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re: Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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Message 1 of 11
In Response to Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell
:

       


    The day the
towers collapsed in a jet-fueled blaze I wore a smart black business
suit, skirt and jacket, with two inch high heels, silver earrings,
chain necklace, and a bright blue silk blouse that made the color of
my eyes pop.  I had selected my attire thoughtfully that morning,
an action for most of my past 20 years I’d never had to
do. For nearly two decades I’d worn khaki each and every
day, a non-color, a light shade of brown, a dark shade of tan, so
indistinguishable I faded away blending into the background, bland and
washed out. Some places I wore summer whites. In Maine
I’d worn winter working blues. On special occasions I wore
Service Dress Blues or Service Dress Whites with gold buttons down the
front and gold stripes wrapped around each sleeve. But mostly I
wore the khaki uniform, a short sleeved shirt that flattened my chest
and trousers that camouflaged my waist but ballooned my hips, made of
a synthetic material that some say melted when standing on the hot
deck of an air craft carrier. I wouldn’t know about
that. I mostly sat behind a desk throughout my Navy career.

 

           
I was on the cusp of retirement from military service, teetering
toward that other side, carrying a decision that weighed on
me. For a week I was learning how to become a civilian, attending
five days of mandatory classes to gain knowledge and insight of what
it would be like in life beyond the structure I’d known for 20
years. Transition Training it was called. Learn how to
become a ‘civvie’. One of our first requirements was
to learn how to dress like one, to make a decision every day of what
to wear. No more khaki. Khaki was ugly, but it was easy.

 

          On
the second day, a Tuesday of my week long Transition Training, the
towers fell. Someone ran into our classroom and shouted that
fact. We all ran into another, larger, TV lounge just in time to
see the second tower fall and to learn that a third plane had just
careened into the Pentagon sixty miles north. We stared at the
screen trying to comprehend what we were watching until finally, the
Commanding Officer of our base ordered a shut down of non-essential
activity and told the civilians to go home. The Transition
Training ended.

 

          
My home was 30 miles away. Without a chance to change I drove
straight to my headquarters and bounded into the Operations
Center. “Where have you been?” my boss
demanded. “The country is under attack.” I stood
in the darkened Ops Center as events unfolded on the huge monitors and
television screens before us. The Admiral made phone calls to
determine what role we would play. I stood in my smart business
suit, bright blue silk blouse, with eyes popping, while enlisted
sailors in blue denim bellbottoms and officers dressed in khaki buzzed
all around.

  Your piece gives a very personal take on that terrible day. To me it summed up the way so many people all around the world felt, inadequate and not ready to cope with such an act of terror. There you were incorrectly dressed, after all your years of service, facing a major crisis and you had dressed in the morning to fit into civilian life.


To me it was very interesting and very personal......well done!


Are you writing about your life in the Navy ?


 


Jilleen


 


 

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re: Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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  Abby,  Thanks for your comments.   That was a confusing period of time in my life....whether to retire from the military or not...what to do with my life if I did so...etc.   Having to choose civilian clothes everyday was an action I wasn't used to but I liked the idea of 'playing dress up'....Wearing civilian clothes was almost like wearing a costume and hiding behind someone else.  Moving from military attire to civilian attire was almost like changing from the caterpillar into the butterfly.  But, I felt awkward as the butterfly...the caterpiller was my fuzzy, safe comfort zone.   Then, the events of 9/11 ironically occurring that same week added to my surreal sense of 'playing dress up' and trying out new identities... who was I really?  


 

  I love the idea of being "as awkward as a butterfly" because we don't always think of butterflies as awkward. It reminds me of adolescence, and of finally growing up. what to do with these damn wings? how not to topple over?

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re: Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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Message 3 of 11
In Response to post:

 



Great piece, thank you.



I'm interested in whether wearing
civilian clothes made you feel like a new self, or not yourself. I
imagine if I were suddenly wearing the kind of clothes I'd never
worn I would feel a bit odd, at least at first. Were you pleased
with how the new clothes felt , and how you looked, or were you
unfamiliar to yourself? It sounds  (in that last
sentence)  as if you regretted not being one of the
men and women in uniform, as if you are mocking the bright blue
blouse that made your eyes pop. 



