Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Seeing Red Again

Warning: Strong language ahead.

When you're a military wife, you're caught between a love for your country and an anger when the government takes the military for granted. The latter often happens when there's a Democrat in the White House. And this administration is no different.

Bob Woodward is putting out a new book called Obama's Wars, and in cleaning the bathroom, I happened to hear parts of it on Sean Hannity's show. I was livid, to say the least. Obama is shutting out the generals, coming up with his own little plans and throwing temper tantrums when things don't go the way he wants. In the 2008 campaign, he kept talking about bringing the focus back to Afghanistan instead of the war the Left considered unjust, Operation Iraqi Freedom. But when it came to assume the role of Commander-in-Chief, he didn't want to fight a war. He wanted to get out of it as soon as possible.

Now, these are things that conservatives knew going into the election. We warned that Obama didn't have the mettle to carry things through, that we needed someone committed to the global war on terror, and that the McCain/Palin ticket, for all its flaws, answered those challenges. But the voters were swayed by a smooth operator, and we wound up with the least qualified president ever. He's running our economy into the ground. He's trashing America abroad and alienating our allies. He doesn't know how to buy apples. Most egregious of all these things, though, is his refusal to win.

The president's oath reads as follows: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." To defend the Constitution of the United States means that you defend it when it is under attack, as it is now by Islamic extremists trying to take down America. They hate our Constitution. They don't understand its rights and protections because to them, Sharia law worldwide is their goal. Our President refuses to acknowledge this, and thereby aids the terrorists when he downplays the role that religious extremism plays in their efforts. Yes, I realize that, when forced to, he talks about Islamic extremism. But we have to drag him kicking and screaming like a little child who doesn't want to got to bed when he's been up for 18 hours. He'd rather be out having fun with his friends than think about the men and women dying for freedom.

Here comes the strong language.

We are not in Afghanistan to safely run away. We're there to kick the ever-lovin crap out of al-Qaeda because they did the unthinkable and went after our civilians. Our civilians, who were forced to plummet over 100 stories to their deaths because their lungs were giving out after al-Qaeda smashed planes into the place in which they happened to work. Our civilians, who held onto each other in terror as their planes went down with al-Qaeda at the helm. Our civilians, who refused to leave the stairwells of the World Trade Center as they helped others get out to safety and died for their bravery. Our civilians, who charged the al-Qaeda-held cockpit in a desperate attempt to save lives other than their own.

That's why we're in Afghanistan, Mr. President. Our enemies will not wage war on us in the nice, clean manner you envision. Those days are gone, and it's time to kick ass. "We win, they lose," said Ronald Reagan, a man far greater than you will ever be. Unlike you, he knew that the purpose of our military is to kill people and break things, no matter whose feelings might get hurt in the process. We have the greatest military in the world, damnit, and it's time to use it. Give Gen. Petraeus what he needs to win this war. We're going into the heart of darkness and we don't need your namby-pamby rhetoric about sensitivities or false posturing about fiscal responsibility as you're slashing the military budget. Our enemy, the scum of the earth, uses civilians as shields and children on the battlefield. There is going to be collateral damage. Suck it up and take it like the men and women you're sending into harm's way. Let us win, Mr. President, and do your freakin job.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oh, Where Do I Start?

