The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

TODAY |

September 11, 2008

TODAY
Name: RN Clara Hart
Posting date: 9/11/08
Stationed in: a civilian military hospital in the U.S.
Milblog url: www.mcneillysperspective.blogspot.com
Email: clarahart2@yahoo.com

Today is that day of the year I dread more than any other. It’s a day filled with infinite sadness and painful memories. It’s a day I’d rather sleep through than participate in.

“It’s just another day,” some would say.  “Aren’t you over that by now?” others would ask. No, it’s not and no I don’t think I ever will be. Has the hurt lessened? Yes, but it’s still there. Perhaps some would say, “Get over it already, Clara”. I try, trust me on this, I do so try.

I was invited to a memorial service, a service dedicated to those killed, a dedication in which a memorial was to be unveiled. I chose not to go. Most years I do go. I go on the walks and the runs and the bike rides, all to remember. All to say I have not forgotten. Most years on Sept 10th I head to the cemetery to place flowers on graves of my loved ones. I go on the 10th because I am too much of a coward to face the other families. This year I could not go. I didn’t want to face it, the knowledge that another year has gone by, another year without those who hold a special place in my heart.

I believe it is harder for me because of my job. For some reason in my mind September 11th and the wounded I care for have become intertwined.

Aerovacs came in last night, five more soldiers missing limbs, bodies damaged and shredded, critically injured. For four years now I have watched aerovacs arrive and wounded offloaded. I have wiped their tears, held their hands, talked with their families and rejoiced in their accomplishments and recoveries.

However I will always wonder, had September 11th, 2001 been “just another day”, would I be where I am?

Comments

Clara, pain may be inevitable and suffering may be optional, so we suffer to assuage the hurt and anger left in our soul. God bless you for all you do; you're where you are because He needs you there.

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/11/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

http://thunderrun.blogspot.com/2008/09/from-front-09112008.html

Clara,
For many of us in NYC this is also a day we avoid for similar reasons; it will never be just another day. And the wounded warriors are equalling in our thoughts, especially as the suffering goes on and is ignored. Oh, that politicans would be raging about VA health care, rather than who dissed who!

Clara, Angel of Mercy and Compassion, you ARE exactly where you are SO needed.
Sept. 11th placed you where you would be of most value to those who suffer the consequences of the 'Battles with Hate'.

They, the wounded, need your gentle touch and willingness to accept the burdens and joys of their hearts and souls while they are being repaired and retrained to be the best they can be with what was left by 'Hell' and the Surgeons.

Blessing on you and may you find some peace in your heart knowing that your are an Angel in ALL of our eyes.

It isn't another day, it is the eleventh of September, Patriot Day on some calendars and one of the saddest days in many of our hearts. No one is the same that had connections to the strikes and their effects, we all changed. They keep serving, and getting wounded or killed, and others step up to carry on, Thanks for being there for them and us.

Thank you. I felt so guilty grieving my brother extra hard yesterday because all I could think was, "If today wasn't today, things would be so different." I felt shallow and selfish. Thank you for telling me I'm not alone.

In the last four years you have been doing more good for the world than many people do in a lifetime. I only hope that you can somehow find the comfort that you have given to so many others. God Bless.

Hi, Clara,

Thank you for sharing your grief at the trauma of losing your loved ones. Any day that those we love are lost is *not just any other day*, and your grief on September 11th is--as you no doubt know from your work caring for the desperate, the wounded, and the dying--a natural (though no less devastating, for that) anniversary response to a tremendous loss. Reading your words, it's clear that loss still resonates in your spirit, and I feel your post crying out to my own sense of loss--and that of so many others.

Thank you, too, for working to maintain clarity in the face of so many cynical efforts to twist the meaning of that loss away from its true manifestation. To call the traumatic loss of loved ones, on September 11th or any other day, "Patriot Day" is, like using those tragic deaths as justification for wars of dubious value (or even for wars of great value!), a deep insult to the loss itself. I'm so sorry that you lost those who were dear to you in an act of horrific, unjustifiable violence. I hear and feel the pain in your words not because those who died happened to be American citizens or "patriots" (many were neither), but because those you mourn were the people you loved and still love.

I wish you the greatest peace that can be found, and I commend you for your dedication--not to "our" war or even "our" troops, but to saving the lives of those who are others' loved ones. Thank you for your contribution to life, and for your heroic effort to keep the experience of love free from the political messages that try to exploit that experience.

Ira

Hi, Clara,

Thank you for sharing your grief at the trauma of losing your loved ones. Any day that those we love are lost is *not just any other day*, and your grief on September 11th is--as you no doubt know from your work caring for the desperate, the wounded, and the dying--a natural (though no less devastating, for that) anniversary response to a tremendous loss. Reading your words, it's clear that loss still resonates in your spirit, and I feel your post crying out to my own sense of loss--and that of so many others.

Thank you, too, for working to maintain clarity in the face of so many cynical efforts to twist the meaning of that loss away from its true manifestation. To call the traumatic loss of loved ones, on September 11th or any other day, "Patriot Day" is, like using those tragic deaths as justification for wars of dubious value (or even for wars of great value!), a deep insult to the loss itself. I'm so sorry that you lost those who were dear to you in an act of horrific, unjustifiable violence. I hear and feel the pain in your words not because those who died happened to be American citizens or "patriots" (many were neither), but because those you mourn were the people you loved and still love.

I wish you the greatest peace that can be found, and I commend you for your dedication--not to "our" war or even "our" troops, but to saving the lives of those who are others' loved ones. Thank you for your contribution to life, and for your heroic effort to keep the experience of love free from the political messages that try to exploit that experience.

Ira

As you well know you're not alone, there are many people that are grieving the loss of loved ones from 9/11. Right now you are in the place where you your strength, and compassion are most needed! If it wasn't for you there would be a countless number of soldiers who wouldn't have that connection with you that do. What you are doing is amazing! Thank you and God Bless!

I still remember where I was and what I was doing when the first plane hit the towers that day. One of the girls in my class had an aunt that visited the towers frequently for business. She wanted to leave as soon as she could so she could find out if her family was okay. I do not know what I would do in that situation. Thanks for all that you have done for our country.

Oh no no no...we mustn't
"get over" it. We must remember and honor those who lost their lives. It's important to me appreciate my own painful memories of that day and to support others who suffer a far greater loss that day.

September 11th is not 'any other day'. It does not need to be. For many, it cannot be.

Decades later, many I know remember exactly what they were doing when they got news that Pres. Kennedy was shot. It is unfortunate that we have been presented with the same problem.

I recall with perfect clarity that moment. I recall with perfect clarity the panic as I tried to reach my brother in D.C.

Fear not. Grief for our loved ones is not wrong, no matter how difficult.

How we grieve is personal. I hope you find some way to find peace with your life in the absence of those you love. Not those you loved, but those whom you do love. Your love for them will never be in the past tense, even if they are no longer with you.

Peace be with you.


Hi
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