I was in San Diego, California recovering from a broken back on 9/11… an auto accident that ended my hopes for a military carrier. When I got a phone call from my mother who was at work with Sharp Rees-Stealy health group stating that something had happened. I didn’t believe it at first. I thought that she had half heard something and it had been overblown, but I turned on the news and was in shock as I watched one of the towers fall.
I remember Mayor Dick Murphy asking that everyone stay off the interstates so that the roads leading to our 6 area Navy and Marine Corps bases were clear for military personal rushing to their duty stations. It was about that time that the roar of jet engines broke me out of my haze as a pair of F/A-18’s flashed overhead.
The footage from that day was interspersed with local footage of the Pacific Fleet sortieing from the surface fleet at 32nd st, the carriers from NAS North Island in Coronado and the submarines from their base on Pt Loma. Hurrying to clear the harbor as fast as they could. I also remember the footage coming in of anger from around the world. Of the Royal Navy leaving Southampton and Portsmouth with blood in their eyes.
I also remember the dozens of airliners lined up on the runway at a small town in Newfoundland named Gander. Of how the people there took in thousands of American refugees and opened their hearts.
Meanwhile off the coast while our Navy was getting itself formed up there was a lone frigate… she wasn’t American, but she was on station covering our city with her guns the massive Maple Leaf of her battle flag visible to those on shore. Right then I knew that no matter how bad it got or what happened next we.. my country was NOT alone.