Seven years ago today, I woke to a glorious September day full of sunshine and promise. I had just moved to Washington D.C. and was starting my second week at my new job, which I loved so far. Everything was falling into place-I had a great apartment with fabulous roommates, I had a new friend who moved from Boston to D.C. the same day I did, and this great job. I was ready and excited to start my new life in our nation's capital.
I got off the Metro and walked in that beautiful September sunshine to my office in downtown D.C., two blocks from the White House. I hadn't been there long when my friend from Senator Kennedy's office e-mailed me and said a plane just hit the World Trade Center. As I was trying to get on CNN's website and find out more information, I heard a blood-curdling scream from down the hall and then "OMG, the Pentagon has been hit." We rushed to a window and could see the flames and smoke from this massive building which was three miles away from where we were. After that, the TVs got turned on, the radios got turned on, the rumors started ("the State Department's being bombed," "the Metro's being bombed"). Nobody knew what was going on. All I can remember is the radio and TV announcers saying over and over "We are under attack. America is under attack." And all I could think is the city I am in right now is under attack. What do I do? I kept trying to call family members and friends but no phone calls were going through because everyone was trying to call someone. It wasn't too much later when someone ran down the hall screaming "Get out now...get out of downtown...a plane is headed for the White House." As soon as we heard that, we grabbed our stuff and rushed outside. There I was standing on K street and it was pandemonium. Cars were in a gridlock with everyone honking their horns, people were screaming and crying on the street. I came to work on the Metro and I didn't know how else to get back to Maryland but on the Metro which everyone was convinced was going to be bombed next. But not knowing what else to do, me and two of my co-workers hopped on the Red Line and held hands the whole way home. It was eerily silent on that train ride home...I think everyone was in shock or praying. I did make it to my apartment in Silver Spring in one piece that day. Unfortunately, not everyone did.
It's amazing to me that I can remember almost every detail of that morning in crystal clarity. It's almost as if time stood still for a while. I remember feeling fear like I never have before and it was very different from any fear I've ever felt. Knowing that what happens is out of your control, that external forces are invading the city you live in, sleep in, felt secure in and you don't know what they are going to do or what they are capable of, and that you honestly don't know if you are going to live through this day or not. It's a fear I hope I never have to live through again, I hope none of us do. We take for granted our security in this country and our freedom. Seven years later, 9/11 seems almost a distant memory. However, on 9/11/01 our country's security was violated and our sense of freedom was threatened...and it may very well happen again. This is why we must never forget.