I was looking for a new living room set. I walked a block from my store
to Ott's Furniture , casually breezing my way through the showroom. The
store seemed kinda quiet. Jim Ott wasn't at his desk as he usually is.
I wondered toward the back where I saw a row of new TV's showing some
movie about a burning building. The sound on the TV's were turned down,
as I strolled pass, turning to look at some coffee tables. I happened
to glance back at the TV's and now they were all split screened, the burning
building on the left side, another building, also burning on the right.
Now I was curious. This wasn't a movie, it was news. I stood there not
really comprehending. A warehouse kid came by , dollying some piece of
furniture, and saw me looking at the TV's.
He says, " Incredible, isn't it?"
I say, "What's going on?"
Someone crashed a plane into the WTC
What's that building on the right?
They crashed a plane into the Pentagon too.
My mind raced. One word came immediately to mind.
I ran out of there, heading back to my store. as I ran, I pulled out my
cell phone. I first called my folks, who live out in the country and rarely
watch TV. I needed them to be ready for whatever was coming.
I get back to my store. All my showroom TV's are showing the same images.
Now the news anchors are saying there are more planes. The hair on my
arms tingle. How many more planes? 2? 5? 100?
I really didn't connect this to terrorists. I didn't think this was a
one shot deal. This was the beginning of a long term assault on America.
As I watch the news anchors speculate endlessly, as my eyes had just about
glazed over, it seemed one of the buildings had just slowly moved away.
That didn't just happen. Tell me that was a camera trick. I turned to
look at my employee , Joseph. I shook my head. No.
I was positive there were 20,000 people in that building.
Now there's a report of another plane, reportedly heading to D C. This
is it ,baby. The real deal. This is the end of the sweet, cushy womb that
Americans had become so blase about.
Gut check time. I wondered if the kids today, raised on video games and
"Time Outs" had what it takes to deal with a real crisis.
Think about it. America was completely shutdown. Completely paralyzed.
That's never happened before in our history. An F-15 flew by overhead.
We are 60 miles from the nearest military base. This is no drill.
We must remember what it felt like that day. It will happen again. We
will always be vulnerable. It's a byproduct of being free.
Blako, August 23, 2002