The Impact of 9/11 From a Military Family’s Perspective

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As a military homeschooling family, we face many unique challenges that our civilian counterparts do not. One of those challenges is experiencing the long term effects that September 11, 2001, has had on the American soldier and family unit. As many Americans and people of all nations prepare to reflect on that fateful day over a decade ago, I believe that our children, those of active duty U.S. military soldiers, cannot help but be reminded of the tragic events that led to lives being stolen and changed forever. This plays out largely due to the reality of our soldiers deploying every other year as a response to the terror attacks against our nation that day.

In our family, it is important that we teach our children about September 11, 2001, because it was after that day my husband felt a “call” to active duty military service. That day changed the course of our family life as we knew it, forever. Like so many other military families, 9/11 has become a major event that has led our generation to understand what the word “patriotism” really means. It is our duty to pass that rich American history on to our precious children by teaching them to take time to remember all the lives lost during and after that day.

Although only one of our children were alive when 9/11 occurred, she does not “remember” where she was nor what she was doing. After all, she was only 5 months old. However, what she does remember is saying goodbye to her daddy time-and-time again as he left for a year to a land that was very far away from home. Just as recently as this summer, my children’s daddy was taken away from the family to go and fight against the mindset that led to the 9/11 attacks. For a long time my husband and I had chosen to hide the images of 9/11 from our oldest child as we wanted to be certain that she could handle the disturbing content she would be seeing. We wanted to make sure that she would be fully aware that it was not pretend, nor was it something that was happening “live” so-to-speak. After much prayerful consideration, my husband and I knew it was time to show these images to our precious daughter at the tender age of 4.

In our natural minds, we could not fathom that our then 4-year-old daughter was ready to see and talk about the events of 9/11. However there is one thing that my husband and I have always been in agreement about: God has the final authority in our household. It was to our surprise that after we sat down with her and introduced her to these horrific images, she had a grasp on what her father and his fellow soldiers were fighting for.

Now with three children, it is equally important to each our younger two, who are boys, about what it is that daddy has been fighting for. After all, he just returned from his 5th year long deployment less than 90 days ago. Our middle child {5-year-old Prince Charming} has already experienced three years away from his daddy – and he demands to know more about why. Not a day goes by where our 5-year-old does not ask me, “Why did daddy leave for so long all of those times? Will he have to leave again soon? I hope not, mommy.”

In our homeschool, Logos Christian Academy, we are doing a unit study lapbook project to begin teaching this day of American history to our children. This study named, “September 11, 2001,” takes the student through the timeline of events that occurred on 9/11. The study takes a look at the heroes of 9/11, the flight patterns of the planes involved, Ground Zero, and many more significant things related to that historical day. This is a good way for our military homeschooling family to honor the victims and heroes that help make our country what it is today – land of the free and home of the brave. You can find the 9/11 unit study HERE.

To my fellow military spouses {past, present, and future}: I pray that this week as you live your lives stationed all around the world, you will take the time to reflect on how 9/11 has not only had an impact on our lives as military spouses, but to honor those past, present, and future heroes, who are fighting to keep America safe and free. After all, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Let us never forget where we have come from as we allow God to lead us into a better place.

To every American {or anyone for that matter} who felt the pain of this tragedy – whether directly or indirectly: I pray for peace and comfort as we vow to NEVER FORGET what happened on this day on our precious American soil.

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  1. Carlie, Thank you for this sweet reminder….I have to admit, 9/11 goes farther back from me…my dh was in the 82nd when Desert Storm broke out…I remember the moments and how we eloped…the years that followed and the culmination of 9/11….my oldest..just a babe like your oldest at the time…but, you, sweet friend have endured days and days without your husband as he worked hard for the freedom and our liberty…since then. Thank you…you and your entire family – for serving tirelessly….keeping the hope of freedom and liberty alive!

    1. Rebecca, thank you for your kind words, and for sharing. Thank you for your family’s service to our great nation as well. Bless you sweet friend!

  2. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the tragedy occurred. I was shocked and horrified and totally confused. I was so sad for the families who lost loved ones. I remember not knowing how I should feel and worrying about how my 2 young children would react and if they’d be afraid that something like that would happen to us. And now I am so very thankful for people like your husband and your family for making such a sacrifice to keep the rest of us safe. I cannot fathom what it must be like to live without your husband for a year or more at a time. I pray for you and your family as well as all of the other military families who have given up so much! May God bless each of you!!

  3. Tell your husband thank you so much for his service to protect so many. And thank you, Carlie, as you stand behind him, supporting him, caring for your children, and allowing him this important duty. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family and have His hand upon your dear husband, wherever he is.

  4. As a fellow military homeschooling family I hold dear all the points you made and feel them as well. Our two oldest, 21 and 18 were there that day. I can still remember the air silence at Dover AFB. Now Army, it’s safe to say that this day had made a huge impact on our lives and has changed us forever. We served in Germany through the war in Iraq and know too well having lived on Landstul how that day has impacted the lives of so many courageous men and women, and their families. We too, remember them all this day! May we honor them and all who suffered that day, today and every day.

  5. My husband and I were both active duty on 9/11 and our son was just 7 months old. He had just left for a one year remote – and it’s been pretty much all the time ever since. I know exactly how you feel and what you’re going through. Thanks for reminding everyone that we still live with it, 11 years later.

  6. Thank you, and your family for your sacrifice! We talked about the topic of military families and how so many Daddies (and some Mommies too!) spend long periods of time away from their families to protect our rights and freedoms, including our right to home school. Thank you again!

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