I had just gotten out of the shower and was alone in the dorm room that I shared with 3 other girls. I didn’t have the TV on, so I had no idea about what was going on. I was getting dressed when the phone rang. It was one of my roomates mothers who seemed to be always paranoid about something. When she found out her daughter wasn’t home, she told me to tell everyone not to go downtown that day (we live 15 minutes outside of DC). I said okay and that we weren’t planning on it because it was a school day, and then asked her why. She told me that a bomb had exploded outside of the Pentagon.
I oddly remember thinking, “Oh no, not another one”. She told me to watch it on TV and then we ended our conversation. I went back to getting ready for the day, I’ll never forget what I wore, and as I was drying my hair, I decided I might take a look at what she was talking about. So I turned on the TV and all that was on the screen was images of the Pentagon ingulfed in flames. Still thinking it was just a bomb, I went about my business, keeping my eye on the TV. Finally, I heard the newscaster say that it was an airplane that had flown into the Pentagon. I remember thinking how horrible, how could this accident have happened? I was still watching TV in my room when one of my roomates ran into our common room. She shouted out for me, and I responded. She came in to see me and said, “Did you hear about New York?” and I said “No, but did you hear about what’s happening downtown??” She then asked me what, and I told her the story. She then replied, “No way, airplanes just hit the World Trade Center in New York!”
It was then we began to get really nervous. She didn’t know about Washington until she got out of class because it had happened while she was there with no TV’s. I didn’t know about New York because all of our stations were concentrating on what was going on here. We stayed on the couch watching TV together, when one of our other roomates got home. We told her what was happening and she ran to go call her mother because she was at the Navy Yard that day, which was close by. It was then that I realized that my father could be there too, so I called home.
Apparently, he was on an airplane flying into New York the moment the planes hit. He wound up driving home. My roomate couldn’t find her mother all day and was a wreck. I remember going to the one class I went to that day and there was a girl freaking out in the front row because her mother worked at the Pentagon and she had just learned about it and no cell phones were working. We watched TV together all day. The TV was never turned off. I remember thinking I never wanted to watch CNN again. The next day, it was all people were talking about in classes. No one could stay on the subject material. It was just immpossible. A girl in my French class came into class and said that she had to go into work because she worked at the Pentagon which was open to workers on 9/12. I never saw her again.
After the tragedy, my family went to go see the Pentagon. It was almost rebuilt & we wanted to take some pictures for prosterity, but my father, who had sometimes worked in the Pentagon, wouldn’t let us. It was a grave site, he said. A year after 9/11 I had a job working for the NPS. I voulenteered to work the one year anniversary concert across the Patomac from the Pentagon at the Carillon. Its an experience I’ll never forget. What a difference a year makes. I find it amazing that after all this country went through, we bound together and worked through it as one. I really think that could only happen in America. Black, white, catholic, jew, we all worked together for the common good. I’m so proud of that. We are all americans.