We did some hugging at the Wounded Warrior Barracks, being told this is not goodbye that we will see everyone again. It was hard for Taylor and I. We were leaving so many people who didn't just say HI to us, but to so many that opened their lives to us and made us feel like we were family. It was exciting to know we were coming home to see Tanner and his dad, but just so sad in what we were leaving.
Taylor was quiet as Sgt. Coon and his family drove us to the airport. I could feel the tears starting to well up again and I looked at Taylor and she felt the same way. Once it was just her and I, we talked just a tiny bit about what had happened that week and Taylor just said it was literally the best time of her entire life.
We walked to go through security, I made it through but as it was Taylor's turn the alarms went off. She had a bit of a startled look, but we thought that it just might be her chevrons. We took them off and she went through it again, alarms go off again. Taylor started going through her pockets and out she pulled a spent blank shell casing she had gotten while she was at MOUT. She had put it in her side pocket of her cammie pants and we never gave it another thought. As soon as she pulled it out, we were immediately swarmed by the security people. I still had a semi smile on my face, not thinking this was a serious matter. I tried and I say TRIED to start to tell what it was from and why and I got shut down, yelled at that Taylor broke the law and they were calling the FBI. WHAT?! They took Taylor off behind the glass wall and wouldn't let me go in there with her. I turned around and tried and I say TRIED again to explain where Taylor had been, why she had been there, why she had a blank casing. Again, I was shut down and couldn't get anything out. I looked over at Taylor and there she was, spread eagle, terrified. I could actually see her shaking. Then I kicked into MOM mode and immediately started talking of her health condition and her heart and how she is to avoid stressful situations and.....again.......before I could get anything out.......shut down. I was told nothing mattered, Taylor broke the law and we could go to jail. WHAT?! I tried to get into Taylor again and I was stopped again. I had to actually yell to her that it was OK, we were OK. Not one of those people took the time to explain to her what they were doing or why. All she knew is that she set off an alarm, they pulled her away from me and she was being patted down criminal style. OK, forget her being a tough Marine, she is a sick CHILD and they did not care.
She was humiliated and terrified. They didn't talk to her, all she heard was them yelling at me that SHE didn't matter, what mattered was we broke the law and that her mom was getting yelled at. I was so shocked, I kept saying over and over again 'we are sorry, we didn't know, please let me get to my child' Finally, when the one guy turned his back to me, I slipped into the opening where they had Taylor and the lady said out loud, 'she is clear'. I grabbed Taylor and hugged her. I then turned around and the guy held up her shell casing and looked right at her and said, 'you aren't getting this back, but you can go'.
All I wanted to do was get her out of there and get her calmed down. I grabbed her stuff and we walked away, in shock over how she was just treated. I couldn't believe they as adults, did not view her as the child she is. I couldn't believe that these adults could hear me trying to plead that she has a major medical condition and they would hear no part of it. I honestly don't even think I got a full sentence out the whole time because as soon as I started, I was talked over to and loudly.
There was a lady behind us and when we got to the gate and I got Taylor sat down, she came up to me and said she flew a lot and she had never seen anything like that. I felt so incredibly bad for Taylor. Here she just told me not even 10 minutes earlier that she had the time of her life and she was feeling so strong. Now, she was broken emotionally and this was going to be what really stuck in her head and her heart.
We got on the plane and then I got mad, I got really mad. When we got home and opened our suitcases, the only word I can use is that they had been ransacked by security. I had many things that were breakable and I had them wrapped up nice and neat in the clothing so they would be safe. In our suitcase was a notice that our bags were searched. Nothing was put away safe as it was found. Things were broken. Nice huh?
I made several phone calls when we got home and I finally was able to talk to the guy that is head of the security. I just wanted to know if this was the way all children were treated, especially ones with significant medical conditions. I won't go all in detail on what was said, but I have a feeling it is going no where because he told me he would call me back once he talked to the people that were involved to find out and I quote 'what really happened'.
Our good friend Jimmy BEAGLE K picked us up from the airport at midnight, now mind you Taylor had been up since 6:30 a.m. with only 2 hours of sleep. Jim and his wife let us stay at their house for the night so Kevin and Tanner didn't have to drive over 2 hours to get to us so late at night. Once we were alone, I won't say how, but Taylor finally let out how scared she was and how upset she was. Once I got her calmed down, before her head even hit the pillow she was asleep. And she slept hard and didn't wake up until after 10.
Once she was able to show off her collection of everything she got while at Camp Lejeune and she showed him some of her pictures, she felt better.
As time as gone by, she doesn't talk about 'the incident' as much but she is still greatly bothered by it as am I. I am very thankful for our security agents, I want to know that when I get on that plane I and my child are safe. The pain of what happened on 9-11 has never diminished and I never want that to happen again, so I am thankful for them for that. However, where in the hell is their compassion and common sense at when it comes to a child? I will keep talking to the man in charge, if anything, so they are aware that there are some times that sensitivity just has to be used.
We don't focus on it when Taylor is around, for I don't want that to be a reminder to her of how her magical week ended. I learned that a spent blank casing is considered ammunition and apparently, some very serious security agents just don't care who they are dealing with, everyone is treated the same.
When we got home, Taylor went to her room and just hugged on her bear and said,' I am so glad we aren't in jail'. I said 'me to honey, I wasn't sure on how I would explain that one to your teachers!'