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Dispatches from the Heart: 9/11 Shaped My Future

On September 11, 2001 I was visiting with friends in Florida and, when I woke up on that Tuesday morning, I saw those terrible images that everyone else saw of the towers burning on TV. Being from New York City, I was concerned for my family and I initially thought we were being bombed.

I had just enlisted in the military a couple months before prior and, up to that point, it hadn’t really felt real to me; I was using it only as a way to pay for school. And, while I was watching the news, it suddenly dawned on me that I would probably go off to war. At first, images of fighting this war in the hallowed out buildings of NYC filled my head and I felt excited and anxious, angry and scared.

Later that day, though, I was able to get through to my family and I calmed down a bit. I took the next possible flight home a few days later. I reported to my reserve unit and for the next few weeks we were posted around Ground Zero. September 11, 2001 was the first, and most, destructive acts of senseless violence that I have seen; however, it inspired my desire to serve my country for much more than just having a college education paid for. I now felt I needed to serve; it had to be done. As a result, it forever altered the course of my personal history. I will never forget.