Museum exhibit tells textile story

Week of September 9, 2002

‘Ties That Bind’ connects people, economy, events

Barbara Brose, director of the Gaston County Museum of Art & History, was hired in 1997 to oversee the creation of a textile exhibit, which opened last year.
Photo by Devin Steele

By Devin Steele

DALLAS, NC — A bygone time woven into the fabric of American history won’t soon be forgotten, thanks to the Gaston County Museum of Art & History here.

The museum is home to a permanent exhibit, “The Ties That Bind,” which holds vestiges of the U.S. textile industry’s storied past. The display presents the industry and its connection to family life and mill village communities in the Carolinas. It also links the industry and its people to economic trends, events and technologies that have shaped the nation.

Among the stars of the show:

• a rare Edison Hydro Electric Dynamo generator, which was used in McAden Mills from 1884 until 1955, and was loaned by Pharr Yarns of nearby McAdenville, NC;

• the old mill whistle from Loray Mills;

• a Congressional Ballgown created for Gwin Barnwell Dalton, winner of the national Maid of Cotton competition in 1946; and

• a 1950s-era Whitin Machine Works spinning frame donated by Parkdale Mills.

Three facets — community, economy and technology — have contributed to the 150-year history of textiles in the region. As such, these areas serve as conceptual focal points within the exhibit, according to Barbara Brose, museum director.

“They all were intertwined and could not be separated,” Brose said.

So, from a design perspective, the exhibit contains no walls, dividers or hallways and isn’t in chronological order, she added.

“If you’re standing in the area where community is featured, you’re going to see economy and technology and vice versa, so the design underlies the concept,” she said.

Visitors can gain a sense of these three aspects of the industry in the Carolinas not only through artifacts and specially designed scrapbooks containing documents and photos, but also from videotaped comments and recollections from historians, employers and former textile employees.

Marking its first anniversary this week, the exhibit has attracted visitors from around the country and from several countries, Brose said.

Idea takes root

The idea for a textile exhibit dates back to the early days of the museum, which was founded in 1975, Brose said. But other priorities pushed the project to the back burner for a number of years.

Housed on the second floor of the courthouse here for 13 years, the museum in 1984 moved to its current location, the former Hoffman Hotel (circa 1852) at the historic town square.

The museum’s Board of Trustees, chaired then by Robert Allison Ragan, turned its attention to creating the textile exhibit in the mid-1990s. Brose was hired in 1997 to oversee the project.

“When we started this, we had our staff working on it, of course,” said Brose, who moved from Toronto with her husband David, who had taken a position as director of the Schiele Museum of Natural History in nearby Gastonia. “And then we organized a peer review committee of knowledgeable scholars from across the country and also a community consultation committee. The reason for that was to get a balance. This is the community where this exhibit lives, so we wanted it to be something that made this community proud and they accepted it and knew that their insights were taken advantage of.

“We also wanted to make sure that the academic community as a whole would recognize that this was a valid piece of work.”

The museum also asked a series of individuals to be its “ambassadors,” whose knowledge of the industry in the region would be invaluable, she said.

During the planning stages, organizers aimed to place textile manufacturing in its proper historical perspective, Brose added.

“We’re about history here,” she said, ‘but history doesn’t end at a certain point. History isn’t 1880 to 1953 or some other arbitrary number. It is continuous. So what we planned to do was to present an exhibit that shows history, but connects it to the future, because whatever we do right now is making history.”

Also, “The Ties That Bind” doesn’t sugar-coat touchy issues such as labor strife, “stretch outs” or child labor, she said.

“Nobody is going to leave here thinking that mills are places where people are coughing their lungs out,” she said. “That’s certainly not our intent. On the other hand, we don’t shy away from a real story about real history.

“The other thing that we realized almost immediately was that we needed to place this history in the context of our shared American history,” she added. “Some of the parts of textile history that folks were uncomfortable with didn’t happen here only. They happened all over the country.”