Thank you for the detail of this
piece, and for being one of those who were ready to help.


  Abby,  Thanks for your comments.   That was a confusing period of time in my life....whether to retire from the military or not...what to do with my life if I did so...etc.   Having to choose civilian clothes everyday was an action I wasn't used to but I liked the idea of 'playing dress up'....Wearing civilian clothes was almost like wearing a costume and hiding behind someone else.  Moving from military attire to civilian attire was almost like changing from the caterpillar into the butterfly.  But, I felt awkward as the butterfly...the caterpiller was my fuzzy, safe comfort zone.   Then, the events of 9/11 ironically occurring that same week added to my surreal sense of 'playing dress up' and trying out new identities... who was I really?  


 

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re: Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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Message 4 of 11
In Response to Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell
:

       


    The day the
towers collapsed in a jet-fueled blaze I wore a smart black business
suit, skirt and jacket, with two inch high heels, silver earrings,
chain necklace, and a bright blue silk blouse that made the color of
my eyes pop.  I had selected my attire thoughtfully that morning,
an action for most of my past 20 years I’d never had to
do. For nearly two decades I’d worn khaki each and every
day, a non-color, a light shade of brown, a dark shade of tan, so
indistinguishable I faded away blending into the background, bland and
washed out. Some places I wore summer whites. In Maine
I’d worn winter working blues. On special occasions I wore
Service Dress Blues or Service Dress Whites with gold buttons down the
front and gold stripes wrapped around each sleeve. But mostly I
wore the khaki uniform, a short sleeved shirt that flattened my chest
and trousers that camouflaged my waist but ballooned my hips, made of
a synthetic material that some say melted when standing on the hot
deck of an air craft carrier. I wouldn’t know about
that. I mostly sat behind a desk throughout my Navy career.

 

           
I was on the cusp of retirement from military service, teetering
toward that other side, carrying a decision that weighed on
me. For a week I was learning how to become a civilian, attending
five days of mandatory classes to gain knowledge and insight of what
it would be like in life beyond the structure I’d known for 20
years. Transition Training it was called. Learn how to
become a ‘civvie’. One of our first requirements was
to learn how to dress like one, to make a decision every day of what
to wear. No more khaki. Khaki was ugly, but it was easy.

 

          On
the second day, a Tuesday of my week long Transition Training, the
towers fell. Someone ran into our classroom and shouted that
fact. We all ran into another, larger, TV lounge just in time to
see the second tower fall and to learn that a third plane had just
careened into the Pentagon sixty miles north. We stared at the
screen trying to comprehend what we were watching until finally, the
Commanding Officer of our base ordered a shut down of non-essential
activity and told the civilians to go home. The Transition
Training ended.

 

          
My home was 30 miles away. Without a chance to change I drove
straight to my headquarters and bounded into the Operations
Center. “Where have you been?” my boss
demanded. “The country is under attack.” I stood
in the darkened Ops Center as events unfolded on the huge monitors and
television screens before us. The Admiral made phone calls to
determine what role we would play. I stood in my smart business
suit, bright blue silk blouse, with eyes popping, while enlisted
sailors in blue denim bellbottoms and officers dressed in khaki buzzed
all around.

 



Great piece, thank you.



I'm interested in whether wearing
civilian clothes made you feel like a new self, or not yourself. I
imagine if I were suddenly wearing the kind of clothes I'd never
worn I would feel a bit odd, at least at first. Were you pleased
with how the new clothes felt , and how you looked, or were you
unfamiliar to yourself? It sounds  (in that last
sentence)  as if you regretted not being one of the
men and women in uniform, as if you are mocking the bright blue
blouse that made your eyes pop. 



Thank you for the detail of this
piece, and for being one of those who were ready to help.

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re: Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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Message 5 of 11
In Response to Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell
:

       


    The day the
towers collapsed in a jet-fueled blaze I wore a smart black business
suit, skirt and jacket, with two inch high heels, silver earrings,
chain necklace, and a bright blue silk blouse that made the color of
my eyes pop.  I had selected my attire thoughtfully that morning,
an action for most of my past 20 years I’d never had to
do. For nearly two decades I’d worn khaki each and every
day, a non-color, a light shade of brown, a dark shade of tan, so
indistinguishable I faded away blending into the background, bland and
washed out. Some places I wore summer whites. In Maine
I’d worn winter working blues. On special occasions I wore
Service Dress Blues or Service Dress Whites with gold buttons down the
front and gold stripes wrapped around each sleeve. But mostly I
wore the khaki uniform, a short sleeved shirt that flattened my chest
and trousers that camouflaged my waist but ballooned my hips, made of
a synthetic material that some say melted when standing on the hot
deck of an air craft carrier. I wouldn’t know about
that. I mostly sat behind a desk throughout my Navy career.

