I was on active duty with the Air Force and stationed in Italy. September 11th was a gorgeous early fall day and I was on leave because my family was supposed to fly in on 13 Sept. I was working in my yard when my husband called from work (he was also active duty.) He told me to turn on the TV.
It was sometime around 1500 in the afternoon when I saw what was going on and tried to make sense of it. I saw the second plane fly into the WTC. In horror I realized we were so far away from our country and there was nothing we could do. I walked outside and looked at the beautiful flowers and listened to the peacefulness of my small Italian village and realized my experience was far different that that of my fellow countrymen.
The base closed down and told us all to stay home and not wear our uniforms or show our AFI license plates anywhere. I wanted so badly to show I was a proud American. Two years later as we departed Italy for the last time our plane was delayed because the base flightline was packed with hardware headed for Iraq. It was the first day of the invasion.
For me, 9.11 will forever be a slightly different perspective than one experienced by Americans in country.