“We will never forget …”
for the U.S. Air Force

Sept. 11, 2001, affected me personally. My father survived, but was in the Pentagon that day. I was working as a civilian for the Air Force at the time in public affairs. I sat down one night and wrote this in about 30 minutes – the words just came out. The Air Force still keeps it up on their Web site here. I did have to take the oath when I started my job.

We will never forget …


The pictures are considered stock photography by most news organizations now. News organizations use the photos today to emphasize a news event, usually involving terrorism or, most recently, the release of the report about how U.S. intelligence acted prior to that day. Yet, every time I stumble upon a picture from Sept. 11, 2001, I pause. The pictures still affect me.

… having been appointed to government civil service in the United States Air Force …

My current position doesn’t quite show how loyal to the Air Force and my country I am. People I’ve met in this professional environment often joked that I’m blue through and through.

I was born at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., to a young airman and his wife. I grew up on military installations across the United States and in several foreign countries.

My family bonded through the experiences of moving, separations due to schools and the countless temporary duties. And now that I’ve grown up, I’m working for the Air Force.

… do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; …

My first day of permanent civil service, I took the oath. And it truly meant something. I had seen enemies attack my country several months before.

When I went to work on Sept. 11, 2001, evil men were plotting to destroy the lives of hundreds of innocent people. I was in shock with the rest of America when the World Trade Center towers were attacked.

And then the terrorists got personal. They hijacked a plane and directed it straight toward the Pentagon where my father was sitting in his blue uniform serving his country.

… that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter. …

Many hours were spent that morning wondering how many members of my family would be alive at the end of the day. One of my brothers and I were relatively safe in Omaha, Neb., although when the president landed at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., I’m sure that city became a target.

My mother and my other brother were in Washington, D.C. I received several panicked phone calls from my mother who was not only wondering where her husband might be and when her son might be able to get home from a local high school, but if she should evacuate her housing at Bolling AFB, D.C., after she heard a loud explosion.


Each minute that morning seemed to last forever. And then the phone rang, and I heard my father’s voice.

The day ended and all five of us considered ourselves immensely blessed to still have an intact family. So many people that day did not have the same ending.

All five of us pause when we are reminded of that day, whether it’s when we see the pictures on the news or hear conversations about that day. On Sept. 11, 2003 — two years later — I plan to walk in to work at an organization where I’m serving my country, and my father will walk into the Pentagon wearing his uniform proudly.

My mother and brothers will count their blessings. And I know that sometime during that day, we will all take time to pause.

Sept. 11, 2001 — we will never forget.

Sept. 11, 2001


About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.