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The longest 20 seconds of my life

Federal Computer Week's editorial offices are on the seventh floor of a building in Falls Church, Va. We were working on the regular mix of things on a quiet, ordinary Tuesday afternoon when the floors began to vibrate.

Most of us thought little of it in the first couple of seconds because there has been construction and furniture moving on the floor above us recently and rumbles and noises aren't unusual. But then it grew more intense, and furniture started to sway and some of us wondered: earthquake, or bomb?

When everything stopped shaking -- the longest 20 seconds of our lives -- we stood up as one and headed for the stairs, winding our way down seven flights and emerging in the front lobby. We still didn't know for certain what had happened, but people using smart phones were quick to begin reporting some information.

After about 15 minutes the building management let us return and try to get our minds back to work.

Where were you when the earthquake hit?

Posted on Aug 23, 2011 at 12:18 PM


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