Where were your grandparents or great-grandparents during the Attack of Pearl Harbor in World War II? What were their feelings? Their emotions? If you have living relatives from this time period, consider speaking with them. Write down what they tell you. Turn a living history into documented family history.
09/11/01 - A Historic Date
I have to imagine that the way these relatives felt on that terrible day is similar to the way most Americans felt when Islamic Jihadis known as Al-Qaeda hijacked airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Do you remember where you were? On 09/11/01, we were attacked and more people died on that day than in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Have you written it down anywhere to help future generations understand what it was like for you?
I’ve posted about this elsewhere, but for those that don’t know, this was my experience on 9/11/2001:
On 9/11/2001, I was on the Signal Bridge atop the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70 in the Navy. It was the middle of the night. We were preparing to go through the Straits of Hormuz in the Middle East. There was a TV on the Signal Bridge, which I had tuned into CNN just before the 2nd plane hit. Once the 2nd plane hit, I talked to someone one the bridge, probably whoever was QM. That was when I called down to my shipmates in berthing to let them know we were under attack. My First Class at the time, SM1 Michael Vigil, was the one that picked up the phone. He went from sleepy to disbelief to “We’ll fix this” in less than 3 seconds.
SM1 Vigil and the rest of the Signal Team up and ready to go in less than 5 minutes. Then we temporarily lost communication with the Pentagon; had to continue watching CNN on satellite just to find out what was happening. We were about 50 miles from Gwadar, a major Pakistani airport, so we had 747s flying right over our ship. Around us, we had tiny fishing boats, like the one that blew up next to the USS Cole. At that very moment, our ship was at our most vulnerable. We were afraid that we would be hit next and General Quarters was called.
We went into a light tight Zebra condition and had to move away as fast as possible. The Vinson was there to replace the Enterprise battle group. Enterprise was already in the Strait. We would meet up with them; regroup out at sea where we would be less vulnerable. I was assisting the Navigation department at that time. I was on duty at the time and had to call down to berthing to wake everyone up. We monitored the horizon for the next several hours for anything remotely suspicious.
A month later, on 10/7/2001, my ship launched the first retaliatory airstrikes against the Taliban. Along with the Enterprise, we crippled the Afghani terrorist government. I remember seeing the cruisers in our battle group launch their guided missiles and having to wait for a half hour or so to hear on CNN that we hit our target.
Interestingly enough, after Osama Bin Laden was killed on 5/2/2011, his body was dumped off of the hangar bay of the USS Carl Vinson.
These things I write down for myself and others to help them remember. I also write down these things to document them for future generations, so that they may never forget. Consider documenting your own thoughts about this historic date.