Entertainment Magazine

9/11: a Memory

By Xoxoxoe
In the summer of 2001 I moved to Washington, D.C. from New York City. I got a job at the Smithsonian Institution, and an apartment in Adams Morgan. I settled into my new job and life.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was walking out of a doctor's appointment in downtown D.C., on K Street, when I noticed a lot of people standing, looking confused, holding their phones, looking around. As I walked down the street towards the bus stop to head into work I heard snippets of conversation, "Pentagon bombing," "Plane hijacked." What the hell was going on?
Cell phones didn't work. The Metro wasn't running. I walked into the lobby of the Capitol Hilton (there are hotels on almost every corner in D.C.), found a pay phone, and managed to get through to my boss at the Smithsonian. She at first said to go ahead and come on into work, and I wondered how exactly I was going to pull that off, but as we talked she got an email telling her to send all staff home — there had been an "attempt" on the Pentagon. I wished her and everyone down on the National Mall luck and went back out to 16th Street. There was nothing else to do but walk, and I walked home with hundreds of others, also stranded with no public transportation. The tension was palpable — what exactly was going on? There were whispers of New York being hit, too.
It was a beautiful, sunny day, but none of us on our pilgrimage really paid much attention to the weather as we periodically checked our phones — with no results. I reached home just in time to watch the Twin Towers fall on CNN. I spent the rest of the day frantically trying to reach loved ones still in New York, as they also tried to reach me. Phone lines finally began to work around 8 p.m. or so and we began to trade stories and sighs of relief. We were all glued to the tube for days after that, trying to take in the horror. For months after, the scorched walls of the Pentagon could be seen while I was driving in and out of the city. Part of me still can't believe 9/11 happened. I just pray that nothing of this horrible magnitude will ever happen again.

9/11: a memory

World Trade Center, photograph by Elizabeth Periale, c. 1991

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