‘A Very Lonely Club’: How Post-9/11 Deployments Impacted Vt. National Guard Spouses, Children

Nicole Morlan poses with her son, Parker, several years after Sept. 11, 2001. (Nicole Morlan, Courtesy)

Hi, my name is Nicole Morlan. I’m from Montpelier, Vermont. On Sept. 11, 2001, I was currently a volunteer firefighter for the Woodbury Fire Department.

Being a firefighter, I’d been in training fires and things like that, where you hear the alarms go off, and it’s frightening, even in a training setting. And I just couldn’t believe that this was happening on such a large scale. And it was completely shocking.

I became pregnant with our first child a couple of years later. He was about 1 and a half, my husband then was in the Army National Guard, [and] we had been hearing things about people getting called up — that have been happening ever since 9/11 — a lot of people were being just asked to go on a volunteer basis. And because he had a really young kid, he didn’t want to go voluntarily.

One weekend, my husband went to his regular, everyday Guard weekend, and he came back with news that some people who had already gone ahead to train in [Camp Shelby in Mississippi] had been turned away for medical reasons, and there were no more people on the volunteer list. So they just took people from his unit, and he was one of them.

It was a really big shock, mostly because we were more or less told that it wasn’t gonna happen. And I think the both of us were just looking at this little toddler, who had no idea what was about to happen.

For the full story, continue reading on VPR.org. This story is part of a 9/11 remembrance project, featuring the voices of Vermonters reflecting on how their lives were changed by 9/11. To find the project, go to www.vpr.org/911.

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