[HCDX] (non-DX) Thanks from Washington
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[HCDX] (non-DX) Thanks from Washington
To all HCDX Participants,
Thank you so much for all of your prayers and for thinking of us over
here. Downtown Washington on September 11 was crazy, if not surreal. For
what it's worth, I would like to share with you my experience.
Yesterday morning when I watched the news about the World Trade Center from
a television at my office I learned about the attack on Washington. My
concern was immediately directed towards my girlfriend. Monday night she
had been shaking (for no reason), and was too nervous that she couldn't
sleep. We didn't know why. Hearing her voice on the telephone, telling me
that she was safe, is something I shall never forget for as long as I live.
It is a blessing that we have escaped an even greater disaster here in
My office, which is a five-minute drive from the Pentagon, was immediately
evacuated (since we share the building with a defense contractor) and I
tried to get back home. Public transportation had been shut down. So I took
a taxi back into DC. We took the "GW Expressway" highway, passing the
Pentagon as a plume of smoke hung high overhead.
Once back in town I made my way back home to my apartment building by
foot. Madness ruled the streets. A traffic jam ensued with people
desperate to leave. Pedestrians crowded the sidewalks, trying to hail cabs.
No one knew what to expect. No one said a thing. It was eerily
quiet. The air was so tense you could cut it with a knife.
The Washington police department announced that another hijacked plane was
flying south of Washington, following the Potomac River, aiming for the
city. I had to get back home.
As I entered my apartment, my girlfriend reached out to me and we heard the
distinct sound of an F-15 military jet roaring above our heads.
I squeezed her hand.
Washington was at war. Defcon Delta.
The report of the hijacked aircraft, flying up the Potomac, turned out to
be false. But we knew that our apartment building, which is just a few
blocks north of the White House, was in ground zero. Another attack on
Washington would be aimed at us. And there was nowhere to run.
My president and all political leaders had been bunkered down. The
military began blocking roads. Shops closed their doors. By 11 AM the
streets were dead. Silence was cut by the piercing sound of fire trucks,
ambulances, and F-15s.
The United States will never be the same. We have been insulated from
terrorism for too long. We have never had to face the same kinds of risks
that people across the globe face. And us Americans have, as a result, let
our defenses down. This is our wake-up call.
I have lived through pipe bombs, car bombs and deadly race riots in
Indonesia. These risks pale in comparison when you face the prospect of a
jumbo jet, controlled by a suicidal terrorist, coming at you from the
skies. Nothing can prepare you for the sense of fear we felt on September 11.
Throughout the day I received many messages of support from my friends all
over the world, many of whom are DX'ers and Muslims. Hearing from all of
you at such a frightening time brought us a sense of comfort I cannot even
begin to put into words. And now, 36 hours after so many died, we are
realizing just how close downtown Washington almost came to adding to the
casualty list. The plane, which crashed into the Pentagon, had been aimed
for ground zero. It had been aimed at the White House. Downtown Washington.
Nick Grace C.
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