Share Your Memories of 9/11

We all seem to have incredibly vivid memories of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. These are mine:

I was four months pregnant and still pretty nauseauted. It was our kids' second week at new schools since we'd just moved to D.C. from Minnesota. My husband and I dropped our son at his elementary school at 8:30 (he'd just started pre-k) and then I let Perry off near his office. As I was driving our two-year-old to her daycare center I heard on the radio that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. I immediately called Perry -- we have many friends from business school on Wall Street. He'd heard about the crash, too. "Those twin-engine planes are so dangerous," he said.

I settled our daughter into daycare and went to work. Someone told me a second Wall Street building had been hit. Then my phone rang. It was a manager in the production department, like me a mom with two young children. "I'm leaving," she told me. I asked, dumb-faced, why. "Because a plane just hit the Pentagon!" she yelled into the phone. I called my husband and my boss in the advertising department and told them I was going to get the kids. "Meet me at home," were my last words to Perry. I grabbed my car keys and left the building immediately.

Outside, what amazed me most was how blue and cloudless the sky was, and how fast the valets in the garage next to The Post were running. I'm sure they had kids, too, but they were going to stay until everyone's car was out so we could reach our families. For the first time in memory, calls from my cell phone -- to daycare, to the elementary school, to Perry -- wouldn't go through. A fast busy signal was all I got.

Traffic was so bad it took almost three hours to pick up the kids and get home. Perry was already there, frantic. After 30 minutes, I told him I had to go back to work. I will never forget the shock on his face. "You can't go," he said. "I have to," I said. "It's a daily newspaper. We're probably going to print a special edition this afternoon." As I grabbed my keys, he gave me a look that clearly communicated he thought I was the most foolish person on the planet.

I made it safely back to The Post -- no traffic now. When I left at the end of the day, my last memory was of the paper's top executives standing on D.C.'s downtown street corners, handing out copies of the second issue of the day with September 11, 2001, on the cover. For me, admidst the chaos and tragedy of September 11, I was proud to be a good mom and a good employee at the same time.

To mark the five year anniversary of 9/11, please share your memories of the day. Where were you? Where were your kids? What does the day mean to you now?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  September 11, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts
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I was at work; my unemployed wife was at home. My radio was on the usual station, when suddenly a "special report" broke in and announced some plane had flown into the WTC.

Thinking it was a small plane or pilot error due to fog, I called my wife and had her turn on the TV. By then there was nothing but the attack on all the stations, so she had no trouble finding something. Clear blue sky, no visibility issue, entire top of the tower in flame and smoke. Obviously more than a small plane.

Suddenly she cried out over the phone "another plane just hit the other tower!". She'd been watching a live helicopter feed that saw the second plane hit the second tower.

She was riveted to the tragedy the rest of the day; saw both towers collapse, heard of the Pentagon hit and the plane crashing in Pennsylvania, as well as all the other rumors. She kept me informed via phone, while I scoured the internet at work.

Needless to say not much was done at work the rest of the day.

Posted by: John | September 11, 2006 7:45 AM

My three year old had his visit to his new school that morning. I dropped the 4 year old off at pre-school and took the 3 year old and the baby to school. My son who is autistic threw the biggest fit in the classroom. He was upset because he had to leave the playground. He was rolling around on the floor, screaming when the principal came in the room and said a plane had hit the Towers. Nothing registered for me. Then the announcement that the second plane had hit...still barely a blip on my internal radar. I just wanted my son to stop...we moved our meeting to the playground and were talking about how school would work for him when a father sped into the parking lot and threw the door open on his car and jumped out. "They just hit the Pentagon." While it sounds ridiculous, I had been having babies for the last four years and I had no idea who "they" were or what any of this meant. I left the school and went to pick up my four year old--just because I wanted to know where they all were. I wanted to be able to touch them. When I got to the daycare the teacher laughed at me and asked me if I thought my small town was next to be hit? My son, who hated school, picked that day to not want to leave. So, I let him stay and drove the other two to the playground. I had no gas in my car, my cell was almost dead and the guy on the radio was yelling, "there is a plane heading towards the White, everybody run...." I had to turn the car off if I was going to make it home. i spent the next 45 minutes on the playground with a woman who didn't speak English and who didn't know what had happened. I finally took all the kids home, fed them lunch and put them down for a nap. It wasn't until 1 o'clock that I saw the pictures on the tv of what had happened...and even then my mind wouldn't understand it.

Posted by: Chris | September 11, 2006 7:53 AM

I was in my dormitory, getting ready for another day of classes. I was a sophmore in college, getting ready to travel internationally for the first time in four months. I remember thinking I was still dreaming when I saw plumes of smoke rising out the the WTC, that is till the second plane hit the other tower. (Ironically, we had watched the movie Independence Day the night before). My roommate and I went to the common room of the international dormitory, where we lived, and watched with others from different cities, states, and countries as our world changed forever. Even in a place where you are far from home, all of us in that room became sort of a family that day, supporting those who lost friends, when we couldn't go home to our own friends or family.

Posted by: Shannon | September 11, 2006 7:57 AM

I was in graduate school at a University in Virginia. There was a large number of foreign graduate students cheering loudly in the lab as the second plane hit. I have never seen so much glee when I felt so horrorified. It was a very strange day. The image of the towers falling was a favorite screen saver until about mid-October.

Posted by: former grad student | September 11, 2006 8:00 AM

I had a 4 month old and 3 yo that was starting her first day of preschool - so I dropped her off - went to the grocery to pick up a few items and by the time I got home - 9:15 or so - the whole world changed. At 10:30 my husband picked up our daughter early and the rest of the day is a blur.

Was 9/11/01 not the most beautiful day though? My husband and I were just remembering how gorgeous it was, how we woke up, saw how nice it was and decided since we both had the day off and we were going to take the baby to the park. I am glad it is raining today.

Posted by: cmac | September 11, 2006 8:03 AM

On 9/11 I was on my way to work at the writing center where I went to school. I heard on the radio on the way there that a plane had hit the tower, the man on the radio made a bad joke that people shouldn't be allowed to operate those planes. Once in the writing center, I had a half hour until opening and I was isolated, until my friend came in hysterical and crying. She could only get out we are under attack and my dad is in the air. I tried to calm her down and told her it would be alright, but that was before I knew what was really happening.

I ran over to the student center and to my horror people were screaming and crying and running through the halls on cell phones and in disbelief. I ran back to the writing center and found everyone in the adjoining computer lab glued to the computers. We opened the writing center, but no one came. A little while later another friend was running through the hall yelling that he couldn't get a signal on his cell phone and that he couldn't get his family. I told him to calm down that a plane didn't hit PA, and that's when he said yes it did. My turn to panic, we panicked together for a few minutes until we reached both our families, who said that everything, for us, was fine and that the plane had actually crashed in a field a few miles away from shopping malls and stores.

I actually have a few friends who were out on the boarder of PA and Oh who saw that plane turn around; they said they never saw a plane move like that before. While I didn't have my daughter at the time obviously, I can only imagine the panic and fear that you all must have felt in DC.

Posted by: scarry | September 11, 2006 8:13 AM

I was on maternity leave. I was breastfeeding my 6 week old son when my husband came back from working out at the gym (he was off work for the day). He told me we were under attack, and I couldn't comprehend what that meant. We watched CNN the rest of the day together, and I mourned the fact that my new son's world would be very different than anything my husband and I had experienced.

Posted by: eag | September 11, 2006 8:21 AM

I had left NJ for at at chemical industry meeting just outside DC. We could see the smoke from the Pentagon.

My wife called me, because my brother-in-law had a business meeting in the World Trade Center (cancelled at the last minute).

I notified our group leader discreetly, who then told the group members.

We stopped the meeting until Sep 12, while local attendees drove home.

My wife wanted me to come home and be with our family, but we decided to stay put until we saw what happened next.

At first, our hotel wanted to charge us for leaving early. Then they wanted us to leave, so that they could charge the full rack rate to new guests.

Posted by: Dulles | September 11, 2006 8:22 AM

After five long years of hearing little but "9/11!" from this administration, it's time to move on. We are not all terrified out here.

Posted by: Bartolo | September 11, 2006 8:29 AM

What I remember most are two things: how beautiful the weather was that day -- so beautiful it became unbearable as the day went on, and sitting with my neighbor that afternoon on our patio telling her 4-year old son "you may not remember this day, but your life will change because of it."

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 11, 2006 8:34 AM

I was in the Army then, about 4 miles from the Pentagon. Had a meeting scheduled for that afternoon...obviously it did not take place. I knew 6 people who were killed. Today is a very emotional day for all of us.

Posted by: Dad of 2 | September 11, 2006 8:37 AM

I was in our minor procedure room at Walter Reed when we heard on the radio that a small plane had hit one of the twin towers. We kind of figured that the pilot had a heart attack or some other illness. After a few minutes I walked down the hall to the conference room where we have a tv. As I turned it on I saw the second plane hit. I rushed back into the room and told the surgeon and patient (who was awake) what I had seen and that it wasn't a small plane but a jet.
We finished the procedure and heard about the Pentagon. We scrambled to set up our area for potential burn victims. Everybody really worked well together. They took some of our surgeons down to the Pentagon to treat victims but they didn't have any. The rest of the day we waited and watched.
I had a dinner party planned that night for a friend's birthday. We still got together but it was one of the quietest nights - we were mesmerized by the tv.

Posted by: KB Silver Spring | September 11, 2006 8:39 AM

I remember seeing on the NY Times website that a plane had hit the WTC and then plane turned into planes and at that point, no one was waiting to be dismissed so I charged to the subway to see it packed and a colleague from USDA was there, white as a ghost and she is black. I remember a tourist shouting at people frozen in place to "move your butts." As I got off at Rosslyn, i saw the black smoke rise about my condo and i remember seeing people milling about and thinking where did they come from? The Pentagon, i think still in shock. I called my mom in Fla who hadn't called since a local DJ told them to stay off phones to save a life. I was OK but things will never be the same. We still don't know why they hate us but now, we can be sure more of them do. God bless.

Posted by: cd | September 11, 2006 8:41 AM

I was sitting in my dentist's exam chair when the first plane hit the WTC. We turned off the TV in the room. Then, when the second plane hit and the Pentagon was hit, I told him to clean me up and let me leave. I went by home to get my passport and a few days' cloethes, just in case, then filled my car with gas before going to work as an IT contractor at a major defense contractor. By the time I got to the office, the facility was on lock-down, and I had to leave my car about a half mile away and walk to the security gates. After two hours in the office, it was obvious that no work could be done effectively, but I stayed to help the travel office folks in adjacent cubes find rental cars or bus tickets to get stranded employees back home in the face of closed air space.

Posted by: bigolpoofter | September 11, 2006 8:51 AM

I was 4 months pregnant as well, with my first child. I arrived at work to see my boss heading over wordlessly to turn on the small TV in our office (both the wordlessness and the TV were very unusual behaviors by him). My first words were a mystified, "What's with the smokestacks?" I ended up leaving work almost immediately and driving to my in-laws' out in the country, since we wanted to get out of the DC area.

We lived in Arlington at the time, and had been sleeping on our screened porch because of the lovely weather. We had to stop that because we could hear the Pentagon firefighting/reconstruction work from our house, and I was too upset to sleep.

Actually, 9/11 had a profound impact on our work/life balance. My husband had just had his job transferred to the outer suburbs, but we planned to have him commute there and stay in our home in Arlington. I was going to work part-time and leave our daughter with a neighbor who ran a wonderful family day-care. After 9/11, though, we did not feel safe leaving our daughter in day care in Arlington and both reverse-commuting out of the city, since we knew we couldn't get to her safely in another such emergency. For safety considerations as well as time considerations, we ended up moving to the outer suburbs, and I quit my job entirely to be a stay-at-home mom.

Posted by: Ms L | September 11, 2006 8:53 AM

By the time I got home to my Mount Vernon home that afternoon from my 17th and I Street office, it was nearly 3:00. We couldn't head south because of closed and/or gridlocked bridges to VA. I met my husband and 2 year old at home. Because he was 2, and had no comprehension of what was going on, going outside to play was the only thing on my son's mind. We were outside in the absolutely beautiful afternoon sun. We were struck how quiet it was...we are in the National flight path and have planes flying over constantly - but not that day. About 10 minutes later, were heard a roar over head. We looked up into the bluest of blue skies, and saw 4 jets whiz by, followed by Air Force 1, on its way to Andrews. The only planes in the sky. We stood for a moment with lumps in our throats as we thougOur son called us back to reality and the moment at hand - playing ball. To him, it was just an exceptionally gorgeous September day.

Posted by: Elizabeth | September 11, 2006 8:53 AM

I was seventeen, and had taken the day off from school to help a sick friend. We were coming out of the pharmacy when a man in a pick up came barreling in the parking lot. He yelled out the window "Do they have the TV on? The World Trade Center just got bombed!!" I didn't understand. I said, "no, that happened in '93" We got in the car and the first news reports had just started. We raced home and turned on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit. I'd never been so afraid. My friends parents and my mom were out of town, so we were all alone and didn't know what too do. We live in MD, Between Aberdeen Proving Ground and Dover AFB, we thought we were next.

Posted by: challey28 | September 11, 2006 8:54 AM

I was in France when someone in our group who was perpetually glued to his cell phone relayed the info live -- the person he was talking to was in the WTC at the time. My first thought was that the Pentagon was next, I was horrified that I was correct and that many of my colleagues were at risk. My mother and brother were the only family members who knew I wasn't in the Pentagon at the time. He managed to pass on that I was safe. A lucky twist of travel plans sent me to Italy on the 12th instead of back to the States with the rest of the group. And while Mom knew I wasn't anywhere near the crash sites, there was never a time she was so completely relieved to see me show up at her hotel room in Italy. The relief was the same for Dad and the three of us mourned with the rest of the athletes who had gathered to compete in the world championships for duathlon that year.

Posted by: Military Momma | September 11, 2006 8:58 AM

I had just gone back to work after a long weekend to celebrate my fifth wedding anniversary. I was newly pregnant with our first child and I had just started graduate school a couple of weeks before. Someone in the office had been listening to the radio and came out to ask if anyone else was aware of what was going on. We all went to watch the TV in the kitchen in time to see the second tower get hit. I wasn't thinking about terrorists at that point. I was just wondering what on earth was going on. Multiple planes don't accidentally hit buildings. The TV stayed on for hours, as we watched the replays, interspersed with news about the Pentagon, Pennsylvania, and false reports of bomb threats at other government buildings. It was a very chaotic day. I couldn't stop watching the coverage. Eventually our office let everyone go home. I had class that night. I thought it very strange that the University of Maryland didn't cancel classes like every other school in the area but expected that people would come and be able to act as if nothing more important than class was going on.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | September 11, 2006 8:58 AM

I was at Starbucks when I heard people talking about the WTC. I went back to my office and found people walking up and down our hall very anxiously. Someone told me the Pentagon was hit. I went back into my office and saw the plume of smoke. Then I checked the news websites (the NY Times, the Post). Then, less than 5 minutes later, we got the word that we were shutting down. (We're a federal office.) I left around 9:40, and got stuck in the world's worst traffic jam as I tried to get across town to my husband and 14 month old son. My husband had picked him up from daycare and was caring for him in his office. A drive that normally took 15 minutes took 2 1/2 hours. We drove home about an hour after I arrived at my husband's office.

I still recall sitting in that traffic and listening to the reports that United flight 93 was still unaccounted for. I recall looking up at that moment and seeing the White House, right there, a sitting duck. I was just sick when I'd heard it had crashed, too, but thankful that they didn't make it to Washington. I remember everyone looking around, worriedly when we heard the Pentagon collapse, only that we didn't know it was that.

What's different now, amongst many things, is that we now have a plan. My husband is to get our daughter out of daycare and get out as best he can. I'm to get home on my own, even if I have to walk. Whoever's home first can get our son from school. I have a change of comfortable clothes in my office, and some power bars. We got cell phones with text messaging, since we couldn't get a voice signal, but we figured that text messages would get through.

And we still haven't told our 6 year old son what happened that day. I hope it will be awhile still, that he can still have his innocence.

But to end this on a lighter note, I recall that radio guy saying in the middle of all this, "At least we won't be hearing about Gary Condit anymore!" It's the only thing that made me laugh out loud that day.

Posted by: Arlington mom | September 11, 2006 9:01 AM

On September 11, 2001, our family was in Costa Rica studying Spanish. In the small school with a student population of mostly US and Canadian citizens, classes for both adults and children were dismissed. My wife, our 3 children and I, like most people, went to the house, huddled together, watched the television, cried and prayed.

The news gripped the people of Costa Rica as well, and was the subject of the printed and broadcast news, and the talk on the street. The people were very supportive and compassionate. The Spanish speaking church we attended had a special time in the service the following Sunday to pray for the victims, families, the attackers, and for peace.

When we flew back to the US a few months later, it was remarkable how security had changed. I was also aware that people were more suspicious of others, even to the point that when someone on the plane would open the overhead bin to retrieve something, all eyes were watching, and people were poised to act.

Since 9/11 our global community has become smaller in some ways, but has shown its diversity as well. We struggle to understand other cultures, often because we focus only on our own. Though many would dismiss it as naive, I pray we may truly we learn to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Posted by: Steve M | September 11, 2006 9:05 AM

I was still living in NJ (where I lived until a year ago). Went to school in Hoboken, right across the hudson from manhattan, but was working in secaucus that semester. I was already stuck in traffic on I-78 due to an accident, so I turned off the radio (who needs a traffic report when you're stuck anyway) and turned on a CD. Finally got to the exit for the NJ turnpike, and a few miles up the road noticed lines of trucks and cars pulled over on the side of the highway. Looked up and saw the smoke coming out of the first tower.... switched back to the radio. Worked for panasonic at the time - just about everyone in the department was gathered in the TV Lab. If I recall, tower 2 was about 15 minutes after I got in. I was in front of the TV when the first one fell - but some folks saw it from the loading dock. Got home that night (my folks live in a real wall-street-commuter heavy town) and people were coming home covered in dust. My neighbor was a few blocks away and ducked under a truck when one of them fell. The sights from my college campus in Hoboken were pretty unreal, from what I heard from friends. Oh yea... and my parents were away in DC - pentagon visible from their hotel window.

Posted by: PJB | September 11, 2006 9:08 AM

I had been laid off a couple of months earlier and decided to enjoy the rest of the summer with my son. On September 11, my friend IMed me asking if I had heard about the WTC. A bit later, he IMed about the Pentagon. I don't know why I didn't look at the TV, but the severity of the situation didn't register until I went out to my car to run and pick up nicely printed resumes from an old co-worker. My neighbor asked if I was going to the school to pick up my son. I laughed and stated that [child's school] was probably not going to be a target. Then, I switched on WTOP to hear the worry in the voices of the announcers. Then, the real concern finally struck me.

It took me about 1.5 hours to go less than two miles. I finally turned around to go to the school just because I wanted to be WITH my son.

I went back home to make a call since cell phones wouldn't work. My dad he couldn't believe the buildings were gone. In my ignorance, I said: "oh, they were just hit, they are still there." "No, Stacey, they FELL!"

It was lunchtime for the children. They (third grade) were saying that a plane hit the building, but that no one was hurt. It was awkward because I didn't want them to panic, but I said: "I am afraid that some people actually did get hurt." You don't want to scare children, but you don't want them to be oblivious of the reality of the situation; it is a tough balance to maintain.

I took my son home and hugged him. We watched a bit of the news together then I sent him out to play; I didn't want him subjected to the repeated images of people jumping from buildings that are burning and falling.

Posted by: Stacey | September 11, 2006 9:17 AM

Foreign grad students were CHEERING!?!

I cannot imagine how I would respond. If America is so horrible that it is good to murder so many Americans, perhaps they are too good for our schools. I would have expressed my outrage, I am not sorry to scream!

Posted by: To former grad | September 11, 2006 9:19 AM

I work in DC near the White House and live in Arlington. At the time our children were 4 and 2. I have so many still very vivid memories of that day -- all very similiar to the others I just read. But one of the most vivid for me was after I got home with both kids safe at home, I called my parents (who also lived in Arlington) to assure them that we were all home safe and sound. My mother had been suffering from a form of dementia that was progressing. I think that at the time I refused to admit that she was really getting so bad. But on that day when I called, both my mother and father didn't know anything about it, which was very unusual since they were both news hounds. My mother listened to everything I had to say and starting to talk about something completely unrelated. It was at that moment that I realized how seriously ill my mother was and how all consuming her care had become for my father. They have both since passed away -- my mother from her illness and my father from not caring for himself because he was caring for his beloved wife and because he missed her horribly.

On that very tragic day, my life changed in so many ways.

