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September 11, 2001 / Maleesha Kovnesky

World Trade Center – September 11 2001

I thought that it was a sick joke.  My favorite radio show on DC 101 had declared that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center.  Then, a second plane had done the same thing a few moments later. Surely this was a joke – how could something so unimaginable be real?  The next thing I did was try to pull up the CNN web page – it wouldn’t open which led me to think that perhaps this WAS really happening…there was too much web traffic to open the page.

Finally the CNN  page did open.  There was the picture of the World Trade Center in New York City, with a gaping hole in it, black smoke billowing out.  This was the same building that I had stood in front of and looked up to the top, wondering how people could build such an amazingly huge structure.  Now I am wondering how people could knock it down so easily. 

I can’t stop thinking about what it must have been like to be a passenger on one of the hijacked planes.  Or what it must have been like to be casually glancing out the window of your cushy Wall Street office to see a plane about to enter without being so kind as to knock first – surreal.  

After the second NYC hit, I wondered if D.C. was next.  Then the radio station began to receive phone calls that the Pentagon was hit.  The next hour was surreal as well – no one knew what to believe as rumors that the Capitol had exploded, as well as car bombs going off in other key places in the city.  

Several people I work with now or had worked with in the past were in the Pentagon.  I was crazy worried.  I still haven’t heard from all of them.  

I spent the rest of the day working with the Red Cross.  It is nearly 10 PM and I am getting ready to go back for the graveyard shift.  Driving by the Pentagon earlier, I saw that white smoke was still rising to the sky.  It smells strange out there, and D.C. streets are emptier than they have probably ever been.

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