9-11 Six Years Later

I don't often talk about personal things in this space and definitely work to stay away from politics… this morning I've been listening to my friend and fellow agitator Michael Graham and decided to make an exception. If you're looking for information on technology, dotproject, PHP, etc, tomorrow will be back on topic.

On the morning of 9-11-2001, I had lived in Arlington, VA for about two months and although I was working with the Library of Congress, my office was in Arlington. I got in about 8am las usual did and started to prepare for our meeting at the Library later than morning. My team leader was already on site.

I was buried under my work and didn't have tv, radio, etc on anywhere nearby… at a few minutes after 9am, my phone rang with my boss – a retired Army Drill Sergeant – and I asked when we were leaving. HIs response was along the lines of "Are you living in a f**ing cave!? We're at war!" I tried to pull up a few news sites, nothing. I found a quick blurb with the Times of India and didn't believe it.

The executive offices were a ghost town. I finally managed to find everyone in a conference room silently glued to the television. I don't know how long I was standing there staring watching the smoke rise and the people jump… But all hell broke loose when reports from the Pentagon started coming in. And then other places. And then other places. At one point, we were told that the State Department was hit by a carbomb, that the Capital had been hit by something, and that there were still planes in the air. Some time during that, the CEO's driver checked in and told us about watching the plane hit the Pentagon while driving across one of the bridges. Our building and the entire complex went into complete lockdown. No one in or out without showing ID to the heavily armed guards that appeared out of nowhere…

As the day went on, I listened to the execs – including a USN Rear Admiral and a former Top Gun instructor – and my boss and caught details and information of what was likely happening behind the scenes and watching the Combat Air Patrols circling the area. As employees got out of DC, we received corrections and updates to what had/hadn't happened. None of the local hospitals were accepting volunteers despite my CPR certification and recently-expired pharmacy technician license. But it's hard to blame them, everything was a mess.

By 3pm, I finally went home. I had managed to connect with friends and family outside of DC to check in, but communications were still a mess. The guards – I now recognized some of them as US Marshalls – eyed me as I walked among the buildings toward the Metro, but other than Arlington was oddly quiet. I spent the rest of the day – and into the next morning – glued to the tv and watching smoke rise from the Pentagon.

God Bless.