Today We Remember

images_Ares-Gear

We’ll share this short piece with you, in remembrance of that terrible day and everything it wrought. Mad Duo

911_benner

Today We Remember

Chris Hernandez

Late night on 9/10/01, I came home on leave from my UN police assignment in Kosovo. Early morning on 9/11/01, I watched the towers burn and fall. I had just been discharged from the National Guard a month earlier. That was one of the lowest, most horrible feelings of my life; we were at war, but I wasn’t a soldier anymore. I was back in the Guard weeks later.

9/11 was a defining moment. Few of us were anywhere near Ground Zero; we couldn’t rush to the scene and save lives, but we could rush to the enemy and take lives. Efforts to find, fix and destroy that enemy became our Ground Zero, our center of gravity, our entire purpose. We trained, deployed, fought, came home, retrained, and went back. We judged our worth by our ability to destroy the enemy and keep fellow soldiers alive. We won spectacular tactical victories and suffered gut wrenching losses, collectively killed thousands of jihadists but watched the strategic tide turn against us.

What did we accomplish? Our Iraq misadventure was, or so we’re told, a mistake. Afghanistan feels like a lost cause. So was my and my generation’s collective post-9/11 patriotism and call to action a waste?

911_01

No, it wasn’t. While the rest of the nation mourned, complained about terrorism’s resulting inconveniences, rattled in terrified paralysis, or even justified the slaughter of our own innocents, we picked up a rifle and did something. That something wasn’t perfect, and didn’t produce a perfect result. But it was noble and courageous.

Most of us who did that something will always look back on it with solemn pride. Nearly all of us will miss who we were when we stood with our brothers and sisters, and fought back against the ideological allies of the 9/11 attackers.

They attacked us. We attacked back. To my dying day, I’ll rail against the countless errors and fumbles we committed during our fourteen-year counterattack for 9/11. But I’ll never lose the pride that goes with having done something. We didn’t just talk about 9/11. We didn’t say “someone has to do something” about 9/11. We volunteered to do it ourselves. That decision shaped us in a way unlike any other.

Today we mourn the innocent victims lost, and honor the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to save others. And we who stepped up to fight back should honor our dead, embrace those struggling to recover from war, and hold our heads high. Because we didn’t just shake our fists in enraged impotence after 9/11. We did something.

Today is Patriot’s Day. Never forget. Never forgive.

-CH

OP-BBC-Ad486x60

Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!

Comms Plan

Primary: Subscribe to our newsletter here or get the RSS feed.

Alternate: Join us on Facebook here or check us out on Instagram here.

Contingency: Exercise your inner perv with us on Tumblr here, follow us on Twitter here or connect on Google + here.

Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.

breachbangclear.com_site_images_Chris_Hernandez_Author_BreachBangClear4Chris Hernandez Mad Duo Chris (seen here on patrol in Afghanistan) may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LIGHT writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley and Proof of Our Resolve. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog, Iron Mike Magazine, Kit Up! and Under the Radar. You can find his author page here on Tactical 16.

Chris Hernandez

Chris Hernandez may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LITE writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley, Proof of Our Resolve and Safe From the War. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog.


Chris Hernandez has 112 posts and counting. See all posts by Chris Hernandez

7 thoughts on “Today We Remember

  • September 14, 2015 at 2:29 pm
    Permalink

    Well said. I will never forget where I was- sitting at my desk, in an Army recruiting station in Michigan. We were in the middle of our daily three hours of cold calls, and I had the news streaming on my laptop. Everything stopped. All attention was focused on the death unfolding in front of us. Except my idiot station commander,”All right, get back to those calls! The world doesn’t stop for an airplane crash!” Did he ever eat those words. A little more than a year later, I was flying into Balad, en route to Samara, Iraq. Little did I know there would be another Iraq tour, and that would lead to months of hospitals, therapy, tears and pain. But I’d do it all over again in a heart beat. With pride. Too many friends gone, too many roll calls. But I’d stand up and raise my right hand again.

    Reply
  • September 13, 2015 at 8:27 pm
    Permalink

    DAMNED SHAME… such a succinct and deeply meaningful article written with heart and soul, about a devastating event and the eternal consequences thereof, and it nets a total of 3 responses! WTF,over… if it were about some tacticool bullshit thing, armchair SMEs would be lined up around the block for the opportunity to express their wisdom… Hernandez deserves better for just having the composure to write the thing.OORAH!!!

    Reply
  • September 11, 2015 at 11:57 am
    Permalink

    Can’t forget when you are on an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean going to Iraq to eenforce the No Fly Zones. Crazy deployment.

    Reply
  • September 11, 2015 at 11:53 am
    Permalink

    Chris, you never fail to strike the right note.

    A great perspective on a point I’ve pondered more times than I care to remember. Having attended far too many funerals and memorial services, and heard names not answered in roll call; I’ve allowed myself on occasion to dwell on the “what could have been”. It’s a dangerous journey to contemplate the vacuum left behind when a father or mother or child comes home under a flag. When examined from an accountant’s perspective, the math never adds up. What cause is so worthy that a young son might never see his father at his ball game? What cause so noble that a parent get that visit that alters their life forever?

    The only times I could ever “justify” it were standing in a field of heroes at Arlington staring down through tears at the stone of yet another of my brothers. Each of the men I knew answered a call. And would readily answer it again. They understood fully the risks they bore and the weaknesses of many to whom their fates were entrusted. They knew however, that there was work to be done and that their only path was to contribute to its accomplishment.

    They knew they had to “do something”.

    In those instances, as in many, many others, words are worthless, and actions are priceless.

    Our nation stands on the backs of such men and women. While others prance about whining in fear or worse yet, capitulating…

    They act.

    The time I spent surrounded by such great people has been among my richest. Even through the horror and grief of the worst of those times, I knew that I was “doing something” and that to those around me, it mattered.

    Thanks for reminding me of that.

    Reply
  • September 11, 2015 at 9:13 am
    Permalink

    I had returned CONUS the day prior from a military-LE shooting comp in Austria. Full of excitement and the residual buzz from the week of kameradschaft and fun, I was stunned the next morning when an early call from my partner at the S.O.awoke me to the realities of the new world disorder. This was indeed WW III and life was never to be the same ! Preceding generations will never know the joys of life that we children of The Greatest Generation were accustomed to and I fear the severity of conflict still coming.Stand tall and buck-up young brothers and sisters…it is upon you that the burden has fallen. That said, I could not be more proud of you. Given the opportunity of youth, I would again join the fray to again stand with characters much larger than life. THIS WE’LL DEFEND!!

    Reply
    • September 11, 2015 at 11:06 am
      Permalink

      DAMN WELL SAID CHRIS!!! BRINGS TEARS TO MY EYES..again, I COULD NOT BE MORE PROUD OF YOU AND ALL WHO GAVE AND CONTINUE TO DO SO!!!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *