San Antonio – Candy Martin remembers where she was on Sept. 11, 2001, saying she was in training in the Midwest when she got the news.
At first she though she was watching some sort of accident, but quickly realized when the second plane hit that it wasn’t.
“It was just such a feeling of, oh, my gosh, our country is under attack,” she said.
Martin said she remembers everyone in that training workshop afraid to go outside in uniform, not knowing if they were going to be targets.
“We were advised to go directly to our rooms to go change, get out of uniform,” she said. “And when we came back in the next day, all of us were in civilian clothes. We were advised not to put on a uniform and not to go anywhere into the city at that time.”
Martin went on to gear up troops for deployment and continued to serve her country in the years to follow, even deploying into the Green Zone.
Her husband, retired military, kept the family safe back home. Her son, Thomas Martin, graduated from West Point in 2005 and then was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska.
“I really feel sorry for my poor husband. During that time period, I had been in a war in a war zone for 12 months and I’d been home for about two months. And then our son, our only son, is getting ready to deploy back to the same war zone. And I thought, man, how’s this man doing this? And he did. He was a trooper,” she said.
Candy’s son, 1st Lt. Thomas Martin was following a long rich line of military service. He deployed in September 2006.
“He was a platoon leader and he had 12 soldiers that were underneath him. They were the sniper platoon,” she said.
His goal was to get all his soldiers back home safely and he did, but her son, however, didn’t.
Thomas was killed in his second to last mission in 2007. The family said they have continued to keep his memory and purpose alive through a memorial scholarship fund.
Martin is now heavily involved in the local, state and national chapters of the American Gold Star Mothers.
“I think, about how it’s changed the people that knew him, our family, the people that didn’t know that they were going to know him. And I always believed, too, that it’s changed the people who have learned about him since his death and the difference that he continues to make today,” Martin said.
Martin retired after 38 years and nine days as a Chief Warrant Officer 5 with the U.S. Army.