Planners also picked an axis year — 1923 — around which to organize the exhibit, she said. At that time, Gaston County was known as the “Combed Yarn Capital” of the world.

“The industry at that point was pretty healthy,” she said. “It had gone through some upheavals, most notably with the guys coming back from World War I. But things were in fairly good condition. There might have been handwriting on the wall, but it was a pretty good time.

“We chose that year as our focal point, thinking that, as we present information, we would present it in terms of what went on before then, what went on after then,” she said. “I suspect, though, that the average viewer isn’t even particularly aware of that. But it just helped us organize the exhibit.”

The exhibit includes a model of a typical mill village set in that time frame.

A notable feature of the village is power poles with wires that have been partially strung and are still awaiting electricity.

“The point is, it shows that change is occurring. Nothing is static,” Brose said.

The community consultation group also made it clear early that the exhibit would emphasize many people worked together to make the industry strong. Manufacturing employees and their families are a major part of telling the industry’s story. Many of them are included in videos and scrapbooks.

“We don’t focus on individuals, we don’t focus on particular plants,” Brose said. “We don’t tell the history that way. We’re giving stories of how it developed, what it did, how it changed and all of the people as an industry.”

DB&T Creative, a video production company owned by David Baxter and Jim Tringas and based in Huntersville, NC, interviewed a number of people, including retired textile employees and produced interactive video kiosks within the exhibit.

A number of companies and individuals played a key role in contributing input, knowledge and support into the project and seeing it to fruition, Brose said.

“Two individuals in our community, without whom we could not have done this exhibit, were crucial — J. Bynum Carter (of A.B. Carter, Inc.) and Robert Ragan,” she said. “During my first month as executive director, Bynum took me to meet with Duke Kimbrell, and that really launched our ensuing work.”

Several months after the exhibit’s grand opening, Ragan released a 431-page history book about textile manufacturing in Gaston County. He served as a “wonderful resource” for us, Brose said.

And many others contributed time, wisdom, funds and/or objects, she added.

“The leaders of the industry gave us support from the very beginning in terms of ideas, moral support, introductions and finances,” Brose said. “But they were leaders also in the fact that they understood that we would tell a full story and that everybody would be included.”

She also commended local Mike Calvert of Calvert Construction for his expertise in designing and building the exhibit.

Other highlights

Within the exhibit is a still-growing, hands-on learning area that features old tools of the textile trade.

“Our intent here is for families to learn together, to do things together,” Brose said. “Sometimes, the children are toddlers or school kids with their parents or grandparents. And other times, it’s 80-year-old parents with 50-year-old kids. Whatever it is, we feel that a really important part of learning is that interaction between generations.”

Also on display throughout the exhibit are 123 bales of cotton, each with the name of a former or current textile manufacturer of Gaston County.

“It’s very interesting to me to see how people observe this,” Brose said. “If they are from Gaston County and have long ties to the region, or if they have a textile background, they may have a special mill they want to look for, so they go through reading all those tags.”

Brose stressed, however, that beyond the cotton bales, the exhibit is regional in nature. “It became very clear in working with our community consultation and our Board of Trustees that we were not doing just a Gaston County exhibit or even a North Carolina exhibit because, down the road there (in South Carolina), it’s the same deal. That’s why the full title of the exhibit is ‘The Carolinas Textile Exhibit; The Ties that Bind’ ”

Other highlights of the exhibit include:

• a patent model of a J.C. Whiten spinning frame (circa 1863), on loan from the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution;

• a cog-wheel wagon, built for the exhibit by Leon Neal, who grew up in a mill village and, as typical of boys in that setting, used old machine cogs as wheels for carts;

• a bale of top-grade Sea Island cotton purchased in 1954 by Mr. S. P. Stowe Sr., from E. A. Shaw & Co.; and

• artifacts from employee baseball and softball teams.

Directing this project has been a learning experience, Brose said.

“It was so great for me to learn about textile manufacturing,” she said. “I grew up smelling cereal every day in Battle Creek, MI. Kellog’s, Post, Nabisco and Ralstons. I grew up knowing all the funny little stories and the little things about that industry. I didn’t know what those stories were here, but I knew they existed and I wanted to hear them.

