9/11 Will Always Make Me Think of My First Love

Love & Learn 13

9/11 MemorialThis morning, on September 11, many of us reflect. I think about where I was 11 years ago today when the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. This morning, I rode a creaky subway to work, my thoughts consuming me. As I meandered my way through the humid tunnels and up toward a buzzing Times Square, I passed six middle-aged men wearing Army uniforms. I emerged onto the street, my cheeks graced by the cool hints of fall, picked up my iPhone, and called someone that matters very much to me.

We dated for almost three years. During that time, he spent ten months or so in Afghanistan. A staff sergeant in the Army, it was his second tour there. Because of what happened this day 11 years ago, this amazing man I feel fortunate to know, his life, the lives of his friends and family, and so many of his peers, will forever be changed. 

The phone rang three times, and then he answered. "Thank you for your service," I said.

He paused and said, "Today, that means more than you know."

... I won't go into the rest of the details from the conversation. What I will say, though, is that I was 13 years old when 9/11 happened. My 13-year-old self had no clue that she'd go through a period of time in her life loving someone so much and cursing the very day that changed his life forever. Heck, she had no clue how much it would change her, too.

Loving someone in the military is an experience unlike any other. You sacrifice so much of yourself to help make things better for them, and you're never once angry for it. The deployments happen. Your friends think it's only a little weird that you're spending time with your significant other's family while he's not around, but it's a bond that really can't be put into words. When you care so deeply for someone who is halfway across the world getting shot at, you reach for strength from those around you who truly understand.

Seeing those men in uniform getting out of the subway this morning made me realize that even though he and I are no longer together, we navigated through an intense period in our lives with one another as our biggest support system, and that will forever keep us bonded. He was the first man I ever really loved. Today especially, I thank all of the men and women who have dedicated their time and efforts to Operation Enduring Freedom as a result of the events that happened today, 11 years ago. Today, I say thank you. Today, I hung up with an "I love you."

Do you love someone in the military?

Image via Tom Hannigan/Flickr

dating, commitment, love, military


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kayga... kaygarcia97

Yes. My husband of five years is in the Marines. We've been together since I was 14. I was 16 on 9/11/01. He joined in 05 because of that day.

Jami Van Brocklin

Yes. My husband is in the Army (well, he's in the National Guard sector now, but he is former active duty Army). He served in Iraq in 2006-07 and is currently deployed to Afghanistan. He joined in Sept. 2005 on the anniversary and because of 9-11. We met in Jan. 2006 and were married a year later. So, all but 4 mos of his entire military career, we've been together. It's a hard life, but I would not change it for anything. We've had more bad moments than most couples our age, but it is those moments that make a person realize just how much a marriage is worth and how tough of a fight one is willing to give for the one he or she loves. :)

nonmember avatar LizzieBorden

My guy was in the air force. He signed up at 18 in '99. My sister was in the navy, she signed up in '98. It was so scary when we declared war in '02.

Leslie Campbell

group hugFor all you who have someone serving. You are a special breed, something many cannot be.

My hubby served for 22 years and now both my sons are serving. Hubby was in when it happened and now all three have been to the gulf and thankfully back.

Megan... MeganJune03

I have many that I love serving. Aunts, Uncles, brothers, cousins, friends and many veterans.  I am very proud to come from a long line of such patriotic people. veterans day

cassi... cassie_kellison

I love many people in the military. My husband has been in the Army for 7years. I have so many friends and family in the Military it would take all day to list them.

Rebec... Rebecca7708

On 9/11, my then boyfriend was in the army and he was actually in DC at the time. We didn't hear from him until the next day, and he was fine. It didn't work out between us but, I do think of him every year on this day and remember the feelings of despair and utter helplessness of the entire day. He may no longer be a part of my life but, I'm glad that he's at least alive and doing well.

Class... ClassyMummyof2

I met my husband almost 7 years ago, when he was home 2 weeks from his first deployment.  A whirlwind dating period was followed by a baby, a wedding, and another baby.  He joined in 2001, as soon as he could after 9/11.  After being in an explosion, and the countless horrors he saw as a combat medic, he now has PTSD and a TBI.  He was just medically retired last month.  I am endlessly proud of his service, and the service of all the other soldiers I have met.  I also have a brother in the Army who did a tour of Afghanistan, and a cousin that is a Marine who did 3 tours in Iraq.  

Mrs.taub Mrs.taub

Yes my husband has been in the marine corps 15 years

chigi... chigirl1228

My boyfriend of 4 years is a marine. He joined right out of high school in 2004. I have many cousins in some branch of the military. A special mention to my little cousin Ed who is on a tour now in Afghanistan. My grandfather also served in the navy during WWII.

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