My Kid Remembers 9/11

 

I am very proud of my oldest daughter. She is everything a Catholic father would hope for in a child: A strong and wise mother, a devoted wife, a burgeoning theologian, and a veteran. The latter came as a bit of a shock. After a couple months of post-high school aimlessness she called me at work to announce that she’d joined the Navy–something I’d never expected. A few weeks later my wife and I, along with my two younger daughters, drove Constance to Butte, the location of the Montana military induction center. Frankly, we weren’t quite sure she would take the final step of raising her hand and swearing to defend her country. But that morning, amid streaming tears and urgent hugs, she walked through the center doors and assumed her duties as a recruit. 

I’m not much given to strong displays of emotion, but as we drove back to Billings, I had to stop from time to time as I was unable to see the road through my wet eyes. 

The next day, as I was about halfway through a deposition, my secretary buzzed to tell me that one of my kids was on the line. I asked Nancy to take a message, but she frantically told me the call came from boot camp. When I answered all I could hear was the sound of the drill instructor shouting. Constance’s message was brief: “Dad, I’m here, I love you.”

Three months later I would travel to Chicago (the location of the Great Lakes Navy Recruit Training Center) to watch her march by, resplendent in her dress blues, a newly minted sailor. Later that day I took her on a tour of the Windy City. Funny how the little things are so charming. All she really wanted to do was head to McDonald’s, where she scarfed down three Big Macs, an enormous order of fries, and a coke large enough to quench a forest fire. Children, even when they’ve grown into adulthood, will always be children. Besides, the Navy was not inclined to over stuffing recruits.

It was early December, 1999.

Two years later Constance would be called upon to dive into the fray: She volunteered to serve as a relief worker at the Pentagon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She was twenty years old. 

Today at The Federalist she remembers and calls upon all of us to remember too.

Published in Military
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 27 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Thanks, Mike. You must be proud. I thank you for raising a wise and courageous young woman.

    • #1
  2. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Oh, Mike! I’m heading right over to The Federalist to read, but I just wanted say, “Good on ya’!” And congratulations on your parenting success.

    • #2
  3. Patrickb63 Coolidge
    Patrickb63
    @Patrickb63

    Mike, You have every reason to stand tall and proud.  Your daughter’s story touched me deeply.  Congratulations to you and your wife for raising such a fine, strong, courageous American.

    Edit- I sent the link to my 15 year old high school junior daughter.   I encouraged her to share it with her friends at her All girl Catholic HS.  I want her, and them,  to see what a modern American female hero is.

    • #3
  4. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Excellent narrative by your daughter Mike. Should put Michael Moore to shame.

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Wow. What a great kid. :)

    • #5
  6. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    Dear Dad,

    Thank you for writing this post and sharing my article. You made me cry. Those memories are still so vivid. I don’t eat too many Big Macs these days, but we were all starving after three months of small portions. The more you ate, the more the RDCs drilled you.

    I am still so thankful for your generosity in taking my three friends out who did not have any family come to our boot camp graduation. McDonald’s and the science museum (I can’t remember the name of it, but it was amazing) were a great way to celebrate our surviving boot camp.

    I truly hope people put aside the political for a moment to remember what was lost, and the great heroism and perseverance of the human spirit on display following the attacks, as we approach the 15th anniversary of 9/11. So many still live the horror of terrorism today. God bless.

    I love you!

    Stanz

    • #6
  7. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Wonderful story, by the way your daughter’s sense of duty was no accident. You and your wife deserve a lot of credit.

    • #7
  8. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    Mike Rapkoch:I truly hope people put aside the political for a moment to remember what was lost, and the great heroism and perseverance of the human spirit on display following the attacks, as we approach the 15th anniversary of 9/11. So many still live the horror of terrorism today. God bless.

    I love you!

    Stanz

    Oh Mike . . .  You are blessed.  Hugs to Stanz.

    • #8
  9. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Upvoted. Essay shared on social media.

    The striking thing for me is that this is the first account I have read regarding that awful day at the Pentagon.

    One of my favorite things living near Great Lakes is seeing the recruits come downtown on the train for their first liberty. Nothing is more fun than riding on a train full of sailors. Then there is the pride when mom and dad come and take them out somewhere. Usually nothing too fancy, but the kids…they are transformed.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Thanks, Mike.

