Nineteen years ago, one of the most vicious crimes of the 21st Century was committed against the United States. Four planes, hijacked by Muslim Terrorists, were flown into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the last crashed into the ground at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
This year, Kassie Angle and I brainstormed and decided to get together 11 bloggers who would post about this tragedy in American History.
We Haven’t Forgotten.
I was five years old when 9/11 happened. It traumatized me in a way I still haven’t gotten over. In 2011, I became enamored with researching the topic. I still don’t know all that I want to know, but then again, you can never exhaust a topic. But today, I’m not going to give you a history post. I want to share a story that I wrote in 2016 back about the Pentagon. Is it realistic? No, not really. At the time, I was just getting a story on paper and trying to express patriotism the only way I knew how. I’ve made a couple changes to the story, such as the amount of time that has passed in the story, but it is largely unedited. I hope younger me isn’t too embarrassed 😉
Why I Don’t Drive a Mustang
I’m Taking His Place
By Ryana Lynn
“We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.”
President George W. Bush
It was all a mistake. And a big one at that. I should never have gone to D.C. Everything in my life was just right. Everything. Life was perfect, and I had endless possibilities at my fingertips. After all, wasn’t I an honor roll student? Didn’t I have an academic scholarship to Chapel Hill Medical? But I just had to go to D.C. on that senior trip. And I just had to tour the Pentagon that day.
I had a black 1998 Mustang that I had bought and paid for. It was mine, and I cared for it and filled it with gas. I loved driving it. It was my baby. But on that trip, I realized there are far more important things in life. Of course, I knew living for God was the most important thing. I was a Christian and faithful church worker. I was the junior captain on my church bus route. I worked for our radio station on Saturdays as a volunteer. So I at least had that priority right.
Anyway, back to my Mustang.
I drove it to D.C. myself. Seems the bus had room for all but one person, so I volunteered to drive.
On our third day in D.C., we had to vote on where we wanted to go, the Pentagon, or the White House. Knowing President Bush was out of town, I voted for the Pentagon. That was the tie-breaking vote—mistake number 2. I drove behind the bus and parked in the visitor’s parking area. We got out and entered the building and toured the center of military operations. It was terrific, and I got to talk to serval servicemen while we were there.
We had just walked out the door. I reached into my pocket for my keys. I heard a motor blaring in my ear, and the next thing I knew, I was struggling to pick myself up off of the hood of a Dodge Ram Pickup Truck. My friend Ray was on the ground, screaming. I jumped down and knelt next to him. He was bleeding from his head, and his leg was broken. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, so my pre-college study came in handy.
When I finished with Ray, I turned around and saw that the Pentagon was on fire, and there were many people with injuries. I did not know at the time that a terrorist had purposely flown a plane into the building. The teachers were doing their best to round up all the students, and I went from person to person doing what I could. An injured soldier was brought to my attention, and I began to work on him. He was in bad shape, and to be honest, I knew as soon as they brought me to him, he wouldn’t make it.
He knew it too. He looked up at me, and my throat went dry. He wasn’t much older than me. “Take my place,” he whispered. “The World Trade Centers were attacked today by Terrorists. I’m pretty sure they did this too. Either way, we’re heading for war. Please, take my place.”
“Alright,” I said, “I will if you let me tell you about Someone else who wants to take your place in another way.” I proceeded to tell him about Jesus Christ taking his place and wanting to forgive him of his sins. I was privileged to hear him ask the Lord to save him.
“Remember,” he coughed. “You promised to take my place.” Mistake 3.
We didn’t get to leave the parking lot until late that evening. It was then I saw what had happened to my Mustang. It had been smashed by flying debris. I was perturbed, but the thought hit me: I had almost gotten into my car before being blown across the parking lot. I would have been killed. God had spared my life. Students were admitted to the hospital, and I was checked over for injuries. All things considered, we were blessed. A police officer deemed me a hero. I just shook my head.
