Around this time every year, I look back on things and see how I have done in the past year or so. This year is a little different, though. It does not really have anything to do with September 11th.
Eight years ago, yesterday, I was in bed fast asleep at my parents house just north of Seattle. It was still pretty early in the morning. My parents did not wake me up to tell me of the attacks. I did not find out until a friend called me. I remember asking her at least twice to repeat herself because I could not understand what she was saying through her hysterics. Then, I turned on the news and watched the footage in stunned silence. I do not know when my younger brothers learned of the attacks, or how. I should ask them some day. I imagine they learned while they were at school, or beforehand, because they would have been getting ready about the time my parents were.
I was supposed to meet my recruiter for my two week pre-departure briefing. I ended up calling him and saying something along the lines of, "I guess our meeting has been postponed." He had been recalled to the nearest Air Force Base, McChord. I met with him a couple days later. 9/11 is not the reason I joined, but it certainly made me more determined to follow through with that commitment. And I have no regrets about that decision.
On September 26th, I shipped out to boot camp. Nearly seven years later, on September 17th, 2008, I separated from the Air Force under honorable conditions. I cannot believe it has been nearly a year already. It feels like yesterday. I still think about the stuff I used to do on base on nearly a daily basis. I miss the basic job, the patrolling, and some of the people. Others, I do not, especially the trouble causing troops I supervised.
So this year, I have been looking back on the last eight years and seeing how the journey has changed me. It has been an interesting last couple of days.