Monday, May 2, 2011

Upstaged by Seals

This blog is written as a journal of my efforts to stay active in fitness, sports, and athletic events. But every now and then I am reminded that there is much, much more to life than me running a marathon. Today, I was reminded of that.  

I served in the Navy from December 1996 until December 2002. I was pier side onboard the USS OAK HILL on September 11, 2001 getting ready to ship out to sea for a major inspection. I'm pretty sure I do not have to describe the events that happened that day as most of you are well aware of what happened. My main job in the Navy was to operate the ship's weapon's systems and I was a member of the ship's security team. I was the very first person sent out as additional security force for the command. Before I was sent out, I made a call to my wife telling her that it was time for me to do my job. I had spent 5 years in the military up until that point and now it was time for me to get to work. Within a few days, it was discovered the person responsible for this was Osama Bin Laden.

I got out of the Navy in Dec. 2002 but always felt extremely proud of the work I had done and always had a spot in my soul for everything that happened on that day and many of the days after that. In 2006, I discovered that one of my former officers from the OAK HILL, Lt. Mike McGreevy had been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. He left my command to become a Navy Seal. He was one of the officers that "got it". He was in the military for the right reasons and was one of the good guys. I was saddened to know he had died even though I hadn't spoken or seen of him in more than 5 years. He died trying to carry out the mission from 9/11. 

2 years ago, my nephew, Gaelan, decided to join the Army. He was sent to Afghanistan last year and I prayed for his safety but I also knew he was the type of person to get the job done while over there. As a former military guy, I have always felt a little jealous of my friends that are still in the Navy and my nephew. I am very much of an adrenaline junkie and still take great pride in what I was able to do in the military. I've always been a little jealous of my childhood friend Matt German for making the right decisions and becoming the great officer in the Navy I knew he could always become. I wish I could be there with you Matt. I am extremely proud of these men for representing me and my country and the freedoms that we have. I am extremely proud of the women like Carrie Tripp that still serve and are a part of what happened today.

I'm sure you have already read and heard the news that our U.S. Navy Seals have shot and killed the man responsible for 9/11. While I'm sure there are people under him that will take up the fight for him, this chapter of our nation's history is over. Lt. McGreevy has not died in vain. Thank you Gaelan, Matt, Carrie, and everyone else still serving. You are hero's. Thank you to all of my fellow brother's and sister's who served with me. You helped make this happen. While you may not have been there today, you were a part of it and I hope you have great pride in what you did.

My son asked me today why they keep showing this news on the TV. He of course wanted to watch cartoons but that wasn't happening. I told him because it is a day he might remember for the rest of his life. I hope he does. I know I will.

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