Where were you today....eight years ago?
I was on a metro train in downtown Washington DC when my coworker stepped on board and said he'd seen the weirdest tv footage just as he was leaving the gym...a plane had crashed into the world trade center in New York.
We chatted with each other and quietly speculated on what may have happened. Metro riders eavesdropped on our conversation...wondering what was going on.
Then we walked into our office building about 4 blocks behind the White House and saw coworkers pulling the tv out of the closet to watch the news.
Some watched with stony silence, others cried quietly, my jaw dropped and I stared in disbelief as the second plane flew into the building.
"That is not an accident" whispered my friend.
We heard the sirens start on the streets....I rushed to the front window that overlooks McPherson Square and stared.
Bullhorns, repelling men in black, machine guns..."DO NOT CROSS THE BARRIERS. WE WILL SHOOT." Tourists in a panic...the Metro lines clogged.
Then we gasped at the black plumes rising up behind the White House. The Pentagon was hit. My coworker shrieked, "My husband works there." All of us knew someone who worked there.
Phone lines were tied up...nobody could get through. Some trying desperately to call New York and loved ones who worked in the Trade Center buildings. Others desperate to reach the Pentagon.
"We're leaving...come with us." Joe grabbed my arm.
Outside people were in a panic running for their cars. The roads were clogged...where were they going to go? We walked.
Fighter jets whizzed overhead and people screamed and dove for cover...wondering...is it another plane that will crash?
We walked quickly...cars lined the streets and all radios tuned to the stations blaring the news. We had gone only about 1/2 mile when the first tower fell. We stumbled along in the mass of people in shock...then the second tower fell...strangers hugged each other and wept...
WHO DID THIS?
We decided to go to my coworker's apartment that was near the capitol, but not the White House. Our educated guess was that it would be the safer of the two?
No phone lines were in service. I knew my family would be worried. There was nothing I could do.
That night I walked from the Capitol to my house in Alexandria, Virginia. There was an eery silence...no cars, bridges closed...it was unsettling and I was afraid.
For the first time in my life I felt afraid, truly afraid for my safety.
How do others live with that fear daily?
9/11 is not just a day I will never forget...it is a feeling that I will never forget.
God bless our soldiers fighting for our freedoms. Please bring them home safe and take care of our beautiful country.