    • #10
  11. Ron Selander Member
    Ron Selander
    @RonSelander

    Excellent article by Constance. She’s great, Mike!

    • #11
  12. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    God Bless Constance and God Bless you, Mike.

    • #12
  13. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    Fair winds & following seas to both of you, fantastic Americans.

    • #13
  14. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    My kid sends her thanks to all. As do I.

    • #14
  15. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Boy. Does that bring back memories.

    It’s comforting knowing that, should we all have to retreat to the Ricochetti Ranch and start plotting a renewal of freedom in this country, we all have kick-ass offspring.

    • #15
  16. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Western Chauvinist:Oh, Mike! I’m heading right over to The Federalist to read, but I just wanted say, “Good on ya’!” And congratulations on your parenting success.

    Indeed. A like is not enough.

    • #16
  17. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    EJHill:Boy. Does that bring back memories.

    It’s comforting knowing that, should we all have to retreat to the Ricochetti Ranch and start plotting a renewal of freedom in this country, we all have kick-ass offspring.

    A good reason for hope in the nation’s future. I have three nephews who are combat vets: One served one tour in Iraq, his brother saw action in Iraq four times, first as a grunt, then as a platoon commander, and the last two as a captain in charge of a company. The third deployed twice to Afghanistan as an artillery officer. Between my kid and these young men my family has much to be thankful for–and prod of.

    • #17
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Mike Rapkoch:

    EJHill:Boy. Does that bring back memories.

    It’s comforting knowing that, should we all have to retreat to the Ricochetti Ranch and start plotting a renewal of freedom in this country, we all have kick-ass offspring.

    A good reason for hope in the nation’s future. I have three nephews who are combat vets: One served one tour in Iraq, his brother saw action in Iraq four times, first as a grunt, then as a platoon commander, and the last two as a captain in charge of a company. The third deployed twice to Afghanistan as an artillery officer. Between my kid and these young men my family has much to be thankful for–and prod of.

    The country has a lot to be thankful for and proud of, Mike. Let them know.

    • #18
  19. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Wow. Very affecting. I found my eyes welling up just reading it.

    • #19
  20. NCforSCFC Member
    NCforSCFC
    @NCforSCFC

    I read Constance’s essay in The Federalist yesterday and absolutely loved it, along with her engaging the early comments that were present at the time. And now reading your story on top of that, icing on the cake.  Bless you both.

    • #20
  21. rebark Inactive
    rebark
    @rebark

    I was in second grade the day of 9/11. I still remember every detail.

    Your daughter’s willingness in her article to excuse irreverance as a part of youth is very generous, but even the people she describes goofing around in front of the exhibit in 2005 should have known better.

    I just hope she knows how many people appreciate her service.

    • #21
  22. KC Mulville Inactive
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    This is today’s gospel reading:

    Jesus said to his disciples:
    “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
    nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
    For every tree is known by its own fruit.

    Sounds like he’s talking about you, Mike!

    • #22
  23. Podkayne of Israel Inactive
    Podkayne of Israel
    @PodkayneofIsrael

    Thank you for sharing this, Mike. You must be very proud.

    • #23
  24. Mole-eye Inactive
    Mole-eye
    @Moleeye

    Nachess.  It’s a Yiddish word to describe when your heart wants to burst with pride in and love for your child.  Mike, EJH, Annefy, and all you other parents of stellar children, you and your kids give me such vicarious nachess.  Thank you all for sharing yours.

    • #24
  25. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    Mole-eye:Nachess. It’s a Yiddish word to describe when your heart wants to burst with pride in and love for your child. Mike, EJH, Annefy, and all you other parents of stellar children, you and your kids give me such vicarious nachess. Thank you all for sharing yours.

    Yiddish has all the great words. I’ll save this one for future uses. Thanks!

    • #25
  26. Podkayne of Israel Inactive
    Podkayne of Israel
    @PodkayneofIsrael

    Mike Rapkoch:

    Mole-eye:Nachess. It’s a Yiddish word to describe when your heart wants to burst with pride in and love for your child. Mike, EJH, Annefy, and all you other parents of stellar children, you and your kids give me such vicarious nachess. Thank you all for sharing yours.

    Yiddish has all the great words. I’ll save this one for future uses. Thanks

    Wishing you many more reasons to use the word.

    • #26
  27. JLocked Inactive
    JLocked
    @CrazyHorse

    God bless you and your daughter.

    • #27
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.