Where I was 11 years ago is less important to me than the overwhelming sense of rage the day engendered. I recall I skipped my run that day in Richmond, VA. Just miles down the road from the Pentagon and all I could think was, “I should be there. I should be doing something.” Instead, I sat there, glued to the television like the rest of the world, watching those horrible images cascade across the screen until I was numb. When the cell networks finally became available, I called my family to let them knew I was alright – all they knew is that I was on a trip to Virginia.

One year later, I found myself marking the anniversary September 11th in Afghanistan, at Bagram Air Base. It was different time back then, a different war. Every American on base lined up in front of the CJTF-180 headquarters, known as “The Death Star” for its domed, pressurized structure. There were some media hanging around, and I recall it was a hot, dusty, busy day. This was long before counterinsurgency became the catch phrase of defense literati across the globe; before we paved roads, erected Pizza Huts, and sequestered ourselves inside impenetrable fortresses made of concertina wire and Hesco barriers. Before Iraq. Before we lost our way, and forgot lessons learned in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

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