Editor's Note: Logan Tratnyek is a 2002 graduate of Saucon Valley High School. He is currently an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force stationed in Maryland.
On Sept. 11, 2001 I was in my senior year at . The previous April I had signed up to enlist in the Air Force as soon as I graduated. In June of 2001 I took a trip to Washington, D.C. with my recruiter for a tour of Andrews Air Force Base, the White House and the Pentagon.
I was on my way to the Lower Saucon Police Department for my internship when on 95.1 WZZO the Bearman and Keith started talking about how a small plane apparently slammed into the World Trade Center. Being as it was WZZO's morning show I couldn’t take it all that serious. Arriving at the police department everyone was attempting to load any news site on the Internet. When CNN finally loaded with the heavy web traffic, and the gaping hole in the side of Tower 1 was showing, the reality of the situation finally hit. I then spent the rest of the day along with all my fellow Americans watching the rest of the day unfold on TV as the Pentagon was hit and Flight 93 came down in a field in Shanksville, Pa. Experiencing the following weeks was incredible. Seeing how patriotic the country became was inspiring. Seeing Americans coming together and waving flags made me proud to be part of this country.
I spent the next eight months pushing hard to finish high school, all with revenge for what occurred to my country in the back of my mind. I watched live on CNN as the U.S. military struck back at the Taliban and took over Kandahar airfield in Southern Afghanistan. I called my recruiter and asked if I could quit school so I could enter the Air Force sooner. I was told to concentrate on school and get that out of my way.
Finally entering the Air Force, I learned truly what a post-9/11 world is. I have stood watch during times of heightened “terror alerts.” I have been to Iraq and Afghanistan numerous times in support of the “War on Terror.” I have lost numerous friends along the way and seen others injured for the rest of their lives. I know many in the military who cannot celebrate their accomplishments because making them public could potentially make them a terror target. To me 9/11 is not an event that we remember once a year--it is a mindset that has become the reality of my life 24/7, 365.