September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Story:I was in the Pentagon at 1A1056. I remember John (my boyfriend, now husband) called me at work and told me that two planes had hit the twin towers. I was not concerned, I told him that I was safe in the Pentagon. Who would have thought that we would be attacked?? No warning or anything. We heard someone in the hall yelling, I thought someone was having a fight/riot. There was a lot of running and yelling. A lady in our office went to the hallway to see what was going on. All of sudden she came back into the office and told us to get out immediately. She told us a lady screamed at her "to get the hell out of the building." I
didn't even grab my purse which I am not sure where it is - either locked in my cubicle or on the floor some place. When someone says to get out - I move. We got
to the concourse and it was sort of chaotic -people weren't really sure which way to go. We looked like a bunch of rats not knowing which way to go. People were shouting directions and no one knew who to believe. I went with the crowd through the Metro entrance - but down the stairs rather than the escalator. I was afraid to go to the Metro because I felt that if anything more happened, it would be the Metro system that would be attacked. I wanted to get out of the building and be in fresh air.
I remember walking down the stairs asking what happened. Some man told me a helicopter crashed into the building. I knew that was crazy, there was too much smoke and why would everyone be leaving the building for a helicopter crash????
As I got into the parking lot, I saw Mr. White, a man I worked with and collapsed in his arms, sobbing, and worrying about the people who had died. It reminded me of the bombing of OKC all over again. The smoke, the chaos, people wandering all over the place, not knowing where to go or what to do. From what I could tell the aircraft crashed near the entrance that faces Rosslyn. I walked to Crystal City to where I used to work Air Force Services (ILV) and used their phone to call my boyfriend :- ), my Mom, and Valerie(Daughter). I stayed there for awhile and watched the news and made calls to my Mom (who did not know what was going on) and my daugher, Valerie who went through this with me when we lived in OKC. Her words to me were to "get home!". We then learned that another plane was headed towards D.C. (the one that went down in PA). Mr. Myers (ILV) told everyone to close the doors to offices that had windows. I finally got a hold of John and he told me to take the Metro to Huntington, I refused. I asked him to pick me up at ILV. He consented, but it seemd forever before he got there. He told me he would be there at 11:00 and he was. He had to park his car and walk to me. When he got to me, we sat outside and I held him and comforted him.
We walked back to his car and then followed the one way street in Crystal City. People from National Airport were carrying their suitcases, totally looking lost and confused. I felt bad for them because I knew that some of them were foreigners and didn't have a clue as to what happened. Instead of trying to go straight back to John's condo at Huntington, we decided to stay in Crystal City and wait until the traffic dissipated. We walked around Crystal City Underground and saw two young women who had been in the Pentagon's court yard when the plane crashed. They were wandering around, they had smoke and dust all over their clothes, no money. I realize now that they were in shock. I hope they are o.k. We went to a Deli in Crystal City, I think I ate something, but am not sure now. By 1:00 p.m. the Deli had run out of everything to eat.
We decided to try to get back to John's condo. He has lived here all his life, so he knew a lot of back ways to avoid traffic. Meanwhile, I got a hold of my Mother, who was very upset. She had several voice messages from relatives asking if I were o.k. When my brother called her to ask if she had heard from me, she said "Would someone, please tell me what is going on?"
Needless to say, the traffic was gridlock. But, we finally got to John's, I was busy sending emails to people to tell them I was o.k. and trying to calm my nerves. This was deja vu of OKC all over again.
We decided to leave the area and go to my home in Woodbridge. I have a dog that would need my care. Route 1 was bumper to bumper, speed limit was probably 10 MPH. We saw a lady walking with a briefcase and sandels. She worked in D.C., a co-worker gave her a ride to Alexandria, then she got a taxi, who dropped heroff at the Alexandria limits, that's where we found her. I asked her if where she was going would she get there faster by walking or would she like a ride? She was going to the Old Hechinger's lot in Woodbridge. I asked her if she would like a ride? She was a bit hesitant, but got in anyway. People in the cars were cheering at her and us when we picked her up. (Isn't it a shame, that people fear their "neighbor" and are afraid to receive or ask for help? What has this world come to???) She said the only reason she got in was because of me. She said if it had been just one person (a man) she wouldn't have. I explained to her that I had been in the Pentagon and OKC and that we were harmless. We took her right to her van at the lot. I hope she is doing well today!
Anyway, we finally got home. I don't remember much more except John had me downstairs cleaning the basement, I guess he wanted to keep my busy and not worry.
I do remember watching a lot of t.v. and seeing the airplanes crash into the towers over and over again. Although, I was not glued to the t.v like i was after the OKC bombing. There, I felt hopeless and helpless. I feel that I was better able to deal with this catastrophe better because of OKC. Although I was too close for comfort in the incident.
I am very proud to say that my boss, Mr. Brasch placed me in charge of AFPCA/XR Contingency Support Cell a few days following the attack om the Pentagon. I provided the "big picture" on the status of IT support for offices displaced due to the attack on the Pentagon. I received a Letter of Commendation for my support and dedication.
Memory:The smell of the smoke when leaving the Pentagon. Breaking down (crying) when I turned around and saw the Pentagon in smoke. Thoughts of the people who were dead.
Affects:Personally - I will never be the same. I
still live in this area - I am cognizant of my surroundings. I feel that an attack will happen again right here.
I think about how this world was before 11 Sep - when I didn't know/realize that there are people out there that hate us some much. I think of Americans as helping, nurturing people and it bewilders me that there are people who don't want our help.....
I hope I was a comfort to people the days after 11 Sep. I remember talking to a man who said he worked in the area where they would be bringing the bodies. I also remeber talking to a man who was suppose to be on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, but his TDY orders had been changed. No reason why.....
God Bless America, I am proud to be an American ......