9/11: Where were you?

I think Gen X'ers will always remember where they were on 9/11 when the planes hit the Towers.  Similar to our parents who so clearly remember where they were when they heard that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

Where was I? I was living in Arlington, less than 1 mile from Washington, D.C. and about the same distance from the Pentagon. I was enjoying my last week off before going to work as a lawyer in a large firm. We had come back from Bermuda the night before, celebrating our first wedding anniversary.  I had a medical appointment in D.C. so I jumped in my car at about 8:30 to head in for a 9:15 appointment.  I heard the news while sitting in traffic waiting to get into the city. It was surreal. I call my husband to tell him and he turns on the television in his office. By the time I got to the doctor 15 minutes later, everyone is talking about what happened. Both planes had hit the towers and it was clear it wasn't a freak accident as people thought the first one was. The receptionist had put her radio on the counter so everyone could listen. People with kids start leaving the waiting room to pick up their kids at school.

For some reason, I choose to stay. I wanted to get the appointment over with I guess, and everything seemed to be happening in New York. At about 9:20 p.m., I go in for my appointment and come back to the waiting room at 9:30 p.m. While I am checking out the, flight 77  hits the Pentagon. I call my husband at his office which is about 2 blocks from the White House. I beg him to leave and walk towards my doctor's office about 8 blocks away. He leaves quickly and must have half-run to get to me. We get in the car and start to head towards home in the most unbelievable gridlock. It takes us about 2 hours to go 3 miles. We could have walked in about 45 minutes.

I spend all my time in the car on my cell phone trying to get through to our families to tell them we are okay. Jim's brother, Rich, somehow got through on Jim's phone. We tell him we are fine and ask him to call everyone in Jim's family in Massachusetts, and my family in upstate New York.

While we are in the car, we hear on the radio that both Towers collapsed. We get home at around 11:30 a.m. and watch the news for an hour until we cannot stand seeing the footage of people jumping from the Towers, or video of the fires at the Pentagon. There's nothing new to see or understand and we wouldn't know for a long while after what actually happened.

For some very strange reason, we decide to go golfing with our friend in Fairfax. We head to a par 3 course not far from us and swing away for 2 hours to get our minds off everything that is happening, knowing there is nothing we can do to change what has happened that day. Finally, we head home later in the afternoon and watch the news again.

I don't remember anything else about what we did that day. The following few days were totally strange since most buildings were closed in D.C. so pretty much everyone was around and not sure about what to do next. Of course, we fell back into our regular routines later in the week. I started my work as a securities lawyer the next week. I started to understand the impact on New York because so many of our clients were based on Wall Street. I heard stories of friends who had been close to the events or new people who had died. We were fortunate not to have lost any friends or family that day.

I'll never forget.