On the 12th year after the September 11th attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, the Twin Towers, I thought I would re-post my memories of that day — actually, I live-blogged the day — I was a pretty early-adopter of the blog.
Driving the Jeep Home
Posted Sep 11, 2002 – 09:29 AM
I must have spent some time with Michelle, as she was under the weather, because on my drive back from Michelle’s pad in Dupont, I had the windows rolled down and Morning Edition on the radio. It was then that I heard about the 0850 and 0904 crashes into the World Trade Center. First into the first Twin Tower (as I knew them) and then the second, respectively.
The weather was pristine, in the low 80?s like it is today, and I had the windows down and the radio was on loud. I looked over to other drivers and we shared looks. The looks were not terror, they were not panic, they were not any of those things. They were not even numb, dumb looks. They were looks of incredulousness. Disbelief. Dumfounded.
There were rumors of all sorts of things at that moment. There had been no sort of anything in DC yet, but there were rumors that there was a bomb in the State Depeartment.
At this time, 9:30, I was driving fast down Massachusetts Avenue, returning from a night’s sleepover with my ex-girlfriend, Michelle.
I was staying there because I has double-booked my apartment and as there was a bed for Isabelle and a bed for Kate, I was either sleeping on the love seat (I am 6’3?) or in the bed of a friend. Michelle was my friend. Michelle is my friend. So are Kate and Isa.
Lincoln Park and the Explosion
Posted Sep 11, 2002 – 09:35 AM
I returned to the Hill, and was rounding Lincoln park, on 11th Street, SE, and I heard an enormous, muffled, but distant blast. There were rumors on the radio that there was a bomb at the State Department. Michelle works at the State Department.
I hit the gas and hustled home to Isabelle, to Kate, to the television and to the phone so that I could call Michelle to see if she was okay.
Before the blast, I was in the Jeep, listening to Morning Edition on the radio. I was returning to my home office. I had the windows down and saw everyone in the other cars with looks of disbelief in their faces. My face must have been similar.
When the day began, I woke up in bed with my Ex, Michelle. She had let me spend the night because I had double-booked my pad and needed someplace to crash. She was sick so she didn’t plan on going to work in the Library of the Department of State.
Upon Arrival at the Grotto
Posted Sep 11, 2002 – 12:03 PM
Upon returning to the Grotto, my pad, I joined Kate and Isa on the blue Ikea loveseat. They were hunched over, squinting at the little Sony 19? TV with all their might. The room was dark. Kate told me my mom had called to tell me what was going on. When she called, Kate and Isa had turned on the TV. Neither of them watches. Only my obsessive NPR-listening kept me informed as returned from Michelle’s.
It was really only then did I recognize what was going on in NYC. It was only then, as they alternated between live news feeds and the looping looping looping footage of the crash crash crash of the two planes into what knew as the twin towers, but now learned were called Tower One and Tower Two of the World Trade Center.
I had been in New York city just about a month previous. I had been staying in Brooklyn in Anne and Ian’s apartment. While they were gone. When they returned, I commuted into the City with Anne. She works for Moody’s. Ian works for the Port Authority. She worked right next to the WTC towers and he, Ian, worked in them.
We had walked from their gorgeous walkup apartment in Brooklyn to the Subway. It was only a short ride to the Subway right there at the WTC. I walked Anne to her building, gave her a hug and a kiss, and then headed uptown to the trains back to DC.
Funny that. It bears no importance that I was at the towers a little over one month before the terrorist events of 9-11, but I hadn’t realized it.
Collecting My Family
Posted Sep 11, 2002 – 12:20 PM
When I realized the import of what was going on, I called Michelle Nolan, my recent Ex, and told her that I was jumping into the Jeep and dashing back over to Dupont so that I could collect her from her 10th floor condo, right up the street from the State Department and relatively close to the Executive Branch. And she lives in a Studio apartment, one wall of which is glass. And she lives with our dog Suzi.
So although she didn’t want to come at first, I sped over there anyway. To collect her. To collect them. Big Little Erz and Little Little Erz.
There was a lot of traffic forming. There were the first signs of the military. I hustled up 13th, and then made it up to Florida and cut around above the city center and after some nasty jams, I made it in to Dupont and there was Miss Michelle and Miss Suzi, all packed up and ready to bail.
I got her in the car. As I said before, she was feeling sick anyway. She was looking kind of out of it; I knew I was kind of out of it. It didn’t matter. When I need to perform, I always do, thank God.
As I recall, there were already Hummers at some of the corners downtown, so I avoided downtown again. I tried my best to do the circuit, but as I recall, I believe I tool Mass Ave mostly.
When we got into the Grotto — Suzi, Kate, Michelle, Isa, and I — I felt better. And by that time, Anita was back home and her crew were starting to drink some beers. Isa had made plans to bail town to the ‘burbs to avoid the inevitable, I was blogging and sending emails on the kitchen table, Michelle and Kate were glued to the TV, and Suzi was just chillin’. She’s good like that.
