A normal Tuesday morning northern Virginia commute.
A normal start to the day.
A co-worker telling me her boyfriend saw on the news that a plane hit the World Trade Center and not believing it was serious...figuring he heard wrong or it was a small prop plane.
Trying to get news...huddling around my cubicle neighbors clock radio. The Internet streaming radio sites were too slow.
Hearing about the Pentagon and being able to see the smoke from my 8th floor offices (about 5 miles away). Our secretary sat near the window and felt the impact.
Hearing about the White House evacuation. Worrying about my husband working at National Institute of Health as a possible target and him getting home since he had taken the Metro to work and had to take the line closest to the White House.
My co-worker worried about her dad who took the PATH train from New Jersey into the World Trade Center every day and then walked a few blocks to his office. Her mother finally heard from him many hours later that he had already left the World Trade Center that morning and he was safe.
Being dismissed from work and sitting in worse than rush hour traffic trying to get around the Beltway to pick my husband up. Finally getting a cell call through to him and deciding he would go to a friend's houses and I would pick him up later.
Trying repeatedly to get through to my Mom and finally getting through about 1 mile from my home. Staying on the line until I was home and then IMing while watching TV.
Eventually driving up to Maryland to pick up my husband. Then, waiting at home for the cable company (who I did not really expect to come). Going to my co-workers house that night and watching the coverage with them and our colleague and his wife who were visiting from Australia.
Over the next few days, we heard the stories drifting in about people who should have been in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon that day and weren't. At work we also heard stories from a colleague whose boyfriend was an EMT helping at the Pentagon clean-up.
I remember having a class cancelled because the professor was out of town and could not fly home.
I remember feeling bad for the hotel, restaurants, and others that I had to cancel my vacation at the end of the week since I knew they were struggling. We intended to go and were driving. My husband was sick and was not able to go.
I remember the first time I flew after 9/11. From Dulles airport to London.
I remember the first time I drove by the Pentagon and seeing the Jeep mounted rockets guarding the Pentagon.
I remember 9.5 years later returning to D.C. for a visit. My 5 year old saw a plane flying past the Washington Monument headed to Reagan National Airport. The flight path is such that from the National Mall it looks like the plane is headed right for the Monument. She asked what happens if a plane hits a building. I looked at my husband and said "Should we tell her?" I knelt down on the mall and explained to her that it had happened almost 10 years ago. Some bad people were mad at our country and flew planes into buildings including the Pentagon which we had just seen on our way into D.C. and that a lot of people had died. I did not go into a lot of details especially since we still had to fly home.