“I love this community,” she added. “I love where I am.”

To keep visitors coming back, the museum will continue to add to the main exhibit, with its second floor featuring a rotating theme. Items from Highland Mill of Charlotte, NC, were recently on display there.

“We know that this project is forever,” Brose said. “This is not something temporary. Later on, we may do something on women textile athletes or males on the baseball teams or on baby care or whatever. It never ends.”

Already planned is an “ambitious” project the Gaston County Museum is doing jointly with the Schiele Museum, she said. Next year, the two museums will feature artifacts, objects and drawings of Admiral Charles Wilkes, who commanded the U.S. Exploring Expedition from the Northwest Coast and the South Pacific from 1838-1842. He lived in High Shoals, NC, from 1867 to 1874, and his family had an interest in gold mining and textile manufacturing.

ATMI

Week of September 9, 2002

ATMI seeks new quotas on products from China

WASHINGTON, DC — Citing a record 119 percent increase in textile imports from China during the first six months of 2002, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) is petitioning the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) to impose special textile quotas on several products.

The products are knit fabric, gloves, dressing gowns, brassieres and textile luggage.

CITA is the interagency committee that administers the United States’ textile/apparel import control program.

ATMI is also asking CITA to prepare a case for the possible imposition of a quota against imports of textured filament yarn from China in the event that imports of that product continue to rise. The ATMI request covers categories for which ATMI member companies make the products or the components that go into the products.

ATMI is urging such action under the provisions of the China WTO accession agreement, which allows countries to impose textile-specific quotas in the event that Chinese exports cause or threaten to cause market disruption. The use of the temporary quota is allowed until December 31, 2008 only for products that have already been removed from quota-control under the terms of the WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing.

An ATMI analysis of trade figures shows that imports of Chinese textile products are currently experiencing their largest surge in history, ATMI said.

ATMI noted that the textile safeguard provision was specifically included in the China WTO accession agreement to restrain such surges. Last year, under extraordinary pressure from currency-devalued imports from China and other Asian countries, the U.S. textile industry closed 116 textile mills and lost 67,000 jobs.

During the first six months of the year, Chinese exports of textile and apparel products to the United States increased by almost 900 million square meters, with the textile portion increasing by more than 700 million square meters. On the strength of this increase, China surpassed both Pakistan and Canada to become the second largest textile and apparel exporter to the United States, shipping 1.9 billion square meters during the first six months of the year.

China accounted for 60 percent of the increase in worldwide imports of textile and apparel products during the first half of the year.

The Chinese increase has come mostly in categories from which quotas were removed on January 1 of this year. In almost every case, these increases have gone hand in hand with double-digit price declines for imported Chinese goods.

In terms of individual categories, these stand out, according to ATMI:

• knit fabric — Chinese knit fabric exports rose 22 thousand percent and the average price of Chinese knit fabric dropped by 60 percent, catapulting China from being the 26th largest supplier of such exports to the U.S. to the fifth place among all foreign suppliers;

• gloves — China’s exports of gloves to the United States tripled over the last six months, with the result that Chinese exports are now twice as large as those from the next largest supplier;

• nightwear/dressing gowns — Chinese exports of nightwear more than quadrupled, vaulting China from seventh to first place among supplying countries. The Chinese surge was accompanied by a 47 percent drop in Chinese prices;

• brassieres — in less than six months, China leapfrogged the top two long-standing largest suppliers — Mexico and the Dominican Republic — as China’s price per dozen dropped to $29, by far the lowest of any major supplier;

• luggage — Chinese exports of textile luggage have quadrupled to 71 million kilograms while imports from every other supplier have simultaneously dropped, some by as much as 60 percent. Chinese prices fell by 62 percent during the same period of time. China now ships more than five times as much as the next largest supplier; and

• textured filament yarn — Chinese exports have only recently begun to surge and remain relatively small. However, over the past two months, Chinese exports increased at a rate of 400,000 kilograms a month.

