Community Magazine

Washington DC– 9/11/01…. I Was There.

By Lisaannjarrett @bpdblog

September 11th, 2001— I remember the day well.

At the time, I lived and worked in the Washington DC area. The day that began weird ended with many people, including me, drowning in a self-created pool of fear.

9/11 was literally on of the most BEAUTIFUL days I have ever experienced. The sun was out, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was in the early 70s. Just gorgeous.

That morning, when the planes hit the towers and the pentagon, I was at work. This was a bit strange in itself because at the time, I was working the night shift at my place of employment 90% of the time. I was out of my element. But things were just boring, busy, and unmemorable until…

8AM hit us (fellow employees and customers) with a bang– literally. This is when we started hearing about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers. My boss, who was not working that day, called us and confirmed it. My employees and I were stunned– but we tried to continue to move forward, but my boss called again about 20 or 30 minutes later saying that the other World Trade Center tower was hit.

We panicked.

Being at work and away from all media (remember– this is the time before smart phones and widespread wi-fi), we kept asking the few customers who kept coming in what was happening, and our efforts were only a little bit fruitful.

Then we heard that a plane slammed into the Pentagon. We were officially scared by then. Hell, we were only 20 minutes from the Pentagon…. what was going to happen next?

I remember grabbing my car keys. I had moved to DC only a month before, and I still had a TV in my trunk, and I grabbed it and brought it back in to the store. We plugged it in and got only a little reception on a channel that was speaking a language we didn’t understand, but we weren’t worried about that. The video that the channel kept showing was what our focus on. Over and over, the channel showed the Towers being hit. Shock filled the room and work more or less ceased. Fuck work…. who cares about being a slave to some shitty corporation when we were about to die, right?

Then a call came in from the manager again. He was saying that the chain store I was working at, which had stores all throughout the area, was thinking about closing all it’s stores within minutes, and that’s exactly what happened. The phone call from our district manager confirmed this. They told us to leave the money in the tills, the pastry in the case, and to not clean ANYTHING up. She told us to bring in the chairs and tables from outside as they were scared of looters trashing the place, then we were to go home to our families.

TWO HOURS AFTER THE FIRST PLANE HIT…. people were still banging on the fucking door, wanting their coffee. What the fuck was wrong with them? They got pissed when they tried to pull on the door and it didn’t open. The ignorance of some people after all that happened was incredible.

We left a little after 10AM. I went back to my apartment at first. My roommate was out of town, so it was just me. I remember going out on our balcony to smoke a few cigarettes and think about what the hell I was going to do. I remember sitting out there… it was quiet. There were NO sounds of airplanes passing above, there was still not a cloud in the sky. Nature tried to fool us and make us think nothing was wrong.

The phone, of course, didn’t work. When you picked it up, there was this weird buzzing noise, but no ring tone for obvious reasons. I was shut out from the rest of the world, lonely, and extremely worried about my safety. Fuck it. I had nothing to lose, so I got back in my car, lit up another cigarette and went driving to a friend’s house.

Traffic was horrible. There was a sea of cars on Virginia I-66 and they were barely moving. I did get my friend’s, but it took three times as long, once again, for understandable reasons.

Him and his two roommates were happy to see me. They were freaking out, too, but just being around another person felt really good, despite the fact I still felt like shit. We all literally thought the world was going to end. That was going to be it. Done. My one friend said that he wanted to fuck me because it would get his mind off our impending doom. I don’t even remember if we did it or not. I do remember watching the TV at their house. They barely got any reception, and it was more of the same: looping videos of the Towers getting hit, and then falling to the ground.

I really don’t remember what happened after that. I think my memory was clouded by alcohol and drugs by this point, but I cannot for sure that this was the case…. everything just seemed like a big blur after a certain point.


The Pentagon-related stories I heard for months afterwards were incredible:

  • On the Metro (subway) one day, a guy got on at the newly-opened Pentagon stop and I overheard him saying that he lost 5 of his best friends at the Pentagon on 9-11
  • I heard from other employees of the company I worked for who were located right by the Pentagon, and how they were racing back and forth with water and coffee and that they could see everything that was going on because of their location
  • A friend of mine who worked in Alexandria– not far from the Pentagon– had just passed the Pentagon on the beltway literally 5 minutes before the plane hit. By the time he got to work, everyone there was looking out of their windows to see what exactly was going on. He, at that time, had no idea what was going on, so when he was told, he was understandably floored.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog