We returned about 3am from one of our best family vacations ever, to the Smoky Mountains. Along the way, we had visited Fort Knox, where Jay was at Basic Training. Of course, we didn't see him, but we did learn later that we parked the motor home in the parking lot of his barrack. No one questioned us as we drove around post, seeing what we could and soaking up the atmosphere. (Those of you who have served are smiling at that, I know!)
We had disconnected our television antenna that summer. Our kids, 16, 11 and 6 at the time, had become zombie-like in the presence of a television, and the summer is just reruns, anyway. We went to video-only mode for the summer, and had just reconnected things for my sister and brother-in-law. They stayed at the house, caring for our animals, while we were gone, and John wanted them to be able to have TV if they wanted.
We slept in, which meant about 9am, and I had just sent John out to bring in suitcases so we could dress. The kids were up, some on the computer, and Mary watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, when my mom called.
"Turn on the TV," she said, knowing we wouldn't be watching. "The Arabs have blown up the World Trade Center." About 10 minutes after we tuned in, the second plane hit the south tower. (About two months later, we drove back to Fort Knox to see Jay graduate from Basic. We waited 45 minutes for a security check at the same gate we had entered in late August. At that time, no one had manned that gate.)
And now I have three kids in the Army, all of whom are off this weekend, drilling with their units of the National Guard. Thank you, guys. I miss you.