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September 12, 2001 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Unreal

It has been a very long night and day.  The National Red Cross Chapter sent some of us to assist at the Arlington Chapter since they are the ones getting hit the hardest.  The first thing that happened was a quick briefing of what needed to be done and possible actions that we would have to take.  There were phone calls streaming in with questions from the general public – ranging from “How can I donate blood and where?” to “I need to find out if my son is alive in the Pentagon…how?”  Then as the night progressed I found myself in a Red Cross vehicle headed to the Pentagon.  It is the worst destruction I have ever seen that hasn’t been on TV.  On TV, this stuff looks like it could be a Steven Spielberg movie.  In real life, it doesn’t look real.  I got a close-up look of the carnage.  Twisted metal and concrete heaps lay all around in front of a huge, gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon.  All along the southwestern side of the building, black smoke stains are burned into the side of the building – which I couldn’t really see on the TV screen earlier in the day.  More ambulances and rescue personnel than I have ever seen in one place were assembled there – but unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of rescuing going on.  The building was still on fire, and there were dangers of collapse which prevented any kind of search and rescue.  Huge cranes were positioned with water hoses, spraying into the top of the building.  The whole scene was lit up with eerie green-yellow lights.  

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