Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To post or not to post, hmmmm.

I try not to be too politically charged. It leads to arguments, mass discussions in which you will never get someone who disagrees to see your side. Opinions suck.

That being said, this is my little platform, and I feel the need to say a few words regarding the recent events in Pakistan.

September 11, 2001 We were stationed at Ft. Campbell, Ky but we lived off post. Chris wanted us to live as close to "normal" as humanly possible, away from the uniforms away from the air field, the constant helicopter fly-overs. When he was away from work, he wanted to be away from it. So we had an apartment clear on the other side of town, close to the Red River and downtown Clarksville. Caitlin was just a baby. She had slept late that morning....it was a rare occasion and I was laying in bed enjoying it. Chris had left for work, early as always. PT first thing in the AM meant he was long gone before the sun ever came up. I heard the phone ring. I didnt move. I wanted to rest. The answering machine picked up, but immediately the phone started ringing again. I figured it must be important, so I got up and answered. It was my grandmother. "Ju, go turn on the TV" is all I heard. I asked what was wrong. She was frantic. She instructed me to go turn on the TV and she would call me back. I hung up and stumbled to the entertainment center....The TV came on just in time for me to see the second plane hit. I was confused. I was scared. I watched in horror. Caitlin had woken from the ringing of the phone and toddled into the living room. I scooped her up and held her close sitting and rocking her on the floor with tears streaming down my face. Panic. Chris. Where's Chris. Immediately Ft. Campbell was locked down. No one on or off the base. Streams of barbed wire. Concrete pillars blocked the entrances. Helicopters patrolling the airspace over us. Panic. It was one of the longest day of my life at that time. I stayed glued to CNN all day. I didnt realize at the time that I would spend the large majority of the next 3 years in the same position. I got a phone call late in the evening. It was Chris. "I cant talk long. Im not going to be home." "Ok, if not tonight then when will you be?" "I dont know, Juli. I dont know if I will be home at all." Tears. Panic. Chris finally made his way home the next night. Already he was different. I saw it in his eyes when he walked in the door. He was tired. He was worried. And so the nightmare began.

We lived for weeks not knowing what day or what time he would be leaving. Phone calls in the middle of the night, he would jump and leave, we would say our goodbyes as if he were never going to return only for him to get to come home the following day. This went on for what seemed like ages. The day he really left we were so used to him coming back home....we said our quick goodbyes expecting to see each other again later that night. I went to Wal-Mart for groceries. I didnt go to the Commissary anymore....security was too tight and it took too long to get on and off Post. I left Chris a note on the door telling him where I was and when  I would be home. I was in the check-out line when my cell phone rang. It was my FRG leader, Ashley. She was the one who kept us wives in the loop on what was going on. She simply said, "They're gone." "Gone where?" I asked with such innocence and such naievity that I surprised myself. "Juli, they're gone." she repeated. When she said it the second time I understood what she meant. I sat on the floor of Wal-Mart and cried. I couldn't breathe. He was really gone. The cashier cried with me, as did the lady behind me in line.....I went home and took the note off of the door. I cried as I realized he would never read it. I cried as I realized that he was gone before I ever wrote it. I cried for Caitlin. I cried for myself. I was alone. There was nothing I could do about it. He was just a baby, barely 21. I was a baby, barely 21 myself. War. Seriously? I assumed my seat back in front of the tv, watched CNN, waited for word, waited for something.

You cannot understand the pain, the sacrifice. Perhaps this is all a lie. Perhaps this is nothing more than a political "pick-me-up". Regardless of what I think about our proof, our reasons, the lies and the truths.....Chris was sent there under a single premise. Afghanistan was harboring terrorist, not just any terrorists, but specifically Al Qaeda and OBL.

I was at work when I heard the news. I laughed jokingly with a patient because Obama was interrupting Celebrity Apprentice, what could possibly be this important this time of night...on a Sunday to boot. I shrugged off the announcement. Went into another patient's room....nothing.....another room, news....Osama bin Laden is dead. Another room. Another room. My phone exploded with notifications. My supervisor. I locked my cart and had to walk away. I went out into the night air, turned my face toward the wind and cried, the wind blowing away my tears......he's dead. Its over.

OBL is dead. I do not jump for joy at his physical passing. But for me, this is the ending of a story that started 9 years 7 months and 22 days ago. Unimaginable pain. Change. Divorce. What if September 11th had never happened? Im not trying to throw a party or anything, but dont ask me to be sorry that the son of a bitch is dead. Symbolic or not, he's gone, and that's okay with me.

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