Posted by: SLP | September 11, 2006 9:20 AM

Here's a west coast perspective. I was living in San Francisco, and wasn't working at the time so I was asleep. My husband had just started his job as an investment banker in the Transamerica Pyramid. I had put my ear plugs b/c phones were ringing a lot all over my apt building and driving me nuts. After he got out of the shower he came running into our room, flipped on the light, turned on the TV and said "2 planes have crashed into the WTC, one into the Pentagon, and a tower just came down". I went from sleep to this profound news in a millisecond. He had finally answered one of our calls and it was his sister in NYC calling. By that time, we had 8 voicemails. I saw the 2nd tower fall live minutes later and screamed and started to shake. It was very surreal. My husband continued to get ready for work and when I asked why, he said "The banks won't close, they never do" and i said "wall street just exploded, who exactly is doing and banking today?" all of this finally started to sink in, and he gave up and we sat in front of the tv. We went that morning to get coffee and the guy who owned the place was Persian. I just looked at him, knowing what kind of abuse was to come his way in the coming months with people "accusing" him. I felt guilty already. Within days, people were signing up to escort children/families of middle eastern descent to school to escape harrassment. It was beautiful to see people come together like this. It's too bad it didn't last.

Posted by: West Coast | September 11, 2006 9:26 AM

to to former grad student the same thing happened at my school and that person was quickly wist off the campus for his own safety as was many of the students at my school either due to their parents not thinking it was safe for them or actual threats due to their behavior. Some of the other students who did stay acted like it was business as usual.

Posted by: scarry | September 11, 2006 9:32 AM

I was driving to work on the dc side of the road the goes along the potomac, along the Lincoln Memorial and I saw the Pentagon being hit.

In the 8:00 am post the "former grad student" says the foreign students were cheering in the lab. I have heard reports that there was a lot of cheering going on but these reports were never published and condemned as rumors. Apparently not. If the former grad students saw/hear with his/her own eyes, how does that make us feel? Was there any reaction from other students/professors?

Posted by: sad and furious | September 11, 2006 9:33 AM

>>> Foreign grad students were CHEERING!?!
I cannot imagine how I would respond. <<<

It was such a surreal experience, I think most people would have been numb and speechless. I was just overwhelmed by it all.

Posted by: former grad student | September 11, 2006 9:37 AM

I drove in very early to my job in Hoboken, I was doing that those days because I was frustrated with what was going on after school with my 16 year old son and his friends so I would go in early and leave work early to be home by 3. So I was driving in at maybe 5:30, 6 am, and distinctly remembered looking at the twin towers's lights blinking in the pre-dawn, they were right there in front of me for the last part of my trip. At my desk later, I heard the admin call everyone on the intercom with a dreadful sound in her voice, the first thing I thought was, someone got killed in our lab. We ran outside in the parking lot and could see the first tower burning, maybe 2 miles away. Then saw the second plane hit - although it was on the other side you could see the flames fly out. We kept running in and out, strangely enough the internet was the best source for news - didn't have a radio. It was so oddly quiet, from where we were you couldn't hear the sirens. It looked like you could reach out and touch the towers, it seemed so strange that you couldn't do something, help the people there. Kept thinking, "run, people, run!" Was so shocked when the towers fell, didn't imagine that would happen. Drove home after the second tower fell.... so strange and horrible, there were all these emergency vehicles tearing east, going the other way, trying to get there to help, they were from all over NJ. What a horrible day.

Posted by: Catherine | September 11, 2006 9:44 AM

I was working three blocks from the White House, living in an apt. about 1/4 miles from the Pentagon. The summer before 9/11, I worked as an intern in Tower 2 of the WTC (the second one hit, the first one to go down). I got to work, and someone told me to check CNN - a plane had just hit the WTC. So I did, immediately concerned for my friends from work. I could tell from the antenna on top of the tower that it was the other building that had been hit, and I went back to work. Then the second airplane hit, someone called me into the kitchen where a TV was on, and I could see that it had hit the second tower in a lower position than it had hit the first. I started crying in front of all of my co-workers, went to the ladies' room, and tried to calm down. Then someone called out for everyone to rush to one of our conference rooms, and we could see the Pentagon burning. I started shaking, and called my boyfriend at the time. Before he got there, the tower I had worked in fell. He was only working a few blocks away, and we met up and started walking back to our apartment. I was crying as I walked, of course thinking that my friends were in the collapsed tower. We walked back to Crystal City over the 14th St. bridge, along with thousands of others, and my feet were bleeding by the time I got back (not the day to wear the 3" backless pointy-toed mules). I spent the rest of the day doing several things - 1) putting towels along the exterior door and windows of the apt., because smoke had already started to come in from the Pentagon, 2) trying to get through to my family who had all called in a panic, and a couple of good friends from NY, and 3) staring at the T.V.

I just thank God that I didn't have a child back then, because I can't even imagine the panic of trying to get to her in all of that mess.

My friends, and everyone who worked for the company I worked for, made it out of the Tower before it collapsed.

Posted by: PLS | September 11, 2006 9:50 AM

Like many others, I also remember the beauty of the day - cloudless, sun-filled, deep blue skies. My oldest son had just moved to California, my youngest had just gone off to college, and my husband had just taken a new job in DC. Our house in upstate NY had a "for sale" sign in the front yard. It was an emotionally difficult time for me because of all this; it was also a very busy time, as I prepared to close down the house, pack up our lives and move to DC to be with my husband. I was driving to my office when I heard on NPR about the first plane. I said a silent prayer, thinking it a tragic accident. Not long after arriving at work, my secretary came in and told me about the second plane - we all knew now that it was no accident. Then, of course, came news of the Pentagon. I was terrified. My hands were shaking as I tried to call my husband and make sure he was all right; it took three attempts to correctly punch in the numbers only to get a busy signal. When I finally did reach him, he told me in a calm but fear-filled voice that he was ok but could not talk; things were hectic and I am sure he needed to be part of whatever evacuation was unfolding. When I finally reached my sons, both were so sad and afraid. I did my best to do some long-distance mothering. I watched the rest of that unbelievable day's events on the television at the office, surrounded by silent co-workers. Then I went home to my newly silent house, surrounded only by memories. As I sat alone, glued to the television for the next few days, unable to sleep or to stop crying for very long, I realized that a "before and after moment" had occurred and that life would never be quite the same.

Posted by: Maggie | September 11, 2006 9:50 AM

to the grad student:
What did the UVA administration say? How did they respond that day and later? Were these cheering students delt with at all? What about other grad students? Foreign and american?

I've never heard of foreign students cheering. I do believe you, but I'm shocked!!

Posted by: former wahoo | September 11, 2006 9:50 AM

we should also spend some time today remembering the countless women, children, and men who have paid the price for september 11th - the countless innocent iraqis and afghanis. spend some time reflecting on our country's behavior since 9/11, and what that means for other people's children.

Posted by: none | September 11, 2006 9:54 AM

I was at my parents house, still unemployed after law school. My friend called me crying b/c her mom worked at the Navy Annex and watched the plane fly into the Pentagon while they were on the phone together. I watched tv all day with my boyfriend (now husband) in complete disbelief. We had tickets to the Orioles game that night (which was of course cancelled.) Both of my parents normally work downtown, but were on vacation in Maine that week, so that was a relief (although everyone that didn't know they were on vacation kept calling to make sure they were o.k.) Looking back, I too remember what a gorgeous day it was outside, and I still remember hearing this boom (sort of like a far off explosion) which we later learned were the propane tanks exploding at the Pentagon.

Posted by: In Oakton that day... | September 11, 2006 9:56 AM

>>> Was there any reaction from other students/professors? <<<

There were no professors present in the lab. Upon hearing about it later, professors were very disturbed about their behavior. There were only a couple of US citizens present.

All of us were shocked. A couple of days later the IT manager passed by a cubical with a couple of grad. students replying the footage and laughing. He told them to knock it off and was furious. I think as the government began to clamp down on visas etc., they began to understand how upset we were as a country. Many went home for winter break but were unable to return for Spring semester. This caused much heartache for them since they had to push back thesis/dissertation defenses.

Posted by: former grad. student | September 11, 2006 10:00 AM

I was living in Columbus, OH at the time and was at work. I first heard from a guy two cubes down that the first plane had hit (everyone assumed it was a small plane at first), so I went to the NY Times website, and sure enough, there was a box with an exclamation point at the top of the page--they post those when a story is coming in but there are no details yet. Then news of the second plane began to filter through, and I immediately thought "terrorists." I had a reputation in the office as someone who could find anything on the Internet,so everyone of came and hung around my cube. The major websites were jammed. I tried to find NPR via streaming audio and again--all the sites were jammed. I finally found a backdoor--I connected to the online radio feed from a sports station in Toronto I knew of, and was able to get updates there. Shortly afterwards, we all went down to the Starbucks in our building, where there were TVs, and I watched the second tower fall. It was very surreal. I was working at an operations center for a large bank, and they sent us all home--not quite sure what all was happening at that point. All kinds of weird rumours going around. At one point, we all thought a bunch of terrorists had been caught in Cleveland, for instance.
Like a lot of people, I remember the day as an absolutely perfect September day--clear, crisp, with blue skies strangely absent of air traffic until later in the day, while driving close to my house, my husband pointed up at the large plane flying over flanked by two smaller planes. It was almost certainly Air Force One heading back towards Washington. That evening, I went and dug up my souvenirs from a visit to NY in my senior year in high school, including some pictures from the observation deck on the south tower. Even now, sitting here, I can still remember what it was like up there, and still can't quite grasp that it's gone.

Posted by: Toronto | September 11, 2006 10:00 AM

I come from Boston, but was in D.C. on 9/11 for business at a federal agency. We were evacuated, knowing only that a plane had hit the WTC in NYC, and with colleagues I stood outside on a little plaza in the brilliant fall sunshine, and watched as the Pentagon burned across the Potomac. Fighter jets patrolled the skies. Someone, we did not know who, had penetrated the defenses of our seat of government, and successfully attacked the headquarters of our military. How could this be so? Weren't we invincible? Even when, hours later, we felt sure that no further attacks on our federal government were imminent, the morning's events still evoked fear. And still to this day, anger and a primitive desire for revenge.

Unlike those in the Northeast and around the country who think of 9/11 as the WTC attacks, and the WTC as ground zero, I've always thought the successful attack on the Pentagon was the event that changed our government's perceptions forever. It sure changed mine.

I supported the invasion of Afghanistan. But I have opposed just about every other action this administration has done in light of 9/11 as misguided or worse. I don't agree with the methods this administration has chosen to act, purportedly to restore our safety. But I do understand the rage and desire to strike back, and the fear that comes when a great nation is humbled on its own turf, even if only once.

Posted by: Nancy Brockway | September 11, 2006 10:03 AM

Many went home for winter break but were unable to return for Spring semester. This caused much heartache for them since they had to push back thesis/dissertation defenses

Good let's hope they never come back and can't find jobs

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 10:05 AM

good thought but I only wish that the people who unleashed 9/11 on us cared about their own children and citizens in the same way as you propose

Posted by: to none | September 11, 2006 10:06 AM

What I remember from that day:

The lovely DC sky, the panic, the rumors (8 more planes still in the air, headed for DC, an explosion on the Mall, on Capitol Hill), watching the first tower collapse and thinking that it was in some freakish way beautiful, the F18s, the military with dogs and mirrors on long sticks checking the undersides of cars as I tried to get home, the disbelief, the total silence on the metro in the days following, and my husband's and my decision in the next week that we would move away from the DC area (we did).

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 11, 2006 10:14 AM

I was on a business trip to a government ethics conference in Norfolk, four hours from home. Alberto Gonzales cut his keynote speech short to return to DC,, and the rest of us sat in our hotel rooms watching television and desperately trying to call home and to reach friends and family in New York and the Pentagon. We were advised not to try to drive to DC.

I couldn't get through to talk with my kids until after 4:00, and didn't get home until the next afternoon. Their school is a few blocks from Fort Myer and 2 miles from the Pentagon; some kids heard the crash. One by one people picked up their classmates; their dad decided to imitate normalcy and pick them up at the end of the day. They were the last kids left.

Posted by: lentigogirl | September 11, 2006 10:16 AM

Today in remembering the attacks of 5 years ago, I was struck by the op-ed in today's Wash Post by Ahmed Rashid. A senior in college at the time of the attacks, I remember vividly standing in the Rayburn Building (where I was working as an intern) and watching the events unfold on CNN. Then I remember getting on the metro and being among the first to make it to our apartment. Waiting for everyone else to come home was so nerve-wrakcing...I remember being so addicted to CNN that I could scarcely turn off the TV.

But going back to today's op-ed by Rashid -He makes an important point. All the technological advances in defense we have in the US and the West generally have not been enough to secure the peace. Furthermore, for each militant killed, 10 or 12 more spring up in his place. This is not a war of weapons - it is a war of ideologies, of deeply-rooted hatred, prejudice and injustice. Violence perpetuates all these evils. How does one "win" a war where many many people are willing to sacrifice their lives daily in suicide attacks? There is only one way - the U.S. and the entire world must seriously commit to aid Muslim countries in their rebuilding and bring a halt to the poverty and despair in countries around the world. We must end the fighting and make this right. We must stop adding the fuel to the fire and pour out refreshing water to Muslims. We are all part of the global community of humanity and we each deserve to feel safe and to have enough food to feed our families. Terrorism and poverty are closer than kissing cousins. To heal the pain and live in safety, we must sow the seeds of peace and justice.

Posted by: Krystyn | September 11, 2006 10:20 AM

I was teaching a computer based class in the DC Metro area, and more than twenty adult students tuned in to the footage, scenes of the planes hitting the towers on every screen, and then scenes from the Pentagon. A single mother in the middle of a divorce, I ran to my supervisor's office and told her I needed to leave. She said, "It makes you want to just go and hug your kids, doesn't it?" I nodded. I was shaking. My kids were ages two and three. I had only been living in this area for two years. I wondered if I should drive south, evacuate to somewhere remote with them. I drove as fast as I could to the daycare and hugged them the rest of the day, listening to the report when they were out of earshot, pretending to be brave for them.

Posted by: kgotthardt | September 11, 2006 10:21 AM

I remember the look of the newly appointed, mentally challenged Bush in the cllassroom. I could see him wondering why. Why, because he had arranged for Osama to get some of his buddies to hijack some airplanes. This scenario would aloow Bush to point to Iraq as the mastermind behind the hijack. Osama went a little too far. That explains the ignorant look of the appointed president. No matter, he still got his 'war'.

Posted by: Mobad | September 11, 2006 10:25 AM

My daughter was at NYU in her dorm about 1/2 mile from the towers. She and her friends saw it all from a balcony, saw the people about to jump, then jumping. They got evacuated later and walked uptown, she said she was so stunned she didn't realize for several blocks she was in her slippers. I heard from her later that day when she managed to call in, cell phones were not working. Most phone lines were jammed too, it was hard to get in touch. Oddly enough I was not worried she was hurt, even though I knew she was close by I also knew she would not have been in the towers and I trusted that she would be wise and do the right things to stay safe.

My son was in high school in NJ, they didn't tell the kids at school because they weren't sure whose parents might be in there - they didn't let them out early like they did a lot of places around the country.

My immediate family and friends were OK but so many were lost. I still remember all the posters around town asking if anyone had seen someone's son, daughter, husband, wife. Days later my daughter's boyfriend was in NYC, there were a whole lot of those posters up and it was starting to rain... he moved all the posters into a bus shelter so they wouldn't get wet. I remember that with such a pang, there was so little anyone could do but everyone wanted to do whatever they could.

Posted by: Catherine | September 11, 2006 10:26 AM

"watching the first tower collapse and thinking that it was in some freakish way beautiful"

If you think that those towers coming down and killing thousands of people was beautiful, then oh my you are the one that is a freak!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 10:26 AM

Sorry if it offends you. I still feel the same way, though.

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 11, 2006 10:36 AM

then oh my you are the one that is a freak!'

stop it. try to be understanding. this person is stating an honest response, and one that some people understand. My child responds the same way, and I cringe to think that he will upset people, he is into buildings and fire and volcanos and doesn't understand about the loss of life, but then he is a little kid.

Posted by: experienced mom | September 11, 2006 10:40 AM

Grad Student: Tell us the names of the students that were laughing and what countries they were from.

Posted by: Never Forget | September 11, 2006 10:40 AM

I was at college in Tennessee and was sleeping at the time. My roommate's mom called and told her to turn on the Today show. When we did we saw the second plane hit to the tower. I was completly stunned, but felt oddly safe because it was happening in NYC and not DC, where my family is. Then I heard that a plane had hit the Pentagon, where my dad works, and I didn't feel so safe anymore. I remember going out into the hallway to try to find my friend whose dad also worked in DC and I couldn't find her so I went back to my room and just burst into tears. I tried calling my mom to find out if my dad was ok, but couldn't get through. Around 1 p.m. my Mom managed to get through and told me that Dad was ok, he was stuck on the beltway and hadn't made it to work yet. (I have never been so happy for beltway traffic in my life!) What made it really hard for me is that when I went to class people were talking about it and they were shocked, but it hadn't affected their life in such a personal way so they couldn't really understand. There was one girl in my class whose brother was a NYC Firefighter and he didn't make it, I remember her crying in class and looking at me like I would understand. Which I didn't, because I was one of the lucky ones.

Posted by: Melissa | September 11, 2006 10:41 AM

That morning I arrived at work at my job in Reston, VA. A few minutes after, a co-worker came in and yelled "I just saw **&^$^$ plane hit the Pentagon!"
He had been coming from Union Station to Reston and he had seen the plane go right into the Pentagon.
I asked him what kind of plane and he said a big one. He had this complete look of disbelief and shock over him. I will never forget that.

Posted by: pj | September 11, 2006 10:41 AM

Mobad, I'm no fan of Bush but please can your moronic conspiracy theories. The people who hijacked the plains weren't allied with Bush they hated Americans. We might want to try to figure out what made them hate us, but dopey conspiracy theories won't do it.

Posted by: RC | September 11, 2006 10:43 AM

September 11 is my husband's birthday, and that day we were commuting into work together. I was 5 months pregnant with our first child. He was going to drop me at the Pentagon and then head up the hill to his job at the Navy Annex. We were a bit late that morning and we had a CD on in the car, rather than the radio. On the GW Parkway my husband said, "I wonder what's going on in the world on my birthday?" then popped the CD out to listen to the radio. We heard some confusing news about a small plane hitting one of the towers of the World Trade Center. We then starting switching stations, trying to find out what was going on. My husband called his dad to see if he was watching the news. His dad asked where we were headed, and my husband told him, "To the Pentagon." His dad said, "I wish you wouldn't work there," to which my husband replied - and I will never forget this - "Dad, nothing's ever going to happen to the Pentagon." He then hung up and less than 30 seconds later we heard a huge boom, like an explosion. As we rounded a bend on the GW Parkway, we could see above the trees what looked like a huge, black mushroom cloud with flames shooting up through the center of it. At first we thought that the gas station between the Pentagon and the Navy Annex must have somehow exploded. Then we merged on to I-395 from the GW Parkway. Several of the light poles were down and there was debris in the roadway. We just stopped our car in the lane, staring in amazement at the Pentagon. We could see what looked like wreckage at the base of the wall (at first we thought it was a truck bomb of some kind but in hindsight was probably the remains of the plane) and flames actually inside the Pentagon, on the inside of the glass, although the wall was still intact. There were several stopped vehicles on the roadway with people staring at the Pentagon, some out of their cars. We then drove the wrong way on a one-way road and headed up to the Navy Annex, dodging the first responding vehicles. At the NA, we parked and went to find the people my husband worked with and to try and find out more information. Being pregnant, I unfortunately needed a bathroom, and we walked up Columbia Pike to a small restaurant. There was a TV inside, with coverage of the WTC. By this time, the second plane had hit. We headed back to the Annex parking lot where my husband met up with his work group. Lots of misinformation was being exchanged at this point - a bomb had gone off at the State Department, there were bombs throughout DC, etc. Then the wall of the Pentagon gave way and crashed to the ground. We started to hear rumors about one, possibly both of the towers collapsing as well more planes potentially heading toward DC. Then a Defense Protective Services (DPS) car drove by, with the officer announcing over his loudspeaker that there was another plane approaching DC and that we were all to evacuate immediately. Our suspicion later was that this was probably the plane that went down in PA. My husband grabbed my hand and we started running down toward the car, but being 5 months pregnant, this was pretty difficult for me. For several minutes it was pandemonium as everyone tried to get in their car and get out of the area. As several people have mentioned, there was no cell phone service. I was trying to reach my parents, my husband was trying to reach his parents, the last his parents knew we were headed into the Pentagon. We finally made it back to his parents' house (we lived very close to Dulles and didn't want to go near the airport) and spent the next several hours, then days, watching the news report, wondering whether people we knew and worked with were alive or not.
So, today's my husband's birthday of course, which we celebrated this morning with our 4 1/2 year old daughter and our baby, but it will forever be intertwined with the events of that day.

Posted by: allmomsworkingmoms | September 11, 2006 10:44 AM

I was teaching that day. I was in the middle of my 1st period class which did not have a TV in it when the rumors started to circulate. I went into another teacher's room which had a TV and saw the first tower fall at that point. It was so surreal, it couldn't be happening. So much attention was focused on NYC, that the Pentagon was only briefly dwelt on. Many of my high school students were very upset and panicked because their parents worked there. The school phones were jammed up and we couldn't let students use their cell phones. There was a lot of fear in some eyes. I remember other students not affected at all, it seemed like this was just a game to them, they didn't appreciate the loss of life they had heard about. We started each subsequent class subdued, but we still had to move on and cover material. If I was a history or english teacher I could have used it as a teachable moment, but as a chemistry teacher we were working on other things, and sometimes it was easier to change the focus to something else other than the horrific imagery.