 

           
I was on the cusp of retirement from military service, teetering
toward that other side, carrying a decision that weighed on
me. For a week I was learning how to become a civilian, attending
five days of mandatory classes to gain knowledge and insight of what
it would be like in life beyond the structure I’d known for 20
years. Transition Training it was called. Learn how to
become a ‘civvie’. One of our first requirements was
to learn how to dress like one, to make a decision every day of what
to wear. No more khaki. Khaki was ugly, but it was easy.

 

          On
the second day, a Tuesday of my week long Transition Training, the
towers fell. Someone ran into our classroom and shouted that
fact. We all ran into another, larger, TV lounge just in time to
see the second tower fall and to learn that a third plane had just
careened into the Pentagon sixty miles north. We stared at the
screen trying to comprehend what we were watching until finally, the
Commanding Officer of our base ordered a shut down of non-essential
activity and told the civilians to go home. The Transition
Training ended.

 

          
My home was 30 miles away. Without a chance to change I drove
straight to my headquarters and bounded into the Operations
Center. “Where have you been?” my boss
demanded. “The country is under attack.” I stood
in the darkened Ops Center as events unfolded on the huge monitors and
television screens before us. The Admiral made phone calls to
determine what role we would play. I stood in my smart business
suit, bright blue silk blouse, with eyes popping, while enlisted
sailors in blue denim bellbottoms and officers dressed in khaki buzzed
all around.

 Wow. This is a powerful take on a seemingly lighthearted topic.
Well written!

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re: Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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Message 6 of 11
In Response to post:

  Wow! You were one of them. One of the "ready to
respond many"
that the rest of us were thanking God for
that day. Thank You for being ready to do your part.


  Nadawich,  Thanks for your nice comments.  I was
just as confused as everyone else was that day.  Just one of
thousands of folks in the military also trying to figure out what the
heck was going on.  Ironically, I had just reached the milestone
of 20 years in service that August and was really pondering whether to
retire or not.   The events of 9/11 just added to my
decision angst.  Jan

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re: Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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Message 7 of 11
In Response to Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell
:

       


    The day the
towers collapsed in a jet-fueled blaze I wore a smart black business
suit, skirt and jacket, with two inch high heels, silver earrings,
chain necklace, and a bright blue silk blouse that made the color of
my eyes pop.  I had selected my attire thoughtfully that morning,
an action for most of my past 20 years I’d never had to
do. For nearly two decades I’d worn khaki each and every
day, a non-color, a light shade of brown, a dark shade of tan, so
indistinguishable I faded away blending into the background, bland and
washed out. Some places I wore summer whites. In Maine
I’d worn winter working blues. On special occasions I wore
Service Dress Blues or Service Dress Whites with gold buttons down the
front and gold stripes wrapped around each sleeve. But mostly I
wore the khaki uniform, a short sleeved shirt that flattened my chest
and trousers that camouflaged my waist but ballooned my hips, made of
a synthetic material that some say melted when standing on the hot
deck of an air craft carrier. I wouldn’t know about
that. I mostly sat behind a desk throughout my Navy career.

 

           
I was on the cusp of retirement from military service, teetering
toward that other side, carrying a decision that weighed on
me. For a week I was learning how to become a civilian, attending
five days of mandatory classes to gain knowledge and insight of what
it would be like in life beyond the structure I’d known for 20
years. Transition Training it was called. Learn how to
become a ‘civvie’. One of our first requirements was
to learn how to dress like one, to make a decision every day of what
to wear. No more khaki. Khaki was ugly, but it was easy.

