Also, we planned on sailing for an undetermined time... I say no."
So I called DC back and declined their generous offer.
Three months after the attacks, Spousal Unit and myself took a little vacation to London, naturally, we stopped by the old office to say hi and ask if our friends in DC working at that office were ok.
My old buddy "Tin" pulled us into the SCIF and shared this news; The "office" took a direct hit.
I was floored.
"How many made it out?" Was all I could stammer out.
Here is a vague description; Two members of the Staff were out on the road doing the meeting thing. The Captain was across the Pentagon at some mundane powerpoint brief. One other person was down the hall in the head.
The plane struck the building and fire damaged the office.
The safes were all open and all the materials were unsecured. When the airliner hit it caused a huge hole in the outside wall, and all of the "stuff" we can't mention was strewn about! They had to post guards during the clean up.
If I had been working for those folks, I would have been at my desk on the computer or talking to the European folks on the phone. Especially at 0900.
The Pentagon folks always had a reputation for being completely anal about information security and proper physical stowage. But the attack showed what really happens when things turn to sh1t, and what is really important. People.
There is much I have sanitized in the above tale, but the truth is stranger than fishin' and I can end this with how love and luck kept me from being in the middle of the greatest tragedy we have faced in this Generation.
It's better to be lucky than good. I have made a good life in the time since, and I live it for those who can't.
The real heroes of the tragedy are the first responders, they have to make critical assesments and pull people out of harm's way, at great personal risk. The Fire Departments, the Police, and the Military made everyone proud and stood tall.
I don't feel very worthy, today.
Never forget and keep honoring those who were lost by keeping their memory close. Go to Babalu Blog to see the names of the 2900 persons of all nationalities that perished in that dastardly sneak attack.