Twenty years later, what memories have stuck with me of the day war came to North America?

Unexpectedly, the initial shock is not a primary memory. Of course I remember being momentarily frozen, then hectically scrambling to get to the Hamilton armoury.

The eyes of an older woman looking at me on the bus going downtown, her and others not knowing what to say. Was she thinking of relatives who served in previous wars?

The memory of the day I keep coming back to is waiting for the special edition of The Hamilton Spectator printed that afternoon.

I was posted to wait for it to arrive at Maves Variety across from the armoury and buy a bundle.

There was television, and there was radio. The internet was not robust enough to be a primary source that day.

We relied upon the newspaper to make sense of that terrible day.

The firebombing of Hamilton's Hindu Samaj Temple early on the morning of September 15 shocked our community.

It was shortly after 0800 when Lt. Colonel Horning came into a briefing room. He soberly informed us of the hate crime with a stark message - the perpetrators of the crime will be found.

I recall my shock at the undertone of anger in his voice and vividly recall him looking around the room and declaring if anyone was involved, they were a disgrace to both our uniform and the country.

The criminals who committed the Hamilton hate crime were eventually brought to justice.

Canada went to war against terrorism joining the invasion of Afghanistan. Many of my friends would serve overseas (I left the Forces after three years) and continue to carry the wounds of war to this day.

The disorganized American retreat from Afghanistan only weeks ago makes this 9/11 anniversary a more reflective moment. A time to look back, a time to remember all who died as a result of the attacks that day and what followed.