I work about two blocks from the White House and across the street from the Old Executive Office Building. If either one of the planes that were aiming for DC had hit the White House ÖwellÖI really have no idea.
Oddly, none of this scared me at a personal level until later. The White House and the Executive Office building were evacuated about 10:00, about 10:30 they told everyone in my building that they could go home if they wanted to. I decided that I should go now because they could decide to shut down the Metro system at any time and I had no other way out of town. Inside the office everything was quiet, but outside was weird. I had heard that the Metro system had been shut down. The streets were jammed with cars, and people on foot were weaving in and out of traffic, but no one was beeping or getting angry. There were police security guards and military everywhere blocking off streets and not even letting people walk in any direction except away. A lot of people had clearly heard the rumor that the Metro had been shut down, and were bumming rides or taking taxis, but the traffic was a total standstill. So I decided to see for myself if the Metro was indeed shut down. It is only about four blocks away, and I figured, well I can always go back to the office if the Metro is actually shut down. It was a small gamble and it paid off. It wasnít. I got on a train.
Everyone was nervous on the Subway train home and rumors were flying. There were rumors about a plane that was circling DC and hadnít found a target, and bombs at the State Department, and a suspicious package left at Union Station and therefore Union Station had been evacuated (this one was true, although the suspicious package didnít explode). I personally was afraid that the subway would be attacked, and didnít calm down until the train came above ground. I made it home safely, thank God. The ones who didnít make it are still very much in my mind.
It was a day that I donít think I will ever forget.
Columns by Red