In its request to CITA, ATMI stressed that “it is now time for CITA to act expeditiously in restraining the import surges already occurring in order to prevent further damage to an already beleaguered U.S. domestic sector.”

ATMI also noted that the Chinese surge “further damage an industry that in 2001 suffered its worst year since the Great Depression.”

Suppliers

Week of September 9, 2002

Boehme Filatex gets High Point

REIDSVILLE, NC — Boehme Filatex, Inc., based here, announced that it has acquired the assets of High Point Textile Auxiliaries, LLC, a Japan-based company with U.S. headquarters in High Point, NC.

The acquisition includes technology, sales and more than 30 staff members and representatives in the U.S., Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and throughout the Americas. All High Point sales and technical personnel have joined Boehme Filatex.

Under terms of the agreement, High Point Textile Auxiliaries will continue to manufacture these products for a specified period of time until the manufacturing processes have been transferred to the Boehme Filatex site here, Boehme Filatex said.

“This will ensure a seamless transition and continued supply of products customers currently purchase from High Point Textile Auxiliaries,” said a Boehme Filatex official.

Boehme Filatex and High Point are each among the largest textile auxiliaries producers in North America. The two organizations combined have annual sales in excess of $70 million in North America alone, Boehme Filatex said.

“With this acquisition, Boehme Filatex reaffirms its commitment to the textile industry in the U.S. and further establishes itself as a major factor in all phases of textile wet processing, including garment technology, worldwide,” the official said.

Boehme Filatex is a subsidiary of the Boehme Group, with worldwide headquarters in Geretsried, Germany. The Boehme Group has manufacturing sites in 13 countries on six continents and sells in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Textile chemicals is the core business, and the U.S. operations is the headquarters for the management of this business unit.

Suppliers

Week of September 9, 2002

DSM celebrates two milestones

By Geoff Fisher

This year marks two important anniversaries for DSM — 100 years as a corporation and 50 years as a producer of caprolactam, the main raw material for nylon 6.

DSM now has caprolactam production facilities in the United States and The Netherlands, with a combined production capacity of 500,000 tons of caprolactam a year, making it the world’s leading supplier, it said. The company will soon also own equity in a plant in China.

DSM was founded in 1902 as De StaatsMijnen (Dutch State Mines) to take advantage of the coal mines in the south of The Netherlands. In the 1930s, the company began coal-related chemical activities, such as fertilizers and other nitrogen based-products.

Coal mining ceased in 1973 and by the 1980s DSM’s portfolio of mainly bulk chemicals had expanded to include performance materials and fine chemicals. DSM became a public company in 1989, and the Dutch state ceased being a shareholder four years ago.

DSM started preliminary investigations into nylon in the 1930s. Having begun collaboration in 1940, DSM and AKU (the predecessor of Akzo) restarted and intensified their research cooperation on caprolactam and nylon in 1946, following the end of the World War II.

In 1948, DSM obtained from the Allied Forces a license on the patents of I.G. Farben as war reparation. At the same time, it was agreed that DSM would build a pilot plant for caprolactam and AKU a plant for spinning trials.

The caprolactam pilot plant became operational in 1950 and in 1952 the first Dutch nylon, called Enkalon, was produced. Construction of a commercial caprolactam plant in Geleen, The Netherlands, began in 1951 and commercial product was first manufactured in October 1952.

The predecessor of DSM’s US caprolactam plant, Colombia Nitrogen Cooperation, a joint venture between DSM and Pittsburgh Plate Company (PPG), was established in 1962 for the production of ammonia and fertilizer.

A year later, Columbia Nipro was set up between the same partners for the production of caprolactam. This plant, with an original capacity of 20,000 tons, was located in Augusta, GA, and started commercial production in April 1966. DSM became the plant’s sole owner in 1972 when PPG transferred its shares in the joint venture to DSM.

Today, the U.S. company is known as DCNA (DSM Chemicals North America).

