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
I had wanted to move to
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
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
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
“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
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
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