Sep 12, 2001 7:47 AM
|We live and work in the district. There are police and National Guard everywhere. Humvees and police cars parked on most corners. The Pentagon is still burning. It is so odd to not hear any airplanes-somehow the sound fades into the background until it isn't there then you notice the absence.
Yesterday was a mess, I am sure glad we commute by bicycle. Miss M works on Capital Hill she said there were police and security with guns everywhere. They are still there today.
Yesterday once the evacuation of the federal buildings began traffic was unbelievable but we got through it ok on the bikes. In the late afternoon we still saw people walking home too afraid to take the metro. The town was very quite from about noon on. On the way home we had a far too clear view of the Pentagon burning away.
This is a very sad time. All we can do right now is get on with life. And say a prayer for everyone's loss. It is going to take a while to get through this one-things have changed.
|If it means anything to you.||Brian C.|
Sep 12, 2001 7:56 AM
|The flags on the offices and small industry flanking the Queen Elizabeth Way going into Toronto this morning, nearly every one -red Maple Leaf, corporate, even a couple of Stars 'n' Stripes - they were flying at half mast.|
|A very surreal day||pmf1|
Sep 12, 2001 8:16 AM
|I work in the Old Executive Office Building and was in a meeting at 9:20 when the attack was announced. We turned on the TV and all sat quietly watching it. Everyone was too stunned to speak. I headed out for a meeting at a law firm at 9:35 and everything around the White House looked normal. I, some colleagues and most of the law firm employees sat in their conference room watching in disbelief. We got word that the govt was evacuating all their buildings and cancelled the meeting. I left around 10:40 and the streets of DC were pure chaos. Traffic was gridlocked, everyone was milling about on the streets, sirens were blaring and cops were everywhere. The White House was cordoned off for a block in every direction and you could see Secret Service officers with automatic weapons. Fortunately, I didn't ride my bike in because I wouldn't have been able to retreive it. The metro was not too bad, but I kept thinking what if these nuts blow the tunnel or release poison gas. I was kinda nervous about coming in today, but I did. With all the roads closed off and schools shut down, I'm surprised the govt is open today. They even told Pentagon workers to come in. Given that the metro is not stopping there, the building is still on fire, a courtyard is being used as a morgue, and the parking lot is closed, I don't see how anyone would show up. |
This is all so terrible and tragic.
|I work around the Corner from PMF (long)...||Greg Taylor|
Sep 12, 2001 11:03 AM
|a couple of blocks from the White House...and the ride home was memorable, for all of the wrong reasons. After the news broke about the World Trade Center, we were glued to the radio and CNN. About 9:40 a.m the rumours started getting really wild: a big fire and the Pentagon, fires on the Mall, a bombing at the State Department, an unidentified aircraft circling the restricted airspace over the White House. When CNN broke the news that the White House was being evacuated, and that folks were running, panicked from the building, folks were told to leave if they wanted to.
Luckily, I rode my bike to work. Getting out of D.C. was wasn't too bad, just a little nerve-wracking. I attempted to use some common sense and avoid target areas -- remember, at 10:00 we didn't really know what was happening, or whether the attacks had stopped. We were also being told that Metro was closed, and that the 14th Street Bridge was closed. Traffic was snarled, and the sidewalks were jammed with fairly freaked-out folks who were trying to get away from downtown. It was so jammed that I wound up walking my bike via a roundabout path, avoiding what I considered to be possible targets, to Constitution Avenue, and crossed over the Potomac at Memorial Bridge.
Memorial Bridge was closed, but they were letting pedestrians across into Virginia.
One thing that I noticed is that people seemed to want company, someone to talk with. A young lady (a Canadian) asked if I would walk with her for a bit...I welcomed the company. At Memorial Bridge, I joined up with guy on a recumbent and we picked our way south down the bike trail toward the Pentagon and Alexandria. More riders joined us along the way, and we rode slowly toward the giant plume of smoke to the south.
By this time, the evacution of the Pentagon was well underway. Some of the civilian and military personnel from the Pentagon were walking along the bike path. Just as we pulled up across from the Pentagon, an F-15 came in low and fast from the west and then banked hard, like it was after something. The thought that this might not be over yet, and that there were jet fighters on active operations over the Nation's Capital made my skin absolutely crawl.
The devastation at the Pentagon was incredible. A pall of black smoke against an impossibly blue sky. You've seen the images, so I won't waste my time describing it.
The next big landmark on the bike trail is National Airport. By this time the airport had been closed and evacuated. Everyone was booted out of the airport, no exceptions. More pedestrians on the bike trail -- passengers and aircrew carrying bags. There is a bridge that carries the bike path over a couple of bad intersections that also has a view of the tarmac and airplanes. We were greeted at the foot of the bridge by police with shotguns, ordering us away. Unnerving.
Our gang made it around the airport and back home without further incident. Again, it was a ride that I will remember, for all of the wrong reasons...
|I work around the Corner from PMF (long)...||pmf1|
Sep 12, 2001 11:22 AM
|Yeah, I heard all those rumors too. There was one today about two planes missing in Canada. I can't imagine a plane would get very far at this point though. There were fears about a bomb in the Holocost Museum also. This is just an awful thing. Everyone is still in shock over here. I'm not making much headway reading a National Academy of Sciences report (its pretty boring too). I'm going to ride in tomorrow. Normally, they don't search my seatbag. I wonder what a bunch of paranoid secret service guys are going to think of a CO2 cartridge. |
That professor job at some midwestern school isn't sounding so bad these days.
|Yes, I noticed people were talking to each other||MB1|
Sep 12, 2001 11:50 AM
|and being friendly. And not riding fast.
Around 3:30-4:00 pm we saw several clumps of business men/women walking up the Capital Cresent trail to Bethesda obviously going home from work. That is a very long walk for someone in business dress. They looked to be talking to each other and keeping each other company. It was actually nice to see. A little touch of humanity in a very strange day.
|my little peice on it||Duane Gran|
Sep 13, 2001 8:08 AM
|I work on Capitol Hill in a federal building. What can I say that hasn't been already said? I left immediately after I heard about the Pentagon (just before all federal buildings were being evacuated), but the traffic was a nigtmare. I was afraid someone was going to steal my bike, as it was clearly a better means of transportation. As others have stated, at this time rumors were circulating like crazy, and the survival instinct is to assume the worst.
I noticed yesterday and today there are about twice as many bicycles parked/locked in the designated spot at my workplace. I would also say that I see more people commuting by bicycle in the morning. Several of my co-workers expressed to me that they wished they had a bike on Tuesday. I'm not usually what you would call a prepared person, in the sense of distaster preparedness. This experience reaffirmed one important reason for cycling. Knowing I am capable of travelling 100+ miles in a day is reassuring on one level.