President Obama had a town-hall meeting yesterday, and someone asked him about the Tea Party. I could spend all day going over that appearance, but I just want to address one statement.
"America has a noble tradition of being healthfully skeptical about government. That's in our DNA." (Obama-bots, surprisingly, applaud.) "We came in because, uhhh, the folks, uhhh, over on the other side of the Atlantic been, uhhhh, oppressing folks without giving reputation."
Where did Obama learn his U.S. history?! Indonesia? Oh wait, he probably did. His grasp on history is tenuous, at best. Sure the Puritans came over here because they wanted a place to practice their religious freedom, but others came over to start a new life. But that's not the problematic part. The "no taxation without representation" (not reputation!) did not come until the American Revolution, over a hundred years later, when we were already here! We revolted not only because we were "skeptical of the government," but because they weren't listening to the people. Which is why, in the First Amendment to the Constitution, the Founding Fathers gave the people the power to tell the government what we think. Government works for the people, not the other way around, and that is an American principle. We're skeptical of the government, but that's not why we've got the best democracy in the world. We've got it because of freedom.
The problem with the debate that's taken place, uhhh, and, uhhh, with some of these Tea Party events I think they're misidentifying who the culprits are here. We had two tax cuts that weren't paid for,
Rush went nuclear on the idea that tax cuts need to be "paid for," and I agree. When taxes are cut, the economy grows, and government gets more revenue. It's called the Laffer Curve, and it's been proven correct because of human nature, not pie-in-the-sky academic analysis. Obama might know about such things if he or anyone in his administration had private sector experience. The money people make does not belong to the government. The money people make belongs to them, and the government taxes them to pay for services for the people. The reason liberals hyperventilate about tax cuts is that they think that all wealth belongs to the government and that tax cuts means the government gets less revenue. They then spout rhetoric like Obama did, hoping that everyone gets as panicked as they do when the idea of a smaller government gets floated around.
two wars that weren't paid for.
When the Right points out all the services that could be trimmed, the Left demands that we cut back on war spending. This is baseless. The war in Iraq cost less than the failed stimulus of early 2009. The war in Afghanistan is ongoing, so we don't have the numbers for that yet, but we do know that Obama did not want to commit resources in the form of troops as his generals asked. Why is it that whenever the budget gets cut, the Left goes after the Pentagon? The military has a Constitutional imperative to protect the country, and the Left does everything they can to undercut them. There is no Constitutional imperative for Social Security, Medicare or government-funded housing, and as painful as it would be, Americans know deep down that those programs need to be trimmed.
We've got a population, uhhh, that's getting older. We're all demanding services but our taxes have actually substantially gone down,
But we don't have money for anything. Before the Democrats took over Congress in 2007, we had a deficit, but we were trying to get things under control. Then the Blue Wave came, and spending went through the roof, compounded by Congress' refusal to do anything about the ticking time bomb of sub-prime mortgages. The Democrats are hoping to rewrite history by blaming the recession on the Bush tax cuts, which makes no sense whatsoever. What does increased federal debt - which they claim is from the Bush tax cuts (which is false) - have to do with the economy taking a dive after the markets tanked? That's pure Keynesian thinking, and it's ridiculous. The reason the economy took a nosedive is that the government, because of the Democrats, forced banks to lend money to people that couldn't pay it back, and then the whole scheme collapsed. Barack Obama doesn't want you to know about that. He wants you to think that Bush waved an eeeeeeevil magic wand and the recession happened. Oh, and have you heard that the government will still help you get a home even if you can't pay for it?
and so the -- the challenge I think for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically: What would you do?
They've told you what they want to do! TEA originally stood for Taxed Enough Already, because the American taxpayer is fed up with high taxes and a byzantine tax code. They want Washington D.C. to stop spending and putting their grandchildren into debt. Read their signs, Obama! Unlike the idiots that Andrew Breitbart confronted, they'll stand by their signs and explain them to you, and even make fun of the media for obsessing over their signs.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Channeled Rage

Even though I was in the middle of an intense ICC 10 raid last night, I still managed to watch Sarah Palin's speech to the Iowa GOP and Sen. Lisa Murkowski's announcement of a write-in campaign. One of them lifted me up, and one of them made be so angry that we took out two bosses I'd never been able to defeat before.

Sarah Palin's speech started out fast-paced. I think she was a little nervous because she'd drawn record numbers to the dinner and it was being carried by C-Span and Fox News. But she slowed down halfway into the speech, making a clear case for the cause of conservatism and the need to win in 2010 (candidly talking about ducking 2012 questions, natch!). She called for unity in the GOP, reminding us all that the primaries were over and we needed to back our candidates.

After her speech, interestingly, her mike was kept hot as she walked off the platform to the back hallway to make her exit. Even though you couldn't see what was going on, Palin was mobbed by media and well-wishers. She handled both gracefully, posing for pictures, signing items, and accepted a tape someone gave her, all while fielding questions from the media she'd just ripped a gaping hole in for not exercising their military-protected right wisely. Palin came off well, demonstrating fantastically Reagan's "happy warriors" of conservatism.

