Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11

As I ran today (9/10/2010), I was thinking about 9/11. A dear friend of mine had posted something on FB about it and it made me reflect on another part of my life. So I thought I would detour from usual ramblings about running and talk about that other part for a little bit. You see in May of 1996 I joined the Navy. I went off to Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an officer in the US Navy in August 1996 (finished number 1 in my class, yes I am proud of that, you have no idea how stinkin hard that was). I went onto flight school and became an Naval Flight Officer. On September 11, 2001 I was attached to VS-32, which was attached to Air Wing 1, which was attached to the Roosevelt, which was set to deploy.




On that day, right before the first airplane hit the World Trade Center, I was all geared up and walking to Maintenance Control to look over the jet that I was about to go fly in. As I stood at the counter looking over the maintenance book, one of the Chiefs told me I might want to head back up the Ready Room because something was really wrong. Then he said a plane had just run into the World Trade Center. I took off my gear, went back up to the Ready Room, and watched on TV as another plane hit the World Trade Center. Now in a room full of aviators there was a ton of speculation about possible scenarios but ultimately we all knew NO pilot would fly a plane into a building, even if it was in trouble. He would try and land it safely and if for any reason he had to crash, he would go for somewhere unpopulated--there was no way he would hit a skyscraper. Soon we got word of the other planes crashing. Of course we didn't fly that day because they locked down the base.



We all went home and were told to make sure we were ready to go. Our Squadron was set to deploy only a week or so later, so we were definitely the people who were going to be sent wherever they were sending people (it was still murky at this stage in the game as to what and who had done this). I answered phone calls all night from worried family members but, there wasn’t much I could say except that I was ready to deploy.



A few days later, we left. We high tailed it as fast as an aircraft carrier can to the Indian Ocean. When we got there, we were ready to go. We had spent the first part of our "cruise" getting briefed, going over plans, going over intelligence, etc. But then--it happened. We arrived and were set for our first set of flights. I had never before carried a gun when I flew or gone over survival plans in such detail. I am not going to lie--I was a tiny bit (ok a lot nervous) and my job was only to tank fighter aircraft on their way to do the real work. It was a crazy night followed by many crazy months. There were a few nights that I got back and made sure to send out an email to family making sure they knew I loved them.



It was a long hard deployment and afterwards, I was really wiped out. On my run today, I was thinking how drastically different my life is now from then. I was thinking about how peaceful it is to run—to be alone and free from stress…so opposite from my previous life. And yet--maybe it wasn’t so opposite. When I was in that other life, some of my favorite flights were at night, when no one else was around and it was so dang peaceful out there and you could see all the stars.God, it is gorgeous to be out over the ocean at night looking up at the stars. It is heavenly. Of course landing back at the boat brought that peacefulness to an abrupt end. Lol.

So is my life really so different now? It is. I am a completely different person than I was on 9/11 some of it due to my experiences in the military and some of it is just because you grow as time moves on. I would like to think that I am a much better person. But, who can really judge that? I know that I am a much happier person now. In fact I am not sure I have ever been so happy in my life as I am now. I try and make sure I tell Doug and Chloe that often. My life is good. I am a lucky girl. And sometimes that Navy life seems like it was a lifetime ago when I was a different person. Hummmmmm.



Happy Running All. If you see a Military member today make sure to thank them for all of their hard work and sacrifice.

Thanks to B for helping me write this post. You all know writing in complete thoughts and sentences is not my forte.


10 comments:

Marny said...

Amazing post! Glad you're in a happier place now :)

Howard said...

Well written Tara, it was an honor serving with you during that time of our career. This morning I ran a 5K with Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines and thanked God we still have our freedom 9 years later.

tara said...

Thanks Master Chief (it is really hard to call you Howard or Howie), I should say the honor and pleasure was all mine. You taught me a lot. I am thankful for our freedom and thankful for the people I met during my time in the service.

Bethany said...

I already told you this, but fantastic post. I love reading your perspective on 9/11. Thanks for your service. :)

Darren said...

You brought tears to my eyes, and reminded me YET AGAIN why I love and respect you so much. Thank you for your beautiful insights.

Darren said...

BTW- Apparently that came from Darren's google account. While I am sure he has enormous respect for you too, not sure he would have used those exact words!

Daniela said...

What a wonderful story! Thanks so much for sharing.

cathycrisp said...

AWESOME!! YOU ARE AN AMAZING WOMAN, TARA TOSTA AND I AM PROUD TO CALL YOU MY FRIEND. XOXO PEA

suzi walther said...

thanks for that TnT. thanks for your service and for sharing. you are definately a different person now than you were then. so much happier. i think that maybe you had to go through all that and all that was before it so that you could get to this place that you are now. you are definately a different person now than you were then. and i marvel at it almost daily...
lots of love my spirit friend,suz

Reyna said...

Gosh...I am not used to tears springing to my eyes while reading your posts...well, actually...I take that back. Tears of PRIDE have stung my eyes a few times while reading your blog. I am so proud of you as my sister, as a friend, as a human-being. I admire you. I applaud you. I thank you. Thank you for your service...Thank you for your perspective... Thank you for inspiring so many of us to do better.

Give Chlo-Bo a hug and kiss from her Auntie.