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    Posted May 2, 2011 by
    gazer9757
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    After bin Laden: What's next?

    gazer9757 and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: World reacts to Bin Laden death
    More from gazer9757

    In Shock

     

    The title says it all...in shock.

    I remember 9/11. I remember it full of detail. My husband had just returned from a temporary duty assignment in the UAE a few days before and we were trying to get back to normal life. He had decided that he would spend time with our girls and then we would go out to eat after I got off work. He and his friend were downstairs watching the girls play while watching the television.

    I was sitting at my desk, red pen in hand as I detailed the list I was working on when the phone rang. I answered it and the somber tone on the other end was my husband. I was worried one of the girls got hurt, then he told me what had happened to the first tower. As he is detailing what the news was describing, I heard his friend gasp and cry out, "Oh my god, another one is flying into the other tower!" Then I heard their pagers go off.

    I told them I would call the sitter as he got the girls ready to go. I knew that the world as we had known it was over. For the first time in my adult life, I knew fear and I was scared for my children.

    People went insane at work. Our group kept cycling in and out of our office area so we could go downstairs to watch the television. I was one of the people watch as the towers fell, and I cried at all of those people who were trapped. It wasn't until I got home that night that I would discover that some of the firefighters that perished had pulled guard duty at our base the previous summer. We had held dinners, barbeques, and just hung out as friends with so many firefighters, and they were gone. I pictured the guys as they joked and teased each other and took my children around to see the fire trucks. They were gone.

    When my husband finally came home, we discussed what had happened. He found out he would not be shipping out since he just came back, but several of our friends would be leaving. That night as we lay in bed, we held each other and I questioned what the future might hold for us. He didn't know the answer any more than I did.

    The next few days we saw patriotism rise around the nation. It made me feel proud to see that it didn't matter who you were or where you came from, we all pulled together. Watching the vigils around the globe strengthened my faith in the fact that justice would be found.

    Years went by, our patriotism began to wan and conspiracy theorists popped up everywhere. Then, when I was boarding a flight to Florida, CNN caught my eye. Saddam Hussein had been captured. I called my dad and we discussed the outcome of this situation would have on the world and how my husband would have to deal with the backlash. He was working as a civilian contractor firefighter in Uzbekistan, and he was getting shelled every once and a while through the weeks. Thankfully, the shellings decreased for a while.

    It was when my husband decided to work in Afghanistan and Iraq that the real toll on our family began to wear. He would try and make it sound less threatening by giving us tidbits of funny stories of the antics the troops would do to kill time. From watching movies to water balloon fights, the tales were supposed to make us feel better, but the story in his eyes told the truth of the horrors he had seen. He carries those scars close to his heart to this day, and doesn't mention the scenes he was privy. He came home for good in the fall of 2008.

    Today, we are still in shock. My husband works as a civilian firefighter for the military and when he text me last night to watch CNN, I was curious to see what had made him text so late. I was sitting in the recliner making paper flowers for a gift I was working on for a co-worker, so it was a simple change the channel moment.

    Across the screen read, "Osama Bin Laden is dead." I sat there and thought that I should feel something. Elation, happiness, sorrow, or anything that should reflect all the years of waiting was missing. I called my dad, similar to when Hussein had been captured. He, too, was quiet in response to the news. Now what?

    I called my husband and we sat there in the phone briefly discussing the news. He and I both were a bit in shock. It wasn't until this morning, when I told my daughter the news that she brought a little light to what we were thinking, "does that mean the war is over?' I had to tell her no, unfortunately not. She sat up and looked at me with a grim look on her face. "Guess that means we still have terrorists to find, huh?"

    As I walked down the stairs, her words sank into my skull. More terrorists to find, for a child she was incredibly insightful. She was 4 when 9/11 occurred. She held the hands of firefighters who are no longer with us. She has done reports on 9/11, firefighters, and knows about countries in the Middle East most kids her age only hear adults talk about in passing. Her younger sister was 2, and today she can point out the places her father served and how to pronounce the towns and villages he has visited. Most of their lives, their father was far from home.

    As I left for work this morning, I remember a photo my girls took at the one year anniversary of 9/11. They are standing in front of a bell that was rung for each of the firefighters that had died. My youngest looks like she is saluting. It was a quiet moment for me, but it is a moment that I will not forget.

    Bin Laden is dead. Now what?

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