I wish I could say the same for Lisa Murkowski. After the "independents" (more on one of those later) came out and asked her to run, she went on for 20 minutes in a pathetic ego-fest. She threw her family aside, saying it would have been easy to bow out and spend time with them, but she looked in her heart and decided to run anyway. She invoked the ghost of Ted Stevens, essentially saying that Ted would want her to run. She condescended to the voters, saying she was going to educate them on how to spell her name after her family has spent decades in the Alaskan spotlight. She outright lied, saying Alaskans need a "senior Senator" to bring home the federal dollars (which is somehow not pork, by the way), when it's unlikely she'll keep her position in leadership and ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She admitted that she was breaking her own pledge that she would abide by the primary results, but supposedly that was because Joe Miller ran a "smear campaign." In other words, his shoestring budget did the unthinkable and told the truth.

But that's not what made me channel my rage into Festergut and Rotface. It was one of the people who preceded Murkowski and implored her to run. I'd like to address her below:

Dear Katie,

I'm not even sure if this is your name or not, because when I asked the people who were watching this rally with me to double-check, they told me that your name is Katie and you hadn't specified a last name. If you did this to retain anonymity, you should have realized that as a person contacted by Murkowski's campaign to speak on national television, you opened yourself up to public scrutiny.

You began by stating that you were a military spouse without identifying the branch or unit your husband served in. You said that you had come to Alaska in 1996 and you now considered Alaska home. First of all, in order to be a "military family" that had stayed in one place for 14 years, your husband would have had to get out of active duty and enlist in the Alaska National Guard. Alaska is considered an overseas assignment, and to even get back-to-back 4-year tours there would be rare, much less a 14-year assignment. The National Guard being what it is, in general, spouses specify that their significant other is in the National Guard. In fact, almost every military spouse I've met proudly identifies what branch their spouse serves in. (Go Air Force!) So, this leads me to believe that your husband did not re-enlist, retired, or, heaven forbid, was kicked out. This means you are no longer a "military family." You may think of yourself as such, but the label no longer applies. It does not lend any credibility to your endorsement of Lisa Murkowski's quixotic write-in campaign when your self-identification is in question.

Then you proceeded to say that you spoke for all military families in endorsing Murkowski. The military does not endorse candidates, and cannot ever been seen as doing so. They have regulations making it very clear that military members are not to run for office or publicly use their military status to endorse a candidate. If a military spouse endorses a candidate, they must make it very, very clear that they are doing so as a personal decision.

You do not speak for me. Where do you get the authority to speak for all military families? What organization do you head that has the backing of the families of over two million military members? I take offense at anyone saying that they are speaking for all military families, especially when they're endorsing a power-hungry lying vindictive politician like Lisa Murkowski. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Your husband did not serve so you could use his service to promote a career politician. Your husband served so that you could state your endorsement of this spoiled brat as an American.

An Air Force Wife

Friday, September 17, 2010

Obligatory Gamer Dr00l Post

Yes, I'm stealing headline-writing from Allahpundit. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. :P

I'm also cheating on blog content, so there.

My apologies for the smallness of the video, but Blogger is constraining me.

Vescere bracis meis!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Time-Wasters Of My Life

I got a request the other night to make this a "Conservatives on WoW" blog. I don't think that would get me very far, because a) Most gamers are libertarians, not conservatives, and b) I cannot talk numbers like Pooky can. So I'll just write a short post on it.
Tipper Gore's campaign against violent media helped shove a lot of geeks into the libertarian camp, and I still see them fighting the automatic assumption that video games make people violent. As for the blogs that talk about gaming, there is no way I could do that. When I'm on my paladin in a raid, I am (literally) blowing everyone away with my damage per second, but I can't tell you the numbers behind what I'm doing. My gaming style is more about instinct than math. And I like whacking things. Lots and lots of things.
I told a friend the other day that WoW, Guild Wars and Twitter are the bane of my existence, but lately, it's become clear that WoW is the biggest time sink mankind has ever invented. It takes you months to get to level 80 (and they're upping it to 85 soon), and when you do, you have to dungeon grind to get the gear you need to raid. After that, it's all about the tons of achievements WoW has come up with. And don't even get me started on the professions you have to slog through!
Guild Wars is time-consuming, but the biggest chunk of time is getting through the missions in the campaigns. Fighting Shiro at the end of Factions is an extremely short mission, but it is so incredibly intense that you almost feel that it is real. There are dungeons in the Eye of the North expansion, and I don't do those as much as most players do because unless you have a lot of people you know in your group, errors tend to compound themselves. I've heard people gripe about the 15% death penalty you get for dying, but you can work it off with XP and if things are going to the Realm of Torment in a handbasket, you can zone and start over. The ability to create customizable characters and play them through a coherent storyline has inspired me to start a fan fiction that maybe, just maybe I'll get finished with someday. And I'll have you know that I was working on mine a year before these guys!
Overall, what I like about MMORPGs is the ability to enter a fantasy and have fun. Pooky's uncle had his WoW account hacked last week (they were even so cruel as to delete almost all of his characters!), and he had to keep telling himself, "It's just a game. It's just a game." It took a week for Blizzard to get him some of his characters back, and even then, they couldn't recover the gear that had been stripped. The guild pitched in, and we were able to get him most of his gear back. Experiences like that can make you want to quit, but then you meet the vast community of people who just want to have fun and are willing to help out others. Or, if you happen to be a cute female, you get lots of help and gold. :P
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to level my mining and engineering on my level 67 shaman. And farm some icy humps by beating up a bunch of Ettins. And try to keep up with people on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Time

