Staff Sgt. Michael A. Smyth

Spotlight on You: Staff Sgt. Michael A. Smyth

9/11: One Marine's memory of the event that changed the world

by: Staff Sgt. Michael A. Smyth | .
III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated PA | .
published: September 16, 2015

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan --  On September 11, 2001, I was 15 years old at the beginning of my sophomore year in high school sitting in my second period geometry class. When the teacher received the news, he turned on the television and there was silence as we all watched. I remember school was released early shortly after that.

At that time in my life 9/11 didn't impact me as it did some others, because I did not know anyone who was injured or died. All I remember knowing is that our country was about to go to war. Some of the adults would talk about how it was a possibility the draft would start up in the near future, but it was just talk.

When I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to serve, but I didn't really know what branch to join. I didn't join the military solely because of 9/11, but mostly because I wanted to give back to my country and make something of myself.

At first I went in to see a Navy Recruiter. I waited around for him contact me for several months before I finally pulled out the phone book and looked up Marine Corps Recruiters in the yellow pages.

To be honest I think it was a blessing from God that he never called me back.

Every year when Sept. 11 comes around I go back to the memory of second period geometry class. It was a day that can never really be forgotten, not because I knew anybody, but due to the fact that for the first time since World War II, we were attacked on our own soil-not just in one location but in multiple locations.

It's a day to remember because we often take for granted that our lives are so free and careless. This freedom comes at a cost, not paid in currency but lives, sacrifice and blood. It really hits home that freedom isn't free.

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