As for me, I went home and watched Peter Jennings non-stop for the next 24 hours and didn't dare leave the TV on my couch. We canceled school the next day, so it was all reflection and frantic phone calls from friends and relatives all over the country trying to see if I was ok. Those are my memories.

Posted by: amwhite | September 11, 2006 10:53 AM

My mother was in the hospital on 9/11, she had just been diagnosed with brain cancer. She died 2 months later. She was 76 years old. Peace.

Posted by: PAHairston | September 11, 2006 10:54 AM

I was 7 months pregnant with my second child. I had already dropped my two year old daughter off at her home daycare and was already at work downtown a few blocks from the White House. My husband was already at his office at a defense company. I was at my desk when I saw a newsflash saying a plane had hit the world trade center. Like many I assumed it was a small plane that had somehow gotten off course. I went into a meeting and was sitting discussing issues when all of sudden all we could hear were lots of sirens. I remember saying to my colleagues this is not good. Someone came in and told us that a plane had hit the pentagon. We could see the smoke. We then found out that both towers of the world trade center had been hit. Our leadership decided to send folks home. My husband called and begged me to go home and get our daughter. His company locked down and no one was allowed to leave. There was lot of concern on the news that another plane was on the way headed towards the Capitol or the White House. I chose not to take the subway home (in retrospect that would have been smarter). My husband and I kept in touch by cell. I caught a ride with a colleague and my native washingtonian knowledge came in handy as I helped us navigate out of the city as streets were closing and becoming clogged. I got to my car at end of the metro line and raced to get my daughter passing an army reserve base where a tank was stationed with armed soldiers. I had called my daycare provider and asked her not to put on the tv in front of the children. Her husband is a news anchor and he was racing out to go anchor the news when I got there. I grabbed my daughter, hugged her tight and got her home. Still not completely understanding the magnitude of what had happened and how completely the world changed in that one instant. As a side note, my office at the time was a branch office of an association headquarted in Illinois and the employees in Illinois were officially evacuated. Nobody at headquarters thought to call the DC office. Our office later met to put in place emergency procedures after that. Later when my husband was finally home and our daughter in bed we watched the coverage and I remember how devasted I felt. The day had started out with such a clear beautiful blue sky and then this. I will never forget.

Posted by: downtown mom | September 11, 2006 11:06 AM

Let's see, I was home waiting for a repair person, and went to get coffee at McDonalds, where I ran into a friend. We both drove home, and I thought my radio station was playing a "War of the Worlds" joke. But, his station had the same story. Stayed glued to the tv for the day, picked up my daughter at elementary school by 11.

I was on the phone with my long-distance boyfriend while the towers collapsed, explaining what I thought I was seeing, as it was happening. The entire future was now in jeopardy. It was so horrible, and unreal. Friends gathered at my house, and I opened the "good" wine saved for special occasions. Who knew when there would be one again.

On the interesting side, explaining to a 5th grader what's going on was hard. Also, they all thought there was a lice epidemic. All these kids were being called from class to go home, and no explanation was given to them.

I lost a friend on the plane that hit the pentagon. I still miss her.

Posted by: VS | September 11, 2006 11:15 AM

Sorry for the 'conspiracy' thought process, but when I am labeled by a vice president that I am supporting terrorists because I do not support their war....,that had nothing to do with the pentagon and WTC incidents, I have to draw some sort of line in the sand.

Posted by: Mobad | September 11, 2006 11:19 AM

"stop it. try to be understanding. this person is stating an honest response, and one that some people understand."

We call these people terrorists...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 11:20 AM

9/11 was a beautiful, cloudless day, wasn't it?

I was at work when the first plane hit. The conference room TV was on CNN and I remember thinking that it was a horrible accident. Then the second plane hit as we watched. That's when I realized that it wasn't an accident. And when the towers fell, I was horrified and scared.

When the Pentagon was hit, my panic became more immediate - I had worked at the Pentagon for the Department of the Army while I was in law school. I had friends and former co-workers in that building. My husband somehow managed to get through to me at work and told me that he was going in to the Navy Yard (he a Naval Intelligence reservist). I left work and went to a friend's home so I wouldn't be alone. My husband later told me that he drove past the smoking Pentagon and people were stopped on the side of the interstate, just watching in horror.

I did not yet have children on September 11, 2001. In fact, my husband and I weren't even considering it yet at that time. But I do remember wondering how we could bring a child into the world - a world where planes fell from the sky. But we got over our fear and then we became determined to live our lives. Less than two years later, we decided we were ready for a baby.

Three years after 9/11, on Septmber 16, 2004, my oldest son came into the world screaming. On September 19th, my husband I brought him home from the hospital. It was a beautiful, cloudless day, just like 9/11.

Posted by: Lawyer Mama | September 11, 2006 11:22 AM

A random 9/11 thing that pertains to this column- there was a day care center in the Pentagon, fortunately not near the part that was destroyed. (No Pentagon children were hurt on 9/11.) The powers that be decided that it could remain open- then about 2 years later decided that it was too risky a location, and closed it. I heard that most of the kids found spots at another military day care facility (Fort Myer I think.)

With 2 kids in my downtown federal ageny's day care center, I think about this stuff a lot- I can't imagine that someone would attack my rather boring, low-profile agency, but I keep my fingers crossed every time I have a meeting outside the building, or across town.

Posted by: randommom | September 11, 2006 11:24 AM


Is it lunchtime yet? What is it with America these days? Five years later and we're still navel gazing, how ridiculous. 9/11 was compared to Pearl Harbor back then, and its pretty damned tragic how we're failing to step up the way the generation of the 40's did when we were last slapped that hard. It took less than three years after Pearl Harbor to crush two of the greatest war machines in history after they riled us up, and now half a century or so later, we can't even muster enough venom to flatten a buncha petulent bedouins. Too busy feeling sorry for ourselves.

You're pathetic, America, really. Get off your butts, cut the sobbing, flatten those responsible and move on with your damned lives.

How much are tickets to the Empire State Building, anyway?

Posted by: James Buchanan | September 11, 2006 11:26 AM

"stop it. try to be understanding. this person is stating an honest response, and one that some people understand."

"We call these people terrorists..."

And only SOME of us call the KKK terrorists. Peace.

Posted by: PAHairston | September 11, 2006 11:29 AM

I had the day off, and my wife doesn't work, so we blessedly slept in and missed the whole thing. The phone kept ringing, and we kept ignoring it. Finally we got up and went downstairs, heard all these excited msgs from relatives on our answering machine, turned on the TV, and soon enough learned about all the horrors that had taken place. I still occasionally give thanks to the heroes on the plane that was forced down. With us and many relatives living near DC, who knows where it ultimately would have gone down?

Posted by: ignorance is bliss | September 11, 2006 11:32 AM

James, you make it sound so easy. Are you suggesting that we drop "the bomb" on them, like we did during WWII? Big difference is WE were the only ones with the nuclear bomb back in the "good ole days". God bless us all if one is ever dropped again, no matter who drops it. Our leaders all over the world (men) why can't you all just sit down and play a simple, bloody game of chess and winner take all. Hell, same outcome except no bombs falling, no children dying, no sons and daughters gone forever! Just too simple huh? Peace.

Posted by: PAHairston | September 11, 2006 11:33 AM

I live in Vermont. I dropped off my husband at his new job and was taking our 3 year old on errands including a well visit with the doctor. Our 7 year old twins were in 2nd grade.

After 9 am our local NPR station plays classical music. So I switched to the other station, which plays the BBC. The BBC news team was discussing the attack. I couldn't quite understand what they were talking about. After a few minutes I tried NPR again, and they were broadcasting about the attack. The American reporters were noticably more shaken and emotional than the British ones had been.

Daily life in VT did not come to a halt. We had our staff meeting in the afternoon as scheduled. When I went to pick up the older girls from the neighbor's where they went after school, she said they knew nothing. The school was leaving it to the parents.

It was difficult to have to reveal to the children how much bad and wrong people do to other people. I would have liked to keep this from them for longer. Of course, we are very lucky that they don't know pain, loss and hardship from personal experience.

One of my twin daughters was pretty fearful. The other was very astute in her understanding of the situation. (I wrote down these conversations at the time.)

Daughter 1: Did they catch who did it?
I said that the people flying the planes died in the crash.
Daughter 1: Why would they do that?
Me: I don't know. What do you think?
Daughter 2: I guess they really wanted to kill people.

I tried to conceal the fact that it was passenger planes by just saying that "mean guys had taken planes," but I was not successful.
Daughter 1: I want to know about the planes. Were there passengers? And was it Jet Blue or what was it?
I said that it was American and United planes and there were passengers.
Daughter 1: Were the passengers good or were they bad?
Daughter 2: I know! One of the passengers was a mean guy.

We discussed why they had chosen the WTC. These were buildings we had always pointed out in NYC, of course because you couldn't miss them, but also because of the "twin towers" nickname. We agreed that they had wanted to kill a lot of people at one time
and to make a big fire that everyone could see on television.
Daughter 1: I'm scared that they might come here.
Daughter 2: No, they won't, because around here it's just houses with four or five people in them.

A few weeks later, Daughter 2 said, "Do you know what I think they should do with the people who crashed the planes, I mean the people who PLANNED it?"
"No, what?" I asked.
"I think they should QUESTION them and find out why they wanted to do that."
So I guess we are not raising any death penalty advocates in our house.

Posted by: Green Mtns | September 11, 2006 11:37 AM

"You're pathetic, America, really. Get off your butts, cut the sobbing, flatten those responsible and move on with your damned lives."

Couldn't have said it better!

Posted by: From DC | September 11, 2006 11:39 AM

Sept. 11th was such a beautiful day that I was debating going in to work at all. I finally decided to go a little late and as I went to turn off the TV, I saw an image flash on the TODAY Show of the the WTC on fire. I thought it was a promo for a movie or something, but then the announcers came on looking very scared. I had to watch. I sat horrified all morning and yelled as the tower collapsed. I called my office on 14th street and they had no idea of what was going on. I told them we are under attack and demanded they turn on the TV and I could hear screams in the office as they watched the coverge. A friend was stuck in traffic trying to get back to Virginia and stopped by to get out of traffic. We sat and cried as we watched the news. We then tried to go out to get some food in College Park and were met by a convoy of military vehicles headed south in to Washington. All of the restaurants were closing. We headed back to Hyattsville and as we drove on Queens Chapel road, could see smoke rising from the Pentagon. We were no longer hungry.

Posted by: CVA | September 11, 2006 11:43 AM

I was working at the Pentagon that fall, although I was not there that day. My office was in the C ring off the 8th corridor and was destroyed by the impact; I found out the following day that everyone I worked with made it out okay. The guy I was working with most closely was in a meeting in another part of the building and actually made his way back to our office after the impact to make sure that everyone was out. I can't even imagine.

Posted by: Lizzie | September 11, 2006 11:48 AM

I was a freshman at a Catholic college outside of Boston. After I got of my religion class, I went over the library and saw a number of people in the lobby watching TV. It was then I found out the WTC and Pentagon attacks. For me, the attack on the Pentagon was more hard hitting. My parents and I moved to the DC area 3 years earlier and I love the fact we could visit at anytime. (We had been to DC on vacations) It was a long day for everyone.
Later that evening, our campus ministry office held a candlelight prayer vigil outside of the student center and allowed students to share their individual thoughts.
It wasn't surprising 9/11 was mentioned at my college graduation last year--hence I'm in the 9/11 class. Now I'm in graduate school, completing my final semester in the library science program. It so happens to be, I'm in library/grad school in western PA.

Posted by: Elisa | September 11, 2006 11:49 AM

I reported to my retail job at Union Station. there were three of us there that morning. My manager received a call on her cell about a plane hitting the WTC. She thought it was a joke. We went ahead our morning routine. I called my sister in PA to see if she heard anything about planes hitting buildings and she said yes! She told me about the planes hitting the WTC and the Pentagon! She cried into the phone pleading me to get out of the city. My manager had confirmed everything and security came by within minutes and evacuated us. I went outside and saw smoke in the sky. People standing in line waiting for cabs and buses. Everyone looked dazed and confused. I went downstairs to the metro and it was jammed packed. I felt the tension and unease in the air. On the train everyone was eerily silent except for one that kept proclaiming the end of days. I could barely breathe as we were packed like sardines, holding onto to each other for balance, some sense of security. I walked home from my green line metro stop hearing the birds chirping and the warm sun on my face. It felt surreal.

Posted by: 2xmami | September 11, 2006 11:51 AM

Does anyone remember one of the radio announcers (NPR?) trying to convince everyone it was anarchy? He had found some fire chief or something and was asking him how the U.S. government was not under anarchy when the President, VP, etc. could not be located. I was already in shock but still felt it was inappropriate.

Posted by: Ms L | September 11, 2006 11:52 AM

Frantically trying to get out of DC, smelling the smoke from the Pentagon in my apartment for days, desperately trying to reach family members and friends in NYC, getting the call that my husband's Reserve unit had been activated, finding the courage to go back to work in DC, and somehow surviving my husband's two year's worth of military deployments over the course of 2 1/2 years, including a year in Baghdad. I'm sure my story is identical to many DC and NY-ers. We were blessed enough to not lose any loved ones, but are still feeling the strong footprint of 9/11 on our lives. Eventually we relocated far away from DC and NY, settling for small town life. We miss the big cities.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 11:54 AM

To the insulting person who refuses to sign his/her posts but says of my post:

"We call these people terrorists..."

Try to reach deep inside yourself and think about what you're actually saying. My wish for you is that you'll stop being so judgmental.

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 11, 2006 11:56 AM

"stop it. try to be understanding. this person is stating an honest response, and one that some people understand."

"We call these people terrorists..."

Oh, for God's sake. The OP wasn't saying s/he LIKED the towers collapsing, or that what happened was okay. They were conveying a purely aesthetic response--in the middle of all the horror, things can strike you strangely and it's possible to be distracted by something like that. That kind of distraction is an authentic response--many people respond that way and in fact it's the mind's way of short-circuiting when the the horror starts overloading the brain.

What an ignorant, unimaginative, stupid thing to say, "we call them terrorists."

Posted by: NYC | September 11, 2006 12:00 PM

To Lizzie a few messages above who claimed to work in the Pentagon in the C ring off 8th corridor, I worked in the basement off 8th corridor that day. The plane hit in Corridor 4, not 8, on the opposite side of the building. The damage was between corridors 3 and 5, there was no damage in the 8th corridor area, as that was where I evacuated into North Parking.

Posted by: Dave | September 11, 2006 12:03 PM

I was in a cab on my way to National airport to catch a flight to LAX the morning of 9/11 - only today did I find out that the flight that crashed into the Pentagon was a flight from Dulles headed to LAX. I could easily have been on that flight had I picked Dulles as my departure airport. I remember hearing the news on a radio station as I was in the taxi that was taking me to the airport - the driver and I both thought that it was probably a small twin-engine plane, wondered at the pilot's mistake, and left it at that. I checked in for my flight, and went to the gate, waiting to board, when all of a sudden someone came over the airport loudspeaker to announce that all flights were cancelled. At that same moment, out of the National Airport windows, I could see a huge black cloud of smoke coming from the Pentagon. A large crowd gathered to look out the window, but I, having grown up in US Embassies around the world, felt something was terribly wrong, immediately grabbed my bags and started running out of the airport. I passed many people who were still completely unaware of what was happening heading towards their gates. I remember running and praying and being absolutely terrified as I took the second place in line at the taxi stand. The gentleman in front of me said "I don't think people realize what's going on - everyone needs to get the hell out of here - Natinoal Airport is probably next!" I agreed and as I was getting into my taxi, the driver looked at me, panicked - it was then that I realized that in front of me, the sky was black and I felt explosions. As we drove to my home - I live in Arlington, less than 2 miles from the Pentagon - only minutes after the plane had hit, we saw the flames, the smoke, and felt many explosions. It was terrifying, and I was shaking uncontrollably, and I remember the driver crying and telling me to pray. When he dropped me off at home, there were 6 messages on my answering machine from frantic family and friends who knew I was supposed to be on a flight to LAX that morning and hoped I was home and safe. My husband was in Oklahoma City attending a meeting, and when news got out about the planes, he called my cellphone and cried from relief at hearing my voice and knowing that I was safe. I am so lucky to be alive - I might have been on that flight from Dulles to LAX that morning, had the price of the flight been cheaper, or had the flight time been more attractive to me than the flight from national. I'm so grateful to be alive, and desperately sad today for all of the people who lost their lives.

Posted by: Sabrina | September 11, 2006 12:03 PM

I was living in London. It was 2 weeks before my wedding in Dublin. It was afternoon (London time) when the planes hit-- I have never felt disconnected.

My fiance was/is a journalist and was part of a team that put together a pulitzer prize winning paper for their work that day.

I left Canary Wharf and headed into the City and sat with him at his desk so I could feel connected.

Later we went home and a number of Americans came to our home to be together and watch CNN and the BBC.

Over the next couple of weeks, I can't tell you the number of times someone would come up to me randomly in a restaurant or in the tube after hearing my accent and express their condolences.

Posted by: UP | September 11, 2006 12:05 PM

I was as work in the DC government conducting a meeting with 20 officials. My boss came in and interrupted the meeting and pulled me outside to view the news reports that the WTC had just been attacked by two planes. I went back into the meeting and explained what was happening and told everyone to just go home. By the time I was going back to my office, I could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon. I spent the next 20 minutes clearing our building because reports were coming in that there was a flight headed towards the White House of Capitol (Flight 93). I remember trying to track down my father who worked 2 blocks from in the Federal Government and finding him walking home because Metro was so overloaded. After picking him up I made it home to check on my wife and three children. I then went back to work for the next 72 hours to assist with coordination efforts. I don't think I slept 4 hours during those first troubling days. I still get tears thinking about Flight 93 and what they mean personally to me and my family. To think that their actions probably saved my life is something that I will never forget. And the tears still flow freely.

Posted by: PDX Transplant | September 11, 2006 12:10 PM

11:54 AM, My 2 Cents, and I have all left the DC or NYC area, some of us for small towns. I wonder how much demographic change was spurred by 9/11? Obviously, DC is still growing, so there are more moving out than moving in... but I think there are more of us than I originally thought.

Posted by: Ms L | September 11, 2006 12:10 PM

>>> Foreign grad students were CHEERING!?!
I cannot imagine how I would respond. <<<

This reminds me of when I was in 6th grade and the class was interupted with the news that PRes. Reagan had been shot. A big cheer went up. It wasn't so much that we were happy the president was harmed, we just lacked the emotional maturity to know how to respond to such shocking news. A down-with-authority, "The Wall" immaturity.
I'm not excusing such a callous response, but I've seen it before and I'm not surprized-- and I doubt that it is a true reflection of how that person really feels.

Posted by: Capitol Hill mom | September 11, 2006 12:13 PM

I had just finished grad school in DC and was teaching one of my first classes at a community college in the Maryland 'burbs. I was answering some questions from students outside of the classroom after class, when one of our department's support staff came running toward the room, yelling about how the World Trade Center and Pentagon were being bombed. In my panic, it didn't occur to me that the WTC was in New York, so my immediate understanding of the situation was that there were air strikes underway on DC government buildings. My husband worked at a government complex not far from the Pentagon, so I sprinted to my office, only to get that quick dial tone on the land line and my cell. My colleagues, knowing where he worked, hovered outside my office door while I sat at my desk and shook. My boss insisted that I go home, but I didn't want to be alone (and we didn't have kids to pick up at the time). Finally, an email from my husband saying that he was okay came through. A few minutes later, he got through on the phone, saying that he was staying at work. I screamed at him to leave; there were rumors of more planes in the air. A few minutes later, the facility where he works was ordered to shut down, and there was a mass exodus from the parking lot. He realized that they were all sitting ducks, waiting there at the exit, and drove to a remote corner of the parking lot where he sat by himself and waited for it all to clear. I printed out that email he'd sent and carried it around in a pocket of my purse for a couple of years.

Posted by: niner | September 11, 2006 12:14 PM

I was an active duty AF officer working off of Seminary Road...I had a 10:00 meeting scheduled at the Pentagon, and had taken a 9:30 shuttle bus. When we neared the Pentagon the driver saw all the smoke and turned around, heading back to our office building. The plane had hit at 9:37. The meeting I was scheduled to attend was to take place in an office that was heavily damaged, although no one in that office perished, thank God. It was my birthday, too...

We were released to go home in the afternoon, and as I drove home I thought about how close I'd come to being another casualty. I also remember watching a big fire engine screaming down Braddock Road, flying a huge American flag from the back of it.

Now, five years later, I'm still very angry about what this act has done to the families of the deceased, to our country, to our standing in the world, and to our personal liberties. We may think, five years down the road, that we have gotten back to normal, but from my point of view, everything has changed. I'll probably never lose that anger.