It's time.

It's time to say goodbye to one of the greatest men I've ever known, who shaped me so much that I can't even begin to describe it.

It's time to say goodbye to the man whose loss still makes my chest seize up and tears come to my eyes. It's taken me five months to even get to the point where I can write about it and not break down.

The epilepsy attack happened a few years ago, the major heart attack a year ago, the move into the nursing home at the same time. And still I wasn't ready to let go.

I don't think I'll ever stop missing you, Grandpa. Every day I see your bow tie on the bookshelf and remember the scientist, the professor, the philatelist, the die-hard Cubs fan, the man of God, and the man who loved his family.

The wonderful, touching slideshow of Grandpa's 86 years that Jack made won't load, so I took some stills.

He and my mother were incredibly close.

Ah, the glorious bow ties!

Grandpa never stopped teaching.

I'm afraid I wasn't terribly cooperative for this picture.

The family he loved.

He found that even more fun than being a grandpa was being a great-grandpa!

He got to watch his great-grandchildren grow. (Yes, those are the same boys!)

He and my grandmother used to argue the particulars of historical battles, sometimes late into the night...

We got married on their 59th anniversary, and this is a moment I will cherish forever.

PS-One of the last things Grandpa said to me was that he thought the next GOP presidential nominee would be Sarah Palin. If I ever get the chance to talk to her, I'd like to tell her that both of my grandpas adored her.

Are We Ready For A Woman President?

The Right Scoop, in last night's battle of the Twitter Sexist Wars, unknowingly gave me some blog fodder. We were talking about sexism and Sarah Palin, and whether America was ready for a President Palin. Cubachi and TRS think so, and I gave a yes on the condition that it's what she wants to do. All of this speculation two years out rarely comes to fruition, and I trust that Palin will think long and hard before getting back into putting her name on the ballot. As I alluded to yesterday, she's been effective as a consultant, but the savaging of her family was unprecedented.
Is America ready for a woman president? America was inundated in 2007 and early 2008 with fretting about the conservative side of this country supposedly unwilling to accept a woman president. We're hostile to women's rights, we're fundamentalist Christians who think that women are unfit for anything outside the home, we only look at women as sex objects. Well, maybe that last one is somewhat true, because I've heard more than once "The Right has hotter women than the Left!"
"Women's rights" is code language for wholly endorsing abortion. The Left is perfectly okay with embracing a culture of death, but the Right continually and wholeheartedly embraces life. I'm pro-life, a "traitor to my gender," and I'll tell you why.
Many years ago, I heard a young woman talk about the dream she'd had her entire childhood. She would be sitting in a closet. There would be someone next to her. Then the door would open briefly, the other person would be yanked out of the closet, and she was alone in the dark. It bothered her for years. She had to go into counseling for some other issues, and she described the dream. Her mother finally confessed that she had had an abortion, and didn't realize until afterwards that she'd been pregnant with twins and her daughter had survived. I want all those women screaming for "reproductive rights" to tell this young woman that she shouldn't be alive. That when she was a "blob of tissue" she wasn't aware of her brother next to her. The Right is trying to take back the feminist movement, and we do that by supporting life. Abortion hurts women, and the Right recognizes that while the Left uses women for their own agenda.
Part of the discussion last night also hit on the religious aspect of women in leadership roles. I come from a very conservative Christian denomination, where "women in church office" is such a hot-button issue that whenever the leadership in the top even considers it, yet another congregation splits off and joins an even more conservative denomination. There's Biblical evidence for not allowing women to preach, and as for them serving on councils, my mother pointed out that whenever women sit on a church council, "the women do all the work." But I've never heard my denomination say that we should never vote for a woman in a public office. Even if they had, one of the tenets of the Reformation (sorry, Cubachi) was "Sola Scriptura- By Scripture Alone," which means that we look to Scripture before the doctrines of men. Christians are called to work in this fallen world, and if that means having to put ourselves on the ballot, so be it. Christian women across the nation are entering the political spectrum because we've got a lot to lose. Our religion, the way of life of our families, and our identities as Americans is all coming under attack. It's time to be a Mama Grizzly and fight back!
Finally... Of course the ladies on the right are hotter! We actually know how to dress!
And we smile a lot because we love this country and know how to have fun!
We know the guys love looking at us, and we wink at them!

