Will there be a draft?
We watched 9/11 happen on TVs in our high school. There was deafening silence in the hallways as we moved from class to class that day. My boyfriend was turning 18 in a few days, and I wondered if there would be a draft. I couldn't help but look around at my fellow students and think about how many of them might end up embroiled in what I imaged was a war to come. I went home that night and my mom and I cried.
I was absolutely horrified by the rhetoric that followed the fall of the Twin Towers. Our community was pretty white, so the racism hadn't always been obvious. But now, I had one teacher who became vocal in her Islamaphobia.
There was a lot of "patriotic" posturing from my classmates. It just didn't seem like meeting hate with hate was going to get us anywhere.
I had actually flown enough times before 9/11 that I can remember when you could walk to the gate, when you didn't have to take off your shoes in security. I remember watching the censorship in media - radio stations having blacklisted songs. In some ways, it felt surreal but coming from a politically engaged household I responded to it all by becoming pretty vocal about my anti-war feelings. I attended protests. I wrote to my representatives. I think it really turned me onto politics. I registered to vote as soon as I was eligible and have never missed an election. I do my best to vote with my money too, doing research on who I buy from. I am not sure that I would have developed this level of conscious citizenship so early without 9/11.
The irony is that as an adult, I fell in love with an Airman. No one was as surprised as I that I ended up a military spouse. Having this anniversary happening in the midst of the pull-out from Afghanistan is heart-wrenching.
There is so much anger in the military community. So much grief. My spouse isn't alone in his feelings that the entire "War on Terror" was botched, that Americans were lied to, that military members - plus their families - were sacrificed for temporary political gains. It is a hard time for veterans of this conflict. Watching him and his peers try to process this ... I don't really have the words to express the deep burning rage I have for how all of this played out. We are currently stationed overseas, and are watching firsthand the evacuation of Afghanistan happen at our base. Today, I feel an echo of the hopelessness I felt watching the towers fall.