State Senator Mike Rush Talks About 9/11 While Stationed in Iraq
Rush is currently serving in the U.S. Naval Reserves in Iraq.
State Sen. Michael Rush, D-West Roxbury, is currently serving in the Naval Reserves in Iraq. West Roxbury Patch emailed questions to Rush's Chief of Staff John Regan, who received responses via email from Rush.
Q: What made you enlist in the Naval Reserves initially?
RUSH: I became interested in joining the military from being an Eagle Scout. Many scouts joined the military and Troop 5 West Roxbury went on trips to places like West Point and Fort Devens as well as decorating the graves of veterans to honor their sacrifices on Memorial Day.
My dad was a U.S. Navy Korean War veteran and my grandfather was a World War II Navy veteran.
I went to Navy Boot Camp and as an enlisted sailor and served with a Naval Mobile Construction Battalion better known as the “Seabees” and now am currently an Intelligence Officer temporarily mobilized with the Army in support of Operation New Dawn in Iraq.
Q: How did your life change after 9/11?
RUSH: I was in disbelief to think that our nation was under attack. As a reservist I knew that I would most likely be mobilized, as overnight the role of the reserves changed from a strategic to an operational reserve force. I knew right away that reserves would now play a much larger role in national defense and fighting wars oversees. The most dramatic effect however was to know individuals and their families from our community who lost their lives and loved ones in the 9/11 attack and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since then.
Q: Where were you when you heard about what had happened to the World Trade Towers?
RUSH: I was in the middle of teaching social studies at Catholic Memorial. Upon hearing the news of the first tower, I turned on the TV in the class and we witnessed the second plane hit. It is a day that I will never forget.
Q: Do you talk with your colleagues about 9/11 in Iraq? What do you talk about 9/11?
RUSH: I am fortunate to be working with some of the finest active duty and reserve soldiers, sailors and airmen here in Iraq that I have ever met. Many of them have been to Iraq many times and some are on their first deployment. I'm not sure we talk specifically about 9/11 as much as we do about overall issues of national security and ensuring that the United States and its citizens are safe and secure from terrorists, whose sole purpose it is to cause harm to the United States and its citizens. Many of the service members I am working with here in Iraq joined the military because of 9/11.
Q: What would you like to say to the residents of West Roxbury? And the rest of your constituency?
RUSH: I would like to say thank you to the overwhelming support I have received from constituents, supporters, and friends, who support me in my deployment to Iraq as a Citizen Sailor and one of over 70 state legislator/reservists nationwide who has been called to active duty since 9/11 and one of thousands of reservists from all walks of life to be called. The people of the Suffolk and Norfolk District are strong advocates for the women and men who serve in our military and our veterans. This is specifically evident by the outstanding tributes to our veterans, their families and military service members throughout the district on Memorial Day and the many programs supporting veterans each and every day.
Q: How often do you get to speak with your wife?
RUSH: We speak when we can. Skype and the Internet when available have been a great resource as I get to visually see my wife and baby daughter growing before my eyes. I think every service member would agree that family separation is the most difficult aspects of deployment. As great as modern communication is, in the end you are still physically thousands of miles from home in a war zone with a mission to accomplish.