Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Story Of 9/11 . . .

. . . The Pentagon Part

Last Friday night Lady B and I spent hours watching the television special about the terrorist attack by plane at New York City.

A couple of hours into the documentary I began to think "wasn't there a plane attack in Washington, the nation's capital, and a passenger-caused abortion of an attack on the White House?"

Minutes later the documentary "remembered" the Pentagon attack but only with a five-second mention of that part of that terrible day's activity.

Lady B and I were on the road that day, en route to an army unit reunion in Pennsylvania. We weren't anywhere near the New York tragedy but we were heading into Washington, D. C.. and then to the long underwater tunnel from Maryland to southern New Jersey.

Early that morning we rose at our motel room near the Thomas Jefferson home, Monticello, in Virginia. When the Boston plane bearing so many people including Peter A. Gay, a friend I knew in Taunton, Massachusetts, struck one of the Twin Towers, we were touring Monticello, and were in the underground tunnel kitchen and winery supply section of the mansion.

A cell phone rang beside us and a man answered. "Say that again (daughter)" he yelled. She did and the man announced to anybody nearby listening "a plane just hit one of the Twin Towers in New York." He then told us his daughter was working in a building near the Twin Towers.

He then listened again to an agitated voice on the phone and then for everybody nearby to hear "Oh my God, another plane hit the other tower." He asked his daughter for more details but he found the phone was dead.

As we all stood silent and dumbfounded, he raced from the tunnel, probably en route to New York to find his daughter.

We finished our tour and started out to see the James Monroe house, second of four on a purchased ticket to four historical homes. Arriving there we found it closed and a note on the door saying all public places of history had been closed because of terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Lady B and I had planned to visit a nephew in Wildwood, New Jersey, taking in a brief Washington visit en route to a long tunnel from Maryland to southern New Jersey. While driving north toward Washington, we discussed our plans and decided that going under perhaps 18 or 20 miles of underwater tunnel might not be a good idea, given the threat of possible more terror attacks.

Listening to the car radio, we heard of the destruction in Washington and that all available police, fire and ambulance personnel and equipment from anywhere in the area was being called to the nation's capital.

As we rode to a planned cutoff to the northwest to take us into Pennsylvania, we began to be passed by emergency vehicles headed north from southern Virginia, obviously going up to stand by in stations already emptied by personnel gone to Washington.

Eventually we settled down in a motel and spent the rest of the afternoon and the evening watching television coverage of the New York and Pentagon tragedies.

At one point we had occasion to talk with the woman desk clerk whom we found crying. She told us she had been unable all day, and was still trying, to reach her daughter who was a desk clerk in a hotel that was between the Twin Towers.

We learned from the Friday night television documentary that there was a Marriott Hotel behind the towers, crushed when one of the towers collapsed on it. On the television show, a clerk was shown who survived the crushing ot the hotel.

This brought back our memory of the crying lady in the motel where we had stayed. Could this young lady have been that mother's daughter? We certainly hope she was the daughter.

Back in New Mexico, California, Washington state, Arizona, Texas and Tennessee our children were trying to find out where we were. When we finally called back to Hobbs, we were implored to return back west. "Don't you know what has happened? was the question. "You're in danger out there," we were told. But we assured all that we knew what happened, that we were no where near the problems and we were OK.

Our trip continued two days to the reunion. In every city and town we traversed, United States flags were displayed on miles of streets and highways and in front of homes. Hundreds of vehicles also flew flags.

About 20 World War II buddies attended the reunion and had a good time but it was a somber reunion that year of 2001.

- 30 -

1 comment:

  1. None of us will ever forget that awful day. It is a shame that more mention is not made of the heroic efforts of the passengers of Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania.
    I like the fact that 9/11 has become a day of national service in honor of the many who died. every town should promote this effort.