Yeah, we're ready to have a conservative woman occupying the White House!

Monday, September 13, 2010

What If It Was You?

1. You are a high-ranking manager of a company. The vice-president slot is open, and the president chooses you to for the position. You've been running your part of the company fairly well, turning a nice profit and promoting the brand. You get to your new position, are told that you need to launch a new and vital product quickly, and promptly get no support from the president or, for that matter, anyone. You quietly plug away, trying to get the product launched, and encountering obstacles at every turn.
Then the real disaster hits. Your top competitor comes out with something similar but with far more popularity. The president tells you to cut your losses, but the rest of the company publicly blames you for the failure, and it's a work environment that you can't get anything done in. You resign, but stay active in the industry by consulting. But the company's accusations dog you wherever you go, and the competitors join in, saying that you're ineffective (even though that would have been counter-productive to their efforts). They even drag your personal life into it! It is possible to escape, but then you wouldn't be doing what you love in your industry. What do you do?
2. You're going through the motions of filing your taxes one year. You carefully double- and triple-check all the numbers and forms. You send the whole works off, and, like every American, hope and pray that you got everything right. (Unless you're a prominent Democrat. You know that if you don't do it right the IRS won't come after you. In fact, they could even give you a position!) You wait to get your refund, and the IRS suddenly informs you that they're slapping a lien on your house. You're horrified, but you fight back. Finally, they admit that it was a computer error. But your reputation is tarnished, and some people who aren't fond of you to begin with tell everyone they know that you're a tax fraud. You could fight the smears, or you could just ride it out and hope that your reputation is such that people won't believe it. What do you do?
3. You're applying for a fairly prominent job within your company. You know exactly who the competition for it is, but you've got a great record and have always toed the company line. It comes down to you and one other person, and suddenly you're hearing from coworkers all sorts of nasty, vile rumors that this person has spread about you in order to get you to drop your bid for the job you've been preparing for your whole career. As it becomes more evident that this person is willing to say anything to get this job, you hold your ground and try to take the high road. But in order to really fulfill this job, you're going to have to work with this person and all the people who believe the lies. You could withdraw your bid, since working with this person is likely going to be unpleasant; or you could keep going after this job and hope that this person's lack of character will become evident. What do you do?
If you've been following politics in the last year, you know that these are real-life examples of what's happened to Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, and Nikki Haley. Rush Limbaugh said something the other day that really resonated with me: "What if it was you? What if you had all these things said about you?" Most of us have a hard time dealing with our reputation being torn to pieces. Now imagine the sort of things I've described happening on a national level. Your every decision is being analyzed and ripped to shreds. Your family is getting dragged through the mud. Smears threaten to paralyze you.
Now, one might say that this is par for the course in today's political scene. What else do you expect in our 24/7 media-drenched society, where with the touch of a button, you can find out anything you want about someone?
The problem with that assumption is two-fold: Your life gets ripped to shreds only if you are a conservative, and in the case of these women, most of the fire is coming from their side.
So what do you do when the mud starts to fly? You do what these ladies are doing: You reload. You don't have to stoop to their level. Just arm yourself with the facts, and keep shooting. Even if these ladies never win an election, I won't forget the way they kept fighting.

