PERSONAL: My life after 9/11…and why I’m here…and you are reading this


[Thursday morning, 1:35 am MST]

At this very moment, exactly 13 years ago, I was closing the Lander, Wyoming McDonald’s store, working as a shift manager. Long day, basic good close, with the store clean, the money counted and put in the safe, and the shift crew getting ready to leave. I lived across the street in the Dillon Terrace apartments,  and walked home, just over a block. It was pitch black outside, with no moon. I remember.

Stayed up about an hour, checking email, eating a snack, and getting ready for bed. Probably got to sleep around 2:15 am or so. During this time of my life, I was working hard, having been left homeless, penniless, and starting over from a bad business venture as a hot shot coast to coast truck driver as of late April of this year.

I was rebuilding my life for myself, my wife, and three teenage kids. Two years later I would return to college, finish three college degrees, and find the best job of my life.

Exacly…EXACTLY…7 hours later, a phone call from my boss at McD woke me up, not quite rested, and alerted me to the events at the WTC. My boss’s exact words to me were…

“You must be the last person on the planet to know what’s happening right now”

I turned the TV on…and my jaw dropped. I just couldn’t believe it. Hell, hardly anyone could, as they watched it live, with their own eyes and ears…. as it was happening.

It was a turning point in my life.

My SurvivalRing website had been around for nearly 4 years at that time. My little place in history came from horrible storms in Alabama, looking for shelters to protect my family from tornadoes and a few hurricanes. I had found and shared a small collection of the FEMA fallout shelter plans they’d made available around 1980. It seemed to me that these kinds of shelters would make GREAT tornado shelters.

Less than a week later, with the nation still in shock of the horror in NYC and DC, my website was DELETED by my host at that time, for excessive bandwidth. I never got to see exactly how much bandwidth had been used, but I knew exactly what had been downloaded…probably tens of thousands of times…that little collection of 6 fallout shelter plans.

People across the continent were afraid for their lives… that the attacks of 9/11 were just the beginning. I posted the next day to my little collection of visitors that a bug out bag might be a good thing to start carrying for the immediate future.

That post was picked up by national news sites. Wow. (I’d show you what the page of that day looked like, but it seems that AOL has had ALL the old AOL member websites ever on the web WIPED clean…Ass holes. Try it yourself, at

6 weeks later, Ms. Liz Farah, wife of Joseph Farah, founder of World Net Daily, contacted me, as she was putting together the January 2002 issue of their magazine, to be focused on civil defense, something I’d already spent a few years researching, including collecting hundreds of rare manuals and books from the classic age of preparedness.

She talked to me over several days, for article content. She convinced me to send her a box full of civil defense reports and books, which sadly, were NEVER returned. And all the info she got from talking to me was used, but my name never mentioned. Figures. Another Ass hole…just like AOL.

Anyway, over the next 13 years, I built a vast website network, put dozens of gigabytes of those same manuals I’d shared online in digital scans, and have now published a huge 13 disk multimedia set of personal preparedness and educational material, that contains ALL the information available for free download from my website.

That return to college in 2003 gave me cutting edge skills in web development, broadcasting, radio, TV, video production, and every technical aspect needed to continue sharing what has now become my life’s work.

I finished three degrees, and still owe $17,000 in student loans, but I’ve put more information for the average American family to stay safe and secure for any threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness online than any other website.

It’s all in one place, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. SurvivalRing has now been online nearly 17 years, first going online in late 1997.

So yes, 9/11 did change my path in life, and helped me focus on what can be done when things look their darkest, and no answers seem to be easy to find.

In doing what I have ever since, I’ve met some wonderful people who believe in the same thing, do the same kind of online community service, and find my network of like minded kindred souls continuing to grow larger with every passing day.

basics frontI’ve met some of my heroes because of this work, and even tonight, spent all day at work at the Honor Farm, and then spent another 8 hours with a wonderful man by the name of James Talmage Stevens, author of Making the Best of Basics, one of the best books on family self sufficiency on the market.

I’ve become his go to guy for technical and digital projects, and am almost finished with the next edition of his book, available both as a digital download, a DVD Rom with 500 bonus ebooks (all from my 25,000 file libary),

Like me, he believes that self reliance is a life style, not a knee jerk reaction, a response to fear, or plans to be the last man standing. It’s all about living simply, doing the right things, and investing your money wisely. Preppers and survivalists are back in vogue, but his book, and my project go much deeper than that, and the events of 9/11 are a prime example.

You don’t know when…you don’t know where…you don’t know what…but you do know that crime, terrorism, recessions, depressions, and corrupt politicians are effecting our everyday life, taking from us the simple things we all used to take for granted.

If, for ANY reason, you find yourself or your family dependent on the government at any level supporting you…well, then YOU are part of the problem, and not the solution.

We all have to take care of ourselves everyday. It’s just common sense. Helping you figure out how to do that, is what James, myself, and thousands of other Americans do every day.

I give my stuff away on my website every day, offering a total collection of everything for basically the cost of duplication. James has done thousands of free radio shows over the years, talking to a vast number of experts in every area of preparedness. Many more like us exist all over the country…ready for the next 9/11..and we know it’s coming…as you should too.

I pray to God that on this very day, that this nation does not see a new attack from any of all of the enemies that exist to fight against the freedom and liberty that ARE the American way. Lots of threats are made, from Islamofacists, ISIS, the axis of evil, and even our fellow citizens living the entitlement life…DEMANDING that this nation support them because THEY WANT IT.

This nation is on the brink of many great disasters and threats, from enemies foreign and domestic.

The best thing YOU can do, is take care of yourself, your family, and your community.

And, if the time comes, YOU…will have to be THAT guy…should evil confront you in any way, shape, or form. That’s the kind of people that built this nation. The same kind that made the hard decisions…time after time.

Step up…or get out of the way. Use the tools that are at your fingertips…from websites like mine or thousands of others….

It’s time.

patriots day

Updated: September 11, 2014 — 1:48 am

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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