Today is a rather poignant day. It isn't just another day, and as I have just completed some reflection papers that are introductions to various classes and am looking at resources for a class on Death and Dying with a special focus on Suicide, Violent and/or Sudden Death I am reminded of just how much my outlook on this day has changed in the last 11 years.
When the attacks first happened, I was more worried about how to get my mom (who was traveling and scheduled to fly) home than I was about any other immediate impact. It wasn't until days later that it truly sank in to me just how horrific this was. I was in Boston on the first anniversary of the attacks, and I appreciated just how much more deeply the Eastern region of our country was affected than the West Coast had been. Then I married a former soldier, and I began to have a glimmer of how it affected all of the veterans in our country to have seen us under attack, and to see how the gradual forgetting that we still have soldiers in the theater of war nagged at them in ways unsuspected by the general public. Then my husband returned to the Army and I began my journey toward Army Chaplaincy, and in a place where my very presence as a connection to the military can be awkward and upsetting I am now finding myself pondering the deeper effects of those attacks.
I find myself wondering how I can find time today to travel to a nearby military installation, to avoid the inevitable small conflicts that arise when I wear my identity as an Army Wife and Future Chaplain openly here in this place. My emotions are closer to the surface today, and I just want to be with others who share at least a little of my understanding of how these attacks are still fresh in so many ways in the spirits of those who serve in uniform. I want to be in a place where I am not made hyper-aware of how I am a target for those who are seeking to vent their frustrations with our government and its policies now and in the past just because I am called to serve those who serve. I am aware that today in particular I may be inviting more than the usual engagement with this community, and that I myself am unusually aware of the uniqueness of my presence and call in this setting.
Yet I am consciously and carefully dressed in a shirt and sweatshirt that proudly say United States Army. I hold my head high as I walk down the street and across campus. Today most especially. I am proud of our armed forces, and I am humbled that God is calling me to serve these heroes in whatever small way that I can.