In Korea, a soldier’s daughter is jetlagged and lost in her new school. In Germany, a military family welcomes the birth of a second child. In the aftermath of 9/11, both families – dads, moms, and kids – will fight the war on terror. A harrowing true story that spans America’s first decade post-9/11, The Day Before 9/11 portrays in riveting detail the sacrifices made by military families serving overseas and the enduring pain that accompanies the tragic loss of life.
FROM THE AUTHOR
The Day Before 9/11 is a true story.
Nothing I learned in college or experienced as a teacher in upstate South Carolina or rural Florida prepared me for being a Department of Defense teacher on a U.S. military installation in Korea in the aftermath of 9/11.
Parents began deploying. Kids started spiraling in a bad way. We all felt stressed and anxious, living in a foreign country under the constant threat of terrorist reprisals as our military took action in Afghanistan. Then one morning a Chaplain walked into our school and everything got worse. We lost eight guys from our small military community.
All teachers experience student-related tragedies – it’s inevitable when you cross paths with hundreds, even thousands of kids, year after year. You expect that one day it will happen, but until I saw that Chaplain walk into my school I never lived in fear of it.
I was a teacher, coach, and athletic director, and I was used to students trusting me with their problems, coming to me for advice, and looking to me for help – but in the aftermath of 9/11 it was overwhelming, and suffocating, because it was pretty simple logic: I teach military kids. Our military is at war. My kids are going to suffer.
And they did, in ways I could never have imagined were possible.
As America observed the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, our military families continued to serve overseas, sacrificing every day in defense of everything that is good and honorable about our country. The events in The Day Before 9/11 are true. They are horrific, and it was painful to write – but it’s my hope that by telling this story I can honor our kids who serve and sacrifice overseas every day alongside their military parents.
PRAISE FOR THE DAY BEFORE 9/11
– Ricardo Buitrago, Ph. D., Psychologist, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, Germany