Thank you, Chip1961, for your service to our country and the remembrance of that awful day, which in some ways still feels like yesterday. Your story of your service was deeply moving. The WWII (my father served in in the Army Air Corps) song I'll Be Home for Christmas comes to mind, reading about your lonely holiday. For the last several years a local business sent special coffee to soldiers. Customers could buy the coffee and write a message to a soldier. I always wondered who received mine, and hoped for their safely.
Whatever our views are on the various wars and conflicts, the soldiers should always be lauded and remembered.
I should add, while I have respect for those who served, I also respect those who, for whatever reason, chose not to.