From MOP Squad Sports

From The Sidelines
Tuesday
By SCOTT BURCHFIELD, MOP Squad Sports Staff Writer
Sep 11, 2006 - 6:00:00 PM

{Editor's Note:  It's very rare that I've re-printed a story that's already been on the site.  It's not been the case before that I've taken an article by another writer and placed it in my column.  Tonight, however, to mark the five year anniversary of the horrible events of 9/11, I'd like to reprint an article that Scott Burchfield wrote shortly after these events... May we never forget}

The damaged area of the Pentagon where a commercial jetliner slammed into it September 11 is seen in the early morning at sunrise with the U.S. Capitol Building in the background, September 17, 2001. The White House vowed retaliation by a 'mighty giant' awakened by the world's worst acts of terror as investors held their breath Monday to see how Wall Street would react to the attacks that reduced the World Trade Center to smoking rubble. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

It was Tuesday, September 11, 2001, just a week ago, and the United States was rocked. Two commercial aircraft slammed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. My co-worker came into the room to tell me. We walked out to the lobby and saw the floors burning, the replays of the second plane smashing into the second tower. It was a surreal sight, something out of the movie the Matrix. I was just processing this when someone said to me that a third plane had hit the Pentagon. My first reaction to this was whom did we piss off this week. It took a moment for me to realize, that they had said the Pentagon. The nerve center of the U.S. military symbol of it?s might and glory. A citadel like no other in the world, and the location where my older brother works.

You see, my brother is a Major in the USAF. He was just recently assigned to the Pentagon. We?ve never been what you would call close. Sure, we are brothers and if I ever needed anything he was there and the same for him. We love one another but rarely tell each other. Our phone conversations are mostly quick: ?How are you?, ?How are the kids?, ?Everything is fine here?, and ?Talk to you later, goodbye?. It has been a long while since we had a real conversation; one that would satisfy the pundits of brotherly love. He was invited to a briefing the morning, but didn?t attend because he had other work to finish. He was in the fifth inner ring of the Pentagon of the same area that the plane hit. That said, for two hours, and many attempts to call my brother, quick conversations with my younger brother and my mother, TWO hours, 120 minutes, I had no idea if he was alive or dead.

I thought about his wife and children, one just barely able to walk, and what a horrendous thing it would be for them to grow up without a father. I thought about my mother. A woman who had to endure the pain of wondering if her husband would return from a foreign land, and might now have to mourn the loss of her eldest son. I cursed the people who had done this and questioned God as to how this could happen. I thought little of the other victims, either in NY or the Pentagon. I thought only of my brother. It was a gut-wrenching two hours. A time of wonder and what ifs. A time of concern and worry and hate, A time of guilt that I would never be able to tell him I do love him.

When finally, I spoke to my mother again and she told me she had talked to him, I couldn?t believe it. Hope and relief flooded over me and exhaustion took hold. I called his cell phone and finally was able to get through. I spoke to him briefly as I could tell he was busy and told him I loved him and that I was here for him if he needed anything. We hung up and I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders, just a mantle of guilt was put on. I felt selfish that I didn?t think about the others that were affected by this horror. I come from a military family and my mind was on just one person. I still feel that guilt and will for awhile.

I now look back at what I was doing at the time this all happened. I was on an Atlanta Braves message board, giving a Phillies fan a hard time. I was worried about how the series would play out. I love baseball, and football even more, but if neither were to start up again I would not miss them. For these are games; simple entertainment, with people getting paid to do what you and I could do any weekend. These are games, and to me, the world is no longer a game. It is no longer entertainment. The world just got a lot closer and something?s will never be the same again. I will root for the Braves and the Tennessee Titans, but I will no longer be angered by the Braves failure to make a trade, or a missed field goal that costs the game. I will be watching with a new perspective: a sense of longing for a time when I felt safe and secure, when my heroes wore shoulder pads and wore gloves on their hands. Now when I think of heroes, I just have to look to the police officer in the car next to me at a stoplight or the fireman washing the truck at the station. My heroes wear badges and defend our rights everyday and night. While we sleep there is an American soldier somewhere in the world putting his or her life in danger so that I won?t toss and turn in fear.

So, take a minute out of your day and when you see a police officer, a fireman, or even someone in our armed forces, and tell them "Thank you."  Believe me, it will mean more than you can imagine to them.

God Bless You and God Bless America!



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