DSM’s commitment to caprolactam goes way beyond its production, company leaders said. The company has also developed its own proprietary technologies, including the HSO, HPO, HPOplus, Recycling and Altam processes, which are used by 18 of the 42 commercial caprolactam plants operating worldwide. Licenses have been sold through the DSM affiliate Stamicarbon.

As part of its current corporate strategy, DSM aims to exploit and strengthen its global leadership position in caprolactam. According to Dick Venderbos, business group director of DSM Fibre Intermediates, all players in the nylon 6 industry must continue to focus on the development of the properties and performance of this material.

“Further chain integration, such as joint ventures or partnerships along the value chain, are both essential and inevitable,” he said. “We will have to maintain the balance between scale, which is needed for cost competitiveness, and flexibility to meet the ever-changing requirements of the markets we serve. In addition, we will need to balance supply and demand along the entire chain to sustain profitability for all players involved.”

Today, nylon 6 is a versatile material with applications in a wide, and ever increasing, range of applications. “Its future will be driven by the value we together add to the business chain,” Venderbos said. “DSM is committed to cooperating with our partners to secure this future.”

Cotton Inc.

Week of September 9, 2002

Cotton Inc. reorganizes unit

NEW YORK — As part of its ongoing efforts to satisfy the needs of the expanding global cotton market, Cotton Incorporated has reorganized its Textile Research and Implementation (TRI) department.

The reorganization creates two new divisions within TRI: Textile Chemistry Research and Dyeing and Finishing, Technical Services. TRI is responsible for research and development, technical services and technical implementation of new and improved products.

Textile Chemistry Research (TCR) will be under the direction of William A. Rearick and consist of two groups: Preparation and Dyeing Research and Finishing Research. This department will be responsible for basic and applied research in all areas of textile wet processing, and will work with outside sources and partners to develop new chemistries to improve cotton products concerning performance, aesthetics and reduced processing costs.

Dyeing and Finishing, Technical Services (DFTS) will be under the direction of Louis T. Protonentis and will be responsible for services in dyeing and finishing to the global industry and to other departments within Cotton Incorporated. It will also work with TCR to implement technologies developed in that department. DFTS will also run trials with chemical companies on technology already developed for the industry.

“Over the years, TRI has evolved to best meet the needs of cotton’s customers,” said Donald L. Bailey, vice president, Textile Research and Implementation. “This reorganization enables us to better serve the U.S. upland cotton grower and importers of cotton products into the U.S. and to address the needs of their customers.”

Malden

Week of September 9, 2002

Malden seeking some production in China

LAWRENCE, MA — Malden Mills is seeking bankruptcy court approval to have at least some of its Polartec fabric manufactured in China, according to reports.

The proposed move would not affect the 1,200 jobs here and in Hudson, NH, a company official told the local media.

Malden Mills said in its reorganization plan filed in Worcester, MA, that it has reached a joint venture agreement with Shanghai Challenge Textile to produce its signature fleece fabric.

An official with the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Workers (UNITE), which represents Malden employees, told a news outlet that he is concerned that such a plan would be the first step in moving all of its manufacturing out of the U.S.

But production in Asia would be used in garments bought in Asia and would represent a manufacturing expansion, not replacement, said David Costello, business manager.

In its bankruptcy plan, however, the agreement with Shangai will allow the company “to manufacture goods in Asia for sale in the Pacific Rim and the rest of the world.” The filing also said that the company expects to save $3 million in costs “by transferring a certain amount of production from Lawrence to Asia.”

The company opened a production plant in Germany in 1994.

Quaker Fabric

Week of September 9, 2002

Quaker Fabric says disputes resolved

FALL RIVER, MA — Quaker Fabric Corp. reported Tuesday that the copyright infringement actions it had filed against several U.S. fabric distributors earlier this year had all been resolved in its favor.

Quaker is a leading manufacturer of woven upholstery fabrics for furniture markets in the United States and abroad, and the largest producer of Jacquard upholstery fabric in the world.