Our bus was in good shape, but there was no way I could fit in there. We had too much stuff, plus crutches and wheelchairs. We weren’t sure how I was to get home. A Lieutenant in the Army found us discussing the problem. “You’re the boy who helped out the day of the trauma,” he said matter-of-factly. When it was confirmed, he said, “My aide and I will drive him home. We’re heading back to Ft. Bragg this afternoon.”
On the way home, we talked about the incident and expressed our outrage. The aide was a Corporal, not too much older than me. Of course, they talked about recruitment with me. I listened intently, remembering my promise to the dead soldier. Cpl. Bean talked up the army big. Out of the clear blue sky, the Lieutenant said, “You should be a combat medic. You’ve got guts. I saw you go into the danger zone twice to rescue people.”
I shrugged. “I couldn’t just stand there.”
“Yes, you could have, but you didn’t,” Lt. Michaels reminded me.
Upon reaching home, every Marine in the vicinity tried to recruit me. I steadfastly refused to join them. I’d made a promise. As soon as I graduated that April (I challenged the exams to get out early), I left for basic training. I was the youngest guy there. And who should be my junior drill instructor but Cpl. Bean. He didn’t take it easy on me. Instead, he pushed me harder. By June, I was deployed to Afghanistan.
That was nineteen years ago, and I’m still serving. I have a wonderful Christian wife, five kids, and twins on the way. I’ve been able to make a difference in more ways than one. I’ve been able to save physical lives and see spiritual lives saved by my Savior, Jesus Christ. I’ve even led a few locals to the One Who can give true peace and Joy. At the present time, I have no intention of stopping…I think I’ll be here until this war ends or they kick me out.
I drive a medically equipped convoy through the deserts.
I’m keeping my promise.
I’m taking his place.
I’m serving my country and my Savior.
Looks like those “mistakes” weren’t mistakes after all…
So that’s why I don’t drive a Mustang.
“Duty. Honor. Country.”
But the attack on September 11th, 2001, wasn’t the only historical event that took place on that day in history. 11 years later, on September 12th, 2012, another heinous crime occurred.
The Benghazi Massacre.
I’m not going to go into great detail on this. It hurts too much, knowing we had options at our disposal that would have given this event a vastly different outcome…and they were not used. (We need to pray more for our leaders to make Godly decisions!)
On September 11th – 12th, 2012, The U.S. Embassy in Libya was attacked by Muslim Terrorists. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and Diplomat Sean Smith were killed in the attack. Ret. Navy S.E.A.L.s Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods gave their lives, the only ones who stepped forward to defend them.
War was not declared on Libya or on the Islamic group that attacked them. Instead, our then president apologized to the terrorist for a film that offended them, triggering the attack (or so they claim). No action taken. Just an apology from the man currently representing the victims’ country. Another person responsible for sending them help (and didn’t) has thus far been let off the hook.
Justice has not been done in the murder of these innocent men. For the most part, they have been forgotten. We all have heard of Benghazi…but did you know the names of the victims?
I’ll confess that before I wrote this, I only knew one: Glen Doherty. In May 2018 at the NCHE Homeschool Book Fair, I met a man selling multiple history/military books. (Anyone surprised?) I bought three from him (for research purposes 😊) and one was a suggestion from the seller: Navy SEAL Sniper (not a recommendation. I haven’t read the whole thing yet.) This was the 2nd, and very special, edition. It hit the press in 2013. One of the co-authors was Glen Doherty. It was through reading the intro pages that I learned about his sacrifice on September 12th, 2012. I encourage you to read up on Benghazi. We must not forget the 2nd 9/11…and we must not forget the men who gave their lives. I haven’t forgotten.
I’d like to thank all the girls who pitched in to help with this tour! Please stop by their blogs today for more great tributes to the heroes and victims of both 9/11 tragedies.
Have a blessed day… And Never Forget…
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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