Just After 9 am...
Just after 9 am a co-worker came to my cubicle and said that she knew I could listen to the radio on my pc and could or did I hear anything about a plane flying into the World Trade Center in New York? I told her that I only listened to WETA (which is a PBS station playing classical music) and I didn't think they would have anything until their news hour. How wrong I was- within minutes of her request the only thing on that station was news of the attack.
Soon I called my husband on the other side of the NIH campus to see if he had heard. About twenty minutes later he called back and said they've reported smoke at the State Dept.'s building and we were going home NOW! (we carpooled together) My husband got caught in the traffic fleeing the rioting in DC after MLK's assassination and I knew he didn't want any repeat of that. I told my supervisor I was leaving and I left and picked up my husband. We discussed whether we should stop on the way home to pick up our daughter from Gaithersburg Middle School. We decided she might be safer there and decided to wait. We got home just in time to see the North tower collapse. Shortly after that Montgomery County schools started sending kids home so we went and picked our daughter up. She knew what was going on because unlike most elementary school principals and many middle school ones her principal had told the students about the attacks. Our daughter is and was a very perceptive person and she said she was glad they were told because she had seen parents picking up their children and she knew that meant something bad was happening.
We live within 2 miles of the Montgomery County Airpark which is just outside of the no fly zone that was setup around DC. All the rest of the day the F-16's were circling overhead. And many times over the next year we would hear two of them escorting a plane that had flown into the no-fly zone to the Airpark. Every time it happened my daughter would be scared.
It seemed to me that everyone here in the DC area knew someone at the Pentagon or someone killed or was near by the Twin Towers in NYC. I went for a walk in our neighborhood that afternoon and ran into the neighbor that had been my daughter's teacher for grades K-2. Her son missed being killed at the Pentagon by about 100 yards and she had finally just heard from him because cell phone service was jammed. The father of one of my daughter's soccer teammates was in the lobby of the Marriott at the trade center when the first plane hit. Luckily they evacuated the hotel as that building was destroyed when the North Tower fell. And I heard other stories from co-workers and friends about people they knew in New York who saw it all happen. As I said, it seems we all knew someone who was there.