Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Disney Military Mom's Memories of 9/11

Mom's Memories

Tomorrow we will do a Wordless Wednesday for 9/11  and seeing that reminded me about 9/11 and our trip that we had planned to Disneyland.

We all have our different memories of 9/11 and every year on 9/11 those memories are brought back up.  For the mom of two sons in the military they are not always good memories, just as I am sure they are not good memories for others.  Our 9/11 memories do have a Disney connection, our oldest son Paul (Disney Gal’s  IT Guru) had already been gone for a few years as he had joined the United States Coast Guard after graduating from high school and was now stationed in Cleveland, Ohio working as a Public Affairs Officer. 


Our youngest son Brian had just graduated from high school and was joining the United States Air Force, before he was to leave for San Antonio, TX on September 18th.  We were taking him on one last trip; a trip to Disneyland and  we were to leave on September 12th after his dad got home from work on an American Airlines flight around noon (his dad was at that point a Paramedic Ambulance Commander for the City of Chicago Fire Department). 


I first received a call from Paul at my office saying that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and that they did not think it was an accident.  After the second one hit both Paul and my husband called to say that they were put on high alert and that I should head home that they (at that point) thought a large building in downtown Chicago might be on the list too.  They did close our offices; which was a couple of blocks from Sears Tower and told everyone to go home; easier said than done.  As they were loading trains and saying they were stopping at every stop you could barely move; as we got to our first stop I realized I am on the wrong train and I am headed in the wrong direction.  As I tried to get off the train to go back downtown, the people I was with would not let me get off and told me it was not a good area to be in (you would think after living in the city for over 40 some years I would know that).  Anyway I ended up in Oak Park and tried getting a cab (yes, right), then a bus (not happening) and then I ended up walking;  and walking; okay I was almost home when Brian’s friend Edwin picked me up, it would have been around 6 miles had I made it all the way (thank you Edwin!).

The rest of the day went by with phone calls checking in on Paul and Paul to make sure they were okay, then finding out that the Coast Guard was send him to Chicago to handle the media here (since he could move back home, so much for being empty nesters).  I then got on the phone with Disney to see what we could do about our trip; they were so nice and said not to worry we could re-book when ever (as did American Air).  Unfortunately there would not be enough time for a trip with Brian as he would be leaving and the planes, as we would remember would not be flying for a few days.

We did re-book the trip, but with his brother Paul taking his place, yes it wasn't the same without him, but  we had a wonderful time.  Brian did get to go to Walt Disney World on a return trip from Kuwait in which we surprised his Dad, as he did not know he was back, the look on his face was worth as million dollars! And everything Disney did to help us surprise him and they way they treated our son was beyond wonderful.

I am happy to say everyone is still safe and still in the Coast Guard and Air Force, there have been other trips overseas (mom I cannot tell you where I am going) and National Disasters  (now Paul is on the National Strike Force and goes to most of our National Disasters; like the hurricane on the east coast; oil spill in the Gulf; etc.) and my husband is now a Field Chief for the Fire Department, which means he is also trained for Disasters (and again somethings he cannot tell me) but is it what they love to do and I am so proud of each of them (and miss my boys immensely)!



Please do me two favors next time you see a soldier thank them for what they do, they don't hear it enough and also the next time you are at the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland, take the time to stop and watch the Flag Retreat Ceremony, it happens everyday at between 4:45 pm and 6:00 pm in front of the Main Street Train Station (you can stop at Guest Relations to ask what time it will be the day you are there).  It is a very moving and important ceremony and If possible they will include Veterans in the program, if you are interested you can stop at Guest Relations on Main Street and ask if there is an opening. More parents need to teach their children what this ceremony means.


7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, Judy. It's quite amazing, the memories we have from this time and how in a lot of ways, it still feels like it was yesterday. Much gratitude to your family for their service.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, what an experience! I can remember exactly where I was, wondering if my hubby would be safe downtown, but nothing like what you had to go through. You've raised a couple of fine young men, and as we say, "Everyone should have a Paul" :)

    Couldn't agree more on the flag ceremony! In these times where patriotism seems to be on the decline, it is important to take the time with your family and give our servicemen and women the respect they deserve.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a beautiful article written from the heart! What an incredible family you have, none of which would be possible without your unconditional love and support!

    ReplyDelete
  4. WOW! Loved this story. I know we all know exactly what we were doing that day. As I was still in the U.S. Secret Service I was put on high alert as well and was sent to NYC during the aftermath. At the time, I was eager and happy to do everything I could to help and never thought about my personal safety but to be the Mom/wife who has to stand by and watch your loved ones leave, that may just be even harder! Thanks for sharing this. Bless your family. You are all heroes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tricia - I am sure it was a very had day for you too, having they job you had too. As you and your husband are too!

      Delete
  5. Thank you for this post. I ran my first 5K this weekend in honor of a co worker who was on UA 175 (second plane into the towers). I ran with someone from my company who is 25....she was in 6th grade!!! So important we always remember.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacey, you are right it is important to remember!

      Delete