Thursday, September 11, 2008

On This Day...


...Two years ago--September, 11 2006--I received a half-sized manila envelope in the mail.

I was living in Berkelely, CA, and I was just kicking off my second year of business school at the University of California. The night before I had gone to a Silver Jews concert in the city, and I slept in a little the morning of the 11th. I don't think I actually left my apartment that day until 3PM when I had to start heading to a class. I stopped to check the mail on my way out the door, and the manila envelope was inside my box.

The envelope had been forwarded from my summer address in Seattle (I worked at Amazon that year as a Product Manager intern) and the return label was from the Army's Human Resources Command.

This was not the first piece of mail HRC had sent me, but each previous mailing had been a regular letter in a regular envelope. Though I hadn't been expecting to receive anything from the Army, the second I saw that return label from HRC I knew what was inside--and strangely, I wasn't at all surprised to be receiving it.

I never did make it to class that day. Inside the envelope was a set of orders that required me to report for duty on the 3rd of October--about three weeks later. The envelope also contained instructions for how to request an exemption from the call up, or a delayed reporting date, so rather than go to class I called my wife (an Army lawyer) and my dad (a retired Army lawyer) to start figuring out my options.

As much as September 11, 2001 changed our lives and our world in the macro sense, receiving those orders on September, 11 2006 changed my life and Lauren's life even more. We are on a fundamentally different course than the one we had been on, and though I know that we would have married and shared our life together regardless, it's impossible to say how different our lives might have been if this burden had been handed off to others.

The Silver Jews, incidentally, played a show in my native Washington, DC on Wednesday evening--the 10th of September, 2008--proving for the umpteenth time that God is not without a sense of humor. I had hoped to be home in time for that show, but alas, I'm still here in Afghanistan for a while longer.

9 comments:

Jon without an H said...

Thank you for your service.

Fred said...

For the record, your Haas Fantasy League commissioners will still have your league spot available to you upon your return!

Mrs. Exnicios said...

When Andrew called me that day he said "Guess what I am holding in my hands?" and I said "A kitten?!" For the record, it was not a kitten. That day sure did suck.

Sue said...

Thank you, Andrew, for doing the good thing - the right thing. God will bless you and Lauren - He already is, really.
Though I don't know you, I appreciate you - because you are like my daughter and son in law..not backing down from anything even if it's going to mean there will be sacrifices. I am proud of you - as I am of them.
You are in my prayers for a safe return soon...maybe you can catch another concert somewhere else.
Blessings,
Two Star Mom

Dianne said...

Andrew you and Lauren have been through so much in the past two years. You have handled it all with grace and dignity (and at times some loud yelling from Lauren). I am proud to say that you are related to me. I look forward to your starting the happy part of your married life.

chet baker sings said...

hey.. good luck to you out there! stay safe and thank you!

listen sorry you missed the silver jews.. i was there (i live a few blocks from the black cat) and managed to film a little so i thought it might be the next best thing for you

check it at my blog www.47west63rd.blogspot.com

ok man best of luck

Entropy said...

I have friends in Afghanistan as well, albeit they are part of the Canadian Armed forces.

Best of luck.

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