Resident’s memories of terrorist attack remain vivid, as well of those of letting son go |

Resident’s memories of terrorist attack remain vivid, as well of those of letting son go

Early morning, we’re packing the car for a trip to Denver. One of the neighbor kids walks by on his way to school, says “Hi,” and asks if we heard about the plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

No, I had not heard anything about it. As I went back into the house to grab a couple more bags, my first reaction was he must be mistaken, then I thought perhaps a small private plane lost control and did hit one of the towers.

We weren’t in a big hurry, so I turned on the TV news to see what happened.

Shock set in immediately. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. My wife, our three children, and I stood there, speechless. Chills ran up my spine.

This was no accident. We knew military action, war, was inevitable. Sept. 11 was emblazoned in our memories forever.

My wife looked at our oldest son. His face was stern, eyes focused on the news coverage. Then she looked at me. In her eyes I could see that deep, concerned, worrisome look that only mothers get when they worry for their children.

You see, we were heading to Denver to take our Son, Jeff, to the MEPS (Military Enlistment Processing Services) center. From there, he would ship out for basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

You can imagine what was running through my mind.

Our first-born was leaving home for the military. We had to be strong for him. The encouraging part was how strong he was for us. Jeff assured us that he was doing the right thing, even more so now. The trip to Denver was solemn to say the least. We listened to the news, wanting to believe it wasn’t true but knowing it was.

Like all of America, we drifted back and forth from sadness to outrage. Then the reality that Jeff could see action against these cowardly terrorists would creep in and I’d get that empty pit feeling in my gut. But all through the trip and as we said our goodbyes, he stood straight and told us not to worry, he would be all right.

We prayed he would.

It seems like a long time since that day. At the same time, it seems like yesterday. These past months have gone well for Jeff and our anxiety has lessened. After months of intense training, he now repairs avionics on the F16s that our future fighter pilots train on.

We, like all parents of servicemen, know he is doing his part to keep our country safe. We couldn’t be more proud of him and his fellow service men and women who serve, or have served our country with honor and dignity, here and around the globe.

May God bless each and every one of them.

Gary Braselton


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