September 11 Digital Archive

lc_story233.xml

Title

lc_story233.xml

Source

born-digital

Media Type

story

Created by Author

yes

Described by Author

no

Date Entered

2004-01-10

LC Story: Story

NO ORDINARY TUESDAY

For years to come we will play the game, Where were you when . . .

Where were you when the planes hit?

written on it. All the details of that day. You pull Its strange what you remember. The tragic events of that day have been burned into our minds. You remember everything about that day. Now I have a reference. I have that file card in your head with all the details on it, I look at it and say, I remember where I was, and who I was with and what I was doing.

I remember that day.

Every thought, sight and smell. I remember crying in the kitchen while my son watched cartoons. I was so worried that he would see me, and force me to explain what was happening.

I remember frantic calls to my wife. The fear in her voice. Her asking me about explosions in the city, The Capitol, the State Department. News reports told of explosions around the city. She said that she had actually heard the plane crash into The Pentagon. Her building was being evacuated. Thousands of people forced into the streets. She did not have her cell phone. And then nothing. No contact at all with her for five hours.

I remember calling my old partner, asking him what he knew, asking him what I should do about my wife. I remember the catch in his voice. The hesitation, that told me all I needed to know. She should leave now. Leave the city as quickly as possible. Get her out of there.

I watched it live, then the replay over and over again. My son sat upstairs glued to his PBS shows while I watched in horror the deaths of thousands of people on live TV.

The calls started. Concerned friends and family reaching out. Looking for something, anything to hope them, cope. Are you all right? Wheres Renee? Have you talked to her? The point came when I refused to talk to them. I have to keep the line open, I told them. No calls, no questions. Let me deal with this, let me find her.

My son sat content. Food and drink were brought to him. I didnt want him to move, for fear of him seeing the video footage, asking questions why his father was crying.

After awhile work called. All officers were being called into duty. Being direct and to the point I told them that when my wife got home safe, I would come to work.

Time dragged on. More phone calls from concerned friends and family members. And still no word from my wife.

I turned on my police radio monitored the calls, the confusion and the fear. Calls for street closures, closure of the monuments, medi-vacs and increased patrols.

Finally, my wife called. She was on a bus. She had taken the Metro from work to The Pentagon. She remained calm, though I knew she was scared. She explained to me that she had borrowed a phone from a woman on the bus. She was being taken to another Metro station. She would be home soon.

I started to make my phone calls to family. I had heard from Renee, she was on her way home. I would keep them posted.

I prepared Benjamin for the trip to the Metro station to meet his mother. The call from her to come pick her up came two hours later. She wanted to take a taxi home. I told her to wait there. We made the drive in ten minutes.

Seeing her, standing at the curb, safe and home at last, all worry and fear from this day left me. All the fears were pushed back somewhere else in my mind. I left the car and reached out to her. We hugged, kissed and cried. We held each other, safe and in love. I was afraid to let go of her. I held on to her, and still do.

Once inside the car and heading home I explained that I was called into work. I had to go. She said that she understood.

At home, before I left, I hugged and kissed my son. I told him that I loved him very much. I kissed and hugged my wife. I told her that I loved her very much. She told me to be safe. I promised that I would. She made me promise to call her. I promised that I would.

The drive into work was surreal. No sound. No people on the streets, businesses closed and no airplanes. I looked toward the direction of The Pentagon and saw the smoke rising. Still on fire, a thick burning smell filled the air and covered the city.

I made to the office in record time. I picked up an unmarked car and drove to our staging area, the Lincoln Memorial.

I remember parking with others on the west side of the memorial. No friendly banter, no jokes, just fear and worry. How bad will this get? We shared news reports and rumors that we had heard. There had been no explosions at The Capitol or State Department. But, we were told that a number of planes could not be accounted for. Still out there.

We were to establish a wide perimeter around the White House. Complete closure, authorized people only. But, as we stood by the Lincoln Memorial we realized that there were no barricades on the west side. Nothing to prevent a car or truck bomb from driving into the memorial. A number of us inquired about getting Tourmobile buses to block Memorial Bridge. It was taken under advisement.

I met my old partner in front of the White House, 1600 Penn. We spoke in hushed tones. We werent sharing secrets, it was out of respect. Groups of people had gathered. Some prayed outside the fence, some lit candles most of them were crying. Uniform Division officers walked or stood inside the White House fence line, automatic weapons at the ready.

We allowed the candles to remain on the sidewalk and fence.

A white female stood in front of the White House singing; well actually it was more like shouting a song. She sang of peace and loss of life. Tears on her cheeks, her entire body shook as she sang.

Distances away from her two men were shouting at each other. One spoke of war and revenge. The other spoke of America dissevering the attack.

The city was quiet, still. An occasional siren broke the air. People were walking, not driving.

After sunset I was sent to Du Pont Circle to monitor a peace rally. A group had placed signs and flags on a chain link fence around the fountain. Candles were lit around the fountain, and chalk messages written on the stone walkway.

Arguments could be heard between the peace protesters and others in the park. Shouts, even screams cut through the quiet.

After the rally had cleared out, a group of uniform officers joined me. I began to remove the signs and flags. The officers joined me. The candles were blown-out. A few of the peace demonstrators came back and asked for the signs. I told them it was abandon property; they could get the signs from the trashcans. Myself and some of the other officers kept the flags.

Off in the distance I could see that The Pentagon was still burning. The smell filled my head, and soaked into my clothes.

With all that had happened in the past 14 hours, Amercians will still debate and argue. They will still express their opinions. They will show fear, hate and sorrow. But, no matter what changes were to come, and no matter what would stay the same, Americans would still be free.

LC Story: Memory

LC Story: Affects

Citation

“lc_story233.xml,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed October 17, 2018, http://911digitalarchive.org/items/show/106.