As I pass the Pentagon this morning, I think back to an ordinary day five years ago. It was a Tuesday. I arrived to work at 7:30. All was quiet, not many people come in that early. I got up from my desk and Sheila said take a look at this! She was reading a news website that was showing a picture of Tower I on fire. I said “Is that for real? Let’s go to a TV and check it out”. We walked around the bend to a co-workers desk and turned on the TV and were mesmerized by what we saw. As more people came in, we all just stood.. hovered around that TV staring and watching the events unfold.
When the plane hit the Pentagon, that’s when it took an even closer, more personal turn. My phone started ringing off the hook. Are you okay? Is Paul okay? Family and friends called in to check and see where we were. Had we made it to work? Most people know that the subway here runs underneath the Pentagon and they were worried. Even though I had not heard from Paul yet, I knew he was okay. He was working at the White House at the time and I thought there could be no safer place. Then I heard it on the news… reports saying that the plane that hit the Pentagon was probably intended to hit the White House. I was stunned. I immediately counted my blessings and let out some tears when Paul called from out on the street around the White House where they had been evacuated. I made more calls then giving the all clear.
More co-workers arrived, everyone just stood. We all just stood in silence, in awe. We saw Tower 2 get hit and then we saw the Towers fall. We knew then that this day could never and would never be erased from our minds.
I got a ride home from a co-worker. The subway was shutdown... traffic was gridlock – everyone was trying to get home to their loved ones – simply to hold them and be thankful to be alive. I waited … Paul continued to work. The President came on that night… I waited…. I knew Paul was okay… and yet, I waited….. and when he came home, we hugged.