Posted by: Jmack | September 11, 2006 12:26 PM

I was on the phone with my mom who lives in Venezuela. The Today show was in the background, and I heard something about a plane going into the first building. We hung up and I heard that it was a small commuter plane that had accidentally hit the buiding. My first reaction was to convince myself that there was no one in the building that high up, especially because it was early. I couldn't conceive there were people going through that horror. Then as I continued getting ready for work, I watched in frozen disbelief as the second plane went into the other tower. I couldn't move, couldn't think, couldn't understand what was happening. I finally forced myself to move and was the last one to arrive at my office in Arlington. No one knew what was happening, and when I told them we ran to a conference room and turned the TV on. We tried to continue with the day and were having a meeting (with the TV in the background) when the receptionist ran into the room crying, saying that a plane had hit the Pentagon. We ran to the windows and saw the smoke; everyone was talking, calling their loved ones, searching for news. I immediately called my Dad (in Bethesda) and told him I was OK and to call my mom whom I was sure would be freaking out (she was). Most of the people in my office went home. It took me about 2 1/2 hours in traffic to go back to DC. I watched TV for the rest of the day (and night). I will never forget the people caught in the Towers begging for help and then jumping to their deaths. It is the worst day in memory.

Posted by: JEM | September 11, 2006 12:28 PM

I was a sophomore in college in PA. My college was probably 40 or 50 miles away from Shanksville. I was touched in two places....being a DC metro girl and worrying about family in Arlington, and worrying about my friends from Somerset Co. PA.
To this day, I think that it is all still a dream....

Posted by: JC2004 | September 11, 2006 12:29 PM

September 11th has been a difficult day for me since my fathers death on this day 1980. He was 35 I was 10 and he had suffered a long painful illness. I was planning on spending Sept 11, 2001 as I had every other one since 1980 in quiet reflection. Then my mom called and told me to turn on the TV. I watched in horror as the second plane hit the tower and then watched the towers fall. I cried and prayed for all those lost and their families.

My most vivid memory though is from several days later. I live in a flight path to our local airport and the silence had been deafening. Several days after Sept. 11 I was standing outside with several other moms waiting for the school bus to come when a commercial jet flew overhead. I will never forget standing there with all those women looking at the sky with tears pouring down our faces knowing the future was forever changed,

Posted by: magnificent7mom | September 11, 2006 12:34 PM

I lived in Rosslyn and rode the metro to work in Alexandria. I didn't have kids then. The world was fine when I set out from my home. When I got to work, after passing through the Pentagon metro station,my phone was ringing and my husband said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. As we were talking, the second plane hit the other tower. The office was abuzz as others got similar calls or had radios on. Then the pentagon was hit, my husband called back, he had heard the impact from our apartment. We decided to close the office, a co-worker drove me home--since the metros were not running regularly and I really didn't want to get in one. We got to 395 pretty quickly and as we drove over it, we couldn't help but look north and saw the smoke coming from the pentagon--that was too close and too real. Then we sat for what seemed like forever at a 4 way stop and saw some of the first victims of the pentagon being taken to the hospital in the Pentagon commuter minivans, they had the side doors open so the injured could lay across the seats, their feet kind of sticking out of the vans. It was hard to believe what we were seeing. As we sat there, we also saw the first wave of workers who must have walked out of DC over the bridge into Virginia in their suits and heels. I can't imagine if I had had children that day that I could not get to. Oddly, in all of my memories of that day, everyone was strangely calm, the other drivers, those caring for the injured in the vans, the walkers. I think it was too much to process even in the days to come. I don't live in the DC area anymore, and I have to admit that my experience that day is part of the reason why.

Posted by: ATTYMOM | September 11, 2006 12:36 PM

It was my senior year in college (west coast) living in a studio apartment with no TV or radio except for my PC. That morning, like every morning, I checked Yahoo News before heading off to classes is where I had first learned of the attacks in New York. The campus parking lot was empty upon arrival and assumed that classes had been cancelled for the day. After a brief discussion with my professor in his office, I drove home, then walked to the local market. Several hours had now passed since the attacks and when I arrived at the market, people were wandering around aimlessly in complete silence; no one was waiting at any of the check-out lines; no talking or interaction of any kind. No eye contact either. It was so strange I was even beginning to question my own lucidity. What I had witnessed that day was the complete and utter power of television images to transform lives. I think it was several months (maybe 6 or more) until I had seen the honorific acts on TV, after which I had some perspective reading articles in the New York Times online and other major news publications like this one. Looking back, I was fortunate to have missed the live TV coverage of that day and the weeks to come. I'm now certain it would have crushed my spirit as it did to so many others, instead I sought the print media to serve as my information link to the outside world. The next day classes were conducted, and in one, our economics professor asked - maybe rhetorically but I'm still not certain to this day - why the TV media insisted on showing the two planes flying into the buildings over and over and over again. The classroom fell silent. No one dared answer his question. Yet I think he already knew the answer but was unwilling to accept it. None of us could.

Posted by: Tuzoner Native | September 11, 2006 12:43 PM


Thanks for your insightful comments.

There are some real Philistines on this blog, people who have no interest in how anyone else is affected by anything. They go through life looking for reasons to fight, stomping over any objections with their pseudo-patriotic fervor.

You've stated the truth eloquently:

"That kind of distraction is an authentic response--many people respond that way and in fact it's the mind's way of short-circuiting when the horror starts overloading the brain."

Posted by: pittypat | September 11, 2006 12:45 PM

By 11 or so, the local elementary school was asking parents to take their children -- and others -- home. Pick-up/Drop-off procedures did not seem so important. Teachers wanted -- needed and expected -- to leave and pick up their children.

So, those of us taking other children, wrote their names and our addresses and phone numbers (busy signals all day)on paper and taped them to the school door and walls. One of the last moms in the neighborhood to come home worked at the Pentagon. It was dark by the time she arrived, shaken and exhausted.

Two dads walked home from downtown that day to College Park....the last part of the way, they walked on an old trolley path line that serviced the neighborhood until about 1972.

We found out later, that a family from our school -- the Falkenburg-Whittington family had died in the Pentagon crash. Zoe was nearly 8 and Dana, about 3. Their mother, interestingly, was an economist at Georgetown who among other topics, was interested in one-earner/two-earner effects in the economy.

Not long afterward....was it that year or the next? -- school children dashed into the building, worried that the sniper was aiming at them.

I also recall black paper taped over all windows, that fall of the Sniper.

That more children are not overwhelmed by anxiety amazes me. They have, after all, authentic experience of how fragile the world is.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 11, 2006 12:51 PM

11:54 AM, My 2 Cents, and I have all left the DC or NYC area, some of us for small towns. I wonder how much demographic change was spurred by 9/11? Obviously, DC is still growing, so there are more moving out than moving in... but I think there are more of us than I originally thought.

Posted by: Ms L | September 11, 2006 12:10 PM

MS. L, even those of us who have decided to stay have probably made some very sober changes in our lives.

I was dating my (now) wife on 9/11. She had just finished up an internship at the Pentagon that Summer. I constantly think about how lucky she and I are. Now that we have a son, we've made all sorts of plans about what to do in case of a regional emergency -- including what state to drive to and what hotel to stay in, and what relative(s) in other parts of the country to touch base with in the event we can't touch base with each other. We know who picks up the baby and who stops by home, etc. etc.

As a (cold, calculating?) native New Yorker, I completely agree with James Buchanan. Al Qaida took our naivete and we will never get it back. I lost acquaintances in the WTC and was scared for several friends who, thankfully, were unhurt. We have to move past tears and sorrow to a stage of respectful vigilance and remebrance. No more tears. Pick yourselves up. "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself" and such.

Oh, and just in case no one else brings this up, I will:

ABC/Disney crossed a line last night (and tonight). 'Path to 9/11' is incredibly disrespectful in the way it slants information to paint one political party as a villain. I wish that I, as an individual, could make ABC/Disney feel the hurt that they deserve for such a maneuver. Instead, I must be content to never give them the benefit of the doubt or the dollar as long as I am capable of choice.


Posted by: Proud Papa | September 11, 2006 12:51 PM

"Not long afterward....was it that year or the next? -- school children dashed into the building, worried that the sniper was aiming at them."

It was October 2002--I remember because I was pregnant, which made it difficult to duck down when I saw the white van across our Shopper's parking lot, the one where the first victim died.

Sometimes I miss DC; today, I don't.

Posted by: niner | September 11, 2006 12:52 PM

And this memory, since my South Dakota relies will not read this blog and comment (busy raising organic beef and bison -- which is saving the family spread --).

Some relative and in-laws work across the West, commuting to air traffic controller positions.

The calm and collected and razor-sharp people (ATControllers, all, not just my cousins) brought down the entire sky of planes without incident. Thank you to these unsung, everyday heroes. And, lots of the ATControllers are Canadian.

We owe so much to each other. Can we -- worldwide -- see our connectedness and humanity?

Posted by: College Parkian | September 11, 2006 12:57 PM

I had just arrived at my office on Madison Ave when a woman came running out from the corner office, which had a view of the towers, saying, "the World Trade Center is on fire, go look." I did, and a small crowd gathered in that office gaping at the fire and the hole in the building and trying to grasp how it had happened - some had heard that it was a plane but it was so baffling and then the second plane hit right there. The sense of chaos and disbelief and confusion is what I remember most. And the intense feeling that I did not want to be with my coworkers at that moment, I wanted to be with my family, and I had no way of reaching them - all transportation was shut down in and out of the city for part of the day, the phones were useless. When the trains finally started running, I went to Grand Central to find the trian back to CT, and I will never forget the eery silence in that normally bustling building as everyone tried to figure out where to go - I remember one employee of metro north standing in the hallway, telling us which tracks to go to. And the train ride home, an ambulance at every station, waiting silently...

Posted by: Megan | September 11, 2006 12:59 PM

'Can we -- worldwide -- see our connectedness and humanity'?
my daughter thinks women should run the world. We'd talk it out before we blew each other up, she thinks. I agree.

Posted by: experienced mom | September 11, 2006 1:01 PM

what a lost opportunity to show the world a different example.

We lost more people from firearms related incidents that year.

We lost more people from auto accidents that year.

We lost more people from poverty that year.

We attacked another country on false pretenses, that happened to have the 2ND LARGEST OIL RESERVES IN THE WORLD, after holding them in embargo for several years. With intelligence information available that would boggle the mind of any outside the beltway neophyte. Somehow the Executive Branch made a "bad" call. When you examine the principles of Project for a New American Century, written in 1997 by Paul Wolfowitz, you see that pre emptive strikes are called for.

And in the wonderful tradition of "Remember the Maine," we've fabricated an attack on terrorism, which was the number one tool Central American Team led by Negroponte in Honduras, as_if we've not used that same tool repeatedly to destabliize world governments for years. Iran was a democracy until we interfered and put the Shah back in power.

We trained Al Queaders, and now we're told that somehow majickally "they've turned against us,"

Well, they still seem to be at the beck and call of the Executive Branch, turning up with a tape or video to play whenever the Executive Branch and Complicit congresses ratings are in the sewer.

Shame is the biggest feeling I have when I see our old and disabled paying for this oil grab, with a $30 a month reduction in their ability to pay for their meds, COURTESY of the Complicit (with PNAC) Congress, who gave all taxpayers who make over $200,000 a break during occupation time, because the burden doesn't need to be evenly carried...........

The poor have paid the most, those and the middle class that is being decimated by outsourcing, downsizing/internationalization

have you looked at our once booming factories, how they now stand empty?

perhaps you've not read Harold Myersons' article:

here's a part of it,

Devaluing Labor

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, August 30, 2006; Page A19

Labor Day is almost upon us, and like some of my fellow graybeards, I can, if I concentrate, actually remember what it was that this holiday once celebrated. Something about America being the land of broadly shared prosperity. Something about America being the first nation in human history that had a middle-class majority, where parents had every reason to think their children would fare even better than they had.

The young may be understandably incredulous, but the Great Compression, as economists call it, was the single most important social fact in our country in the decades after World War II. From 1947 through 1973, American productivity rose by a whopping 104 percent, and median family income rose by the very same 104 percent. More Americans bought homes and new cars and sent their kids to college than ever before. In ways more difficult to quantify, the mass prosperity fostered a generosity of spirit: The civil rights revolution and the Marshall Plan both emanated from an America in which most people were imbued with a sense of economic security.

That America is as dead as the dodo. Ours is the age of the Great Upward Redistribution............

for the full article on what has really happened since 911, and how you've quit paying attention, read this:

Posted by: yeah, I thought to myself..... | September 11, 2006 1:09 PM

On 9/11/01, I worked very near the White House. I saw the smoke from the Pentagon from our office roof. For a short while, many of us wondered if all the planes were down or if one could be on the way to 1600 Pennsylvania, only three blocks away. It was a stunning morning. So many people simply left the office, needing to go home to family and security. I knew it was going to be gridlock and I could walk home if I wanted, so I stayed a few hours more. My boss was in from his home office in Los Angeles and had nowhere to go but his hotel. We talked quietly, went to the roof again, watched the news. Then I took the bus home to NW DC. I will never forget the feeling when I walked into my building lobby and our concierge said, "Welcome home" with a kind and caring smile. He had seen all our faces that day as we walked in, so stunned, so blank. His greeting gave me strength that day.

I stopped watching the TV soon. It was the same image over and over. Who will ever forget it? I thought of my friends in NYC, one who lived very close to the Towers. My friend and I went up on our roof and watched the evening sky, so eerily quiet and empty of the usual air traffic. Sometimes we heard an air force fighter jet high above, perhaps saw a tiny speck if we looked hard. We felt protected. I never wanted more to be in DC than I did that evening. It is my home and I wasn't afraid.

Posted by: Michelle | September 11, 2006 1:13 PM

I was in my apartment on Knox Road outside the University of Maryland. My brother came from across the hall and woke me up to watch the news. We were dumbfounded. We saw the second plane hit. Then we heard about the Pentagon. After a few minutes of watching TV and calling relatives, we went to class. I was thinking that the classes would be cancelled, but they weren't. And in all my classes, almost all the students were present--like we wanted to be together even if we had to be in class.

And in the weeks that followed, we talked about the attacks. A few kids lost relatives or friends. I just remember being so mad that I didn't want to open my mouth because I was afriad of what I would say. I kept thinking about that morning, watching TV, wondering if my friend was one of the ones who were jumping, or the ones who were burned alive, or the ones who died in the explosion. How could anyone want to do that to other people?

I don't think that war will stop the terrorists--violence is not the answer. But sometimes I get so mad that I think "maybe we should just nuke them" and then they can know what it's like to be burned alive and buried in rubble. But I keep my mouth shut because I know that won't stop them either.

Posted by: Meesh | September 11, 2006 1:13 PM

right, well _your_ CIA trained them.

and a 6 foot 4 inch diabetic arab is unfindable.........

sure he is.

IF you've seen "Enemy of the State" or "Syriana," the movies then you have a _vague_ idea of how good our reconnaisance photos and intelligence abilities are.......

if it's been released to the public, the United States Intelligence community has things far greater than that available.

which means there was no disconnect about Iraq.

try looking at what the "war on terror" which is basically a propagandist view of how a few wealthy people can make the world all about them.......

here's their statement of principle, look at who signed it.........this is the unspoken agenda of the government now in power and the Complicit Congress:

Posted by: Al Quaida took our naive ete' | September 11, 2006 1:16 PM

To Ms L - I know many people who worked in downtown NYC on 9/11 who never could bring themselves to return to work there again. Some companies graciously transfered employees to other office locations, including paying for the addtional travel costs. Other people just plain quit their jobs. I also know many New Yorkers who haven't felt the need to leave. For us, I think it had to do with the shift that happens in your priorities when you decide to have children. We left, but three years after 9/11. 9/11 didn't drive us out, but the stress of military deployments, traffic, threat levels and emergency response plans, housing prices, combined with the everything in the federal govt being driven by terrorism (we were federal employees) - all finally had an impact on us.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 1:21 PM

My wife called me to tell me about the WTC planes.

At her office, one of the managers was going around worrying about how terrible this all was. She wasn't worried about the Americans who were killed or trapped in the burning towers, mind you. No, she was worried about how all the "stupid rednecks in this country" would take it out on the Moslems.

No, no, her name wasn't Cindy Sheehan, although her and many like her have carried that thought further along.

Posted by: Rufus | September 11, 2006 1:24 PM

"my daughter thinks women should run the world. We'd talk it out before we blew each other up, she thinks. I agree."

Then you both need to remember how Madeline Albright bungled the negotiations with the Serbs, deliberately backed them into a corner, and triggered a war which would kill thousands of innocent civilians so that Bill Clinton could keep Monica's name off the headlines.

Posted by: Rufus | September 11, 2006 1:29 PM

On 9/11 I was at my office near the White House, at my computer screen, oblivious to any news until my sister, a SAHM in Reston, called in tears to tell me about the attacks. We were immediately worried about her husband, who flew out of Dulles that morning, and our friend, who worked in lower Manhattan near the WTC. When I hung up the phone, my husband called telling me to leave the office and meet him at his office. He was afraid that the White House would be next, and his office was a few blocks farther away. There was total gridlock getting out of town (we later heard stories of it taking 2 hours to get out of parking garages). So after determining that the schools were in lock-down and kids would take their normal bus home, and finding out that my brother-in-law was alive but shaky (his plane was over Pennsylvania at the same time as the hijacked plane and had to make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh - he later rented a car to drive home), my husband and I stayed downtown, had lunch amid other shocked Washingtonians, then drove home through empty streets, took the kids to the playground (to avoid the TV news) and commiserated with friends and neighbors. Other memories include friends and family calling all night long to touch base, the eerily quiet skies - except for the fighter jets patrolling, National Guard troops stationed on street corners around DC, and the terrible thought that we are now at war, and our two boys would be fighting that war for years to come.

Posted by: DC/VA | September 11, 2006 1:31 PM

My friend who lived basically next door to the Towers had to run for his life that morning as the second tower fell. He and his brother sought refuge in the basement of a building, the doorman was yelling at everyone on the street to come inside, the basement had been a bomb shelter in the 1950s. My friend saw the jumpers. Many many of them he said. To this day, I don't think we can comprehend how many jumped. He said it was terrible.

He couldn't go back to his building for more than a week, and then was given only 15 minutes to grab what possessions he could. Kind friends gave him a place to stay. His apartment was covered in a layer of ash. He soon was laid off because he was in the advertising business, which was hit hard by the "recession" the city experienced due to 9/11. After a few months, he decided to move, but the owners of his building wouldn't let the tenants break their leases, although as my friend said, "We were living next to a grave yard. Some people's windows faced the site." He moved out anyway and they put a lien or some kind of hold on his bank account, so he had nothing and had to go to his family while he looked for work. Later he moved to London and now has rebuilt his career and life. He didn't want to leave NYC, but it was too difficult for him to stay.

Posted by: Michelle | September 11, 2006 1:33 PM

proud papa,

I refused to watch the pathway to 9/11 and I will never watch ABC again. History is only as good as the person who writes it down and I think that ABC is trying to put their own slant on history.

Posted by: scarry | September 11, 2006 1:41 PM

Not to pass judgement on anyone else's choice, but I for one would never move from DC (moved here 2 months prior to 9/11 and plan on staying awhile) just because I feared a terrorist attack might happen again one day. Sure, there are other reasons why someone might not like it here and decide to leave (insane traffic, high housing costs to name two), but this area has too much to offer for me to leave.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 1:42 PM

For days afterward, as I crossed 16th street going to and from my office, I would look at the White House and have this awful vision of a plane crashing into it. Did anyone else do that?

Posted by: Lynn | September 11, 2006 1:48 PM

Two days I remember vividly in my life.The shooting of JFK in Dalles Texas and the terrorist attack on 9/11/2001.I live in Ireland,morning on that day for the attack afternoon in Ireland.When the first tower was hit i thought it was an accident but when the second tower was hit i knew it was terrorism.My first reaction was for the victims my second was that the World will never be the same again from this day foward and since then it has got steadly worse.

Posted by: Niall Smyth | September 11, 2006 1:48 PM

For us, the decision was not as clear-cut as just because of 9/11. It did spur us to examine our values and long-range plans. My husband was committed to work at least 3 years in the outer suburbs, which meant he would have to commute 1.5-2 hours per day for the privilige of living in Arlington. We had been willing to do this, but once 9/11 came we really came to examine whether we wanted to live in Arlington for the rest of our lives-- we felt there was a significant probability that 5 or 50 years from now, there would be another attack. We also wanted to escape some of the traffic and stress and liked the idea of small-town life. When we realized that moving near my husband's work would give him 2.5- 3 more hours a day with his newborn daughter (since he could come home for lunch), we decided to cut ties with Arlington and move on. Since then we've moved out of the DC area altogether and are living very happily in our small town. I do miss some things about the DC area, but I'm still very happy with our decision.

Posted by: Ms L | September 11, 2006 1:49 PM

I have a friend who was in Dallas at the time of JFK's assassination and said many there laughed and cheered as well.

Posted by: Ms L | September 11, 2006 1:51 PM

i find the "9/11: we'll never forget" commemoration interesting via what we are supposed to forget. why aren't there any national commemorations for slavery, or the genocide of american indians? why do we commemorate some deaths and not others?

we don't want to look at ourselves in the mirror, and see the way our own behavior reflects and inspires that which we hate.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 1:53 PM

Scarry, please. You will watch ABC again. Probably tomorrow.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 1:53 PM

Ms L - We left DC for similar reasons. Priorities shift; 9/11 caused so many changes in our lives that our tolerance for the negatives of the DC area were diminished.

