Five years ago, I was working in DC, at a government agency, just down the road from the Pentagon. I had driven to work that day instead of taking the metro, because I was going to go look at an apartment, since I was planning on moving at the end of the month.
We didn't have internet in my office, but I had on NPR, and they announced that a plane hit the World Trade Center in New York. My initial thought was that it was some drunk pilot in a Cessna. Then, not that long afterwards, they announced that a second plane hit the other tower. We still didn't know what was going on. A second plane was suspicious. Some people will say that they knew right away when they heard that a second plane hit that it was terrorism. I didn't know that at all. We were confused; we didn't know how serious it was. Then, the guy down the hall came out and said that his daughter had called him and said that a plane hit the Pentagon. We had no idea what to believe- at that point, it wasn't on NPR yet, and there were so many rumors and so much speculation. I thought about leaving work, just b/c it seemed like a good excuse, not because I thought I wasn't safe.
Then my mom called me at work, crying, because she had heard that the Pentagon had been hit, and begging me to go home. I distinctly remember saying "Will it make you feel better if I go home?" and she said yes, while sobbing. I told her that if it would make her feel better, I would go home.
I tried to call DH (who was just a boyfriend at the time), but he hadn't gotten to work downtown yet. At that point, we started realizing how serious it was, so I started getting scared. I couldn't get hold of DH, so I decided to just leave without getting hold of him. I was scared, because I was in a government building, and we had no idea what would happen next.
I refused to take the highway home; we seriously had no idea what would happen next. DH called me on my cell when I was in the car, so I drove to the closest metro station and waited for him until he got there.
Sept. 11, 2001 was about five weeks after my best friend died, and I was still really raw emotionally. My DH remembered reactions that I had to the attacks that I don't remember at all, that sound really crazy now, but were a result of just not thinking straight. The two events are always pretty closely associated in my mind, and it seemed unimaginable that my best friend wasn't around to see the world changed so much for the worse. In a way, I was glad that he didn't have to see it.