 

          On
the second day, a Tuesday of my week long Transition Training, the
towers fell. Someone ran into our classroom and shouted that
fact. We all ran into another, larger, TV lounge just in time to
see the second tower fall and to learn that a third plane had just
careened into the Pentagon sixty miles north. We stared at the
screen trying to comprehend what we were watching until finally, the
Commanding Officer of our base ordered a shut down of non-essential
activity and told the civilians to go home. The Transition
Training ended.

 

          
My home was 30 miles away. Without a chance to change I drove
straight to my headquarters and bounded into the Operations
Center. “Where have you been?” my boss
demanded. “The country is under attack.” I stood
in the darkened Ops Center as events unfolded on the huge monitors and
television screens before us. The Admiral made phone calls to
determine what role we would play. I stood in my smart business
suit, bright blue silk blouse, with eyes popping, while enlisted
sailors in blue denim bellbottoms and officers dressed in khaki buzzed
all around.

 
 


Another good article today.  Thanks and keep on writing!


 


Sasebone

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re: Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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Message 8 of 11
In Response to Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell
:

       


    The day the
towers collapsed in a jet-fueled blaze I wore a smart black business
suit, skirt and jacket, with two inch high heels, silver earrings,
chain necklace, and a bright blue silk blouse that made the color of
my eyes pop.  I had selected my attire thoughtfully that morning,
an action for most of my past 20 years I’d never had to
do. For nearly two decades I’d worn khaki each and every
day, a non-color, a light shade of brown, a dark shade of tan, so
indistinguishable I faded away blending into the background, bland and
washed out. Some places I wore summer whites. In Maine
I’d worn winter working blues. On special occasions I wore
Service Dress Blues or Service Dress Whites with gold buttons down the
front and gold stripes wrapped around each sleeve. But mostly I
wore the khaki uniform, a short sleeved shirt that flattened my chest
and trousers that camouflaged my waist but ballooned my hips, made of
a synthetic material that some say melted when standing on the hot
deck of an air craft carrier. I wouldn’t know about
that. I mostly sat behind a desk throughout my Navy career.

 

           
I was on the cusp of retirement from military service, teetering
toward that other side, carrying a decision that weighed on
me. For a week I was learning how to become a civilian, attending
five days of mandatory classes to gain knowledge and insight of what
it would be like in life beyond the structure I’d known for 20
years. Transition Training it was called. Learn how to
become a ‘civvie’. One of our first requirements was
to learn how to dress like one, to make a decision every day of what
to wear. No more khaki. Khaki was ugly, but it was easy.

 

          On
the second day, a Tuesday of my week long Transition Training, the
towers fell. Someone ran into our classroom and shouted that
fact. We all ran into another, larger, TV lounge just in time to
see the second tower fall and to learn that a third plane had just
careened into the Pentagon sixty miles north. We stared at the
screen trying to comprehend what we were watching until finally, the
Commanding Officer of our base ordered a shut down of non-essential
activity and told the civilians to go home. The Transition
Training ended.

 

          
My home was 30 miles away. Without a chance to change I drove
straight to my headquarters and bounded into the Operations
Center. “Where have you been?” my boss
demanded. “The country is under attack.” I stood
in the darkened Ops Center as events unfolded on the huge monitors and
television screens before us. The Admiral made phone calls to
determine what role we would play. I stood in my smart business
suit, bright blue silk blouse, with eyes popping, while enlisted
sailors in blue denim bellbottoms and officers dressed in khaki buzzed
all around.

 Wow....thank you for this word picture, Jan. 

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re: Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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Message 9 of 11
In Response to Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell
:

       


    The day the
towers collapsed in a jet-fueled blaze I wore a smart black business
suit, skirt and jacket, with two inch high heels, silver earrings,
chain necklace, and a bright blue silk blouse that made the color of
my eyes pop.  I had selected my attire thoughtfully that morning,
an action for most of my past 20 years I’d never had to
do. For nearly two decades I’d worn khaki each and every
day, a non-color, a light shade of brown, a dark shade of tan, so
indistinguishable I faded away blending into the background, bland and
washed out. Some places I wore summer whites. In Maine
I’d worn winter working blues. On special occasions I wore
Service Dress Blues or Service Dress Whites with gold buttons down the
front and gold stripes wrapped around each sleeve. But mostly I
wore the khaki uniform, a short sleeved shirt that flattened my chest
and trousers that camouflaged my waist but ballooned my hips, made of
a synthetic material that some say melted when standing on the hot
deck of an air craft carrier. I wouldn’t know about
that. I mostly sat behind a desk throughout my Navy career.