Posted by: J's mom | September 11, 2006 1:58 PM

A work colleague heard about the first plane on the radio and called me over to watch it on the company TV. I wondered how such a tragic accident could happen. Was it an autopilot error? Then I saw the second plane hit on TV and I knew something big was going on. I remember thinking that'd I'd get the day off from work. And I did.

Posted by: Does this make me a bad person? | September 11, 2006 2:02 PM

"IF you've seen "Enemy of the State" or "Syriana," the movies then you have a _vague_ idea of how good our reconnaisance photos and intelligence abilities are......."

If you watched "Enemy of the State" with someone who works in the intelligence community, you spent much of the movie wondering why they were either rolling their eyes or laughing so hard.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:04 PM

I can't believe that some of the people at my school and grad student's school were cheering because of immaturity. They were happy that people were dead and dying. They were happy that they thought that the US was finally held accountable for what they perceive are wrongs. Sorry, people I know were in class with one of these people and he was quite happy about it, so I can't agree.

Posted by: scarry | September 11, 2006 2:04 PM

you should

"Remember the Maine!"
"Remember the Alamo!"

both fabrications to allow the United States to do a _land_ _grab_

midnight oil meetings with Cheney?

and didn't Cheney host a fund raiser for Tom DEAL-AIDE at the Westin in Houston, to pay for his defense

haven't Cheney, DEAL-AIDE and Cunning Ham been linked in other business deals, most notably influence peddling for some restaurants along the Potomoc........

right remember 911,

cause then you won't find their hand in your pocket and your middle class working service sector jobs.........

they're starting to outsource government jobs sheeple.........

beltway bandit jobs to India.....

perhaps your safe haven will be no longer needed by the international riche........

remember, _your_ presidente' probably couldn't get a clearance

and yet he's passing laws that make it okay for him to break them.........

yeah, I'll remember 911 as the biggest "look over here," to happen to America as the country is sold piecemeal to other countries and our great wealth


gets bought up, and you can only afford to RENT

what do you think a serf is?

what's been here longer democratic government or serfdom..........

serfdom by a factor of "a lot longer,"

bush is from the royal stuarts of London, the kinda people that make it a crime for slaves to learn how to read and write, or for families to work on the same plantation, or for slaves from the same villages to work together.......

divide, keep them stupid, feed them a story

hope you're feeling fool sheeple.


Posted by: perhaps | September 11, 2006 2:06 PM

"To Lizzie a few messages above who claimed to work in the Pentagon in the C ring off 8th corridor, I worked in the basement off 8th corridor that day. The plane hit in Corridor 4, not 8, on the opposite side of the building. The damage was between corridors 3 and 5, there was no damage in the 8th corridor area, as that was where I evacuated into North Parking."

Duh, you're right. I was in Army ODSCOPS and that was my first time working in the Pentagon. I was so turned around.

Afterwards, they set us up in the old BMDO offices in the basement.

Posted by: Lizzie | September 11, 2006 2:06 PM

who cares what scarry watches? What a dumb thing to reply too. Scarry don't take the bait, especially today--ignore them

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:08 PM

I had a doctor's appointment that morning, so was at home-- my then boyfriend, now husband, was home also though I don't remember why he was running late to work that morning. Before going to the doctor, I checked my e-mail and a friend from work IM'd me-- "Can you believe this!?" I asked, "What?" He said, "Turn on your t.v."

We watched, horrified and shaken as the towers burned and fell. We saw the cars lining the streets of our Arlington neighborhood trying to get out of the city. We heard all the rumors-- more planes, more locations, bombs, etc. I am so grateful we were together that day because I remember not knowing how/if it would end, wondering if this was just a beginning to more attacks/bombings, wondering if we were safe even in the 'burbs. I felt like the world was ending.

In the days that followed, I remember being so happy to see troops around Arlington and DC (and I'm not usually much of a military booster). And I remember being so heartened by the response of the world-- the Le Monde headline, "We are all Americans" brought tears to my eyes. The whole world was with us after September 11th-- in the hearts and minds of most of the world, there had been no question whose side to take, no question that these attacks were beyond the pale. The week after September 11th, even Middle Eastern governments and citizens expressed their horror and dismay at the attacks-- everyone saw it as beyond horrible. I remember feeling so moved, believing that this attack would have the opposite effect the terrorists intended by unifying the whole world against them.

How naive I was. I watched in horror as our President compounded the tragedy of that day by systematically throwing away the good-will of the world, giving cause for even our allies to pull away from us. Invade Iraq? Huh? What about catching Osama? (Remember Bush saying he "frankly didn't care" where bin Laden was?) Now it is our actions that are beyond the pale, now we engender sympathy for our enemies with our actions. The language of our government is Orwellian, it all seems surreal. Henry Kissinger (amoral, but astute) said 40 years ago that the US pursue a policy of marginalizing extremists and empowering moderates in the middle east-- yet we've done just the opposite and now extremists hold more appeal for the people of the middle east than ever before. On September 12th, when the whole world was on our side, would you ever have believed this is the way it would turn out five years later?

Posted by: JKR | September 11, 2006 2:08 PM

Then you both need to remember how Madeline Albright bungled the negotiations with the Serbs, deliberately backed them into a corner, and triggered a war which would kill thousands of innocent civilians so that Bill Clinton could keep Monica's name off the headlines.

Posted by: Rufus | September 11, 2006 01:29 PM

Go spread your lies someplace else.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:09 PM

I saw "Syriana" with a woman whose ex-husband is one of the neocons working behind the scenes here in DC. She said it was all too true.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:11 PM

so if you know people from the intelligence community........

then you know, that whatever we have available is much better than what is allowed to be shown to the world.

like how many terrabytes of data of the earths surface is stored in computers?

and why did the NSA offer to go over footage of an area in Florida where a 12 year old girl was kidnapped from a car wash and later found raped and murdered.

that area wasn't even an area of interest, and yet they had the ability to do that.

and those little wires coming out of the ears of intelligence officers,

they really need those don't they?

why was the CIA diss assembled by GOSS, was he afraid of them?

for some fun

google Goss Negroponte Walker Bush Wolfowitz Yale

all frat brothers at yale,

disinformation, no oversight, PNAC agendae foisted on the United States of America.....

who's getting rich?

who's watching bank/stock transactions with computers that have several magnitudes greater capability than the best available commecially, by law?

any stock surges around 911?

any stock surges around gas price changes or the lebanon event?

please, you embarrass me.


Posted by: Enemy of the state....... | September 11, 2006 2:15 PM

I was taking my mother-in-law to BWI for her the first plane flight of her life. We lost her husband (my father-in-law) in April of 2001 and she was going to Texas to visit her youngest daughter the grandkids. All the way to BWI we listened to nothing but music and canned news. After checking her in to Southwest we walked to her gate together. I remember looking at one of the bars in the terminal and thinking there were a lot of nervous flyers that day because they we all stocking up on liquid courage. About the time we reached the gate the announcement was made that the FAA was grounding all flights. After we retrieved her luggage (only took about an hour) we headed back to St. Mary's county. The radio finally had the real news on. My mother-in-law spent almost an hour trying to connect to my wife on the cell phone to let her know we were OK and on our way home. We picked up my son from elementary school when we got back to town and spent the rest of the day watching the news on TV and trying to figure out how to talk to my son about what had just happened. I grew up with duck-and-cover drills during the cold war and was relieved when the Berlin Wall fell and the cold-war ended. Now my son and grandchildren will live in a world with fanatics who kill children to further their agenda. I pray we have a strong government that realizes we must fight them at any cost. We have lost over 2000 men and women in the fight against terrorism so far. That is tragic for all of their families. We lose over 50,000 people a year in traffic accidents on the roads and highways. I don't hear anybody on the left claiming this is Bush's fault (yet) and I don't hear anybody screaming to ban all cars/trucks to stop the carnage. In order to protect our way of life we must make sacrifices, and that means some of our young men/women will lose their lives in the process. I mourn for each and every one of them. I applaud their courage for doing what they know is right. I curse the fanatics who caused this AND those in our country who want to give up before the job is done.

Posted by: Pat | September 11, 2006 2:22 PM

All I'm saying is that Hollywood has more interest in selling movie tickets than in accurately depicting the technology used in intelligence. I haven't seen Syriana, so I can't comment on it, although I would hazard a guess that it's more accurate than Enemy of the State because of Robert Baer.

*I* embarass you? Nah, you're doing a pretty good job of embarassing yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:24 PM

is the Neo ConARTISTE so invited to counter every truth with an attack on the clintons?

does sex excuse them from murder?

George H.W. Bush sent April Glaspie to Iraq to tell Saddam Hussein that we would look the other way if Saddam attacked Kuwiat........

we lied,

desert storm, 200,000 dead Iraqi military

and we had another base in Kuwiat, alongside the ones in Turkey, Saudi, UAE,

and Saddam is held ripe for the picking in EMBARGO, with full satellite coverage, infiltrated within his own group

China/Pakistan/India emerging from third world status, hungry for fuel/oil/plastic

we pull a "Remember the Maine," false flag attack and we're over there kicking in their doors

with 80% of all American ground troops _sure_ that the IRAQI people attacked us.......

but they didn't

want to make a bunch of people look like savages.....

steal their land, abuse them, call them terrorists when your country is the one terrorizing them

and even trained the Al Queadas that they say you're harboring


whose in charge of the Green Zone, Negroponte?

who's he? a friend of the bush family that has kept the lid on terrorist activities commited on his watch....

heck they were teaching nuns to fly by throwing them out of helicopters in Central America on his watch...........didn't you hear about that?


Posted by: why | September 11, 2006 2:25 PM

"i find the "9/11: we'll never forget" commemoration interesting via what we are supposed to forget. why aren't there any national commemorations for slavery, or the genocide of american indians? why do we commemorate some deaths and not others?"

Why do people ask such silly questions? It's pretty obvious--right now 9/11 is much closer to us than those other two examples. Now only did 9/11 take place recently, many of us know someone who died in the attacks. Think about it. People commemorate what affects them most strongly. In 50 years or so, 9/11 will recede somewhat to feel more like history, and the wound won't be so raw.

Oh, and there are commemorations for slavery and what happened to the Indians. Both of those phenomena have museums and countless books dedicated to them.

Posted by: DC | September 11, 2006 2:27 PM

so embarrased one, why did Goss diss assemble the CIA,

and why is Negroponte given the right by Congress to jerk the pensionof anyone that squeals.......

care to talke jeffe?

Posted by: a little levity | September 11, 2006 2:29 PM

Like others, I was in the office, watching TV, listening to the radio. But what I remember the most about those days are these things:

Receiving a phone call from a friend in England telling me that another plane was headed toward the White House.

Walking home from work that morning -- I lived closer in DC than my office --and feeling like I was the only person walking further INTO the city. It was a mass exodus.

Not wanting to meet my boyfriend in Virginia that evening because I was afraid to cross the bridges.

People smiling at each other on the streets in the days that followed -- a sort of sympathetic smile.

Being awoken by fighter jets, turning on the TV at 2 am, and thinking there was another attack underway.

The automatic fear that a fire engine siren caused during a trip to suburban Philly that Thanksgiving (the fire engine was carrying santa).

Posted by: Those were terrible days | September 11, 2006 2:34 PM

Wow the family blog is highly political today.

Anyone want to comment on the similarities between the President and their toddler?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:35 PM

"Anyone want to comment on the similarities between the President and their toddler?"

Forget this whole Iraq thing, I think the real question is: Where does the president stand on breast feeding?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:36 PM

person, that actually goes through the examination process of getting a clearance and working in DC

be afraid to examine those that haven't gone through that

bush, ex cokehead, ex alcoholic, business failure draftdodger, liar

he couldn't hold a clearance, but he can jerk _your_ life around

did we attack Irack? yes

did they attack us? no

the United States is occupying another country on false pretense

and why are Intelligenc agents taking out more litigation insurance?

'cause they feel confident about their govenrment?

so why did we invade afghanistan? to jerk a 13 trillion dollar oil deal out of Argentinian hands?


google "School of the Americas,"


Posted by: why would any honest | September 11, 2006 2:36 PM

"I curse the fanatics who caused this AND those in our country who want to give up before the job is done."

Pat, the problem is that we weren't fighting the terrorists when we invaded Iraq. If you think Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, please do some more reading.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:38 PM

Does anyone who worked near the White House remember the helicopter that circled and circled the White House all day for days and days in the month or so that followed 9/11. I could see it from my office window and hear it. It wouldn't let me forget what had happened.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:44 PM

From Kos today:

Patrick Henry: "Give me liberty or give me death."

Bush: Give me your liberties or you'll die.

THAT'S the legacy of 9/11.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:44 PM

"Anyone want to comment on the similarities between the President and their toddler?"

Sometimes my 3-year-old makes a funny face that looks disturbingly like Bush. At least it's usually when he's grossed out.

And please, folks, don't just settle for Google and the internet for your info. That's why we have libraries.

Posted by: niner | September 11, 2006 2:47 PM

Along with the horror, fear and shock, my most vivid memory is the unity that resulted from the attacks. I remember seeing an America that sent a surge of pride through me. I also remember "United we stand" didn't last. By the first anniversary we were once again divided. I am not incouraged by the behavior of our citizen's or our government. It seems the "attack" is still in full force and our one shot at unity is lost. United we stand, divided we fall, and falling we are.

Posted by: Susanna | September 11, 2006 2:49 PM

I believe that DC will be attacked again. But I choose to live here anyway. I will not let fear rule my life.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 2:51 PM

"I believe that DC will be attacked again. But I choose to live here anyway. I will not let fear rule my life."

Not trying to be snarky, just honestly asking: do you have kids? I felt exactly the way you do until my kids were born, in 2003 and 2005. Then, my husband and I started questioning why we wanted to stay in DC. Other factors--traffic, housing costs, the quality of our neighborhood and its schools--certainly contributed to our exodus, but I must say I do feel generally safer for all of us out west.

Posted by: niner | September 11, 2006 2:52 PM

I slept late on September 11, 2001. My wife was already out. I got up and got ready for work. Some days I turn on the news and some days I don't, and this was one day that I didn't, so I had no idea what was going on.

I must have left the apartment about 9:15, and hopped on my bicycle for the approximately 30 minute commute to Crystal City in Arlington, VA (about a mile from the Pentagon, for anyone not from this area). I locked my bicycle outside of my office after a nice ride on a cool beautiful morning. I remember seeing some people outside looking South and I looked that way also and saw what I thought was a dark cloud, somewhat unusual for an otherwise clear day, but I thought nothing more of it and went in to my office.

I was only at my desk for a few minutes before I got a call from my wife asking if I were ok. I was like sure, why wouldn't I be, and that's when I first heard that there had perhaps been a bomb at the Pentagon, which we later found out to be a plane. I looked out of my window at the dark cloud, which was bigger by now and realized what it was. I started trying to check out news sites, but many were jammed, but that was when I first found out that planes had crashed into the Twin Towers.

We were eventually told to go home. I came out of the office and the streets were jammed. I shared part of my ride home with people walking away from the Pentagon. I saw a coworker who had walked a couple of miles from work to catch a ride, because public transit (buses and subway) was sketchy and the streets around the offices were impossibly jammed anyway. I crossed over a pedestrian bridge over 395 in Arlington, maybe 2-3 miles away from the pentagon and looked back towards the Pentagon and DC and saw the smoke rising. I got home and watched the shocking news on TV for the rest of the day.

Posted by: Manny | September 11, 2006 2:53 PM

I was at work, and I was at the copy machine when the receptionist came out and said that the pentagon had been hit. After that we all sat in the conference room and watched television together, and comforted a co-worker who's parents lived in western PA. My office had people of several different Middle Eastern descents, and there was no diffence in how upset we all were.
When I drove home that evening, the beltway was empty and I was struck by how many flags I saw everywhere, even a big banner on an overpass stating something to the effect that we are all united in grief. My parents and I went to Church that night and prayed for the people who had lost loved ones. I fell asleep with the radio on in case anything else happened.

Posted by: A Bradford | September 11, 2006 3:04 PM


You wrote: "No, she was worried about how all the 'stupid rednecks in this country' would take it out on the Moslems."

Yes, I remember thinking much the same thing as the manager in your wife's office. And we weren't wrong. Arab Americans in this country have often been treated dispicably since 9/11. Again, it's the Philistines (or call them "rednecks" if you like) who sit around just waiting for an event that gives them a new target for their anger and resentment.

It's because of people like you that people like us think as we do.

Posted by: pittypat | September 11, 2006 3:04 PM

Niner, that's so interesting. When I was growing up, the cold-war conventional wisdom was that Colorado would be first or second on the hit list in a war with Russia because of NORAD - I have no idea if that ever weighed on my parents' minds, or if it was ever realistic, but I remember thinking about it as a kid and talking with other kids about it.

Posted by: Megan | September 11, 2006 3:05 PM

I was home sick from work that day. I turned on the TV to the Today Show right before the first plane hit and watched as the second plane hit. If you were watching it live, you could see people jumping. I will never forget that image...
I was living up I-395 in Alexandria and my whole apartment shook when the fighter jets scrambled after the Pentagon hit. My Dad was supposed to be at the State Dept that day and, for a short while, there were rumors of a bomb there. My husband was working in Georgetown and it took him more than 4 hours to get home. I have never felt so scared or so alone. I even called into my work just to make sure everyone was accounted for.

Posted by: Meagan | September 11, 2006 3:06 PM

As I was rushing to my car to pick up my 7-year-old, about 11:00, a.m., I started to cross 37th street at a cross walk and was nearly hit by a speeding car full of men and women in uniform.

For a split second, after the driver slammed on the brakes and I jerked back, we all looked at each other. They were ashen-faced. Then they sped on.

I realized seconds later that these officers must have been rushing to the Pentagon. I'd nearly been killed, but I wasn't and we all hurried on, overwhelmed by the larger events. But I've never forgotten the rush of adrenaline, the feeling of the huge peril of nearly dying, and then the absolute irrelevance of that moment. No road rage, no fuming or glares. Just rushing on. I sometimes wonder if anyone in that car remembers that split second.

Posted by: Vicki | September 11, 2006 3:07 PM

I didn't think about terrorism or being hit by something in DC either until I had a baby. Then, all I thought about was getting out, and I did. However, the high cost of living, so so wages, and terrible commute contributed to the move as well.

Posted by: scarry | September 11, 2006 3:11 PM

Oh, yeah, NORAD! I guess we'd better head back east... :) I remember being scared to death as a kid because my tiny hometown in the midwest was 10 miles upriver from a nuclear power plant, which certainly would have been a target back then.

Posted by: niner | September 11, 2006 3:14 PM

Niner, I wrote that I was staying in DC, and yes, my husband and I have a son. I could go back to my hometown and the region around it, and my son might fall victim to the culture there (poverty + drugs = horrors). I could move to a smaller city and he could get hit by a bus. Tomorrow I could be diagnosed with cancer, or my husband could be in a car wreck. If you live your life in fear that "something might happen" you will always live in fear. We take what comes. If something huge happened in DC and it looked like it would continue for many days or weeks, we have an evacuation plan and would go to what we consider an area safe from terrorist attacks. We want to live in DC. Why move away when so many *other* things could happen? People still live in London and other cities that experience many more terrorist incidents and have for decades.

Posted by: CL | September 11, 2006 3:18 PM

"Again, it's the Philistines (or call them "rednecks" if you like) who sit around just waiting for an event that gives them a new target for their anger and resentment."

I know just as many white collar, college educated people who are leary of muslims.

I don't think it's fair to label rednecks as the only ones who do it. Rednecks usually implies "blue collar" where I am from and it is hurled at people who don't dserve it. And, why is it okay to classify Americans in a certian way, but not muslims??? I don't think either is nice, but I am just asking.

Posted by: scarry | September 11, 2006 3:21 PM

I remember growing up in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and hearing that we were the #1 target because of all of the military bases/shipyard there. After 9/11 my relatives in Delaware insisted they were a top-5 target as well because of some base or something. Since Delaware has more chickens than people I had a hard time hiding my amusement.

Posted by: Ms L | September 11, 2006 3:23 PM

A few memories more on topic that have been jogged by other comments-- I remember a story from a friend who was the school director at an oldtown day care center of a child whose mother didn't come to get her that day and they couldn't figure out what to do with her. I don't know if her mom ever made it. I remember stories of a very pregnant friend of a friend who got in a stranger's car on the bridge as she tried to walk to her home in Alexandria. It all worked out fine, but funny a terrorist attack would make hitchhiking ok. After 9/11, as I didn't want to ride the metro anymore, my commute used to take me past the pentagon every day. It was on the side away from the hole. There were tanks with camoflauge netting over them and service men and women in and around them with rocket launchers at the ready behind one of the overpasses. They were right across from the pentagon day care center with its bright colors. The sight was always so incongruous. The kids were gone from the center by then. I wonder if they are back. An interesting thought about "onsite" daycare centers.

Posted by: ATTYMOM | September 11, 2006 3:25 PM

niner, please have no doubt that plenty of us with children are staying in the DC area. Odds of being hit by a terrorist attack are still less than the odds of being in many other painful situations.

