Ten Years Later: Memories of Pentagon, World Trade Center Attacks

A+bouquet+of+flowers+is+left+at+Cheryle+D.+Sincock%27s+bench

A bouquet of flowers is left at Cheryle D. Sincock's bench

My previous boss and co worker were traveling to California taking 3 students and 3 teachers to the Channel Islands off the coast. They were on the Pentagon flight.

Margot Proctor is a member of the Rockville community.

I remember being very confused when we were suddenly taken out of school. I remember watching Arthur when suddenly footage of the burning towers appeared on the screen. I remember seeing the smoke emerging from the first tower that had been hit and then minutes later I see the second plane hit the second tower. I knew something was very wrong. I didn’t exactly know what was going on however I knew this attack had killed thousands of Americans and that our nation was under attack. Although I was very young when this occurred, the memory of 9/11 is still so vivid.

Ailyn Ferrebu is a senior at RHS.

I was working in the Pentagon on 9/11, in corridor 6 (about a quarter of the way around the building from where the plane hit) and had just re-entered my office after watching a news report about the Twin Towers in an office across the hall. I called to my assistant to join me watching the news feed when I felt the building shake. While there was a lot of construction from renovation work in progress, this was different. The sound was different, a rumble. And the building didn’t just vibrate a little – it trembled. Stepping back into the hallway, I said “what the hell was that” as a wave of people started rounding the corner, coming from the direction where, as it turned out, the plane hit. With no information at that point, but a very bad feeling, I turned by my assistant and simply said “out.”

The Pentagon honor guards, the folks who had been giving the building tours – calmly directed everyone from our area out via doors near the Metro entrance. At that point, most people did not know what happened – what I heard initially was speculation that a helicopter crashed on the Pentagon helipad – a rumor quickly shown not to be true.

I knew I needed a news source and a phone. Cell phones were not operating – because the lines were too many people all trying to make calls at once. I headed to the Marriott across the street at Pentagon City, knowing they would have both a phone and TV for news. When someone said, every school must have a TV on, I realized my wife ( a teacher at the same school my children attended) were probably getting this news, but they would have no way to contact me.. I needed to call, and the Marriott folks helped me get through on a land line. Coincidentally, my wife was being told to go the office for “some news” — no one wanted to tell her the Pentagon had been hit. As it turned out, and with great good luck, my call to the school got through just as my wife got to the office.

Lots of people were now coming into the Marriott, several in shock, though not physically hurt. One soldier, a captain, came with some blood on his uniform (not his it turned out) and wreaking of jet fuel He had just helped several people get out of the part of the building that was hit – and was one of the many people who really did great things that day. He was somewhat dazed and was worried that he couldn’t reach his wife to say he was OK.. I got the Marriott folks to give him a place to shower, and they found clean clothes for him in their lost and found. By this point you couldn’t get even a local call out via a land line. However, it turned out you could get a long distance line, so I called my parents in upstate New York and they made the call to the captain’s wife letting her know he was OK.

Within a few days, I learned of several people I worked with who were killed that day. Most were in a meeting with a Lt. General (a 3 star general) I knew, worked with, and respected very much. His office had just moved to an outer office in the newly renovated portion of the Pentagon – and was the spot where the plane ended up first hitting the building. No one in the meeting survived. For years later, other people I worked with would be quite shaken if a plane flew too low over the Pentagon.

It was one of those terrible things that you will always remember in detail, recalling exactly what you were doing and where you were when someone mentions the date.

Barry Lipsy is a member of the Rockville community.

I can’t remember 9/11 very well since I was in second grade. My friends and I didn’t really understand what was going on but I remember that the adults were terrified for weeks after the attack. On the day of the attack, I was in school and the teachers made us hide under desks for a while. I didn’t know what happened until much later. All I can remember is that for what seemed like weeks, we always had recess inside. I also remember one day when my mom was talking to someone outside the school and the principal came out. Even though the attack was weeks ago, he told them to hurry to their cars because it was still dangerous. I have relatives in New York City, but we were lucky because they weren’t near the buildings.

