We Remember

Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Ramblings | 6 comments

It’s September. We live military. I would be remiss if I didn’t say something.

Today, my mind is on other things. Jack is finally going to get a speech evaluation. We’re due at Tripler soon. I’m waiting on phone calls from different doctors for me. Plus, it’s time for our one year post placement visit. Yesterday, the quote I got was $850. Sounds unfathomable that someone would charge that much. Welcome to aloha living. So, I’m not sleeping thinking about all these things and then… you see the flags and the pictures of the towers. And yes, you remember.

We were in Iceland. It was lunch time there. I was feeding Arleigh and watching the Today show. I watched as the plane hit. Too many years of growing up in awareness because I was blessed to know this man. I found this picture of him with the “new robots helping humans.” So now you know where Arleigh found her name. You also know that for a girl in the middle of Western Kentucky I had an awareness of terrorists long before most people do. 

As the first plane hit, I called Ray…seconds later Pauline. I watched Matt Lauer’s shocked face but I knew. As the newscast asked what kind of accident could have happened, I knew our world had just changed. Mine changed seconds later as I watched armed men surround the housing of the base we lived on. Scooping Arleigh up, I sat in the big red chair, alternating between the window and the men with guns and the television and the horror that was unfolding on the other side of the sea.

So today, I’ll go about my day…my long appointment filled day and I’ll remember. I’ll remember because I was blessed to have a husband come home from Iraq when so many didn’t. I’ll remember because my children will grow up with an awareness that children didn’t have when I was growing up. (Not everyone asked if they could walk to school a different way in the middle of West Kentucky when they lived directly across the street from the school so the bad people wouldn’t get them. I was a weird child. Thank you Arleigh McCree.) I’ll remember because if you forget you won’t be prepared when it happens again. It always happens again even if you don’t see it. Remember I was 10 and aware of what was happening in the world.

I hope you take a second and remember too. Remember why. Remember what those brave first responders did. Remember that there are first responders in your city too. Take some cookies to the fire department or the police department. I guess I should find out where ours are… Remember and never forget the sacrifice that others make for our freedom and safety and thank God that you live where you do.

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  1. A wonderful man he certainly was :)

  2. Thank you so much for remembering. Arleigh was my Uncle although I never had the honor of meeting him. My Uncle Vernon sent me the link to your blog and I must admit, my heart swells with pride by reading these things. I am currently working in Law Enforcement in Texas and try to tell my Uncles story as much as possible to keep awareness up. Thanks for your time.

  3. My brother..MY HERO !!!!!!!!

  4. This man was my hero,always has ,always will be. I also have pride in claiming him as my Daddy. When we were kids we use to call him Captain America as a joke on him. But in reality He was ,for us all as a Nation!! He is truly missed !! and we were Blessed !

  5. I was extremely blessed to have Arleigh as a friend. He was also my son’s God Father. We traveled the world together teaching others about the dangers of terrorism. The world needs as many Arleigh’s as it can produce however to my way of thinking there will always only be one- he was a gem and a friend like no other. His brother, Vernon sent me this blog and I sit here writing this with tears in my eyes. I miss him to this day and and I know his other friends and family do as well. He was a special man. We spent a lot of time together and talked almost daily. I still sadly remember the call from the scene when Arleigh was killed. One of the LAPD investigators, Lee Prentiss, was also a good friend, called me from the scene to tell me of the tradegy. Not only had Arleigh been killed, but his partner Ron Ball, who was Arleigh’s heir apparent in the LAPD Bomb Squad, had also been killed when the bomb they were attempting to disassemble exploded. Arleigh has saved the countless other bomb squad officers because in his profession he was considered the best of the best- if a device could get Arleigh, who most considered bullet-proof and super-human, then they were all surely vulnerable and procedures for dealing with devices were reevaluated and appropriately modified. Over my desk in an 8 x 11 picture of Arleigh. A picture your son should have and I would be remiss if I didn’t offer you a copy to give to him. I also have additional information to include a dedication to him I prepared for the International Association of Chief’s of Police. I would be very pleased to also provide that- I also have videos of Arleigh presenting the very terrorism presentation you likely saw. I know full well that Arleigh would want his namesake to know why he was so named- thank you. I assume you have access to my email address. Please communciate with me at your earliest convenience. Thank you for you blog and I thank Vernon for being so thoughtful in sending the link to me.

    • Hi Jim,

      I must say, I’m feeling a little guilty. I forwarded this post to Vernon because I wasn’t sure if he had seen that picture. I’ve heard from so many wonderful people about Arleigh.

      To be honest, Arleigh moved in and out of my life very quickly. When he did visit Vernon in Mayfield, I knew I would get to see him. I was an enamored little girl. Of course, he made quite the impression with his presentations. I too remember when Vernon got that horrible call.

      I actually named my daughter Arleigh. Luckily my husband, who is in the navy went along. We’ve had lots of sailors want to refer to her as Arleigh Grace. We found out on a visit to Scotland that Arleigh means God’s Promise. We thought it was very fitting. I told Vernon when I was about 15 that I loved the name and would remember it. I remember sitting in a hospital room with him waiting to hear about one of my father’s heart attacks. I asked if it would hurt his feelings if I named a girl Arleigh. Of course, Vernon has such a wonderful heart it made his pleased as punch.

      Vernon has given Arleigh Stiff one of Arleigh McCree’s navy pins. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when that happened. I’m sure she would appreciate any pictures or information that you could pass on. She’s combed over the comments on the blog more than once.

      Thank you so much for contacting us. I’m sure my Arleigh would appreciate anything that you could tell her. Of course, she’s heard lots of stories from us. Hope you stop by the blog again.



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