Walking back to Georgetown from Memorial Bridge, where I stood for at least an hour in silence watching the smoldering Pentagon, the first thing one could notice was that even M Street and Wisconsin Avenue had pretty much cleared out, as most, presumably, stayed inside to watch the ongoing news coverage.
While internet access was working well, land lines and cell service were jammed and inoperable throughout the day. Bill Kenyon, a political consultant friend from Texas, was in town, and wanted to have an early dinner. While not thinking much about eating, we agreed to meet at Nathan’s — at Wisconsin and M. Besides spacing out reflectively, and sitting quietly in my office the rest of the afternoon watching news, I don’t recall what I did until dinner.
But as soon as i walked down 31st Street for the two block walk to Nathan’s, i saw something I’d never seen except in movies: armored personnel carriers cruising around Georgetown. Vehicle checkpoints were being set up.
The dinner crowd at Nathans was unusually animated for the situation at hand, but then again, the gravity of the event was still sinking in. I ordered a filet and a bottle of Penfolds 389 Australian cabernet, and a strolling photographer walked by the table; one of those guys hoping you’ll spring for a cheesy photo with your date. Kenyon suggested getting a picture for historical purposes, and have saved it ever since.
Having just pulled that picture out to look at once again — now ten years gone by — the significance and raw emotion of that day has returned with a vengeance as I watch the 9/11 Ceremony in NYC, and the reading of the names from family members along with pictures of those who perished. God bless.
Later that night, unusual lights and what appeared to be aircraft were all over the skies above Washington. But there was no noise as these lights hovered about the city. These lights have been reported, but do not believe there was ever any official explanation. Watching the news into the early morning, and as world reaction set in, it was clear things would never again be the same.