Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Do You Remember?

I had just arrived at work. At the time, I was working part-time in the shoe section of a local department store. I hated my job. I was working there because it was the only employment I had been able to find. I had applied at temp agencies galore, grocery stores, movie theatres, video stores, industrial labor, and even to a few fast food places. I had made follow up telephone calls and written letters, but the only job I could find was in a department store shelving shoes. I had been planning to move the following fall out to L.A. to attend the graduate film school I had already been accepted into. I had delayed my admission for a year because I hadn’t saved enough money to move across the country to California and once I left Illinois, I was planning on never coming back. However, during that past month I had been having second-thoughts about things and was giving my life a serious re-evaluation.

I had wanted to move to California since I was in high school. It wasn’t necessarily because of the place itself; it was because of what was in that place: the heart and soul of the movie industry. I had wanted to be in films since I was a little kid. I was a talented actor, but in college I decided I’d rather make films than just act in them. After graduation I had applied to most of the major film schools in the country and had been rejected by most. But, there was one school that had accepted me and I was intending to study there.

However that year, things began to shift. I had spent the summer working at camp. I thought it was going to be my last summer doing that. I had an amazing summer and through the experiences and some of the conversations I had, I began to believe that maybe I was supposed to teach for a time. I was dreading moving back to my hometown and working at some crummy job just to earn money so I could move next fall and begin doing what I really wanted to do. I had done that long enough. Life was too short and precious for me to waste part of my life like that. Also, I felt a divine tugging in my heart. I had been avoiding that. I knew what He was going to ask of me and I wasn’t prepared to give it up. I had spent my whole life preparing to move to L.A., attend film school, and make movies. I was NOT going to give that up. It was my dream, my motivation, and what I wanted in my life.

Whatever the case, I wasn’t going to work as a shoe salesman much longer. That was killing me inside. It was so pointless and meaningless. I had decided that the Thursday before when I had re-arranged and restacked the same boxes of shoes five times in four days.

That was all before I arrived at work on Tuesday September 11, 2001 just before 8:00A.M. Central Time. Do you remember?

I arrived at the store and everything was deathly silent. It was like a scene in a bad horror movie. I walked to the back of the store and all the people that were in the building were gathered around the normal-sized televisions.

“They just blew up one of the Twin Towers!” someone said to me. “We’re under attack!” “No one knows who did it.”

“They’ve grounded all planes across the country.” The reporters on the screen were visibly shaken. They were talking non-stop, perhaps believing that if they didn’t stop talking then maybe it would all go away like a bad dream that wakes someone up in the middle of the night, but is lost in oblivion after falling back to sleep. It didn’t go away. This wasn’t a dream, not even of the nightmarish-type. This was real. A few minutes later the second plane hit the other tower.

The rest of the morning is a blur. The Pentagon has been hit. We are under attack. The White House has been hit. No, the White House has not been hit. We are under attack. It is rumored that a plane has crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania. Who is doing this? Why are they doing this? We are under attack. There are reports that a plane has crashed into Sears Tower in Chicago. We are at war and we don’t even know who are enemy is. Several terrorist groups around the world are claiming responsibility. 10,000 people are assumed to be dead so far. It has been confirmed that a plane crashed in Pennsylvania. Osama Bin Laden. We are under attack. Al-Queda. 5,000 people are thought to be dead. The ashes and destruction in New York City is worse than after Mt. Saint Helens erupted in 1980. All other planes have been accounted for and as far as we know no other buildings or landmarks have been attacked. 2,973 people died, mostly civilians.

We were released an hour early from work that afternoon. No one was coming to the store anyway. It felt like time had stood still and sped by at light-speed at the same time. The world, our country, our towns, our schools, had changed. Everything had changed. Barely into the 21st Century and it had already begun more violently than the one before had ended. Do you remember?

I went to the car I drive, got in, and sat behind the steering wheel and cried for a little while. I prayed to God and asked him to be with us all and to have mercy upon us all. The events of that day were shocking, but they didn’t really surprise me. Each day that goes by brings us farther away from Eden and closer to the Apocalypse. Until Jesus returns things are just going to get worse and worse. Despite this, I was still in shock. I think everyone was.

I remember listening to the radio and listening to passionless djs and announcers suddenly come to life and begin speaking in tones and with words that if they had started doing a few days ago it would have made their ratings blow through the roof. I remember watching television as all the national leaders of the country gathered together on some stairs, held hands together, and sang a song. I think they even prayed. It was surreal. Life had been lifeless and brought death. Now that death was causing life and liveliness. I felt like I was living in a Salvador Dali painting. Do you remember?

Five years have gone by now. So much has changed, yet so much more has stayed the same. It seems like people have forgotten. Even outside of the political arena, whatever unity we had as a nation for those few brief moments five years ago has long since been broken. People continue to exist while pretending to live, while ignoring the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The terror that ricocheted us into this new age is now a part of life. The cry to arms that we heard on that day is only the beginning. The enemy has been planning for this war for decades. They are prepared to fight for a century or more. Have we lost the will? Will we stay the course? Is this truly the beginning of the end, or just a few more birth pains? Have we forgotten? Perhaps some of us have, but I have not forgotten. I remember. What about you, do you remember?

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