Greetings Sneaker Factorians. Normally, this is a place of humour, tongue-in-cheek, slapstick, running shoes, parody, and all around goofy talk. But today, not even I, Dr. Love, can make light of what we remember. Today, we remember the tragedy, the hurt, the pain and the anguish we as a country suffered. Ten years ago, thousands of lives were taken, and millions more effected. It is my generations “Kennedy Assassination,” or “Pearl Harbor” speech. I will never forget being in band class and the class clown announcing to the band what had happened. None of us would ever have thought it was true, some of his friends laughed. The laughter did not last long. Laughter gave way to tears and fear.
Speaking of lives changing, three days later, Pfc. Patrick McGoldrick reported for duty at the U.S. Army Base Rowland in our homestate of Connecticut for his first weekend duty as a member of the National Guard. A high school senior not yet 18, he barely had his liscence, but he was on time and his conviction even stronger than the day he signed up. Pfc. McGoldrick, or as I knew him growing up, Pat my older brother, answered a call in his second week of college at Western Connecticut State and wound up spending two years in the Middle East fighting for his country because that is what America asked of him. He was asked to give up some of the best years of his life, move to a desert and fight an enemy who did not want to be found. Showering out of a Gatorade jug, eating MRE’s in the field, and spending 12 hours a night with a loaded bazooka on his shoulder in the middle of Baghdad is not what I want to be doing at 25 but its what my brother did. When asked by our mother, his reply simply was “It is what it is.”
You may wonder why I write this to you since it has nothing to do with shoes. But the way I see it, it has everything to do with it. At Sneaker Factory, we sell shoes. It is an absolutely amazing job, we work with great people and meet some of the most interesting people in the world being in New Jersey. We are safe and sound in our cushy jobs. We have ordinary complaints about ordinary things. But we are able to do what we do, I am able to write to each and every one of you because Pfc. McGoldrick, now finished with his 9 years of service ending as Sgt. McGoldrick, and other men and women like him answered the call of their country. And it is a day such as today that we must never forget what these men and women do for us every day of the year. Tomorrow, when we wake up, I will walk into my classroom at school, to the cross country team afterwards, Joe, Kelly, Pat, Geoff, Mike and everyone at our stores will walk into the store and help educate more customers, and our servicemen and women will walk through warzones and terrible places most of us could never imagine with very little thanks, away from their friends and families. So when you see someone like my brother, thank him or her. They will never ask to be thanked, they will never look for anything from any of us, but thank them and let them know that AMERICA is proud of them, and we could never do what it is we do with out you. Pray for them, to whomever you call your god, and ask that they may be kept from harms way, and return to us. Think of them often, and most importantly, thank them. Today, and every other day of the year- they deserve it and they have earned it.
God Bless each and every one of you, and America.