Too close to home

Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2001

Amazing how something so far away can hit home to us. I sat in disbelief as the events of Tuesday unfolded. I kept thinking that if the numbers they were initially reporting were true, then it would be like the entire population of Juneau being extinguished I didn't learn until late Tuesday night about the safety of my brother who works at the Pentagon. He was finally able to make contact with his wife and my father almost 13 hours after the explosion.

He shared with my father that he was in a meeting discussing the necessary steps the military would be taking in response to what had happened at the World Trade Center when suddenly they were thrown from their seats. Due to his position at the Pentagon he was extremely busy. Phones were not available and cell service was spotty. I had just spent five days with my brother in Las Vegas in a golf tournament last week. As much as he could, he explained his job at the Pentagon. He works with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a very classified position. It was interesting hearing about his training at war college and his participation in military maneuvers but never in my imagination would I have thought that he would be involved with something like this.

I was scheduled to fly home to Juneau today. I will wait until at least Monday before rescheduling my flight home. Here in Santa Barbara where I am continuing with my knee rehab the community has joined together nicely to support those locally who have lost family members. Downtown Santa Barbara normally is bustling with tourists but now is quiet with many shops displaying closed signs and offering condolence to those directly affected in the community.

For the most part in my lifetime I have enjoyed a sense of freedom and security in this country. After Tuesday that sense of security has been damaged. As more and more individual stories emerge from this national tragedy, we will continue to be reminded that the life and innocence of those who perished in this disaster could have been any of us. On this day of national mourning I am grateful to know that my brother is alive and putting forth work efforts he pledged to do for our country.

Moms die, dads die, we all eventually face death but not this way.

Jessica Menendez


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