Elizabeth Landry is a senior at RHS.

The images of the firefighters running into the World Trade Towers will forever be embedded in my mind. Those firefighters knew they were going toward their deaths, but they did it anyway. I had never seen courage like that (although of course, people in the military and first responders do courageous and life-threatening acts everyday). When I think of the firefighters’ sacrifice and selflessness, I am overcome with awe. I will never forget what they did.

Helen Clark is a composition assistant at RHS.

At the time, [my husband and I] had an apartment in THE DUMBO (down under the Manhattan Bridge) neighborhood of Brooklyn. Actually, we were sandwiched in between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, facing the lower west side of Manhattan.

My husband and I and two golden retrievers had just returned from our morning walk on the Promenade, a pedestrian walkway along the river. It was around 8:40 a.m. and I was sitting at the computer pulling up information regarding the Austin Market, when my eye caught what appeared to be a plane approaching the World Trade Tower from the right, at a very low altitude, when it crashed. I screamed and my husband, who was with ABC News, ran to the den. I pointed to the Manhattan skyline and told him it looked to be an out of control plane that had just crashed. No TV stations were even reporting the event. I grabbed by cell phone and took the elevator to the lobby level, pulled the concierge from her chair to the outside. You see, you couldn’t hear anything just the visual effects. By then, a few people joined us when the cell phones went dead. I returned to our 7th floor apartment and walked into the living room where the second plane approached from the left and crashed. I screamed again and my husband returned and declared he thought it was terrorism. By then news shows were reporting that bridges were shutting down. My husband left on the last subway to Manhattan, not to return for four days. Since all phones (land and cell) were down, he was about my only contact to the outside world for some time. I watched, as the buildings began to crumble like erecter sets, while listening to people on the disintegrating top floors describe the disaster they were encountering. When the last building crumbled, a man on the TV in that building was still talking. It was such an out of body experience, literally listening to people die in front of you. Next many, many papers were dotting the skis like confetti. No vehicular traffic on the bridges — only foot traffic and low hanging helicopters over the river. The foot traffic looked like people running from a stampede. By 1:00, I decided to take the dogs out. I met people in tears, their faces mirroring disbelief, and a neighbor whose brother was believed to be on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. In fact, we would learn later that the brother was one of the heroic leaders on that plan. The neighbor planned to leave the next day with his new baby and wife to VISIT the site. I then inherited a third dog, theirs. The nights became long, with helicopters hovering overhead as my night time companions. The smell from the spoke lasted for months and surrounded the skylines. As the clean up began the burnt and smashed cars and trucks were dumped two blocks away in our neighborhood, a constant reminder of the unnecessary suffering. The churches and parades were filled with funerals for the fireman and police officers. Each were given the bag-pipe solute, with their young families standing by in loss.

 

Mary Dee Clancy is a member of the Rockville community.

I do not remember too much from 9/11, as I was very young at the time. However, I do remember everyone panicking at the school I went to and that my mother seemed very concerned with watching the news that night. The effects of 9/11 continue to instill a very particular effect on the United States today, and myself as well. Airport security has tightened quite a bit, which ensures safer and yet very time-consuming travel. Many people have now also become subconsciously suspicious of further attacks and insecurities, leading to frequent and unpopular jokes by the public about Middle Eastern people and traditions. Although the entire United States was utterly unprepared for such an attack and the reaction was immediate and negative, there are still further ‘aftershocks,’ so to say, that people are experiencing due to this incident. The United States is much more aware of the world around it and in which ways action can and cannot be taken.

Olga Zhigunova is a sophomore at RHS.

