Proceedings, September 2011
A decade later, a former naval officer recalls the day he was working in the Pentagon when his life—and those of all Americans—changed forever.
The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 were the defining moments for our generation, a shockwave start to a turbulent decade. How best to mark that fateful day, and the ten years since?
Simple. Never forget.
While the memories of my 9/11 experiences are extreme, I believe our collective experiences from that day are relative and had as much impact on those who witnessed the attacks on television as they had on those of us who were in their fiery midst. What I mean by that is the event transformed us all, no matter our vantage. Wherever we were, our memories of that day cannot—should not—fade.
So let us first remember the day itself. It was a beautiful morning, to be sure. At least that’s how it started out.
It was nearly 0630, and I was commuting to the Pentagon. I recall my mind wandering back and forth from the pending work at hand and an upcoming family fishing trip. I missed my wife, an active-duty Navy lieutenant like myself; she was out of town on an assignment. I had been working for the Chief of Naval Operations staff for almost 13 months, busy with the rigors of being a very junior action officer with responsibility concerning naval strategy and warfighting concepts.