September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document

Story:On 11 September 2001, I was standing near my desk talking to a co-worker in room 2D450, when the terrorist attack occurred on the Pentagon. I heard a loud explosion and all the electricity went out. I was hit on the top of the head, causing me to look up, and I could see daylight streaming in. I realized the roof was caving in on me. I thought I have to get my purse when suddenly thick black smoke mixed with white dust filled the room. The smoke was so thick; you could not see or breathe. Instantly fire came toward me from the E-ring. I grabbed my co-worker and ran away from the fire. I kept saying, It is so hot! The fire was so close it singed my hair. There was a toolbox and cable of wire in the middle of the floor of the 2D450 exit. I was running blindly when I tripped and fell over the toolbox. This fall helped me orient myself. I realized I had made a right turn toward the 2D450 exit. When I stood up, it felt cool and I knew this was the right way to escape. I still could not run because the cable had wrapped around my right ankle. I started shaking my leg, to release the cable, when my shoe fell off. I finally got free and continued through the exit door into the 4th corridor. The 4th corridor was still intact but there was broken glass all over the floor. I was afraid I would cut my foot, but I did not. It was then that I could see people scared, wet, dirty, and helping others to get out of the Pentagon. I followed the crowd to the center courtyard. I knew the center courtyard, which is called ground zero, was not the safest place to stay, so I went back into the Pentagon and exited through North Parking. Once outside I was looking for co-workers when someone yelled, another plane is coming, run! I ran and continued running across a wooden bridge down to the highway. A man passing by picked me up and drove me to olde town, Alexandria. There I was able to make phone calls to my family. A bystander saw I was in need of help. She gave me a pair of shoes and drove me to a catholic church where a priest gave me a blessing. She then drove me to a gas station where my nephew was able to pick me up to go home. When I arrived home, I discovered the portion of the Pentagon that I was standing in, had collapsed.

Life Changed:Yes!

I am on anti-depressants and sedatives.

Every night I have nightmares.

I used to be able to take care of everything and everyone now I can only concentrate on one thing at a time and that is a struggle.

Should be remembered:


I have more respect the American flag now.

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