Though a day late, I thought I’d talk briefly about my wife’s experience on 9/11/01. (When I lived in DC, I missed out on all the traumas: I was out of town for 9/11, I was out of town for the anthrax attacks, and I was out of town for the sniper. I guess my alibi is ironclad.) My wife was driving to work on I-395 just before it crossed the Potomac. She heard a huge boom and turned and saw a black cloud coming out of the Pentagon. She happened to have her work’s digital camera with her in the car that day (they were still quite rare in those days), and so she pulled it out and snapped a couple of photos.

Plane as it hits the Pentagon

Pentagon from rear view mirror

She called a local radio station on her cell phone. Talk was buzzing about what was happening in New York, but nobody believed her that Washington DC had been hit yet. She told what she saw, but her report was greeted with skepticism.

All the traffic on the bridge stopped and it took her hours to get home. A lot of people walked across the bridge back home, leaving there cars there. She was heartened by how helpful people were to each other (not behavior commonly on exhibit in careerist, workaholic DC). My wife didn’t live far at all from the Pentagon. Ash from the Pentagon fell in her yard and the acrid smoke was so bad she had to keep the doors and windows closed. That acrid smoke lingered around her home for the next three days, ugly and frightening reminders of the atrocity committed on that day.