The company did not name the companies involved, but said it was successful in taking action against companies that imported goods that resembled its products or could be marketed under the Quaker name.

“Ours is a fashion business. We have a huge investment in the one-of-a-kind copyrighted fabric designs that make up our product line,” said Larry Liebenow, Quaker president and CEO. “They give us — and our customers — a competitive advantage. And we are determined to protect our intellectual property rights — in the courts and, with help from the U.S. Customs Service, on the piers — until our message is clearly heard.”

The company turned to the courts for help with these particular situations because, in each case, the fabric distributors involved were bringing infringing products into the U.S. from China and/or Europe and because “we are not about to let anyone misappropriate our rightful return on the investment we have made in the development of our products,” Liebenow said.

Burlington

Week of September 9, 2002

Burlington asks for more time

GREENSBORO, NC — Burlington Industries is seeking an extension of a deadline to file a bankruptcy reorganization plan, according to reports.

The company wants the deadline moved from Sept. 16 to Jan. 31, The News & Record of Greensboro reported.

Burlington said it needs an extension to devise the plan due to the company’s size and the complexity of the case. An earlier deadline was extended by a federal judge.

The company filed for bankruptcy last November.

A ruling will be made on Sept. 24, meaning that the deadline has automatically been extended at least for another eight days.

INDA

Week of September 9, 2002

INDA weighs in on trade issues

CARY, NC — With the increasing role government and international issues are playing in the global nonwovens business, the recently formed International Trade Advisory Board (ITAB) of INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, has developed a series of position statements on key areas affecting INDA members.

The position statements cover a range of topics, including imbalances in international fair trade of nonwovens; the implications of China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO); and suggested negotiating goals for future trade talks involving nonwovens.

Each of these position statements reflects the positions of ITAB and the INDA Board of Directors.

“The nonwovens industry has rapidly globalized and these are truly dynamic times in international trade,” says Carl Lukach, business director at DuPont and chairman of ITAB & member of INDA’s board. “With the recent passage of presidential trade promotion authority (TPA), INDA anticipates that the United States will become quickly involved in a number of international trade negotiations that can have a profound impact on the ability of our members to do business globally.

“In this environment, INDA is committed to providing an open forum for discussion and informational resources on international issues for the entire industry.”

Ted Wirtz, INDA President, pointed out that virtually every INDA member is affected by international trade issues.

“By providing a clear indication of our association’s — and our industry’s — position on key global issues, we are able to send a concise and unified message to the people making the decisions on international trade that affect the nonwovens industry.”

Especially timely is the association’s official position on the Congressional Renewal of TPA, under which the White House is given power to negotiate trade deals and then present the finished agreement to Congress for an up-or-down vote on an expedited time frame. INDA has lobbied in support of TPA — also known as fast track negotiating authority — for more than six years.

The legislation was recently signed into law.

Among other key areas addressed by the ITAB Position Paper document:

• imbalances In international fair trade of nonwovens — nonwoven roll goods are classified as “textiles” under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) used by countries that participate in the WTO. As a result, nonwovens exported from the U.S. may be discriminated against in foreign markets due to retaliatory practices against textiles and apparel from the U.S.;

• Free Trade of the Americas Agreement — considering that the U.S. has eliminated the duties charged on imported nonwoven roll goods, it “seems intuitive that our industry would support FTAA because, ultimately, such an agreement would result in the elimination of duties charged on roll goods by our trading partners in the Western Hemisphere,” INDA said; and

• intellectual property rights — ITAB strongly favors protection of IP rights as a condition of trade agreements involving the United States, and supports the inclusion of intellectual property rights protection as a prerequisite to trade agreements with other countries.

ITAB has also developed position statements on WTO negotiations and expansion; the implications of China’s entry into the WTO; ITAB cooperation with other industry groups; and the strength of the U.S. dollar.

All are available for review on the INDA Web site at http://www.inda.org/events/global/itposition.pdf.

September 11th

Week of September 9, 2002

Mailbox

Editor’s note: We asked readers to reflect on Sept. 11, 2001. Following are responses.

