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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six Years Later

Today marks the sixth year anniversary of September 11th, 2001. What has changed? It's really pretty hard to say. Flying home from Las Vegas yesterday I was completely molested at airport security, even while wearing my service uniform. Was it a change from seven years ago? Yes. Did it make me feel safer? Not really. Some changes are obvious six years later. Obviously, we are at war, but strangely the number of flags you see being flown has steadily begun to wane. People are becoming less willing to state that they are proud to be an American. People have begun to allow politics to influence their support to things apolitical, such as support for those over in Afghanistan and Iraq. Doesn't something like that transcend politics?

Last September 11th was my first while in the Marine Corps. It was an important day for me because it was one of the primary motivating factors for my joining the military. This September 11th marks my first since having served in Iraq. How has the day changed for me? Well, it has in many ways. For the first time I feel that I can say that I knew someone killed by September 11th. No, Howey and Windsor were not killed in the WTC or at the Pentagon, but those attacks claimed their lives, even if it was five and a half years afterwards. For the first time I can attest firsthand to the evils of al Qaeda. I will not enter into debate on whether AQ was in Iraq when we invaded. I don't care anymore. But I do know that they are now. I know the atrocities that they are committing to the people of that country and I know that they are attacking US servicemen everyday there. I know that six years ago nearly 20 men, convinced and driven by a warped ideology, took over a plane and sacrificed their own lives to kill Americans. Guess what? Those same people came after us in Iraq. We were hit with nearly 10 suicide bombers while we were there, just our unit. Who can say what damage those men would have done if there target had not been available in Iraq, and instead was only available in the form of innocent civilians on American soil? We absorbed the horror of ideological Islam in Iraq so that it would not hit our family and friends at home.

So what would I ask of Americans six years post-9/11? Do not be afraid to fly your flag today. Don't be embarrassed to stand and put your hand over your heart for the National Anthem, let alone be afraid to sing along. Most of all, do not be afraid to remember the fallen, those that went to Iraq and Afghanistan to prevent another attack on our soil.

*Last night I posted a link to my friend Dave Folwell's charity drive. I don't want to use this site to push anything on anyone, but this cause is personal for me. I have friends missing arms, legs, and fingers from Iraq. Please take time and consider donating to his race, these young men will be carrying the price of freedom for the rest of their lives and could use your help. Thank You.


  1. jake,
    there are a lot of people who've read your blog and followed your adventures(?)
    most of them might not take the time to drop a note telling you how glad we are you're home now or how grateful we are to you and thousands like you. but they are and i am and we're all proud of the men and women who wear the uniform and stand in the gap for the rest of us.
    many thanks and God bless yall
    rb tolar

  2. Jake - Your buddy Dave has surpassed his goal of 1500. He is now over 1800!!!!

    You have so many readers and I hope they all help any way that they can.

    Dave emailed me with information for paypal and if you already have a paypal account it only takes a minute.

    Thanks for all that you do Jake!!!

  3. I won't ever forget. My license plate is "937AM" as a reminder of the fun time I had in the five-sided building that day.

    Jake - have you made a decision yet on your future in the Marines? You really need to consider applying to get your commission as an Officer.

  4. you have described the problem facing this country better than any politican running for office. It hasn't been personel for enough people. It amazes me how young men like yourself can so clearly see and act on the threat our country faces while those in the media and political office play politics over it.

    It's a long ways till Oct 20th tell Dave he better readjust that goal. The people who read milblogs like yours do or at least are trying to understand the sacrafice those defending our freedom are making and will gladly support such a good cause.


  5. jake - you are so eloquent it's amazing. i wish that the people running this country could be as genuine and heartfelt and sincere as you are. i'm glad you're home and we need more people around like you.

    -caitlin from ny

  6. Well said.

    I can respect that people have political and idealogical views on the status of the war in Iraq. But I cannot and refuse to keep quiet if they do not understand exactly what you said. The men and women of our armed forces have picked the battlefield and are taking the fight to Al Qaeda so they don't take it here. I believe a great number of us know this. Thank you for taking the fight to them on our behalf. And winning...

  7. Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/12/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

  8. Jake, I want to offer a big "AMEN" to your eloquently written post! You're absolutely correct...it's our Armed Forces (those wonderful young men and women like you) who stand as the shield between radicalized Islam and our Homeland. No one can offer sufficient thanks, or provide enough recognition for what you, and those in uniform with you, do everyday. I just wish more people realized the debt we, as a Nation, really owe to our servicemen & women.

    I'd also like to offer another "AMEN" to the anonymous post that suggests you consider career as a Marine officer. As a retired AF officer (and mother of a Marine) and after following your blog for a while, I think I can say you seem to have the kind of qualities the great officers have...you know that undefined "something" that makes you want to follow that person anywhere. Think about it.

  9. Thank you for the reminders Jake. We are flying our flag every day here in Mass. I will never forget.

  10. Two small points: I don't think that the act of flying a flag -- or not -- has much to do with pride or shame in one's country. One's character and intentions are better read in one's day to day actions.

    And Iraqis are not going to "come after us" when we leave. They are killing Americans because Americans are over there.

    The small cells and networks of AQ that span the globe preceded the Iraq war, and will exist after it. The war there is a diversion. And the existence of this country is not threatened by this tiny group of people.

    The real breakthroughs against terrorist cells have been achieved through intelligence and police work. Look at the ones the CIA has caught in Pakistan. Was invading that country necessary to catch them? No.