My dad had been posted in Afghanistan as a U.S. diplomat for almost twelve months already, and nothing bad had happened at or around the embassy. We had seen him once that year, and he only had two more weeks to go before he would come back home for good. No words could describe how scared I was to learn a terrorist attack had taken place near the compound where he lived. It was like everything I was excited for us to do once he got home, suddenly disappeared, and all I wanted was to just know he was safe. The terrorist had fired missiles so close to him that he could feel every hit through the vibrations in the ground. The embassy had rescued everyone, except for my father, who they had forgotten about until two hours into the attack. Soldiers rushed into his room, wearing masks to cover their faces and bearing guns in their hands. They ran from the main headquarters to bunkers underground that were protecting other Americans and holding food that would have to sustain them for an undisclosed amount of time. What should have been a quick two weeks, felt more like an eternity.
He finally arrived back in Virginia, totally unscathed, but a little different than he was before. He seemed to keep to himself more than he used to, understandable of course, but strange for my mom, younger siblings, and I. He had a form a PTSD that surfaced from the traumatic warfare event he had experienced while overseas. He tried acting as if everything was totally fine, but we knew otherwise. Being around a large group of people, anywhere from malls to amusement parks freaked him out. The beloved fireworks we used to all love and see were no longer in our vocabulary. He was constantly paranoid, scanning every room we entered for any harm and watching our backs for any evil. It was obvious he was stressed, but we did not know how to help him and he did not seem to want any. After a few months of being back in the U.S.A., his condition bettered and we were able to do the normal activities we used to before. His smile meant what it used to again, he was finally truly happy, and from that point on, our family felt complete again.