In 2001, I was working in the Auto Theft Unit for the Arlington Police Department. I had just arrived at work when one of my co-workers came over, her eyes wide. She dragged me from my chair into the break room, the whole time babbling about an airplane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. I was skeptical, thinking it was a hoax or perhaps even a small plane. I was shocked when she turned on the TV and the buidling was in flames. I remember turning to her and asking, "How on earth could someone miss that building? What were they thinking?"
Right as I said that...the second plane hit.
The tiny breakroom filled up with detectives and secretaries, all of us in tears. Then came the news that the Pentagon had been hit.
I ran to my desk and called my husband. He had our only cell phone. I told him what happened, and he didn't believe me. Not at first. I begged him to turn on NPR. When he did, I could hear him gasp. We then were told that we were staying put for the time being. I had classes that day, but there was no way I was going.
We all sat around the television, sobbing as the towers fell, as we heard about the plane going down in Pennsylvania. I remember going home that night and hearing...nothing. No planes. No traffic. Nothing. My husband and I sat on the couch, holding each other and watching the television into the wee hours of the morning.
What I wouldn't give to go back to the day before...