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Our Landscape Has Changed

Erin Whitehead
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tagged: military life
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(photo credits: photo pin)

11 years have now passed since the morning we all watched in disbelief as we were brutally attacked on American soil.  I was a fairly new military spouse on that day.  We were on leave in Alabama, and when we came back to our base, it was clear that the landscape had drastically changed.  I was still pretty clueless about military life and how things operated, but it was even clear to me.  The base had changed.  The tone had changed.  The role of the military family had changed. 

There was a feeling that things would never be the same again.

As I think back to that day, it seems like an entire lifetime ago.  As I reflect to write this piece I try and remember what it felt like to be a military family on September 10, 2001.  I find it nearly impossible to do so.  The landscape of our lives has changed so drastically that I am not sure I will ever be able to conjure up the memories of what it felt like to be a military family during a time of peace.

In reality, it is hard to remember what it felt like to be an American during a time of peace either.  The landscape of our country has also changed.

In America, we are now used to getting to the airport with a couple of hours to spare.  We are used to the long lines going through security.  We are used to flying with tiny little bottles of toiletries and making sure we don’t have any deadly nail clippers in our carryon luggage.  We are used to taking off our shoes.  We are even used to letting a stranger pat us down.

Every American now knows of places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.  We all know acronyms like PTSD, TBI and IED’s.  We hear of the casualties (if they are even mentioned in a news broadcast that evening), but the number gets lost in the background while we are cooking dinner.  We have become accustomed to seeing TV shows featuring homecomings, or celebrities raising money for military charities, and of course dramas that focus entirely on the lives of our military.  Our radios play songs that were written specifically to honor our troops and remind us of how patriotic we are.  We fly the American flag a little higher and more often than we did before.

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