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What's your 9/11 story? Tech. Sgt. Carolyn Noon

Tech. Sgt. Carolyn Noon, 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Angela Walz)

Tech. Sgt. Carolyn Noon, 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Angela Walz)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- I joined the guard right out of high school. I was raised by Air Force parents, and Air Force history runs deep in my family via numerous uncles and grandparents that have also served our country.

I never thought twice about joining the Guard; I wanted to give back to my community and my country by doing my part while also getting my education. I honestly felt (and still feel) that it was my duty, but also my privilege to be an Air Force member.

I had been working full time at the Guard for many years while going to school at night. I decided to take a job on "the outside" working for Bombardier Aerospace because they paid for more of my school. I was there a few months when 9/11 happened.

I remember VIVIDLY pulling into the parking lot at work and hearing what at that time everyone thought was an accident when the first tower was hit. I said a prayer for the victims and their families and thought "man that's going to be a long haul repairing that building, hopefully the aircraft didn't do too much damage."

I walked through the parking lot and into the hangar en route to my desk and that was when I was hit (and hit hard) with the realization that this was no accident as the second tower was hit.

Not a soul in that hangar was working. We were all standing, mouths draped open in awe watching the 32 inch TV in the hangar break room in complete disbelief. My husband worked at the Guard at the time (he has since retired) and I remember running to my desk calling him (as I cried) and asking him if he had heard about what was happening to our country and if he was ok.

He said he had to go as they were preparing the base for elevated security levels. At that moment I had never felt more shame and disappointment in myself for not being out there doing my part for my country and my community; I was hurting for my country and needed to help. A few weeks later I was voluntarily activated back to the Guard. I was back in the uniform helping my community and my country by doing my part while simultaneously helping myself heal.

It is human nature to forget; we move on with our day-to-day lives, as our busy world moves around us. Forgetting can be easy to do if you don't want to remember, especially if it's a painful memory. Some block pain out, some move on from the pain and are able to forgive and forget.

September 11, 2001 is a day, as Americans, we cannot forget. As a proud member of the Arizona Air National Guard, I will not allow myself to forget.

Editor's note:

Ten years after Sept. 11, 2001, 162nd Fighter Wing members recall where they were that fateful day, and reaffirm their commitment to serve in the Arizona Air National Guard. Do you have a story to share? If so, email it to 162fw.pa.omb@ang.af.mil for posting here on the wing's official website.