From Bethany’s 9/11 Journal

When America was being attacked one of my first thoughts was to go to New York. At that time I was separating from my friends and John’s family. It started with their statements, “what about your children?” “What about your husband?” “What about your life at home?” I’d already thought about that and in my mind, I had them tucked and squared safely away. I tried to put words to everyone that gave us all the same mindset. But I couldn’t. My words were inadequate. Also we all didn’t have the same mindset as I’d automatically assumed.

I believed that the attack was bigger than all of us and that everyone should help and work against this enemy. War was at hand and everyone was being called. America was changed and so were we all with it. I had some pretty weak retorts because I was shocked that these ideas hadn’t been thoroughly assimilated by everyone. Beverly said, “I’m staying right here and taking care of my babies. I’ll let ‘them’ fight the war.” (My thought was that those “them” were supposed to be us. They attacked our back yard! They’re at our door!)

I thought to myself that there are a lot of people going to go to bed at night and get up the next morning while going about their lives as if the outside world would continue without them. To me the outside world had become all of our worlds. That there wasn’t an outside world any more. I tried to explain that “they’re here!” If we don’t work or fight that there won’t be any “everyday life” again for our children.

I’d seen it so drastically in my heart that to explain it in words was like showing them a picture, i.e., pretend you got up one morning and kissed your spouse goodbye in the morning, expecting to see them later for evening dinner and for all the family’s night time routines. But the spouse doesn’t come back! It’s permanent! There won’t be dinner and night time routine again. See, that’s how I saw America change. All of our routines will be changed from now on. Now we have to do all we can to keep what we can and to make America back again for our children and our children’s children …

Our other neighbors were openly critical. But I used that thought to try and show them that without America there won’t be any families at all, the way it could go.

We are the “them” that needs to roll up our sleeves to make the “dinner and evening routines” without the returning spouse. But not literally. I’m not planning to go if they only want Soldiers for the Middle East. My thought is that “they’re” going to need people for all kinds of jobs and duties. And I want to try to keep “dinner and the night time routine” intact without my spouse”

I talked to Johnny without using the “dinner and night time routine” idea. I was still inadequate in conveying my convictions even with him, and I said, “This is a God thing and I can’t explain it. I’m compelled deeply.” “This is bigger (and could even get bigger) than all of us.” “Don’t you see that this is bigger than John and Bethany and the Bugay family? There could not be an “us” or any American family if we all don’t work for our America!” (Freedom).

No one I know sees it the way I do. They still believe that their “spouse will come home and dinner with night time routine”. It will still be (even if it’s 11:00 at night).

I’ve spent most of my heart trying to do the right thing when needed, whether or not I wanted to. I’m always preaching to my boys, “you must try and stand up for what you believe in, even if you have to go against a hundred.” I’ve never before seen how hard it can be before now to try and tell people I want to do what is right in my heart.

I just want to comment on this a bit. I think these are good instincts. If there is a genuine need, a genuine emergency, of course we want to help. But “after further review,” as they say, the emergency wasn’t nearly so pronounced as it seemed to have been at the beginning. The Afghanistan “war” didn’t take out Osama Bin Laden – the “war” missed him and sent him into Pakistan. It took a Special Ops team (and only that team) to get him.

Yes, Saddam is gone, but Iraq is still a mess. The Bush Administration seemed convinced (and they convinced America) that the only way to take out Saddam was via a full-scale invasion. But in retrospect, what about hounding him for a few years with cruise missiles and predator drones? After all, we’ve been plucking off Al Qaeda “leaders,” generation after generation of them, that same way, for years.

In reality, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their grandiose plan to transform the Middle East got more Americans killed, and did more harm to the U.S. economy than a handful of Al Qaeda thugs ever did.

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