Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven years ago today . . .

Where was I on 9/11?

I was working for an agency of the federal government in suburban Washington. Suddenly someone yelled, "Turn on the TV!" We watched in horror as the second plane crashed into the tower. By 9:15 AM, the place shut down and we were all sent home.

Because of long-standing security concerns, the facility was already walled off with cement barriers. The gates, meant to keep the bad guys out, now became frustrating bottlenecks. The exit process was grimly quiet and orderly, but we felt like sitting ducks. Getting out of that parking lot took forever.

The last person to learn of the attack was our friend and my husband's co-worker, David. He was still at home that morning, because he had to take his mother to the doctor. As usual, he had not turned on his old black-and-white TV.

The doctor's office called. "We're closing the building. You'll have to reschedule."

David assumed they must have had a water-main break. He puttered around all morning, finally leaving for work about noon. He turned on his car radio and heard ". . .worse than Pearl Harbor." That certainly sounded ominous, but he still hadn't a clue. When he reached the agency, he found all the gates closed but one.

The guard asked, "Are you essential personnel?"

"Heck, no," said David. "What's going on?"

The guard told him. David turned around and went home.


Eric S. said...

I can't imagine what it was like for you. The possibility of a fourth plane in that time before it crashed in the field in Pennsylvania, must have had you worried.

Your friend who did not know until getting to work, probably was more shocked than the rest of us.

Nancy said...

That was a day that will haunt all of us on different levels from now on.

happypitbull said...

That was such an awful day for everyone, but it sounds like it was really stressful for you, and much more personal.

I distinctly remember sitting at work, watching events unfold on television along with my coworkers. It was terrible to sit there so helplessly while the towers collapsed.