 

           
I was on the cusp of retirement from military service, teetering
toward that other side, carrying a decision that weighed on
me. For a week I was learning how to become a civilian, attending
five days of mandatory classes to gain knowledge and insight of what
it would be like in life beyond the structure I’d known for 20
years. Transition Training it was called. Learn how to
become a ‘civvie’. One of our first requirements was
to learn how to dress like one, to make a decision every day of what
to wear. No more khaki. Khaki was ugly, but it was easy.

 

          On
the second day, a Tuesday of my week long Transition Training, the
towers fell. Someone ran into our classroom and shouted that
fact. We all ran into another, larger, TV lounge just in time to
see the second tower fall and to learn that a third plane had just
careened into the Pentagon sixty miles north. We stared at the
screen trying to comprehend what we were watching until finally, the
Commanding Officer of our base ordered a shut down of non-essential
activity and told the civilians to go home. The Transition
Training ended.

 

          
My home was 30 miles away. Without a chance to change I drove
straight to my headquarters and bounded into the Operations
Center. “Where have you been?” my boss
demanded. “The country is under attack.” I stood
in the darkened Ops Center as events unfolded on the huge monitors and
television screens before us. The Admiral made phone calls to
determine what role we would play. I stood in my smart business
suit, bright blue silk blouse, with eyes popping, while enlisted
sailors in blue denim bellbottoms and officers dressed in khaki buzzed
all around.

  Wow! You were one of them. One of the "ready to
respond many"
that the rest of us were thanking God for
that day. Thank You for being ready to do your part.

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Inappropriately Dressed - The Day the Towers Fell

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Message 10 of 11

       


    The day the
towers collapsed in a jet-fueled blaze I wore a smart black business
suit, skirt and jacket, with two inch high heels, silver earrings,
chain necklace, and a bright blue silk blouse that made the color of
my eyes pop.  I had selected my attire thoughtfully that morning,
an action for most of my past 20 years I’d never had to
do. For nearly two decades I’d worn khaki each and every
day, a non-color, a light shade of brown, a dark shade of tan, so
indistinguishable I faded away blending into the background, bland and
washed out. Some places I wore summer whites. In Maine
I’d worn winter working blues. On special occasions I wore
Service Dress Blues or Service Dress Whites with gold buttons down the
front and gold stripes wrapped around each sleeve. But mostly I
wore the khaki uniform, a short sleeved shirt that flattened my chest
and trousers that camouflaged my waist but ballooned my hips, made of
a synthetic material that some say melted when standing on the hot
deck of an air craft carrier. I wouldn’t know about
that. I mostly sat behind a desk throughout my Navy career.

 

           
I was on the cusp of retirement from military service, teetering
toward that other side, carrying a decision that weighed on
me. For a week I was learning how to become a civilian, attending
five days of mandatory classes to gain knowledge and insight of what
it would be like in life beyond the structure I’d known for 20
years. Transition Training it was called. Learn how to
become a ‘civvie’. One of our first requirements was
to learn how to dress like one, to make a decision every day of what
to wear. No more khaki. Khaki was ugly, but it was easy.

 

          On
the second day, a Tuesday of my week long Transition Training, the
towers fell. Someone ran into our classroom and shouted that
fact. We all ran into another, larger, TV lounge just in time to
see the second tower fall and to learn that a third plane had just
careened into the Pentagon sixty miles north. We stared at the
screen trying to comprehend what we were watching until finally, the
Commanding Officer of our base ordered a shut down of non-essential
activity and told the civilians to go home. The Transition
Training ended.

 

          
My home was 30 miles away. Without a chance to change I drove
straight to my headquarters and bounded into the Operations
Center. “Where have you been?” my boss
demanded. “The country is under attack.” I stood
in the darkened Ops Center as events unfolded on the huge monitors and
television screens before us. The Admiral made phone calls to
determine what role we would play. I stood in my smart business
suit, bright blue silk blouse, with eyes popping, while enlisted
sailors in blue denim bellbottoms and officers dressed in khaki buzzed
all around.
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