That whole cliche' "If you [x], then the terrorists win"....I think this really is the only scenario where the cliche is valid. If we uproot our entire way of life (e.g., move the family) in response to their attacks, then, yes, the terrorists win. In my opinion, of course.

Posted by: Proud Papa | September 11, 2006 3:28 PM

My husband's agency had offices in the second tower, and had been scheduled to go there for a meeting September 14th. Whenever he had a meeting there, he'd get a photo ID made for that day. He had a small stack of them in his dresser drawer. For some inexplicable reason, at 7:30 on the morning of September 11th, my husband decided to clean out that drawer and put the IDs in the garbage can.

He had many colleagues at that office, many of whom had been working there at the time of the 1993 bombing. When the first tower was hit, they all evacuated the second tower immediately. No one was physically injured, but some saw things noone should ever have to witness.

My brother called from Atlanta at 9 AM to tell me to turn on CNN; I had just heard the news on NPR. I went over to the neighborhood elem school to cancel my scheduled interview with the new principal when we heard the Pentagon was hit. I spent days glued to the TV, unable to tear myself away from the horror.

My kids' schools did not tell them what happened, but they heard it on the radio on the bus ride home. That night, four F-16s did a low-altitude burn, circling several times directly above our neighborhood (we are near an airport which was at the perimeter of the no-fly zone). The windows vibrated, the house shook, and we could see the flames shooting out the back engines. Everyone on the block went running into the street, wondering what would happen next. As my then-10-year-old put it, "that's the sound of freedom."

For the next few days, with no commercial air traffic, every time we heard a plane, it set us all on edge.

My SIL worked in Tower One until the end of August, 2001, when she began a new career teaching in Bayonne, which is home to many firefighters and police. She said the worst part was waiting for the parents to arrive, and not knowing if they were delayed or dead.

All her parents came home.
I retrieved the IDs as a reminder of how some things will never be the same.
My kids developed a sense for things political and military.

Posted by: Derwood Mom | September 11, 2006 3:33 PM

When my brother, who has worked at Langeley for over 15 years, asked me to meet him for lunch in November of 2001 and told me he was moving his family to Southern Virginia and he recommended strongly that I do the same (that's all he'd say, he just kept repeating "I strongly recommend it"), well, that's when my decision was made, and we left four years ago. My brother still commutes to the DC area 2 days a week and works from home the rest of the time.

I didn't want to be there for the second go-round saying "how could this happen again" when we knew all along it was coming. You can call it cowardice. I call it good sense.

Posted by: Thought | September 11, 2006 3:34 PM

Hi, CL. I do agree that a life lived in fear is a life half lived, and ironically enough, for all of my whining about the schools in our old neighborhood, we moved into the school district that is home to Columbine. You're right; anything could happen, anywhere. But I guess for us, we didn't want to handle the stress of having to have an evacuation plan just for the benefits of living in DC, which for us, included the job market. As soon as my husband found something equivalent elsewhere--I'm pretty transplantable, career-wise, he less so--we pulled up stakes, leaving behind a lot of extended family, but also the traffic/commute time, housing costs, and, to some extent, the fear of future attacks.

Posted by: niner | September 11, 2006 3:34 PM

Five years ago, I was a college student at Trinity College (now Trinity University) in Northeast. I'd just returned with the crew team I captained from practice at Thompsons Boat House on the Potomac, and I was going through my morning ritual of watching the Today Show and getting ready for a post workout shower when I was stunned by an image on my TV of one of the Twin Towers smoking with the word "live" emblazoned at the top. My first thought was "Wow - that's a really scary realistic movie preview they must be showing..." When I realized that it was real life that was being shown on the show, I immediately ran down to my friend's room down the hallway, and barged in the door (as such a small school, we rarely locked each other out...) and demanded that she turn on her television to channel 4. As she did, we watched as another plane flew into the second building. We looked at each other, and I said "this isn't over." Not ten minutes later, we heard a very distant crash, and a few minutes after that, the announcement was made that the Pentagon had been hit. I went to my room and called my dad who had been home from work because he'd had a heart attack just weeks before. He told me I should be with friends, and not to be alone.

So that's what I did. At Trinity, a women's university, we spent time together, praying, talking, crying and remembering. There were several "phone rooms" set up for people to call their families and assure them of their own safety, even as they were being assured of thier families' safety. I myself spent a few minutes with a woman who ended up marrying me just last year.

I often think back to those days of turmoil and fear, and that one day in particular as the day that showed me what a group of women does best: they support each other. There was no discussion of class, of intelligence, of who is better at what sport, or who was the favorite of which professor. And five years later, two years after we've graduated and moved apart, we still have that bond that sealed us to each other that day.

Posted by: Kate | September 11, 2006 3:38 PM

Scarry --

I agree with you completely when you say,

"I don't think it's fair to label rednecks as the only ones who do it. Rednecks usually implies 'blue collar' where I am from and it is hurled at people who don't dserve it. And, why is it okay to classify Americans in a certian way, but not muslims??? I don't think either is nice, but I am just asking."

I used the word "redneck" only because it was Rufus's word and I was replying to him.

My point was that all Arab Americans (note I didn't say "Muslims," as many Arab Americans are Christian or unaffiliated) have become targets for those who think narrowly -- and that includes the white collar bureaucrats currently running our country.

But you're absolutely right that no one should be categorized and stigmatized because of a collective label -- be it Muslim, American, Arab, redneck, etc.

Posted by: pittypat | September 11, 2006 3:38 PM

There is no "stess" to having an evacuation plan. We simply planned what we'll do. Don't you plan for a fire in your home, or a tornado, or whatever other disaster *might* occur? I mean, do you know what door you would exit or what bag you would grab?

Sorry, I'm not trying to snark either, but even before 9/11, I had a basic plan for leaving the District if there was an emergency of any sort.

Posted by: CL | September 11, 2006 3:39 PM

In response to:
"[at the bottom in entirety]...but I must say I do feel generally safer for all of us out west."

I don't think safety is in your location, but in your soul. I will not be afraid of terrorists, our government or anyone. I do have a son, who shouldn't run scared because someone tells him to. I want him to be brave and stand up for whatever he believes in. Dangers are everywhere and I am not going to run!

""I believe that DC will be attacked again. But I choose to live here anyway. I will not let fear rule my life."

Not trying to be snarky, just honestly asking: do you have kids? I felt exactly the way you do until my kids were born, in 2003 and 2005. Then, my husband and I started questioning why we wanted to stay in DC. Other factors--traffic, housing costs, the quality of our neighborhood and its schools--certainly contributed to our exodus, but I must say I do feel generally safer for all of us out west.

Posted by: Stacey | September 11, 2006 3:40 PM

As someone hailing from the West Coast, Redneck doesn't mean blue collar to me. It means low socio-economic status as well as a total racist. I have never understood people who embrace that term. A redneck, to me and most from the West Coast, would also be a member of the Klan and hatred of anything not white trash.

So maybe I am confused about the variety of meanings of Redneck...?!

Posted by: transplanted westerner | September 11, 2006 3:42 PM

"niner, please have no doubt that plenty of us with children are staying in the DC area. Odds of being hit by a terrorist attack are still less than the odds of being in many other painful situations."

I know, as you can see by my post to CL--I was just wondering if/how people's perceptions about living in the area (or not) changed as kids came along after 2001. I'm sorry if I let the terrorists win. ;) But as I mentioned, that wasn't the only reason we left. And even though we uprooted the kids, there are other benefits to them, too: closer to grandparents, shorter commute times=more time with them, better schools, etc.

Posted by: niner | September 11, 2006 3:43 PM

>>>I didn't want to be there for the second go-round saying "how could this happen again" when we knew all along it was coming. You can call it cowardice. I call it good sense.>>>

No, it's not cowardice. It can be understood to be cautiousness. But, the question is, why stop there? Why is southern virginia safer? It isn't. Radiation can be moved around by weather patterns. Anthrax can get mailed anywhere. Sure, there are no buildings to fly planes into, but that isn't the full definition of 'terrorism'.

Is the comprably-rural Oklahoma City a haven safe from terrorism?

One could argue that if something bad happens in a rural area, help is a lot further away...

Posted by: Random Guy | September 11, 2006 3:43 PM

Great Pittypat, I wish that more people felt that way. I am not personally offended by the term redneck but I have friends who hate it and find it very offensive. They often say that just becuase they work in a coal mine doen't make them racist.

Posted by: scarry | September 11, 2006 3:47 PM

I was just starting my junior year of college in Kentucky when my boyfriend at the time called and woke me up to tell me a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I immediately woke up and turned on the news and I guess it was later although I don't remember the exact time, because the first thing I saw was that a plane had also hit the Pentagon. My mother worked at the Navy Annex and I spent my college summers as a summer hire at the Pentagon. I had only left my job three weeks before. I only found out my parents were ok by using a landline in Kentucky to call my Aunt and Uncle's landline in Texas, who my parents had reached earlier. It was truly an awful day, and the boyfriend wouldn't come across campus to watch the news with me knowing that I had no idea where my mother was, and several of my friends from home didn't yet know where their parents were either. Needless to say, that relationship didn't last! But I will never forget how powerless I felt sitting in a safe dorm room in Kentucky while my mom and her coworkers were on the streets of Arlington thinking the world might end. I have trouble reflecting on and confronting those feelings today, since they are so close, and have honestly been avoiding the news all day. But reading other people's posts and experiences is helping, along with some of the hostile and/or silly arguments. At least people still have opinions! My biggest fear is that people will stop holding the government accountable because of fear, but the fact that opinions are spewing out in a rememberance board gives me some strange comfort...

Posted by: DC Native | September 11, 2006 3:49 PM

I'm with you Random Guy. Anytime a large group of people are gathered in one place, it can be considered a terrorist target. Now one has to weigh the odds of something horrible happening vs. letting that fear rule their lives. Personally, I am willing to take the risk of living in arlington vs. being bored to tears living in the middle of nowwhere but feeling somehow more safe.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 3:53 PM

At the time I was working in Chantilly, VA. I left work around 2 PM that afternoon and headed home.

When I got home I started checking and sending emails--making sure that friends in DC and NYC were all OK. One of my friends, Matt, who worked for Marsh in WTC Tower I, didn't respond. Based on reports from a mutual friend, I had learned that Matt had survived the initial impact. He'd been able to send a page to a co-worker saying that he was scared, that the room was filled with smoke, and that he and some co-workers were waiting for fire-fighters to arrive. Throughout that evening and into the next couple of days friends in NYC and Matt's family checked all of the hospitals hoping to find him--sending periodic reports to those of us outside of NYC. People would send stories about some of the lucky ones who got out trying to boost each others morale. It certainly seemed possible that my friend had made it out alive. The reality though started hitting home a couple days after the attack. The full impact though knocked a few off us completely off our lives courses in the months and year that followed.

Five years later I still feel a deep sadness--especially on the days around September 11th. A good, and very promising life was cut short in a violently brutal way. For his family, his girlfriend, and his friends the loss has been beyond measure.

If there is a silver lining--it's that, when I think about my friend and that day, that experience that was well-outside the bounds of "ordinary" helps to put ordinary, everyday concerns into some kind of perspective. It's not much of a consolation, but it is certainly part of the story.

Posted by: Jim | September 11, 2006 3:54 PM

"So maybe I am confused about the variety of meanings of Redneck...?!"

Many people use "redneck" as a derogatory term. Drop it from your vocabulary.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:00 PM

Personally, I am willing to take the risk of living in arlington vs. being bored to tears living in the middle of nowwhere but feeling somehow more safe.

PLease, there is a whole country out there. Do you really think that DC has something that the rest of the country doesn't? Except a high cost of living?

Posted by: whole country | September 11, 2006 4:00 PM

As a MD native, and having half my family living in the Baltimore/Washington area, the thought of moving because of 9/11 never crossed my mind, before or after kids. I don't feel as safe as before 9/11 but I actually think that has little to do with my physical location. I think a lot of the fallout to our sense of security wouldn't really change just by moving somewhere else.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | September 11, 2006 4:05 PM

"PLease, there is a whole country out there. Do you really think that DC has something that the rest of the country doesn't? Except a high cost of living?"

I do.

Posted by: SLP | September 11, 2006 4:07 PM

Well, what is it then and why the need to feel superior to the rest of the nation.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:08 PM

"Do you really think that DC has something that the rest of the country doesn't?"


Posted by: Sandy | September 11, 2006 4:08 PM

I hit the McDonald's drive-thru in Alexandria before work that morning. It was so nice out that I ended up just parking in their lot and ate my bacon, egg & cheese sandwich in the car with the windows down, just enjoying the morning.

I got to work at my dot-com which had offices right on the Potomac just south of the Pentagon. My coworker said the WTC was just hit by a plane. To be honest, I was kind of excited. As a news junkie, there's nothing I love more than when TV swings into 24/7 coverage on some major event. And I had always thought about what kind of story it would be if one of those towers ever got hit by a plane. Don't get me wrong, I'm never rooting for death and destruction. I just have always enjoyed a big spectacle. I guess it goes back to when I went to see the circus as a kid in the 70's and saw the Flying Walendas. Years ago, some of the Walendas died when they slipped doing a group routine on the high wire. And that's what really made them famous. I went to see them, in part awed by what they did and in part because you're somtimes almost rooting for something to happen, just so you could say you were there. I felt the same way the first time I ever saw those towers. They were so tall, so in-your-face, so dominating of the sky that I always felt that some day they would have to do battle with a plane for supremecy.

I asked my coworker the same question everyone asked when they first heard--"Was it a small prop plane?" But maybe unlike most people, my hope was that it was a BIG plane. He said it was big. So I was like, ok, THAT is a story. I tried to open and the first thing I noticed was, it took me 8 or 9 attempts to get to the home page. When I did, I could see the grainy little picture of the impact damage from the first plane. Just as I pulled it up my coworker came back in and said his wife just called and a second JET plane just hit the other tower. Now we've got a story!

So we both dropped everything and headed to the hotel next store, since they had a TV in the hotel bar.

One weird item I'll throw in was as we were walking outside, a large green military transport plane flew over us at an extremely low altitude. It came from the other side of the Potomac so low and so fast that we didn't hear it until it was right behind us. Kind of the altitude that a fire plane is at when it drops retardent on a forest fire. I worked in that building for 3 years and never saw a plane like that flying that low in that direction. This happened before the Pentagon was struck but after the two towers. I just throw that out there if anyone else saw it, because to this day I wonder what that plane was doing.

In the hotel bar you could immediately tell just by the sound of Katie and Matt's voice that something profound was going on. I saw the first shots of the towers ablaze and the repeat loop of the footage of the second plane hitting again and again.

There were training classes going on through out the conference center of this hotel. And as all good trainees do, everyone had turned off their cell phones so as not to disturb the instructor. So as we watched the TV, we would see different conference doors open up for their morning break. People would just be coming down the hall to get a drink or whatever and you knew they still had no idea. So there was this morbid feeling of being the person in the know and being the first person to tell each group as they came out what was going on over and over again.

Then the Pentagon got hit. We all rushed from the bar to the windows facing North towards the Pentagon. While you couldn't see it from the window, we could see dark acrid smoke in the reflected windows from another building. Then in what seemed quick succession the reports of another plane unaccounted for..bombs at the state department..white house evacuated..towers coming down..ohmygod. I felt extremely vulnerable. LIKE ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN. I remember driving home to my family just peering up at the sky and all around as I drove hoping the next plane wasn't going to hit me.

It wasn't a story anymore.

Posted by: matt1996 | September 11, 2006 4:08 PM

It was the first morning in I don't know how long that I hadn't turned on the TV right after waking up.

I had overslept a little and was late getting out of my apartment to go cover a press conference on Capitol Hill.

As I'm locking my door, my next-door neighbor comes out and asks if I'd heard about the bombing at the Twin Towers. I asked him -- slightly humorously -- if he was talking about the 1993 WTC basement bombing. He said no, two planes had just crashed into the towers. Got in the cab, and told the cabbie to put on WTOP, which by now (9:35am) was running wall-to-wall coverage of the events in New York. Traffic was incredibly slow.

On the way, I call the office to make sure the press conference was still on; my editor said he hadn't heard of any cancellation.

The cab drops me off on corner of Independence Ave. and C Street, and as I'm walking toward the Capitol building, a woman on a cell phone and a guy with a TV camera rush out the door; he points his camera to my left, while she says "Yeah, we're broadcasting now."

I look to my left, and see a large plume of smoke rising in the distance. I'm thinking that fire must be pretty close to the Hill, given the size of the smoke plume, until a guard comes over to the small group of people who had gathered to watch and says it was the Pentagon that had been hit by a plane or bomb -- no one knew for certain.

I call the office -- a 10-minute walk from the Pentagon in Crystal City -- again, and my editor said he didn't know what it was, "but it was big and it was close." I figured heck, might as well grab the tail end of the press conference, seeing as I was already on the Hill.

As I'm going through the security check at the door, the three guards are visibly tense. Their radios are blaring, "All units, all units..." and one of the guards is snapping and unsnapping the leather strap on his holster, cursing quietly under his breath.

As I walk through the press gallery toward the briefing room, the people I pass are wide-eyed, in shock.

The wierdest sight was that of a TV with a shot of the towers burning, right next to a window with a view of the smoke from the Pentagon. By the time I get to the briefing room, the press conference (about Defense Department acquisition) has concluded and cameramen are packing up. I walk back to the gallery, and see all the folks sitting at their desks, packing up.

We all walk down the stairs and through the halls, with the Capitol Hill police saying "Walk, don't run, stay calm." The minute I step outside the building, the police outside are yelling, "It's OK to jog! Get away from the building! There may be another plane coming in!"

At this point, all traffic around the Capitol has been shut down, with the only moving vehicles those of the police with their lights flashing and sirens blaring. My cell phone no longer works, so I trudge to the Capitol South Metro and wait for a train going to Rosslyn. Once I board the train, within two stops it's a sardine can, filled to the gills with government workers who have been given the rest of the day off.

The incredible thing about that was how nice and polite everyone was to each other. I get off at Rosslyn and walk home. I try calling the office, but even the land lines are busy. Amazingly, my DSL is running, and there are messages from my parents and sister asking if I'm all right, so I'm able to send out an e-mail to my family telling them I'm OK. Later on that day, I'm able to get through to the office (where most folks had been sent home) and my family.

The rest of the day (and most of the night) is spent glued to the TV coverage.

Posted by: John | September 11, 2006 4:11 PM

"Do you really think that DC has something that the rest of the country doesn't? Except a high cost of living?"

How bout the most educated and diverse population of any metropolitan area? How bout one of if not the best job markets in the country? How bout the HONOR of living in the center of democracy? Not saying other places aren't great, but there are plenty of reasons why this area continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:13 PM

At 6 that evening, somehow having made it through that day at work in silver spring, DC was locked down, just about free of all traffic. the metro was running, and coming up that huge escalator (which wasn't running) at the dupont circle stop, i was all alone. hardly anyone was on that red line train with me; there were huge midday traffic jams after so many were sent home. when i reached the top i saw one thing: that incredible 9/11 blue sky; and heard one thing: crickets.

Posted by: george | September 11, 2006 4:16 PM

"Do you really think that DC has something that the rest of the country doesn't? Except a high cost of living?"

It's home.

Posted by: SLP | September 11, 2006 4:18 PM

"Not saying other places aren't great, but there are plenty of reasons why this area continues to grow by leaps and bounds." include housing prices.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:18 PM

How bout the HONOR of living in the center of democracy?

America is the center of democracy and just because an area isn't diverse in the way you think doesn't mean that it doesn't have diversity. Also, what good is having a job if you can't afford a house, car, etc? The attitude that DC is the center of the universe is why a lot of people think you are all snobs.

Posted by: ? | September 11, 2006 4:24 PM

""Do you really think that DC has something that the rest of the country doesn't? Except a high cost of living?"

Well, it is the seat of our national government, for starters. I don't even live there and I know that!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:25 PM

I assume that EVERYONE thinks that their home is the center of their universe.

Posted by: SLP | September 11, 2006 4:26 PM

Is this a 9-11 board or a "Is DC cool or not?" board. Some people moved, some didn't. Part of what we fight for is the freedom to CHOOSE where to live and where to work. Just to remind everyone of the obvious.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:28 PM

"Also, what good is having a job if you can't afford a house, car, etc?"

Believe me, there are plenty of people in DC who can afford nice houses and cars (that is where the whole good job market/education thing come in to play).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:28 PM

I don't think we really need to get into a debate about what area of the country is better to live in. I think it suffices to say that everyone has reasons for living where they do, reasons that make sense to them. And others will have other reasons for living where they do. And that's okay. Moving right along now, please.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:30 PM

it's fine to think your home is the center but the "it's so boring any where esle in the country is rude" I've been many places and any bigger city has the same stuff.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:30 PM

On September 11, 2001, I remember getting up as usually slightly late (I like to arrive late and leave late to avoid the rush). I was in the car on my way to work when my new fiancee of 2 months (gf of 3 years) called me to ask me if I had heard the news. I hadn't. She told me briefly and said that her federal agency (office outside of downtown) was shutting down and she was heading home. It took me about 5 more minutes to get to work and I found the building mostly deserted and most people going home. I made sure that everything on my desk and computer that needed to be secure was so in case I wasn't going to be back for several days and I turned around and went home. My fiancee (now wife) and I then spent the day watching the news and commiserating. I do remember that my first inclination was to call family out of the area and let them know that we were okay. Most of them were relieved but not too worried. Having all visited us, they knew that we both worked on the NE side of town outside the beltway and were less likely to be in danger from the plane attack. But they were still relieved to hear from us.

