PHOTOS: Community members share their 9/11 stories | Multimedia


Shannon Allen, wife of the late Master Sgt. Mark Allen poses at their Loganville, GA home with memorabilia including his Purple Heart award, flags from his funeral flower arrangements and a family portrait taken before he was injured in Afghanistan in 2009. Days just before the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, she puts on her military uniform and wears her name tag while reflecting on how their lives were affected by the event that propelled them United States in the Middle East War. (Photo / Sydney Fordice, [email protected]) Thoughts on 9/11 and how it changed things for the Allens: “We actually worked together – not in the same room in particular but in the same building anyway. happened. It was just a lot of chaos. And of course, that was him I was thinking of, even though we were friends at the time, not yet together. But being part of the National Guard, I knew they would potentially be called. But he was thinking, ‘When can we go?’ It was a bit when everything changed. I had no experience of that sort of thing before with, you know, my friends killed overseas, which of course happened on their first deployment to Iraq in ’05. He returned home and was then deployed to fight in Afghanistan in 2009. We had our daughter in June 2008. He left on his first birthday. And then it was only a month later, to the day, that he was shot. They are in a shootout on the ground, and a sniper – through the helmet to the head. We spent about three months in the hospital where he spent the first two weeks on a ventilator in a medically induced coma. Then we moved to a rehabilitation center where we spent two years. He could start using a hand to raise his thumb and answer questions correctly. So we had that until the end – laughs, smiles, a little bit of one hand movement, and that was really it. But that was enough, because he was there. He lived here for almost eight years in the house. We had a nurse in our house 24/7 which is amazing and also awful. Imagine there is someone in your home who is not you or your family 24/7. There is always someone in your space. He was hospitalized for several months during the summer of 2019 and has not been the same since this hospitalization. He wasn’t as present as he used to be. He no longer had the fight. And it would have been cruel, I think, to let him go on like this because there was no going back this time. He passed away in October 2019. I think for my daughter it’s so different because that’s all she ever knew. She doesn’t remember having a father who was active or anything that could really participate with her. While for everyone, we just mourn a second time over the loss we had in 2009. I don’t think most people believe me when I say it, but it was him. Every photo of him as a child is in camouflage, climbing rooftops, climbing trees and playing in the woods. He was always going to go. And if he wasn’t and his guys were, he was going to find a way to go with them. So I always encouraged him and people would always ask me, “If you knew this was going to happen to him, would you do it anyway?” And I always say, ‘Yeah, I think I would, because otherwise it wouldn’t have been him.’ On the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, almost 20 years exactly after September 11: “It’s heartbreaking how it was all handled. But I’ve learned that you can’t dwell on the “what if?” I don’t feel like it was for nothing at all, but it shouldn’t have ended the way it did. And just to know how much has been poured in there – how many people, how many lives, how many families – it’s just hard. You know, it should have been a success, and it almost was. And then we didn’t end up the right way. And that’s all in one… that’s the reason Mark went to Iraq and the same reason he finally went to Afghanistan, so if it hadn’t happened, none of this would have happened. . It affected every person whether they realized it or not. (Photo / Sydney Fordice)

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