THE VAULT

Is it Too Soon?
September 11, 2006 by Julius Serpentine

My patriotic heart rumbles with love.

Observing the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Slantmouth decided to visit the World Trade Center Memorial in Gaynorsville, Indiana. George Thompson, a lifetime Gaynorsville resident, erected the modest memorial to guarantee that the world would never forget the events of that day.

While it is still undecided what the fate will be of the World Trade Center site in New York, Thompson felt it was his patriotic duty to create something as a testament to those who passed away. Turning what was once a simple fireworks stand, Thompson pieced together the second most sentimental roadside attraction in the world, placing a close second behind the Hiroshima Super Roadside Spectacular.

Americans remember with extreme clarity what they were doing when the attacks took place and Thompson is no exception. He recalls with chilling accuracy what he was doing: “I was listening to a talk radio station at my fireworks stand. I was selling highly potent homemade bottle rockets to a bunch of elementary school kids. It’s probably illegal but September is a slow time of year in the fireworks business. You take what you can get.”

In the midst of this shady rockets deal, the attacks occurred and threw Thompson’s life into a depression. There were so many questions that he could not answer: Why had this happened? Why hadn’t he heard about Osama Bin Laden before? Does Osama wear anything under that dress?

In the hopes of answering some of these questions, Thompson closed down his beloved fireworks stand and retreated into a life of seclusion. His only companion was the world of cable news with which he spent many an intimate moment.

After months of sordidly absorbing thousands of hours of pundits arguing and quasi-factual conjecture, Thompson emerged a changed man. He had only one mission in mind: to build a memorial.

The first step was to stop selling explosive weapons to individuals who should not have them and close down his fireworks stand. Then Thompson began the difficult process of constructing a memorial. Taking a cue from cable news in the days following the attack, he started collecting dozens of television screens to continuously play video of the planes crashing into the twin tower. He felt that this was the best way to make sure that people would never forget what happened that day.

The only other thing at the memorial is the souvenir shop, filled with tee shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers sporting various slogans about never forgetting. The shop even sells fictitious terrorist hunting licenses. Not many people come by to watch the dozens of television screens, but quite a few people enjoy the merchandise.

Thompson seems to enjoy constantly reminding everyone to remember September 11th. On trips to the grocery store he rabidly screams at strangers that they can never forget. The grocery store managers never stop Thompson from bothering other shoppers and let him do as he pleases. They seem too afraid to stop him.

Thompson’s constant evangelicalism has produced excellent results for the commercial aspects of his memorial. Tee shirt sales are through the roof. He has even started selling fireworks again. We caught him demonstrating his handmade 9/11 commemorative bottle rocket, modeled after the rockets used by the United States military overseas.

When asked if he would ever stop reminding people about September 11th Thompson said, “Don’t think so. This is way too profitable.”

~Julius Serpentine