Of course, the towers fell. The fell and many people didn’t get out. And there is something wrong when the rescuers need rescue.
By noon, Kate and I headed over to Al’s to grab some ‘za.
And, then there was the plane, hijacked, and apparently on its way to the White House. And then there was the report of it going down in a field in Central Pennsylvania.
And the day passed.
Washington (and America) Under Siege.
Posted Sep 11, 2001 – 11:10 AM
This morning at 0850 a jetliner crashed into the World Trade Center. Then another. Then a jetliner crashed into the Pentagon. A car bomb at State. A fire at the Old Executive Office building. I heard an explosion on the way home from Dupont. I guess it was the State Department. The towers collapsed. There is a jetliner on route to DC. It is hijacked. A 747 crashed in Western PA. Part of the Pentagon is collapsed. All federal buildings have been evacuated. F-16s are scrambled. The two towers are collapsed at the World Trade Center. What are you doing right now? Are you okay? What were you doing when the initial terrorist action was perpetrated?
Washington Gridlocked and Panicked.
Posted Sep 11, 2001 – 02:01 PM
Union Station is closed down, for obvious reasons. 395 in Virginia is as well. I was just on the road picking my friend up from Dupont so she would not be alone, so I know that 16th street up to Bethesda is locked, so is New York Avenue, Rhode Island, Mass Ave, and obviously downtown. I have decided not to leave the city, as this probably won’t go NBC, so I am staying put.
People are blowing through red lights and stop signs. Emergency Vehicles are stranded in traffic.
I recommend leaving your windows open so that you can hear sirens and horns
The routes out of the city are mad and gridlocked but most folks who are home are eating lunch right now at the stores and restaurants around the hill.
Don’t panic. Stay at home. Slow and stop for pedestrians. Give blood. Respect the authority of the street cops as they direct you, if you will be on the road.
Friends, Please Check In!
Posted Sep 11, 2001 – 2:33 PM
If you are here, you might know me. First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to offer my condolences to those who are suffering, are injured, or have died, and their friends and family.
Secondly, please click on the “comments?” link below and let me know if you are okay? Or if you want or need to talk about this.
My Experience of Wednesday’s Terrorism in DC
Posted Sep 11, 2001 – 03:42 PM
I found out on the way back home this morning from a friend’s house. On NPR. At 0930. Washington was hit by an AA jet — the Pentagon.
I left the windows open when I was driving. I drove across town twice today, once from Dupont at 0930 and once at around 1130.
Each cross street was dangerous because there was a cascade of Emergency vehicles. I left the doors open because of Emergency vehicles as well as cop cars. I kept my windows open because people were blowing through stoplights and stop signs.
Union Station is locked down. When I dropped Isa off there, all trains were ceased and Jersey Barriers. The sky was and is clear, bright blue, and earily quiet.
There is not a plane in the sky.
Southwest of here, there is a waft of dark smoke. I assume it is the Pentagon.
All the roads out of town are gridlocked and I am hoping that there is not a second round.
The entire city is evacuated. There have been many revisions of what had happened: car bomb at the State Dept., Old Executive Office Building on fire. Something going on at the White House.
Right now, the skyline of Manhattan is completely different and Washington a panicked and ornery.
The Pentagon is still partially collapsed and the full extent of the attack — the force of its ripple; the reaction to a definite action — is still to be revealed. Is everyone okay? Is Anne and her fiancé Ian okay? Others in Gov’t and Finance?
Well, I know that Mark, Michelle, Diane, Cheryl, Suzi, and Kate are okay. How about the rest of you. Lots of love and Godspeed!
Posted Sep 13, 2001 – 06:02 PM
I just drove out to Target on rt 1. The car’s batts were acting funny, so I wanted to get a charge on, so I went to Target so that I could buy a can opener and some laundry detergernt and dishwashing machine liquid.
I didn’t see the damage to the Pentagon. What side was it on? Anyway, aside from the a little more intensity with regards the police presence, all the roads are open and I could even travel up Independence back to the pad.
Its very weird to see it heal at least superficially so darn quickly. There are roads closed off, but I don’t see the National Guard or anything.
Posted Sep 11, 2002 – 07:30 AM
A year ago this morning at 0719, 11 September 2001, I woke up with Michelle. Michelle had recently moved out of our shared apartment and into her new condo in the Chandra Levy building in deepest, darkest Dupont, Washington, DC, US.
Michelle felt sick. I got up, had some water, used the loo, and then left the little Studio flat with our dog. I walked Suzi up to P Street, grabbed Michelle some food from the convenience store. The kind of care package one collects for a friend who is under the weather. As everyone knows, I always over-buy. She could have camped out in her little apartment, under the covers, for a week on my supplies.
I am searching for more of them in archive.org and the Way Back Machine but here’s what I can find and I have copies over to this blog from my 2001-era chrisabraham.net blog and the 2001-era memes.org.