Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years

I arrived to work on time, around 7:00am. My job was to unpack the boxes that came in to the Sportswear department and get the floor ready for the day. The building was usually buzzing with the Department managers and stock people doing the same, but this was a quiet morning. My manager came down and asked if I knew. He sent me upstairs to the lunchroom where the television was. I watched the second tower fall.

I had been in the military. I knew what this meant. We were at war. With someone, not sure who yet. The manager of the shoe department was ranting about someone from the Middle East. I told him that another plane had gone down in Pennsylvania. We thought it had been going after Camp David.

Someone threatened the Irdis Mosque and shot a bullet into the ground there. I wrote up a sign and took it to the Imam to have translated. "We are one people, stronger than before". I meant it to mean America.

Most people were sent home that day. Nobody was coming in to shop. Everyone was at their televisions. But Nordstrom immediately geared up for a sale. Their first and only Fall Sale, to clear our inventory, and send a percentage of the sales to Ground Zero. The Mens Buyer walked into a local embroidery manufacturer and told them he wanted shirts and hats with the US Flag on them in every store. We probably sold hundreds. I wanted to buy one, but they all sold too fast.

There was an image in the news, with people from Pakistan holding up a banner that read "America, think why you are hated around the world." So I stopped to think. And I remembered my oath.

"...against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

I was in the military. I knew what this meant. We were at war. And I knew who with. They're not from the Middle East.

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