Where Was I 14 Years Ago Today?

This morning was like most other mornings for me.   I woke up and got ready, my wife had just finished feeding our youngest daughter when I was getting ready to leave.   This is a little out of the norm as they are typically still sleeping, since she was in the kitchen when I was going to leave I gave her a kiss and a hug and it was one that just felt like it was really needed.   I hadn’t put much more thought into it, and headed on in to the office.   On my way in I stopped to pick up some morning snacks for the crew here and came on in to the office.   Still, nothing really struck me about today.

In a meeting this morning Bryan Peters mentioned that it was in a meeting just like the one we were in at pretty close to the same time when the first plane hit 14 years ago.  It is a memory that everyone with EXAIR 14 years ago remembers because someone brought a TV in from home and they placed it in the center of the office to try and learn what was happening. A very familiar setting as all of us throughout the country.

3322 Jefferson Ave.
3322 Jefferson Ave.

That made me think of where I was on this day 14 years ago.   I was Sophomore at University of Cincinnati and had just left a class, I was heading back to the fraternity house that I was living in. On the walk back I got a message from a good friend asking if I was okay and if I had seen what was happening.  Once I got to the house I went straight to the loft and turned on the TV. I sat and watched the news coverage with the few of us that were there at that time. t more messages and calls from friends on my phone asking if I had heard.   It still was something I couldn’t wrap my head around.

On that day I will always remember the first person who contacted me and not knowing what was going on.  I have been to the 9/11 site since then but it was before the memorial opened.   Even though it was years after that horrific day there were still memorials surrounding the construction site.
When 9/11 was mentioned this morning I got to see each person I was surrounded by begin to relive that day in their own minds and think of where they were.   Even though I wasn’t at the same place they where and I didn’t even know any of them, we all shared the same thoughts.

My thoughts and prayers still go out to the people that lost their lives on that day, and their families.  And I continue to honor and respect the brave service men and women that choose to protect our freedom as we go about our daily routines.

Never Forget!

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager

Memorial Day

It all started the year after I bought my house. My next door neighbor – a Vietnam-era veteran, Honor Flight Guardian, and the best neighbor ever – bought a bunch of American flags & poles, and asked if it would be OK to put them out along the sidewalk in front of our houses to observe the upcoming Independence Day holiday…he had enough to go all the way to the corner of our street. We all thought it was a fantastic idea. And it was just the start.

The following year, just before Memorial Day, as Monty raised the flags down our street, another row popped up around the corner. And, come Fourth of July, there were more. Now, every sidewalk in our neighborhood is decorated every Memorial Day and Independence Day, at 10- to 12-foot intervals (to be fair, nobody published a standard, so it is what it is) with the Stars and Stripes.

I DO love this neighborhood.
I DO love this neighborhood.

Memorial Day, is, of course, the day that we honor the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for the great country that my awesome little neighborhood is part & parcel of. And honor it we will. There will be parades with marching bands and floats. Veteran’s groups will perform ceremonies and vigils. Military aircraft will perform fly-overs at ballgames & special events. Monty will set the flags down our sidewalk. And most of us will enjoy a long weekend.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media, reminding us of the meaning of Memorial Day, “in case you thought it was national grill-out day, just another 3-day weekend, etc.” It’s a good reminder; that much is true. But we can honor their sacrifice in celebration too. This weekend, dear reader, I encourage you to light up the grill. Go see some fireworks. Bicycle around the neighborhood (or further) with your kids.  Go camping. Sleep in. Stay up late. Spend time with friends and family. These things are the way of life that our heroes fought and died for, right?

But in the midst of whatever you do, remember them: From the Minutemen who fell at Lexington & Concord, to those who didn’t make it home from the recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.  May God bless them all, and those they left behind.

In closing, as a former submariner, I am also reminded of the ninety-nine members of the crew of USS Scorpion (SSN-589,) which was lost 47 years ago today (presumed, based on last communications.)

Sailors, rest your oars.
Sailors, rest your oars.

Please enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.  It’s been paid for dearly.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Memorial Day 2013 image courtesy of Tony AlterCreative Commons License