Attacks were too close for comfort

I simply cannot believe that a year has just about passed since the tragic times that Sept. 11, 2001 brought upon us.

My headquarters, being just three miles away from ground zero, brings back the memories of that terrifying day. That day I could see and smell the terrible smoke that would cover the city for weeks after the devastating event.

Dealing with the loss of many friends and colleagues still has an overwhelming effect on my daily life today and always will.

Just a few short hours of destruction changed all our lives forever.

Jay Gagliano
Vice president
National Textile Industries
New York City

I never made it off the ground

When the U.S. was attacked on 9/11, I was on an American Airlines plane ready to go to Miami. As luck would have it, our plane was delayed for an hour due to mechanical issues.

After the delay, we were first in line for take-off when the captain came on the intercom to announce a “ground hold.”

I was under the assumption that it was a local ground hold at first, but by the time we got back to the gate, we were informed that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, and it was an American Airlines airplane.

Everyone was encouraged to leave the airport immediately.

I tried at that point to call the office and my home to let everyone know that my airplane never left. Unfortunately, all circuits were busy.

When the office called to check on my plane’s status, realizing if I was on schedule I should have been halfway to Miami, American Airlines representatives told them my plane had taken off, but they could not confirm the current location. Consequently, my wife and others at work were extremely nervous until I arrived back home.

I have already been told that I will not fly on 9/11 this year.

Jim Booterbaugh
Vice president, mfg.
Harriett & Henderson Yarns
Henderson, NC

Editorial

Week of September 9, 2002

Seems like only yesterday ...

By Devin Steele

HAS IT been a year?

Can’t be. The images of those planes piercing the towers and those plumes of smoke rising from the mangled Pentagon seem so freshly branded on our brain, the iron should still be smoldering. Wednesday, September 11 — the first anniversary, huh?

Seems like only yesterday. ...

Seems like only yesterday that business, or lack thereof, was at the forefront of our thoughts ...
... that the economy appeared on the verge of a resurgence ...
... that extra time at the office sometimes seemed more beneficial than family time.


Seems like only yesterday that we would scoff at the notion of widespread terrorist destruction in this country ...
... that we had never heard the words “Al Qaeda,” “Hezbollah,” or “Jalalabad” ...
... that we could look at a Middle Eastern complexion without thinking twice.


Seems like only yesterday that we could arrive at an airport 45 minutes before a flight and make it on board, with time to spare ...
... that we could actually carry on an airliner the tools to fix a snagged fingernail ...
... that we could enter an aircraft without being asked by a government-paid screener to drop our trousers.


Seems like only yesterday that, occasionally, we neglected to kiss our significant other before leaving the house ...
... that we rarely took a moment to ask a co-worker about her children.
... that we were convinced that eating at our desk would make us more productive.


Seems like only yesterday that the prospect of war involving U.S. troops was about as far-fetched as China abandoning communism ...
... that we never considered flying the American flag anytime except the Fourth of July ...
... that we took for granted the reasons we’re a free nation.


Seems like only yesterday that we thought if we could attend one more event, we would earn some sort of award for ubiquity ...
... that we thought if we could not mark another item off our list for the day, we would worry about it all night ...
... that we thought if we could just make that stoplight, we could get a measurable head start on the day’s tasks.


Seems like only yesterday that we thought that Super Bowl champions were true American heroes ...
... that we worked our schedule around “Survivor” ...
... that we had never even considered volunteering for a charity.


Seems like only yesterday that the grass always seemed greener in our neighbor’s yard — probably, we thought, because he worked harder to make it that way ...
... that we thought that, maybe next year, we would have time to take a quality family vacation ...
... that we thought that, perhaps tomorrow, we would have a chance to call Mom.


Seems like only yesterday that we had never really listened to the words of the National Anthem ...
... that the thought of thanking a veteran had never crossed our mind ...
... that we had never seriously considered how fortunate we are to wake up every day as an American.

Seems like only yesterday. ...

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