911…Just a Moment Ago

little girl smelling flowers
My 3-year-old daughter smelling the roses and telling their story.


“Mama, mama, why crying?” my then 3-year-old little girl asked.

Her head was tilted, framed by her long, wild curls. Her face showed genuine concern, but the pinched lines between her eyes disturbed me―they were an invading, hostile presence on her otherwise angelic face.

I reached out to her while automatically wrapping my arm around my swollen belly, which housed another little angel. I was almost full term now, and it had been awkward for me, just a moment ago, to bend down to turn on our old TV in our temporary home located on Keesler Airforce Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. Barney the Dinosaur was, just a moment ago, the most important thing to find for my toddler to watch. It was just a moment ago when I saw the second plane crash into the second tower and realized that all the channels weren’t actually showing the same horrid movie.

My husband happened to be home early that day from training and had yet to undress out of his military uniform. He came into the living room and I looked up at him, fully aware that he and many of the husbands and wives who served would be facing a tremulous future. That starched uniform I had ironed just that morning, which he proudly wore, would one day be dirty and sweaty with some other country’s foreign soil, many miles away from our growing family.

Somehow this would affect us all. A sacrifice would have to be made―what was I willing to give? I took a hesitant breath and reached for his steady hand. I held it for just a moment and whispered,

“We are going to war.”

Contributed by A.M.