I was in seventh grade when September 11th occurred, and I still remember that day vividly. Students kept being pulled out of my classes, and my friends and I kept coming up with elaborate theories as to why everyone was going home. Nothing our young minds could imagine would ever match the horrors of that day. I remember spending the next week with my family glued to the television, unable to comprehend the images on the screen.

When I moved to New York City following my high school graduation in 2007, I began to view the events of that day from an entirely different perspective. I heard stories from people I encountered about where they were as they watched the smoke rise into the otherwise clear lower Manhattan sky. I recognized streets in stock footage of the attacks as streets I walked down everyday. A firehouse I would pass on my way home would bear the names of lives lost.
In 2007 I began visiting the World Trade Center site on the anniversary of the attacks, and I have attended the memorial every year since. The silence of the otherwise bustling city as the names of the victims are read and the magnitude of the site are in many ways just as incomprehensible to me as those early images on CNN.

New York is an incredibly resilient city. Even though the city has managed to heal and rebuild, the events of September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten there. The beauty and strength of the city serves as a living memorial to the lives that were lost on that day. It is a memorial that I am proud to be a part of.

Hadley Cooney is a former integrity chief of Rampage. She graduated from RHS in 2007.

I was in the first grade when 9/11 happened. I remember my teacher was acting scared and wouldn’t tell us what was happening. I was so confused about why my mom had to pick me up from school and why nobody would tell me what was going on. When I got home we went downstairs and stayed there for a few hours watching some television shows. Now that I look back on 9/11 I can realize how much my childhood was impacted. After that school year everything got stricter. We weren’t allowed to wear hats at school anymore, no more parkas at school. In middle school we couldn’t carry around back packs either. Now that I hear the stories they bring tears to my eyes: the stories of parents saying goodbye to their children and telling them how they would never see each other again. I can now relate to those stories.

Charlotte Badger is a sophomore at RHS.

2001 was my senior year of college at the University of Maryland. I remember sitting in my 8:00 a.m. class on Sept. 11 when the girlfriend of one of the students came into the room. She went up to him and whispered something in his ear, and then he went up to our professor and whispered something into his ear. The professor stopped class and said that he was dismissing us for the day because something was going on in New York and at the Pentagon. I was scheduled to work in the Band Office that day after class, so I just went there early and everyone was crowded around the TV in the Band Director’s office. I walked in just as the second plane hit the World Trade Center, and the rest of the day was spent contacting all 250 members of the Marching Band to find out whose families were affected by the tragedy and how we could help them. Two days later the University came together to remember those who lost their lives, and about a week after that a tornado struck the University (right next to the Performing Arts Center when the band was rehearsing, no less) that killed two students. It became not just a day, but a month I will never forget.

Phillip Barnes is the director of the band and orchestra at RHS.

I remember my mom had just dropped me off at school and came back 10 minutes later and told me we had to go home. Then I sat on the floor in front of the TV and watched the news over and over again. I just couldn’t believe what had happened. I didn’t think buildings were suppose to fall down… but I sat in front of the TV and watched the video of the Pentagon they got from a man’s phone over and over again.

Marisa Cleary is a sophomore at RHS.

I do not remember that much from 9/11. The only specific memory I have is of one of my friends having to leave school early to be with her father who worked at the Pentagon. It has not directly affected me other than that it made America go to war. This war has only caused a plethora of problems. 9/11 has also made me feel less safe in my country. 9/11 proved the incredible damage that hate can cause. The attack created a feeling of uncertainty in me. I cannot be completely confident in my country’s ability to protect the nation. I also feel anger towards those who decided to kill innocent people as if they deserved it just for living in a certain country. I also feel disappointment in my country’s stereotyping of all Muslims as terrorists. It angers me that one attack can turn American citizens against each other. I wish that people could understand that we were attacked from a group of people and not a religion. I also feel angry that America is killing innocent

Muslims are just like the innocent Americans that were killed in 9/11. I hope that we can all live freely and without fear of terrorists and other threats.

Carolyn Landry is a sophomore at RHS.

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