As a young child, I would listen to stories from my parents and was often amazed at how they could recall exactly where they were when they heard about Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy’s death. I never thought that I would have one of those indelible imprints made in my mind but it was 6 years ago.
Hubby and I had only been married 3 months and we both commuted to DC via the subway system. He left earlier than I did as I had a tendency for being late. My parents were still living in NJ and I remember receiving a phone call from my Dad as I was parking my car at a satellite parking lot to catch a bus to the Metro station and from his job at Earle Naval Base he had just seen the first plane hit the WTC tower and while talking to him, the second plane hit. It never occurred to me to not go to work even though Dad thought it was something besides a freak aviation accident. I continued to make my way into DC and by the time I arrived at work, the 3rd plane had hit the Pentagon.
If you have ever been to DC, it is a noisy place. It was eerily quiet on this day and my normal routine of stopping at Starbuck’s for coffee felt strange and out of place. I finally arrived at my office and there were several messages from my hubby. I didn’t realize that during my commute, most cell phones systems became overloaded and calls weren’t getting through. After briefly looking at the office tv trying to get heads or tails, I called him and being that he works for the federal government, they were discussing plans of where they would have to go and the like and then it hit me that this was way more serious than many had believed or hoped. My boss and I had meetings on Capitol Hill that were now cancelled and here is my hubby telling me to go home. I reached my mom and she was very concerned, I felt she was being overly concerned and she echoed my hubby about going home.
My office mates looked confused and dazed and my boss didn’t know what to do so I told him that I was leaving. I grabbed my coffee and told everyone to be safe and made my way back to the Metro to journey home. The scene was chaos as everyone was trying to get out of DC. There was much pushing, shoving, and anxiety as everyone wanted to be on the first train out of the confusion. Our train system is color coded so there are 2 trains that I can take to a certain point but then I must transfer to the train that will take me to my car and the suburbs. I took the first train that I could get on and jammed in like a sardine with all of the others trying to escape. At our transfer point, a train backfired and that was the last noise that anyone would want to hear in an underground tunnel after the morning events. Panic took over and I just prayed. The reality of being stampeded was never so real in my life and the Metro personnel did a great job of trying to get everyone under control and calm.
I did finally make it home and my hubby was actually already there and we just hugged realizing that things could have been different. It was a day that I will never forget and my prayers continue to go forth for those that lost their lives and for the families that have forever been altered.