Everybody's Doing It!

Gee, thanks, Cubachi, for roping me into writing again. I guess it's time to put those thousands of dollars of education to work.
Well, the Delaware Senate primary is tomorrow. Everyone and their cat is weighing in. Right now Hex, our male cat, is unsuccessfully stalking our female cat, Bel, so does that mean Christine O'Donnell will escape the clutches of Mike Castle? Or will the stray cat that taunts them through the window (Chris Coons) come by and win yet again? There's a mental image for you: Congress run by cats. Would it really be all that worse than the hooligans we have now?
Here's my take: O'Donnell isn't as much a nut as she's made out to be, Castle is an idiot, and states need to stop having primaries so late.
Seriously? Mid-September? A primary is held so that a party can put up a candidate, that candidate competes against the other party cadidates (normally, I wouldn't be talking in plurals here, but thanks to power-hungry Lisa Murkowski, anything is possible), and voters have time to decide between all of them. But this year, states are having primaries so late that military servicemen cannot get ballots in time. That's a violation of the MOVE Act, and it's disenfranchisement of a group that just so happens to vote conservatively, which is why the DOJ is choosing to ignore it. Also, it is a disservice to voters to know who each parties' candidates are less than two months before the general election. With such a short time to introduce themselves to the general voting public, candidates are forced to flood the airwaves with advertisements, relying on bigger organizations like the DNC and RNC to fund their last push. The McCain-Feingold Act was supposed to take the money out of politics, but as in so many other instances, it makes things worse as candidates are forced to navigate through absurd laws while third-party organizations throw up accusatory ads.
In O'Donnell's case, time is not in her favor if she wins. The RNC shockingly does not have a lot of cash to go around, and she does not have time to make amends with the Republican Party of Delaware, who just filed a formal complaint with the FEC accusing her of recieving illegal contributions from the Tea Party Express. The state parties should not be arms of one candidate or another before a primary, but this whole race is a study in the misapplication of ethics. She's got to get a positive message out, and she has to do it fast.
Time is not in favor of Castle, either. Should he win, he has to don the conservative mantle that RINOs haul out every election cycle and convince riled-up Delaware Republicans that he's better than sending a Democrat into the seat. The fact that there is honest debate about that last point makes me wonder what sort of chance he has against Coons. I really do not care what PPP is threatening, polls have a hard time predicting a crazy race like this one.
Fortunately for O'Donnell, I've heard her interviewed more than once, and she does it well enough that my husband happened to hear her once and asked me who she was because he was so impressed. He's quite the cynic, so that should tell you something. I groaned, then tried to compress the whole race into five minutes. A few days later, Sarah Palin endorsed O'Donnell, leading to this exchange:
Pooky: "So, let me get this straight: They [some commenters at Hot Air] are complaining because Palin endorsed someone they don't think is electable?"
Me: "Yes."
Pooky: "I thought that the point of Palin's endorsements were for her to designate who she thought was the true conservative in the race, not who would win."
Me: "I know that, you know that, Palin knows that, but apparently they don't know that!"
What a mess! I hope (vainly, I know), that the media doesn't paint this as some sort of Palin loss, because her endorsements cannot win every single time. If they did, I'd start believing the Kos Kids' theories about Diebold voting machines. Well, maybe not. But I would buy stock in tinfoil and market tinfoil hat patterns on Etsy! :P

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Am I A Coward?

