September 11th -- Never forget (Part 1)

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Monica Pubillones
  • 86th Operations Support Squadron
I look at my life as a sound track -- and a song that describes my life during the 9/11 terrorist attacks would be 'Where were you when the World Stopped Turning' by Alan Jackson.

I remember it very clearly. I was stationed at Lajes AB, Azores-Portugal. It was September 11, 2001 about 1 p.m. local time. I was sleeping after a midnight shift and my phone had been ringing all morning so I had turned it off. I had my TV on for some ambient noise to block out the dorm traffic in the hallways. Like normal was, it was tuned to the news channel.

Suddenly there was a large banging on my door. When I work to answer -- I saw it on the television. The screen showed the twin towers covered in smoke and flames and what appeared to be an airplane sticking out of them. I went to change the channel, because what I was watching clearly wasn't news. 'Weird,' I thought to myself. So the banging on my door continued and now I heard the sound of my First Sergeants voice ordering me to open up.

At the same time I saw my answering machine flashing with 35 messages. Confused and a little disoriented, I opened the door. He asked if I had family in the Washington D.C., New York City, or Pennsylvania areas. I said no immediate family but my boyfriend was in New York City on vacation. He ordered me to get into uniform and informed me that the base was in THREATCON Delta.

I had 15 minutes to report to work. From that point on, my military life as I had known it was changed forever. My dream of moving away from home, traveling, getting an education all while being a good citizen by serving in the Air Force would never be the same again.

Listening to the song by Alan Jackson brings back all of those feelings. To be approaching the 10 year anniversary of such a tragic event is almost overwhelming. My easy military life was shortly filled with checkpoints, deployments and heightened security.

Luckily, my boyfriend at the time wasn't able to get into the city because of traffic and he is now my husband.