I do remember that we took time a few months later to make a trip up to the WTC site to pay our respects.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 11, 2006 4:31 PM

In 2001 I was part of a Federal intern program with other mostly young adults. We were far flung in our assignments, but very close as a group. On the 11th, several were working in or near the Pentagon. For some reasons the Blackberries continued working and there was a flurry of emails among us accounting for everyone. "I'm OK and I have seen Bob, he's OK too." Pretty quickly, we had heard from everyone but one, and his wife hadn't heard from him either. The interns started calling hospitals and calling senior executives and Navy Admirals to try and find this young (age 26) man. As morning came the word came out that the command center he was working in was destroyed completely and no further survivors were expected.
All I could think of was his wife, now widow at the age of 24, being left alone with no children to tie her to her husband. My husband and I decided then to have children soon so that no matter what, we'd always have a piece of each other.

Posted by: Missing | September 11, 2006 4:32 PM

Believe me, there are plenty of people in DC who can afford nice houses and cars (that is where the whole good job market/education thing come in to play).

I geuss if you want to live in a condo or a townhouse in a bad part of town, more power to ya. Some people don't consider those houses nice.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:35 PM

For those people who think that having women in power would make things less antagonistic because they would "talk things out" before starting aggression just don't remember many of the classic women in power over the last 50 years alone. Look at the histories of Margaret Thatcher, Madeleine Albright, Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi and Sonia Ghandi; they are all laced with their fair share of aggressive tendences. Many women of power have been aggressive. Aggressiveness and political patience are not sex-based characteristics.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 11, 2006 4:43 PM

Marriage changed my life.
Children changed my life.
9/11 changed me.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:48 PM

Believe me, there are plenty of people in DC who can afford nice houses and cars (that is where the whole good job market/education thing come in to play).

I geuss if you want to live in a condo or a townhouse in a bad part of town, more power to ya. Some people don't consider those houses nice.

Let me get this straight. People who've either left or never lived here to begin with are bashing DC and calling us snobs? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Reminds me of someone who claimed when they were elected, "I'm a uniter, not a divider." You're absolutely dreaming if you believe there aren't any nice places to live in the DC area. Yes, there are plenty of nice places outside the DC area too. Gee, sounds so obvious. Like someone else said, lets move on...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:51 PM

>>>America is the center of democracy and just because an area isn't diverse in the way you think doesn't mean that it doesn't have diversity.>>>

What's THAT mean?

Posted by: To ? | September 11, 2006 4:52 PM

Look at the histories of Margaret Thatcher, Madeleine Albright, Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi and Sonia Ghandi; they are all laced with their fair share of aggressive tendences. Many women of power have been aggressive. Aggressiveness and political patience are not sex-based characteristics.

Not to mention Ann Coulter ;-)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:54 PM

I personally hope that people will stop the endless cycles of violence. This need for vengeance and retribution is a never ending cycle. It's a world-scale Capulet and Montegue battle with a he said, she said attitude.

Remember that once upon a time, there were terrorists that snuck out in the middle of the night, boarded a ship in a harbor and dumped its contents overboard. We called the Boston Tea Party participants patriots whose valiant efforts allowed us to establish our free country. If you look at what our patriots did in our own American Revolution, you'll see many of the same tactics and behaviour exhibited against American troops stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq and other stations around the world. We have invaded other sovereign countries to impose our political beliefs on others and then we try to castigate them as the enemies when they retaliate and try to drive us out of their homeland.

And when we beat them down in one way, they find a way to commit retribution against us in others terrorist ways. Then we find ways to punish them and the cycle is never-ending. We are the ones that have the choice to end the bloodshed. We had to leave *THEIR* homelands and let them have it back. They are fighting for their homes and their lands. And unless we intend to wipe out one of the most populous peoples (Muslim Arabs) in the world, we are unlikely to "kill off" the problems. It will continue to escalate. It is unlikely that a people who have called a religious jihad against our nation will back off unless we leave their lands. This has devolved into a childish war. Although there was some justification for driving a madman with possibly world-threatening capabilities out of power; it's over. It's time to stop the bloodshed or our children and our children's children will be losing their lives to war and terrorism because we couldn't back down when we needed to.

For the same reasons that we support Israel (the right to have their own home), we need to leave Iraq and let them have their home.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 11, 2006 4:56 PM

">>>America is the center of democracy and just because an area isn't diverse in the way you think doesn't mean that it doesn't have diversity.>>>

What's THAT mean?"

Probably means they live somewhere where Waffle House is considered a 4 star restaurant.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 4:58 PM

DadWannaBe, well said. You are a very smart man - you don't have a way to forward that to Bush do you?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:02 PM

I was at my parents' house, who live right on the NJ coast. From their town's harbor you could see the city and the towers. We watched the second plane hit on the television, then went down to the harbor, where we could see the black smoke pouring out of the towers.

One of my saddest memories is the sight of ambulances from several surrounding towns lined up at the ferry dock, waiting for casualties that would never come.

I also remember feeling reassured over the next few weeks, when I would visit, because the only planes we would hear were fighter jets (they usually have a lot of air traffic there). In a weird way I felt protected.

My son was three at the time and starting preschool. Driving up the highway to go home on the night of Sept. 11, I was one of the only cars on the road--the other traffic was giant construction equipment headed to Ground Zero. In the days that followed I also remember seeing fire-and-rescue trucks from Chicago headed east along our major highway here. It was moving to see the rest of the country coming to help.

I usually watch the names recited on television each year, but today I marked the day by taking a walk on a trail near my house--it was a beautiful day again--and remembering to be thankful for life and love and the beauty that surrounds us, and praying for peace on earth.

Posted by: NJ | September 11, 2006 5:05 PM

I was in my first year of law school in upstate New York. Being from downstate, all I wanted was to go home and find my Dad, a police officer in Westchester County, but the Thruway was closed from my parents exit and south.

I later found out that my Uncle was missing. He had called to say he was ok, but then went missing. We were lucky in that his body was found that Friday. They thought he was a firefighter because he had gloves and a flashlight, and a radio was nearby. He was with a group of firemen. He had gone back in to get more people out.

He gave his life so others could live. He left behind a wife and three beautiful kids. He is my hero, and this is the hardest day to ensure. Trying to lead a normal life is the hardest thing today.

Today is anything but a normal day.

Posted by: Karin | September 11, 2006 5:07 PM

I remember it as a one day, two headlines day. I can't remember what was on the front page of the Washington Post when I went to work that morning, but when I got off the bus at the Metro that evening it was very different.

I went down to the short-order grill in my office building for breakfast and found everyone staring at the little TV they had on the counter. The first building had been hit and the station was showing the same footage over and over. We all thought there must have been some horrible error and were trying to figure out how it could have happened. Believe it or not, but one wall of the restaurant was an arial shot of Manhattan. People looked at it, pointed, trying to figure out where the plane had come from, how the plane could have gotten so turned around. As we watched and puzzled, the second plane came in as neat, and suddenly, as obviously deliberate as the first.

One surreal moment (this was just after the second plane hit in NYC): There was a TV show called the Lone Gunmen. The pilot episode featured a villan who had some device that would allow him to take over a jet liner in flight and operate it by remote control. The target was the WTC. As I watched the plot of a very bad TV show unfold on CNN (except the good guys didn't save the day at the last minute) I thought that somehow a villan had worked out a way to do this.

Seeing the smoke from the Pentagon from the windows in my office (I'm in Rockville, MD.)

One of my supervisors went into shock when I and another co-worker told him WTC2 had just collapsed. He told us we were wrong, we must be mistaken even though we had just seen it on TV. We tried to tell him again and he got angry. We didn't insist because we knew he'd find out soon enough.

They evacuated NIH and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Buildings. We could have gone home but I decided to stay at work because the idea of being on public transport with panicky people was too much.

Rumors, lots of rumors. At one point several normally level-headed people swore they'd heard the Executive Building had been blown up.

A friend getting a lot of very hard stares from people when we went out to lunch that day (and several days after). People would stop and peer right in his face before going about their business. Men with dark hair, eyes and sallow complexions were suddenly a potential danger. And what did they see as they stared that assured them he was "safe"?

Any meaning the day might have for me has been ruined, burned and buried by a lot of divisive, political garbage. I've become angry unto sickness of being told I'm not a "real American" (and far worse) because my views of how we should respond to these attacks differ from some polititian's. And why? Will calling names bring back the dead? If only.

However, I no longer allow myself to think: "I'm bored. I wish something interesting would happen." Because that's what I was thinking when I got to work on that day.

Posted by: tAiO | September 11, 2006 5:12 PM

I love DC. It's expensive, and traffic is a nightmare, and I am sure there are loads of places to live where you can get a bigger house or live in a nicer neighborhood. But DC is home to me. My family is here. My history is here. My townhouse is here (no, it is not a bad or even iffy neighborhood, and no, I'm not rich). I love everything about it. I would not consider moving because of a terroris attack. But if others want to move, it's their choice. Why should my staying (or leaving) upset anyone else. Geez!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:15 PM

I was scheduled for a c-section on Sept. 12, and on the morning of the 11th I was going to the OB for a final visit before my surgery. I blogged about it today:

Posted by: FishyGirl | September 11, 2006 5:19 PM

I hate to say it, but I feel safer that my parents living in central Florida. Every year during hurricane season, I wonder if they'll have to evacuate, if they'll have flooding, will they be safe? I think the dangers of nature that are annually recurring are scarier to me than the potential of a terrorist threat. I think about the danger of snowstorms that knock out all power, people freezing to death in their own homes in New England. People along the Gulf Coast suffering when the hurricanes come through, the midwest with tornadoes, etc. After all of that, I would rather stay in DC.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 11, 2006 5:19 PM

make that "...I feel safer THAN my parents living in central Florida..."

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 11, 2006 5:23 PM

To Karin - I am so sorry about your Uncle. He is truly a hero and will never be forgotten by my family - my husband is a Police Officer. Your Uncle gave the ultimate sacrifice - I know you are proud of him.

Your family is in my prayers.

Posted by: cmac | September 11, 2006 5:23 PM

Probably means they live somewhere where Waffle House is considered a 4 star restaurant

yeah, no snobs at all. There are nice places to eat everywhere, except that other places don't cost you half of your salary.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:27 PM

Mmm, Waffle House...

Posted by: niner | September 11, 2006 5:29 PM

America is the center of democracy and just because an area isn't diverse in the way you think doesn't mean that it doesn't have diversity.>>>

What do you think it means! It means that America, not one certain state holds the promise of democracy. All the senators, congressmen, reps, where do they come from--other states? Last time I checked you guys don't have any representation? Isn't that what's on you license plates, so by you saying that you are the center, it sounds pretty conceded. The whole country makes the nation grow and prosper, not just the DC metro area. This whole conversation was started by the anonymous poster who said they didn't want to bored by the rest of the country. That is offensive, so other people have been offensive back!

The diversity thing means that just because somewhere doesn't have 100 different nationalities doesn't make it undiverse or uneducated. There is diversity and culture everywhere. And to be honest, I liked DC, but couldn't afford to live there, and yes, me and my husband are educated and made well above 130,000 a year. However, I wasn't going to spend 500,000 on an o townhouse.

Posted by: ? | September 11, 2006 5:33 PM

"I think about the danger of snowstorms that knock out all power, people freezing to death in their own homes in New England. People along the Gulf Coast suffering when the hurricanes come through, the midwest with tornadoes, etc. After all of that, I would rather stay in DC."

...which has all of these. Hurricanes? Isabel left us with no power for 5 days and sent trees through roofs and cars in our neighborhood. Tornadoes? Ask any La Plata (Maryland) resident about April 2002. Snow? I recall 24" in one storm three weeks before I was due in February 2003. And worse, no plows to dig us out. Just a friendly neighbor with a pickup and plow attachment who cleared our street to Georgia Avenue because he knew I was very pregnant.

Posted by: niner | September 11, 2006 5:34 PM

I was working public affairs for a fire service organization in NoVa five years ago. We had a TV in our department, so we watched live as the second tower was hit. Several of our staff were full-time firefighters, and they were paged to join their Urban Search and Rescue team at the Pentagon. As I spent the day fielding media calls and calls from our members asking, "What can we do?", I was hearing from my contatcs at FDNY that people I had worked with were missing or confirmed dead. It was the longest day of my professional career. It took me three days before I sat down on my bed at home and cried...for those I knew, and for those I didn't.

Five years later, I am living in Arizona and working for law enforcement and prosecution. This morning I attended a 9-11 memorial dedication on our capitol plaza. Even though Arizona is so far removed from where the attacks took place, the people here will never forget and will honor the memories of those who lost their lives that day.

Posted by: single western mom | September 11, 2006 5:38 PM

"The diversity thing means that just because somewhere doesn't have 100 different nationalities doesn't make it undiverse or uneducated."

But you would be pretty hard pressed to find and area MORE diverse then the DC area (DC city, immediate nova, md). I think that is something to be proud of and the thing I have most enjoyed about living in this area.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:39 PM

I lived in Flagstaff for two years before coming back to DC. It was beautiful, but yes, it was boring. I'll take my chances with DC. But I am sure that some folks prefer places like Flagstaff to DC. To each their own.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:39 PM

I'm actually a Denny's girl myself!

Posted by: scarry | September 11, 2006 5:41 PM

I've got to agree with Wonkette today: "no one cares where you were on 9/11." Yes, it was horrific. Yes, we all have our memories of what happened. No, I'm not going to go through 209 responses.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:45 PM

"And to be honest, I liked DC, but couldn't afford to live there, and yes, me and my husband are educated and made well above 130,000 a year. However, I wasn't going to spend 500,000 on a townhouse."

Should have stayed, market is cooling off by the day.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:45 PM

actually grammar is all opinion. AND

I must be smart enough to move away and double that salary and buy a nice new fab house in a lower cost of living! Have fun living in you a bean can apartment and riding the stinky metro!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:47 PM

and yes, me and my husband are educated...

Not that educated apparently. Learn some basic grammar.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:47 PM

A townhouse, not AN townhouse - grammar police in full affect!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:53 PM

I and my husband sounds so much better.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:55 PM

My salary went down a bit--about $2K a year--but the $235,000 profit we made selling the 60-year-old house we'd owned for 4 years really helped me get over that...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:55 PM

Posted by: it's called cost of living | September 11, 2006 5:55 PM

"I must be smart enough to move away and double that salary and buy a nice new fab house in a lower cost of living! Have fun living in you a bean can apartment and riding the stinky metro!"

Yeah, because that all sounds realistic. Sure, you can get a cheaper house in lots of other places, but doubt you can double your salary at the same time...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:56 PM

I was living in Pentagon City at the time, in a large apartment with a great view of Washington. My most vivid memory is watching the Pentagon burn out of control all day from about a mile or so away. It was sickening and scary. I remember seeing the flames at night. I recall Bush trying to reassure the nation from the Oval Office and having that deer in the headlights look that he usually gets when something happens that's not on the schedule. It was terrifying to realize he was more rattled than I was. The next morning I awoke hoping it had all been a nightmare. This hope disappeared when I went out into the living room and saw the building was still on fire. I saw this about the same time the stench hit me. Sometime overnight, the odors had drifted into the apartment. It was acrid and disgusting.

The next few weeks were the quietest I would ever know there. No noise from National Airport. Just the occasional helicopters. And the sound of the fighter jets that would circle overhead ever few minutes. You could hear them best late at night, after all the noise had died down.

Posted by: Pentagon City Resident | September 11, 2006 5:57 PM

Um, "grammar police in full *e*ffect"...

But it's just a blog, not a term paper! :)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 5:57 PM

My thoughts exactly-effect person!

Posted by: scarry | September 11, 2006 5:59 PM

Kudos to Bartolo and 5:45 poster.

Posted by: parttimer | September 11, 2006 6:04 PM

I was at a PTO Welcome Tea at our elementary school in the town of Atlantic Highlands, by Sandy Hook, NJ. Shortly before 9, our vice principal came in to say a plane had crashed into the world trade center. A few moms gasped and quickly left the room. We assumed it was a small private plane that had accidentally crashed. We continued on with our meeting for another 10 minutes or so until the v.p. came in again and told us of the second plane. The meeting was adjourned and several of us walked the 4 blocks down First Avenue to our town's harbor, with its view of lower Manhattan. We could see and smell the smoke as we walked through town.

As we approached the harbor, a black mercedes station wagon came screeching to a halt. A woman opened the car door, and fell out sobbing, "my husband works there." A policeman quickly took her into his arms and led her off to an ambulance that was already parked at the harbor.

We stood on the dock watching the smoke billow through the blue sky. Disbelief, grief, fear, an amazement at the sight in front of us. Like others in view of the NY skyline, we took it for granted. We chatted on when were last at the center, dinner, sightseeing, etc. As we stood there speculating on what was going on, a giant mass of smoke/cloud rose and obscured our view of the towers burning. It was the first tower falling, though we did not know it at the time.

Not knowing what to do, we just fell silent. I had a conference call so I walked home. But all circuits were busy and I could not log in to my work server to send email. I was on the school board so I went back to the elementary school to see if there was anything I could do there. We had a quick meeting to decide what to say to the students and to decide whether to close the school. Already, the sounds of sirens of fire trucks, ambulances, and police were non-stop through our little town.

Frantic parents began to arrive at the school. Several volunteers, including myself, were put into service to quietly and calmly retrieve children from their classrooms. I will never forget our 4th grade teacher whose husband worked in the trade center. He did survive but she did not know that until several hours into the afternoon. But she insisted on staying in the classroom, teaching. Each time I opened her door to retrieve a child from her dlassroom, she looked over, with raw emotion in her eyes. I did not have any news for her. About 1/3 of the parents chose to pick up their children.

When it quieted down, I walked back down to the harbor to see if I could help. The ferry to Atlantic Highlands was one of the few escape routes and on the TV we watched in the school we could see hordes of people flocking to Pier 11. Hazmat trailers and tents were set up in the harbor parking lot. I left my name as someone who could offer a house, a shower, food, a ride home to any place in NJ(many people who got on the ferry had no idea where they were going and did not live close to us), etc.

By early evening it was eerily quiet, and the traces of the bright, clear day were overcome with the haze traveling across the water. The ambulances and fire trucks returned to their towns; it was obvious that they were not going to be needed for the injured. Neighbors gathered on porches to learn who knew if so and so was safe, etc. All the while, an aroma wafted through the air. An aroma like I've never smelled before, and thankfully, have never smelled since. God Bless Us All.

Posted by: Atlantic Highlands, NJ | September 11, 2006 6:08 PM

I have many indelible memories of that day, but I'll share one that still brings tears to my eyes.

My brother, an emergency doc in a town 30 miles West of NYC, wrote an e-mail that day saying he and his medical teams were ready and waiting to accept the injured. Waiting for buses, and cars, and trains filled with the injured. They waited, and waited, and waited. No one came -- until the commuters started to come home to their communities to begin the long process of mourning the loss of their neighbors and moving on.

Posted by: CA Mom | September 11, 2006 6:39 PM

My story

Five years ago, my husband and I bought our first house and were set to move there in early October. My husband started Law School at the beginning of September, 2001. Over Labor Day, my sister-in-law got married. Things were looking up.

On September 11, I was on my way to work at about 9:30. I hadn't watched TV or listened to the radio that morning, so I was unaware that anything was happening up in NYC until I got to the metro-shuttle stop at my apartment. Normally, this is as quiet a group as you'll find on a metro. Everyone avoids eye contact and pretends that there isn't anyone there. Today, however, my fellow commuters were abuzz with the news that at least one plane, maybe two, had crashed into the World Trade Center. One plane would be crazy enough - and I would have thought it was a freak accident. But two?

I got on the shuttle, where the driver had the radio on. I sat in the seat right behind the driver. We got onto 395 at the Seminary Rd exit, and headed north toward DC. We had just reached the South Glebe exit, when I saw a black cloud of smoke rising way into the air, in the direction of DC. No noise - just a plume of smoke. A local radio announcer broke into the broadcast, and said that it seemed that perhaps there was a car crash just before the 14th street bridge, but they weren't sure. I leaned up to the driver and said "That's not a car accident. We should turn around." Moments later, the announcer came on again and said that something had crashed into the Pentagon, maybe a bomb. People on the bus started to cry and frantically dial their cell phones. I yelled at the driver to turn around, and he started to exit. One man said he wanted to go to work - I told him we weren't going to work today.

It felt like a terrible dream. I didn't cry then even though it was the scariest moment of my life. I really thought "this is it - someone has declared war on us and there's no way out." It was the only time I have ever felt that there was a real possibility that I might die.

I managed to get through to my husband - who was being evacuated from the Senate building & leaving the city. He had been in the Capitol all morning for a meeting.

