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9/11: Where were you when the world changed?

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was driving on I-295 in Washington D.C., listening to the radio. I was on my way into work at Potomac Tech Journal, which shared space with the Washington Business Journal in The Rosslyn section of Arlington, Va.

The cheerful morning DJ was chatting with musician Ben Folds, who was in the studio that morning, when they stopped to relay a news report about a plane having hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Details were lacking and they assumed it was an accident involving a small plane ... until the second one hit.

I was passing by the Pentagon right about then. The radio crew were realizing that there was more going on than an accident, but there was still little more than speculation to relay. And then I arrived at my office and had to conduct an interview over the telephone almost immediately.

My workstation was situated so that my back was to the floor-to-ceiling windows that looked south. I was focused on my conversation and taking notes, and only dimly aware of some commotion in the office behind me. Until I hung up the phone and turned to see the billowing plumes of black smoke rising into the air from the Pentagon.

It's a day that is indelibly stamped on our memories, and the tenth anniversary is coming up this year. Where were you on 9/11? Leave a comment to tell your story.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 at 12:18 PM


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Reader comments

Mon, Sep 12, 2011 Don Mercer County, NJ

I had just come home after working the 11p-7a shift as a police Sgt. & I had seen my wife off as she left for work. I had changed clothes, poured a cup of coffee & gone downstairs to our basement to check my email. I turned on the TV & was watching an interview that showed the World Trade Ctr. Towers in the background when all of a sudden I saw the first plane crash into the tower in the background. I was shocked because I knew that something was terribly wrong in that plane because those crews are extremely careful about where they fly. I was going to call my wife, but she wasn't at work yet at Princeton Univ.. I kept watching the TV & a short time later the second plane hit the other tower & I knew then that it was no coincidence & that everything was about to change. Later, the Pentagon attack & the Shanksville, PA crash confirmed my worst fears, terrorism had struck the US again, in a big way with many innocent lives lost. I also knew that the time for talking was over & the time for forceful intervention to stop terrorist oppression had arrived. My sincere thanks to all of the military, public safety & intelligence officers who protect us every day despite the difficulties they endure & the sacrifices they make. You are in my thoughts & prayers always. Duty-Honor-Country, Free the Oppressed, Know the truth & it will make you free.

Sat, Sep 10, 2011 Tom Reardon Sierra Vista, AZ

I was at Fort Belvoir when the attacks occurred on 9/11...I was in my car headed to the Pentagon shortly after the plane hit that building...I was headed to Arlington Ridge Road to get a vantage point to observe...that morning, "Eliot in the the Morning" immediately transformed his format from shock radio to a Pulitzer-worthy news reporter relaying info from a colleague at another radio station in NJ...absolutely awewome - I will never forget.

Fri, Sep 9, 2011 Marc Chevalier Nashville, TN

Eliot Segal, DC101 ... Thank you, Michael!

Fri, Sep 9, 2011 Editor

Marc Chevalier: The radio station was DC-101, and the DJ was Eliot Segal, of Eliot in the Morning. I remember because it's what I was listening to when I first heard the news. -- Michael Hardy

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 Marc Chevalier Nashville, TN

(continued from previous post) I still don't know with any certainty what happened that day, except that thousands of people died. To this day none of the details create a picture that I'm comfortable with. I can't help but question every angle of the events, be it the small and pristine hole in the Pennsylvania countryside, the lack of 'correct' debris at the Pentagon or the falling of a peripheral building. Even if everything happened the way the report reads .. the military response wasn't handled correctly and the memory of all of those lost lives will probably be tainted with questions forever. Thank you very much for sharing your story. And if you can recall the name of that radio station, I would be very grateful to know one of the only details of my experience that has escaped my memory of the day's events. Take care.

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