I generally don't think of myself as such. I've moved 1000 miles away from family and friends, supporting them in tough times. I agreed to let my husband put himself in harm's way. For a number of years, I took care of and comforted the sick and dying. I helped get fellow workers out when the paint plant we were working in threatened to explode.
Then why did I want to go back to bed and ignore reality for one day yesterday, on the ninth anniversary of 9/11?
I really didn't have a chance for heroism on that clear Tuesday morning. I was driving to high school in my dad's Buick LeSabre (loved that car, cried when he sold it) because I had my Certified Nurse's Aide clinicals right after school. I remember the morning show announcers saying that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. They also didn't know how big the plane was. At the top of the hour, there wasn't much more information than that. I was walking into school when the second plane hit.
For the rest of the day, we did nothing but watch TV. In Theology, we spent the period praying, hard. When we played hackensack at break, some of the guys were giving a classmate of mine a hard time, saying that because of our proximity to SAC Omaha, if it got nuked, we'd either turn into glass or die horrible deaths from the radiation. She was a fairly fragile person, so I tried to stop it immediately. I did hear a lot of "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" sung in the hallways by the guys trying to be brave. I don't think it really hit them until the next day.
I would have rather not gone to my clinical, but we were halfway through the 75-hour course and our instructor promised us an easy day. A line was beginning to form at the gas station across from the nursing home. I helped out on the east wing and then went into the dementia ward. We were there to observe and couldn't do very much, so I sat next to a resident who was watching TV. She was blissfully ignorant of what was going on, and as I was holding her hand, it suddenly hit me how much I envied her. Chaos and terror reigned, and she just smiled at me and squeezed my hand.
I needed that peace when I got home. My father was frantically calling a number over and over while my mom searched through old Christmas letters. My dad's college roommate of three years worked at the Pentagon, and Dad couldn't get ahold of him. It took two days before we heard from him. Thankfully, he had just retired from his contracting position. However, he lived two blocks from the Pentagon and his family was prudently checking into a hotel.
We were all overwhemed with information after 9/11. How many people died, the heroism of NYPD, FDNY, and ordinary citizens; where bin Laden was supposed to be, the intelligence failures that let al-Qaeda slip through the cracks, and what we were going to do about it all. Being more of the political animal, I focused on that last part. This was not a normal war, so what were going to do militarily?
I remember the anniversaries of 9/11, but they didn't impact me very much. My brother had not chosen to go into the Reserves when his 6-year enlistment in the National Guard ended in 2000 because of his wrists. A classmate of mine went into the National Guard (the same one scaring that girl on 9/11) and served two tours in Iraq.
Then one year they re-aired the Naudet brothers' documentary "9/11" for an anniversary. I watched it with my parents, and we all could barely stand it. It wasn't the sound of thousands of Americans screaming in the street as the second plane hit, as Allahpundit put it. It wasn't the horror of the towers collapsing with thousands of Americans inside.
It was the jumpers.
The firefighters in the lobby stopped in their tracks, horrified at the thought that conditions were so bad that people considered plummeting into the glass ceiling of the lobby better than being burned alive. The emergency personnel kept doing their jobs, but they cringed every time there was a loud thud. They knew what it meant.
That's the moment 9/11 became real to me. I have medical training. I know what those poor people went through as their lungs were being seared so they leapt out a window 100 stories from the ground. A commenter at Michelle Malkin's wrote about a lady trying to hold her skirt down as she jumped. These images are so horrific that news corporations refuse to re-broadcast them.
And I can't stand thinking about the jumpers. I have the gift of empathy, and it's why I got out of the medical profession. There are some things my brain cannot handle, and every year it gets worse, because I force it back into the front of my mind to remember why we fight. Is it cowardice to not want to have to go through that every year?
Three years ago, my fiance was not enjoying college. I was three years into an English: Writing degree, and had taken a year off to work while he was a Computer Sciences student. He wanted to join the armed forces, and Air Force looked like it had the best toys. (They do.) It was also the safest of all the branches, which is why I agreed to it. He took a special test, scored absurdedly high on it, and convinced the Air Force that his mind was worth pouring half a million dollars of training into it.
Is it cowardice that I am glad that my husband will never serve in the traditional sense? He will put himself in harm's way from time to time, especially with the assignment he's looking at, but if they are handing him a gun, it will be the end of the world.
I am support personnel. I make my husband's job in the military possible (trust me, he can barely wash his ABUs). I send care packages to troops. I welcome home our chaplains, who tell of ministering to Americans and foreigners overseas. I do all these things and try to come up with more to support the War on Terror (it will always be that to me, no matter what Obama says). I always worry that it's not enough.
I am inspired by one thing that will never change.
Have you ever seen a disaster in a Third World nation? People run around like chickens with their heads cut off. They honestly do not know what to do.
What does an American do? We run back into the building if we happen to be present. We send in our military to help. We flip open our phones and text money to the Red Cross as we're walking down to the blood bank. We email people in the area and set up charities on the spot. The first thing we ask is, "How can we help?"

We run back into danger, because, in the immortal words of my husband's commander, "We're Americans, damnit!"