When the shuttle got back to the apartment building, everyone, including me, got off the bus and full-out ran into their apartments. Who knew what would drop from that now legendary cloudless blue sky next? I turned on the TV when I got in there and watched the towers burning and the new footage of the burning Pentagon. The news said that the Pentagon, like New York, was hit by a plane. Several reporters related rumors that the National Mall was on fire and that the Washington Monument had been hit. The report came in that a plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. Some reporters said there was no information about how many other planes might be missing. I was worried I'd start seeing other cities going through what DC and NYC were going through.

I got through to my husband again and found out he was on 395 and was one of the last 5 cars out of the city before they closed the highway down.

After a few more minutes of numbly watching the news, there was a huge booming noise outside. I ran out of the apartment. Many of my neighbors were also running out of their apartments. One woman came up to me, crying, and said "we all have to get out of here! It's a war!" I don't remember what I said. There was a guy on a cell phone on the balcony above us saying "I think another bomb just hit..." After a few minutes, people trickled back inside. There was no news about any other explosions. Later, I figured that the noise must have been a sonic boom from fighter jets taking off.

Once my husband got home, we spent the rest of the day watching the news. At one point, we decided we should go and donate blood. The traffic getting to the red cross was awful, and we turned back. I don't think we really knew what to do. I don't remember if I slept much.

The next day, we both went to work. I knew I wouldn't get much done, but I also knew that sitting at home by myself wouldn't help. We drove up 395 past the still-burning and smoking Pentagon. A thick haze was in the air. It was the first time I drove into DC and did not see a single plane in the sky. I thought about how many years it must have been since DC airspace had no traffic at all. 60? 70 years?

A few days later, I got a knock on my door. It was the woman who had panicked when the fighter jets took off. She wanted to apologize for over-reacting. I said no apology necessary and that I was glad we were all safe.

I don't really remember much about the next weeks except that I was perpetually nervous. We considered not buying the house, but didn't know where else to go. Every day, I'd wake up and the reality of the situation would set in. I didn't think things would ever be the same. For a while, they weren't.

The next year brought the Anthrax attack, which hit us hard because my husband worked at the Hart Senate office building. He was in Daschle's office close to the time the powder was discovered. The office shut down for months and he had to take Cipro. We still occasionally get calls from the CDC to follow up and ask about any ill effects.

Fast forward to the sniper in October of 2002. The day after the sniper was caught, the senator my husband worked for, Wellstone of Minnesota, died in a plane crash along with his wife, daughter, three staffers, and two pilots. My husband knew all three staffers. I knew one of them as well.

Somehow, after that time period, normalcy has returned. I am grateful for it every day.

Posted by: Karen, Annandale VA | September 11, 2006 6:48 PM

I remember 9-11 vividly...I had just gotten to work at the Navy Annex across the street from the Pentagon. I had gotten there just as someone heard a plane hit the World Trade Center in NYC. I thought that was really strange and scary. I sat down at a computer to start working on a briefing, when the second plane hit. Then I knew something was really wrong, I could not concentrate on my work, I even started to cry. I kept staring out the window towards the Pentagon. I turned to my co-worker and said to her, "You know something like that could happen here to, we have three airports near here!" Just then we heard the roar of what sounded like screaming jet engines over head, I looked out the window for a split second, just in time to see a shadow of what appeared to be a plane roaring over head really low and then I heard a huge boom, the Navy Annex building shook and the windows rattled! A huge plume of black smoke was rising out of the Pentagon. I ran out of my office scared beyond belief! I ran down two flights of stairs and just as I got to the ground floor, the alarms in the Navy Annex went off! People were running, crying and screaming everywhere! As I got outside through the front doors and started running as fast as I could to my house, some people were jumping over the stone wall into Arlington Cemetery, as if to take cover. Someone screamed that another plane was on it's way, to hit another building. It was like a scene out of a movie! I ran to my townhouse which was only two blocks away. I turned on my TV and could not believe what was happening! I broke down in my living room and just cried. Then my phone started to ring. Members of my family were calling me to see if I was ok, most of them thought that I still worked inside the Pentagon, but I assured them that I was okay and that we had moved up to the Navy Annex, because our office area in the Pentagon was being renovated. I went outside with my cordless phone to see what else was in the sky, because I thought I heard fighter jets. I was right! People from Henderson Hall and the Navy Annex were starting to gather in my front yard. Many of them asked to use my phone since it was a cordless and not a cell phone. Nobody's cell phone was getting through. I noticed many people from my office out in the street just standing there as if they were lost. No one could get home, traffic was jammed, no one was going anywhere! So, I went over and invited them into my house. I must of invited 50 different people into my place that day, so they could use my phone and watch my TV. Some came and went, some just stared at the TV for hours. It was very surreal. Some wanted to go home so badly, that they just started walking, some of these anxious people lived up in Maryland! They were very determined to get home though.
September 11th 2001 was very painful for me. My mother was killed in a car accident in 1997 and that day devastated me! September 11th was like my Mom being killed all over again, because I knew some people were going through the same kind of heart ache that I went through from losing a loved one. My Mom's death was certainly the hardest thing that I have ever had to endure and deal with. September 11th follows very closely behind.

Posted by: Billie Bryant | September 11, 2006 7:10 PM

I was a senior in highschool, in a rural town of South Georgia. I remember it was my second class of the day, AP English. Soon after everyone had taken their seats, the teacher turned on the television and we watched the news for the rest of the day.

Typically I am covered sadness when I really think about the events and all of the people, even those who carried out the tragedies. But back then, I was simply a teenager, apathetic about many things in life.

I just hope that from all of this people have learned to love and forgive. Life happens and after the stage is set, it is what we make of it.
I'm sorry for all who lost loved ones. I was fortunate not to have lost anyone, but at the same time, unfortunate to not have known all the people who died that day.

Posted by: Lisa | September 11, 2006 7:25 PM

>>>I lived in Flagstaff for two years before coming back to DC.>>>

Eeek! Sorry. I lived in Flagstaff, AZ too. It was horrible. DC is much, much better! I like DC, but my favorite place to live is Raleigh, NC. I loved it there.

Posted by: not a lumberjack | September 11, 2006 7:30 PM

Five years ago, on a perfect Fall morning, I went to work in a high rise building in the Financial District of Boston. As word came that two commercial airliners, originating in Boston, had crashed into the World Trade Center, we started to worry that there might be more suicide bombers and that Boston's Financial Center might be the next target. About 11 a.m. the loudspeaker came on and ordered us to evacuate our building immediately, The streets were filled with silent folk headed to the train stations. The gates at the stations were opened and the trains were lined up waiting to evacuate all comers. As the train crossed the Longfellow Bridge, all eyes in the crowded car turned to look at the sky over the city.

In the following days everyone in the City was walking around in a daze.

On my way home from work today I passed St. Anthony's chapel. There were banners on either side of the door listing victims of 9/11, they were tolling a bell, I saw a folded American flag and a bouquet of flowers and I started to cry.

Posted by: Mary Allen | September 11, 2006 7:54 PM

I didn't have class on Tuesday and for some reason I got up early that day, a little before 9 was early for me. I went down stairs and my mom had on the radio and they said a plane crashed into the WTC. I thought it was a joke. It wasn't the news station I was listening too. I turned on KYW (Philadelphia) and they said the same thing. That's when I turned on the TV to see what was going on. Next thing you know, the 2nd plane hit.

I started to call my friends and tell them not to go to class and to turn on the TV. Then, the tower fell. I don't remember what I said, probably oh my God. I then remembered I had a friend in NY who lived around the corner from the WTC. She said she was fine and they were evacuating her dorm and she was headed to Brooklyn or the Bronx but she wasn't sure how. I didn't hear from her again until 9 that night.
In between that time I prayed and cried. I was scared to leave the house that day and didn't go to school the next. Everyone was accounted for, friends and family in NY and DC.

I've seen the pictures of the burning buildings my friend took from her dorm on the 16th floor makes the event come alive even more. She thought it was just another loud construction day in NY. Who would have thought the building would be filled with soot up to the 2nd floor for weeks, you'd still be wearing masks well after the attacks, get you first sinus infection a year later months after you'd moved out of Manhattan and the roar of planes would make you quiver, possibly cry.

May God Bless Us All.

Posted by: Iluv2read | September 11, 2006 7:57 PM

Saturday, September 15, 2001 was an absolutely gorgeous day. My 2 children were on a western Howard County soccer league and were scheduled to play that day. While still severely shaken from the events of 9/11, my husband and I decided that we should try to live as normally as possible.

The soccer fields are surrounded by farmland. A moment or two of silence in memory of the victims was held at the start of each game. It was with heavy hearts that we watched our children playing a game during a time of such lunacy. As the game progressed,we heard the sounds of the children running, the ball being kicked, other children on the sidelines playing and laughing. The skies were a vivid blue with some white clouds, but no exhaust trail or noise from planes since none were in the air. A sense of hope for the future that life could be good again and that the despair would not stay with us forever came over me.

Amazing that a simple child's game on a beautiful September day would be the start of the healing process for my family.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 8:35 PM

I was watching the Today Show and just shocked when the first plane hit the Tower. My first thought was I hate those stupid little planes... they are always the ones that crash! Then the second plane hit. And I was horrified. I just stood there horrified.

We live on the flight path (for the helicopters) to Camp David and shortly after a huge chopped flew over heading out there (maybe with the key leaders from Wash??). And for a number of days afterwards these huge choppers were flying right over my house, in West Bethesda (MD), going up and back to Camp David. Then I got to watch the fighter jets circling overhead.

Posted by: Bethesda | September 11, 2006 9:39 PM

i knew where Cheney went post 9/11, he wasn't lost, just in hiding.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 9:42 PM

One memory comes to mind, the same memory that haunts me at every 9/11 anniversary. I'm existing the corridor 4 elevator, 4th floor E-ring about 10 minutes prior to the attack. I say hello to Allen as he gets on the elevator destined for the 1st floor, probably enroute to his usual smoke break. Little did he know that it was his last. I also remember his wife, Rhonda, standing with us outside Pentagon Row during the aftermath. She was seven months pregnant and crying because she fears the worst about Allen. I couldn't tell her where I last saw him. Rhonda, I hope you and your children have been able to find peace.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2006 10:40 PM

At one point, we decided we should go and donate blood.

Posted by: Karen, Annandale VA | September 11, 2006 06:48 PM


I had forgotten this until I read that from Karen. My wife and I sat at home that afternoon and watched the news. Around 5:00, we decided to go and donate blood. We knew that there would be a real shortage. So we went to the American Red Cross in Columbia. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and got to Columbia just before 6:00 PM. The parking lot was packed and there were people everywhere. We got in line and signed in. There was an air of somberness about the place, but everyone was commiserating and helping each other get through the emotionally wringing day. At 10:00 PM, they started going around and telling people that they would not be able to take their donations. There were probably close to a hundred of us sent home without donating and they had been going like gangbusters all day. They had several nurses and physicians who showed up and volunteered to help so that they had extra hands. They used every chair and bed in the place full out until they closed.

I came back on Saturday to donate and found out that they sent folks home starting around 10:00. The place did not close until close to 12:30 AM that day and they were open 12-14 hours daily all that week.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 12, 2006 12:57 AM

DadWannaBe, we had a similar experience. Wanting to help in some way, my husband, brother-in-law, and his girlfriend headed to the Red Cross in Silver Spring in the afternoon to donate, but got turned away.

Posted by: niner | September 12, 2006 4:35 AM

I had returned from work and was watching CNN which showed buring twin towers. I thought they were shwoing a clip of Hollywood movie. But when I switched other channels, all showed the same pictures.
I was sad, very sad. We all, my family and friends, love America very much. Our thoughts instantly diverted to the families who must have lost their dear ones. However, even after five years and so many attacks of terrorism, I can't understand American people nor their government's policies. On one hand they strive to capture dictators (e.g. Saddam Hussain) to establish democracy and on the other they arm dictators (e.g. Pervez Mussaraf) who do nothing but spread terror. Can anyone explain this?

Posted by: Pratik Panchal, India | September 12, 2006 5:05 AM

Americans don't like what our current government is doing either. Most of us are upset with the Bush administration and the things they have been doing over the past few years. Remember, Bush didn't win the largest number of votes in the last election, he won based on the size of the states that voted for him. Now his approval rating is at an all time low. Americans want the death and destruction to stop too.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2006 7:34 AM

"It's because of people like you that people like us think as we do."

So pittypat, it's because of people like me who want our nation defended that make people like you feel (doesn't rise to the level of "think") that your sympathies should not be with your fellow Americans?

If you had the courage of your convictions, you'd leave these shores.

Posted by: Rufus | September 12, 2006 8:30 AM

Pratik, Mussaraf is an a$$-clown. The fact is, U.S. Presidents have a history of jumping from bed-to-bed with these dictators, in the misguided belief that we can befriend them on their way up and contain the damage they will eventually do.

This is most likely a general issue of presidential arrogance. They all think that their State department is the be-all end-all of historical diplomacy.

Sort-of an unfortunate by-product of our democracy. Citizens ingenuity and work-ethic build huge corporations and an upper-class that further self-select into a ruling class of politicians that somehow believe they are super-human. This is the scary part of capitalist democracy that we truly haven't figured out yet.....

We know it's not perfect, but we will vigorously defend it against all threats, as we should.

Posted by: To Pratik | September 12, 2006 9:00 AM

Is there some rational reason for running out in the middle of things to "get the children?" Irrationally I suppose people, what, wanted to die together if the world was ending? But rationally, leaving the kids in school, not adding to or suffering from gridlock that would prevent rescue efforts if needed, and waiting things out seems a better idea. Did schools close? Other than major government buildings that were targets shutting down, did everyone have to run around like nuts? and are we anywhere close to having a rational city-wide plan in Washington for these events? If all we are doing is relying on every mad/woman for him/herself and family, we are going to be in a very messy situation if we actually have a major/spreading catastrophe in the future.

Posted by: Never Understood | September 12, 2006 9:27 AM

"me and my husband are educated and made well above 130,000 a year."

Your point is better stated when you use proper grammar: "My husband and I are educated..."

Posted by: To ? | September 12, 2006 10:18 AM

Never Understood, I understood that day that most people are deeply afraid and irrational. I didn't flee my office 10 minutes after the second tower fell like most people did. I waited until the traffic cleared out and was home in LESS time than usual. Ok, I don't have kids, and I can see that, with limited communication, parents felt the need to get to their kids and take them home rather than wait and pretend that things were normal. Would you have wanted your child to be the only one left in a classroom, with a teacher who also desperately wanted to leave the schoool?

DC could have the best plan imaginable, and still people will panic and do whatever they want if another attack happens. That's the way they are.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2006 10:20 AM

I was at home and my husband had just left for work. We'd had a spat that morning and when I saw on caller ID that he was calling from his cell, I thought it was to apologize. He told me to turn on the TV...

I went into work that day. The vice president was former Army and had been stationed at the Pentagon ... you would think that would make him understanding, but he dealt with his worry by being a total hard-a$$ that day. It was a big reason that I eventually quit.

Little things I remember: Rumors of car bombings all around DC. Rumors of miraculous survivors from the WTC. Shep Smith from Fox News interviewing a preteen girl whose mom was on the 90-somethingth floor - and trying to console her during the interview, because you could tell she knew in her heart of hearts that her mom was dead. The candlelight vigils every few blocks. Giuliani's speeches ... Bush's speeches ... Congressmen singing "God Bless America" ... and even Howard Stern taking up a collection for the victims.

That night, my husband and I went out to our favorite local bar - we had at one time been regulars, but hadn't been there for a while. EVERYONE was there, sitting in silence, watching TV and the president's address.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2006 10:38 AM

To Never Understood--I understand your position, but when you hear calamitous news and you suspect that there may be more bad news in the near future, you want your family together in case you have to evacuate the area. Supposed that an hour or two after the Pentagon attack, you were told to leave the area. If you were downtown, trying to get out to the suburbs to get your children before being able the flee the area, you might not be able to make it and then would be separated. As a parent, you weigh the various costs and when you hear news like 9/11, your first instinct is to collect your family together so that you can react to any further news/alerts as best you can. One of the parents needs to collect the children who really have no means to evacuate on their own.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 12, 2006 11:37 AM

My husband and I had just landed at Seattle-Tacoma Airport after a midnight flight from Anchorage. We had just finished a second honeymoon cruise to Alaska and our 2 1/2 year old daughter was with friends back in Alexandria. Someone in the waiting area said that a plane had hit the tower. We then sat in a bar area watching TV and saw the Pentagon. I never wanted to be home more in my life.

Long story short, we were stranded in Seattle until we got fed up. On Thursday, 9/13, we rented a car and a 1:30 PM started driving across the country. We arrived back in Alexandria at 3:30 AM on Sunday morning after waking up in St. Cloud, MN on Saturday morning. Along the way, we met people in hotels and restaurants and gas stations and talked about what had happened. And when they heard we were from the DC area, they offered us help and prayers.

Meanwhile, our friends in Alexandria rallied to take care of our little girl. We never knew where she was each evening until we called because so many people offered to help her. She LOVED it but was so glad to see us home. I can never repay those friends for what they did. And that's what I remember most about that day - friends coming together to help each other out.

Posted by: Mom in Alexandria | September 12, 2006 12:09 PM

"me and my husband are educated and made well above 130,000 a year."

Your point is better stated when you use proper grammar: "My husband and I are educated..."

get a grip it's just a blog and I don't have to state my point I am living it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2006 6:11 PM

I worked in DC and lived in Southern Alexandria, but after working on the Monday, I was taking the rest of the week off before the "use or lose" deadline for leave at the end of the month. I woke up pretty late for me that Tuesday morning at about 945 and turned on the TV. It was then that I saw the news coverage about the first WTC tower being hit. Minutes later, the second plane hit the tower. I tried to call the office and got through. I was told to stay at home. Then the third plane hit the Pentagon.

I felt the need to do SOMETHING, so I started to bake cookies. I spent the rest of the day being comforted by eating warm cookies and watching CNN.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | September 15, 2006 9:01 AM

Early that morning (about 8 or 8:15 am) my boss had come to my office to discuss some new business stuff. I was in a "growl" mood and made no effort to conceal it

About 9 or 9:30 my conscience was getting loud...I walked out of my office to go down stairs and apologize to my boss for my rudeness. I met folks on the elevator who told me about the WTC attacks (I was clueless up to this point). When I got to my boss's office everyone in my department was crowded around a little TV watching the coverage of the attacks. When we couldn't take any more we turned off the TV and went back to our desks. My boss gave me a few moments of her private time and I apologized for being so short with her earlier. I was stressed out by a call from my OB/GYN the day before that our ultrasound showed that our new baby was very strongly showing signs of having Down syndrome. I knew my stress was no excuse for being rude but my boss very graciously accepted my apology and became one of the first of several very supportive co-workers during that time.

What I learned about our baby the day before rocked my world...what happened on 9/11 rocked the whole world.

Posted by: Heather T. | September 18, 2006 1:41 PM

I had just moved in to a new condo and I had a new cat. My telephone and cable were not working. I dropped my cat off at the vet and attempted to go to the Metro but both the Metro parking lot and the park-and-ride lot were completely full. I drove around aimlessly looking for a place to park as I listened to the radio.

The news of the first crash came over the radio and my first thought was, If it is a cloudy day in NY then it was an accident or perhaps a suicide. If it is a cloudless day then it is terrorism.

I drove over to the mall and tried to call my job and let them know I would not be coming in to work. I made four calls and no one answered. My job is located in down town DC. At this point my gut told me something was very wrong.

I wandered over to the televison department in Sears and saw dozens of people standing around the televisions wit their mouths hanging open in shock. Then I saw one of the twin towers burning. It was a really shocking visual - to see dozens of large size televisions filled with images of the tower. I remembered being at the top when I was a child and I leaned against the glass and looked straight down - my Mom grabbed me and told me that was dangerous.

I kept thinking to myself: where are the helicopters to save these people from the top of the building? What is happening inside? What is happening on the ground?

Then I watched a plane make its way across the screen and I thought perhaps it was some type of military rescue plane or TV plane. When it smashed in to the second tower my knees buckled and I got so weak I had to sit on the floor. It was terrorism for sure. And then news came of the Pentagon and even a "bomb at the State Department". Our country was under attack and it didn't take a genius to know who was responsible. I remembered the USS Cole and the previous World Trade Center bombing.

At this point I ran to a pay phone to call my parents and let them know I was OK. They thought I was at work in DC and were relieved to hear I did not go.

At the end of that awful day I went to pick my cat up from the vet. The man was from Pakistan and he told me it was the fault of the US that this happened - that our policies towards the Middle East caused this. I was furious and sickened by his comments and never returned to that vet.

The next day I dragged myself to work only to find that noone else had bothered to show up. The streets were nearly empty except for the occasional Humvee sitting on the cornor. People would buy the soldiers sitting there coffee and donuts and pass them through the windows. I spent the rest of that day reading the news on the Internet. It was so sureal and depressing...I still get nervous when I see planes land at the National airport.

It took me four days to call my friends in NYC as the phone lines were always busy.

I still cry every single time I read and or hear about 9/11. It is a day I will never forget.

Posted by: Kristi | September 19, 2006 10:42 AM

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