Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years later



My life was changed by what happened this day 10 years ago, like everyone else that was here then.

I was 3 weeks into my second semester at FAU. I had a quiz that day, I was going over my notes when my Mother told me that "we're being attacked"

I turned on the news. Saw it. I cried. I felt it coming. I knew it. I knew what was going to happened. And it happened. Less than two months later my reserve unit was activated, less than two years later I was in Iraq.

When the Army gave 2 weeks to go home in December of 2003 I bought plane tickets to go with my wife to NYC, it was the first time back to the city since it had happened. I saw the hollowed ground. I cried again.

When I finally got back from that long deployment and decided to become a full time civilian, I made myself a promise that I will move on, that I will not let these horrible moments define who I am. I have failed and succeeded at the same time.

I failed because my involvement in the war has defined my identity. I am, and always will be a veteran of Iraq, that cannot change. I still think about it, some things I cannot forget, it happens less and less often now, but every once in a while I find myself scanning the roofs, looking around for suspicious looking stuff out in the streets as if I was driving in Ramadi. I fail because I can't help myself and I bring it up. But anyway, I promised that I would move on, acknowledge what happened, and then move to a new phase of my life.

That's the part I like, I came back and did what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a computer engineer. I wanted to have a normal family, own a house, have a career that didn't involve putting up with B.S. I did all that. For that I am thankful.

So that's what we need to do. Acknowledge what happened 10 years ago and move on, do the next thing. Continue making the U.S. the best country in the world to live in. Life goes on. Live free, prosper, persevere, be industrious, create, do remember, but don't live in the past, there's no need to scan the roof, the boogie man is gone.

J.V.

2 comments:

EdPurchaseIV said...

Well said, Sir!

nathalie landaeta said...

Dios que manera de escribir... Apenas hoy entre a tu blog para ver lo que posteaste sobre París y no he podido parar de ver y detallar cada una de tus publicaciones. Esta en particular me maravilla tanto x lo q implica en vivencias como en la capacidad y determinación de superar y obtener exactamente lo que te planteaste... Me declaro fan de tu blog...