Local News

Attacks of Sept. 11 reshaped Fayetteville family

Posted September 11, 2009 6:14 p.m. EDT
Updated September 12, 2009 7:42 a.m. EDT

— The anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on America is also a day in which many remember the sacrifice that followed. Military men and women, and the families who support them, were most directly impacted when the nation responded to the attacks.

There are those who dedicated their lives in service to their country before 9/11, and those, like Andrea Boyer, who joined the military in response to the attacks.

Boyer, 40, considers herself an Army housewife. It seemed an unlikely destiny when she was a living in northern California, married to a musician. She lived what she called “the Bohemian lifestyle.”

"I worked for Greenpeace for awhile,” she recalled.

On September 12, 2001, Andrea Boyer and her then-11-year-old son had booked a flight back home to Phoenix. She planned to settle down, get a job.

But they day before they left, everything changed. The country was under attack. Flights were grounded. Boyer took a bus to Phoenix and decided to enlist in the Army.

"My friends in San Francisco were stunned. They thought they were hearing incorrectly when I told them I had enlisted. But I was just so affected by it. I couldn't get the idea out of my head. I felt I had to do something," she said.

In the Army, she met her second husband, Sgt. Vincent Boyer. He had joined the Army in 2000, thinking he might never see combat. He was on a rifle training range at Fort Bragg that September morning when the post went on lockdown. His life, too, would never be the same.

Eight years later, the United States is still engaged in war on two fronts.

Andrea Boyer left the Army after a year and a half, but the peacenik-turned-soldier-turned-Army wife lives in the shadow of 9/11 every day. Her husband is a member of the 82nd Airborne, serving in Afghanistan. He also served two tours of duty in Iraq.

"Having him with us is kind of the exception rather than the rule,” she said. “You never know when he's gonna call or what's gonna happen.

“I certainly didn’t imagine that things would be going on this long,” she said.